A recently renovated full bathroom featuring detailed tiling, glass shower doors, a marble-top vanity, and dark green walls.

Award-Winning Home Remodeling Ideas You’ll Want to Steal

Remodeling and Renovation Tips

by Ivonne Spinoza Posted on January 25, 2024

When it comes to remodeling your home, you don’t want to settle. You want something that complements your style but is still fresh and in step with the latest (and hopefully also timeless) décor trends. So to find truly awe-inspiring home remodeling ideas, it’s always great to check out the work of designers and builders — the ones that have won awards and risen to the top. La crème de la crème.

This list is a great place to start, featuring remodeling ideas for kitchens, bathrooms, and pretty much the entire house, while also giving you tips and tricks to keep in mind when making your own remodeling decisions, so you’ll invest your money wisely.

What Should I Remodel First?

It’s a safe bet to start with the kitchen, the bathroom(s), or the floors.

Refinishing or replacing your hardwood floors can give you a lot of bang for your buck — it immediately transforms the look and feel of your place. Whether you want to make your home nicer for yourself or to entice potential buyers in the future, it’s a low-risk project that can be completed fairly quickly, compared to other remodeling projects.

That said, if you’re ready to tackle a bigger challenge, the kitchen or bathrooms take the top spots on the priority list. They make the biggest impact in your daily life and are also the best investments to future-proof your house for renting or selling in the future.

Insider Tip: Not sure what you’ll do with all your stuff during construction? Consider getting an on-site storage container delivered to your driveway to keep your belongings safe and close at hand.

What Remodel Adds the Most Value?

Your best bet for getting the most return on your investment is to remodel the kitchen. Even minor kitchen remodels that are mostly cosmetic fixes (like refacing the cabinets or installing new countertops) can recoup up to 85.7 percent of their cost, while full kitchen remodels typically get you back about 41.8 percent of your investment.

If your kitchen is already in good shape (lucky you!), it may be worth looking into updating your bathroom(s) instead. There are plenty of inexpensive bathroom remodeling ideas that will add value to your home.

New floors are also a good investment because they’re a relatively easy upgrade. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORSⓇ Research Group, you can recover between 118 percent and 147 percent of your investment on hardwood floors (depending on whether you’re refinishing or replacing them)!

Ready to see some remodels that will knock your socks off? Here are a few award-winning examples to give you some reno inspo.

Increase Your Home’s Resale Value With a Kitchen Upgrade

Upgrading or improving your kitchen is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your home. And depending on how much work is needed, it doesn’t even have to be a huge project to make an impact!

A newly remodeled kitchen featuring pendant lighting above the island dining table, turquoise-colored tile backsplash, and a combination of white-painted and natural wood cabinets.

(Source: Remodelingkc.com )
Recognition: 2021 Remy Award Gold & All-Star, Historical Renovation/Restoration $250,000 and Over

When it comes to great remodeling ideas, look no further than this project by Architectural Craftsmen & Team Member Orion Design Inc., which highlights the importance of making sure you preserve the character of the house — to keep the look and feel harmonious as a whole.

You wouldn’t necessarily want a historic house with a contemporary kitchen, as it would lose most of its charm and look out of place (and it could also be jarring for future buyers).

This remodel updated an old kitchen, while making sure to keep the charm and character of the space. It accomplished this by keeping naturally dark wood tones in some of the storage cabinets while contrasting them with some white cabinetry on the opposite side of the space to make the kitchen look bigger and brighter.

The designers also kept original ceiling details, like the beams, that add warmth and personality. Additionally, they used a mix of different types of lights to add dimension and bring modern touches into the room.

A newly remodeled kitchen with a marble-topped wooden island with a built-in sink, windowed cabinets painted in dark blue, and new chrome appliances. There are also modern pendant lights hanging from the ceiling above the island.

(Source: Schloegel Design Remodel)
Recognition: 2021 Remy Award Gold, Kitchen $60,001 to $100,000

In the same vein, this remodeling project by Schloegel Design Remodel combines a deep blue color with natural walnut wood beams and cabinets and features a mix of metal finishes (in case you still thought they had to match, they don’t!) to bring about a stunning, mid-century-style kitchen.
This project hits a home run when you put together the contrasting quartz tabletop and tile backsplash that, combined, bring brightness and take advantage of all the natural light that comes into this space.
The remodel included updating the layout, as well, which isn’t always necessary or economically convenient, but in this case, it made space for an island that is perfect for entertaining (adding more functionality to the room!).
Q: What part of your house is the most worth remodeling? 
If you’re planning to stay in the home and want a high-impact room redo, the kitchen is likely your best bet. It’s the heart of the home, where families spend the most time, and a refresh of appliances, cabinetry, or the whole shebang can spruce up the entire house.

A newly remodeled kitchen with a combination of traditional cabinets and frosted window cabinets, all painted in a neutral gray. The kitchen also features a two-seater island with a built-in sink and new chrome appliances.

(Source: Time 2 Remodel)
Recognition: 2022 National/Regional CotY Award, Residential Kitchen under $30,000

We said before that even a small remodel can be great for your home value, and this project by Time 2 Remodel is a great example of that. 

