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Renovate vs. Decorate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 6, 2023
Renovate means to restore or improve a structure to a good state of repair, while decorate involves adorning or adding ornamental elements to a space.

Key Differences

Renovate and decorate are terms often used in the context of homes or buildings but imply different processes. To renovate is to restore something to a good state of repair or to make it new again, which often involves more substantial changes like structural alterations, updates, or extensive repairs. This could involve processes such as redoing flooring, upgrading plumbing or electrical systems, or modifying layouts. On the other hand, to decorate is to adorn a space with beautiful or fashionable ornaments, colors, etc. It involves enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a space, usually without altering the structure itself.
Decoration focuses more on aesthetics and the embellishment of a space or object, often involving the addition of decorative elements, artwork, color schemes, and furnishings. The goal of decorating is to create a certain look or feel, often to reflect personal style or taste. Renovation, in contrast, goes deeper into the functionality and structure of a space, often involving more complex and extensive work, aimed at improving or updating the utility and often the value of a space.
Renovate is a term that implies an improvement or restoration to a former better state, often involving considerable effort, time, and financial investment. It’s usually more extensive and might require professional help like contractors or architects. Decorating, however, is generally more surface-level and can be as simple or elaborate as one wishes. It can be done by anyone and can be as temporary or permanent as desired, typically focusing on enhancing the visual appeal of a space through the arrangement, style, and color.
When considering both renovation and decoration, it’s essential to recognize that while decoration can be a part of renovation, they serve different purposes. Renovation is usually undertaken to address wear and tear, outdated structures, or to improve functionality and efficiency, whereas decoration is primarily concerned with aesthetics and personal expression. Both are significant in maintaining and personalizing a living or working space but operate on different levels of alteration and intention.
Renovation and decoration, while differing in depth and purpose, together contribute to the overall enhancement of spaces. Renovation addresses the structural and functional aspects, ensuring that the space is in good condition and meets the current needs and standards, while decoration adds a personal touch, making the space visually pleasing and reflective of individual style and preferences. A well-renovated and decorated space can offer a harmonious blend of functionality and aesthetics.

Comparison Chart


To restore or improve structure and functionality.
To adorn a space with ornamental elements.


Structural and functional aspects.
Aesthetic aspects.

Level of Alteration

Extensive, may involve structural changes.
Surface-level, mainly involves adding elements.

Professional Help

Often required for extensive renovations.
Can be done by anyone; designers can be consulted for professional advice.


Usually requires more time, effort, and money.
Can be less extensive and less expensive.

Renovate and Decorate Definitions


To rejuvenate or refresh through repair and remodeling.
They decided to renovate their kitchen to improve its functionality.


To adorn a space with ornamental or artistic elements.
She decided to decorate her room with posters and fairy lights.


To restore to a good state of repair.
They plan to renovate the old house completely.


To enhance the appearance of something by adding decorative elements.
They decorate their house with lights and ornaments during the holidays.


To upgrade existing structures or features.
The city will renovate the park to include new playground equipment.


To arrange aesthetically pleasing elements in a space.
He loves to decorate the living room with fresh flowers.


To make something look new or fresh again by repairing and updating.
The museum will close temporarily to renovate its exhibits.


To embellish something with attractive and complementary features.
The baker will decorate the cake with edible flowers and fruits.


To revitalize or revamp a previously existing entity.
The company decided to renovate its brand image to stay relevant.


To add color, texture, or other design elements to enhance visual appeal.
She hired an interior designer to decorate her new apartment.


To return to a condition of newness, as by repairing or remodeling.


To furnish, provide, or adorn with something ornamental; embellish.


To impart new vigor to; revive.


To confer a medal or other honor on
Was decorated for bravery.


(transitive) To renew; to revamp something to make it look new again.
This house is shabby: it needs renovating.


(transitive) To furnish with decorations.
We decorated the Christmas tree with tinsel and baubles.


(transitive) To restore to freshness or vigor.


(transitive) To improve the appearance of an interior of, as a house, room, or office.
There's some paint left over from when we decorated the guest bedroom.


To make over again; to restore to freshness or vigor; to renew.
All nature feels the reniovating forceOf winter.


(intransitive) To decorate an interior space, as a house, room, or office.
People tend to decorate for the holidays or special events.


Restore to a previous or better condition;
They renovated the ceiling of the Sixtine Chapel


(transitive) To honor by providing a medal, ribbon, or other adornment.
He was a decorated soldier who served in three wars.


Make brighter and prettier;
We refurbished the guest wing
My wife wants us to renovate


To extend a method, etc. by attaching some further code item.
It makes sure that the field name argument is not empty, and that the field specified there is an actual existing field in the class which declares the method decorated with this attribute.


Give new life or energy to;
A hot soup will revive me
This will renovate my spirits
This treatment repaired my health


To deck with that which is becoming, ornamental, or honorary; to adorn; to beautify; to embellish; as, to decorate the person; to decorate an edifice; to decorate a lawn with flowers; to decorate the mind with moral beauties; to decorate a hero with honors.
Her fat neck was ornamented with jewels, rich bracelets decorated her arms.


Make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.;
Decorate the room for the party
Beautify yourself for the special day


Be beautiful to look at;
Flowers adorned the tables everywhere


Award a mark of honor, as a medal, to


Provide with decoration;
Dress the windows


Can renovate include decorating?

Yes, renovation can include decorating as part of improving a space.

Is decorate limited to adding ornaments?

No, decorating can include arranging, styling, and adding various design elements to enhance visual appeal.

Can anyone decorate their space?

Yes, anyone can decorate their space, and it can be done to personal taste and preference.

Is renovating generally more expensive than decorating?

Generally, yes, as renovation may involve more extensive changes and professional help.

Does renovate always involve structural changes?

Not always, renovation can also include updating and improving without altering the structure.

Can renovation be done by the homeowners themselves?

Some renovations can be DIY, but extensive ones often require professional help.

Does decorating involve choosing color schemes?

Yes, choosing color schemes is a significant part of decorating a space.

Can decorating increase the value of a property?

While decorating can enhance the visual appeal, it typically does not increase property value like renovations can.

Is decorating only about visual appeal?

Primarily, yes, decorating focuses on aesthetics and creating a visually pleasing environment.

Can renovation also refer to rejuvenating a business or service?

Yes, renovate can metaphorically refer to making substantial improvements or updates to a business or service.

Is it necessary to renovate before decorating?

It is advisable to address any structural or functional issues through renovation before focusing on aesthetics through decorating.

Can renovating a space also improve its energy efficiency?

Absolutely, renovating often includes updating systems and structures for improved energy efficiency.

Is renovating a long-term investment?

Typically, yes, renovating is considered a long-term investment in the functionality and value of a space.

Can decorate refer to adding awards or accolades?

Yes, decorate can also mean to confer a distinction upon, as in a person being decorated with honors.

Is decorating subjective?

Yes, decorating is subjective and depends on individual taste and preference.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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