Here, the designers replaced an ill-fitting peninsula with an island for better flow and functionality and installed extra cabinets for added storage, which, in turn, freed up much-needed counter space. 

Finally, they matched the original details, such as the oak floor and the textured drywall, to keep the personality of the space and make all the modern changes feel like they belong and were always there.

This particular remodel was in a small space and came with a smaller price tag, but the final result is undeniably impactful.
Main takeaways from these award-winning kitchens:
  • Keep original details to maintain the original charm and make a space more cohesive.
  • Consider the construction style when designing your space.
  • Realize you can make a big impact, even with a small budget.
  • Make functionality a top priority.

Retreat to a Cozy Oasis at the End of the Day With A Bedroom Refresh

A modern bedroom with gray walls, a stone slab wall with mounted TV and built-in fireplace, and an orange bed as an accent.

(Source: 417mag.com)
Recognition: 417 Magazine Best Bedroom 2023 Winner

To refresh a bedroom the homeowners said was “dated” and “dark,” GMI Design Group’s Fernanda Edwards started by bringing in some light — literally. Enlarging the windows from four-feet to five-and-a-half-feet tall did the trick, brightening and expanding the feel of the room. 

Beyond that significant structural change, however, the rest of the remodeling bedroom ideas involved subtle touches to create a calming but contemporary vibe: beige and light gray for the walls and carpet and cool whites for the linens, chair, and couch. Pops of color in the artwork and throw pillows add warmth and charm to the overall look, as well.

A bright, white, and blue bedroom

Recognition: Interior Design Society – Best Bedrooms $30,000 and Under (Winner)

The experts at The Aspiring Home Interiors know how to mix minimalist style and comfort effortlessly. Light, airy blues and whites with natural wood accents give this bedroom a welcoming, destination vacation feel. The hardwood floors and furniture add warmth to an otherwise cool room, creating a perfect balance. And the attached bathroom takes notes, incorporating the blue tones found throughout the bedroom.

A gray, beige, and white bedroom

Recognition: Interior Design Society – Best Bedrooms $30,000 and Under (First Runner Up)

While the winner of the Interior Design Society’s competition opted for bright tones, Michelle Yorke Interior Design — the runner up — chose darker tones, with grays and blues leading the way. It’s a cozy room, with a bed perfect for mornings spent sleeping in and a chair ideal for late-night reading. Throw pillows on both the bed and chair add accents of beige and white, lightening the grays of the walls, headboard, and lamps.

Main takeaways from these award-winning bedrooms:
  • Keep things comfy and cozy. Don’t overcrowd the space.
  • Opt for big windows with lots of natural light.
  • Bright bedrooms give you a wide-open feeling, whereas darker tones keep things sleepy (ideal for a bedroom).

Remodel Your Bathroom To Add More Functionality and Appeal

A newly remodeled bathroom with custom tilework on the floor and in the shower, a white vanity with a black marble top, and dark green painted walls with white trim.

(Source: Neil Kelly Inc)
Recognition: 2022 National/Regional CotY Award, Residential Bath over $100,000

This project by Neil Kelly Design/Build honors the history of this old house (built in 1890!) while adding contemporary touches. The designers accomplished the not-so-easy feat of making a space look like it belongs in a historic house — but in a modern time.
One of the reasons the owners wanted to remodel this space was to add functionality. For instance, they asked for the traditional clawfoot tub to be replaced with a more practical walk-in shower, and they also needed extra storage.
The designers married industrial and vintage styles with enough details to let you know it was carefully planned and executed — down to the very last tile.
A newly remodeled bathroom with custom tile detailing on the back walls and ceiling, a glass shower, and a soaker tub. The bathroom’s decor features a blue velvet couch and light blue walls. The corners of twin marble vanities are visible in the foreground of the image. Overlaid text indicates the image is from NARI.

(Source: NARI)
Recognition: 2022 National/Regional CotY Award Winner, Residential Bath $25,000 to $50,000

In contrast, this very different remodel project by Remodel Boutique shows how the right details can turn a bathroom into your very own sanctuary in a cost-efficient way, so you can have your small luxuries without losing money when it comes to resale value.

This primary bathroom, in a converted attic, helps take advantage of every last inch of square footage in the home. And while the peculiarities of the space could have been a nightmare, the designers took advantage of the unique architectural shapes of the room and turned it into a spectacular home spa.

Not only were they able to add a double vanity, a soaking tub, and an elegant, comfortable shower, but they also separated and enclosed the toilet area and added a relaxing reading corner, to give full spa-retreat vibes to this space. 

A newly remodeled bathroom with mid-century modern mirrors and vanity. The walls in the vanity room have been decorated with colorful wallpaper. The walls in the room with the bath are covered in white subway tiles with a single strip of matching wallpaper running horizontally in the middle.

(Source: Alair Homes Dallas/Fort Worth via Facebook)
Recognition: 2022 National/Regional CotY Award Winner, Residential Bath Under $25,000

This next project by Alair Homes shows how smart use of space and pretty simple (and often underrated) details like wallpaper can make all the difference.

A bland, all-cream bathroom was expanded to add a bathtub, and warm wood cabinetry was installed to bring some coziness into the space. The designers replaced unflattering fluorescent lights with cute lamps, and, finally, added the focal point: fun, colorful wallpaper.

A tired space was brought back to life without spending a ton, while adding functionality for its current inhabitants and value for a potential future sale.

Main takeaways from these award-winning bathrooms:
  • Challenging shapes and spaces are opportunities for unique details that add charm and appeal to your home.
  • Furniture in unexpected spaces can turn a simple bathroom into a multifunctional space.
  • Small but fun details like wallpaper can make all the difference in an otherwise simple bathroom.

Help Warm Up the Look of Your Home With an Updated Fireplace

A Modern bedroom with a black marble fireplace

(Source: 417mag.com)
Recognition: 417 Magazine Best Fireplace 2022 Award

Sometimes changing seemingly small details can make all the difference — and implementing fireplace remodeling ideas is a prime example. Looking to freshen up an outdated family room, designer Madison Rees at Rock Solid Renovations exchanged the rustic look for a clean, contemporary aesthetic. Smooth black granite took the place of old-fashioned stone, incorporating gold and creamy veining to add movement and sparkle — and to catch the light of the fire. 

As the new focal point of the room, the fireplace not only brings warmth and a cozy glow for cold nights but adds a welcome boost to the value of the home.

a snapshot of a best fireplace award

Recognition: French Magazine Ideat Best Fireplace 2021

Fireplaces conjure images of days gone by, but Belgian company Metalfire eschewed that idea in favor of something completely modern. Trading in stones and beams for simple, straight lines and impressive technical features transforms a humble fireplace into a show-stopping centerpiece to design a room around. 

The Scan 87 fireplace, designed by Niels Kjeldsen Design, uses a throwback furnace silhouette with a thoughtful eye toward modern design sensibilities to create a timeless piece. It’s both functional and fashionable, providing ample heat while working as a natural focal point in the room. Its glass window lets everyone see the roaring log flame, no matter where in the room they sit.

Recognition: Wood Burning Winner of 2022 Red Dot Design Award

The Scan 87 fireplace, designed by Niels Kjeldsen Design, uses a throwback furnace silhouette with a thoughtful eye toward modern design sensibilities to create a timeless piece. It’s both functional and fashionable, providing ample heat while working as a natural focal point in the room. Its glass window lets everyone see the roaring log flame, no matter where in the room they sit.

Main takeaways from these award-winning fireplaces:
  • The fireplace is a natural focal point of the room, a prime opportunity to set the vibe.
  • Keep the fireplace in the center of the room to spread warmth evenly and so the flame is easily visible.
  • Forgo the brick fireplaces with chain coverings and opt instead for clean, modern lines with a glass covering.

Q: What is the most expensive part of remodeling a house?
That depends on the remodel. Will you be changing the layout of the area? Then the structural changes may prove to be the most expensive. Are you planning to hire a professional to do a remodel with low-cost materials? Then the cost of the labor may end up being the most expensive part. You get the idea.

Reclaim Square Footage With a Basement Remodel

A remodeled basement with wood floors, carpeted stairs, and a full kitchen. The kitchen has a large island with a built-in wine cooler and pendant lights hanging above it.

(Source: Martanne Construction)
Recognition: 2021 Remy Awards Gold, Basement Under $100,000

When you live in a home for decades, basements frequently become forgotten storage spaces for unused things. Basement remodeling ideas on a budget abound, but this design by Martanne Construction is unique in proving how luminous a basement can truly be.

With this renovation alone, the homeowner added 1,500 square feet of living space. Not bad for a project that didn’t involve any additions, right? The entertainment hub now has a kitchen, living room, and bathroom that can all be used to host guests or for family gatherings. And the choice of light colors and materials maximizes light, so you don’t feel trapped in the basement — even with just two small windows. 

A remodeled basement featuring exposed brick and wood-paneled walls, black painted ceilings, recessed overhead lighting, and cozy furniture. The room’s decor includes a few statuettes on the ottoman and a photograph of old Hollywood actors on the wall.

(Source: Dave Osmond Builders)
Recognition: 2022 National/Regional CotY Award Winner, Basement Under $100,000

When it comes to media room home remodel ideas, this project by Dave Osmond Builders is a great example. It has all the charm of an old movie set — but also includes the function of a dry bar, a wine cellar, and a small dining area you can use for food or games. The space almost feels like a hotel inside your own home, and that’s hard to beat for inexpensive, fun staycations.

This basement incorporates industrial elements like exposed brick and a dark ceiling, and the old Hollywood hotel atmosphere is reinforced by the black-and-white artwork, bold colors, and vintage-style popcorn machine.

A basement that has been remodeled into a separate living suite. The walls are painted white, and the built-in cabinets are painted in a blue accent color. There is recessed overhead lighting, wood flooring, and a kitchenette with a full-sized fridge set into the wall.

(Source: Innovative Construction)
Recognition: 2022 National/Regional CotY Award Winner, Basement $100,000 to $250,000

For a compromise between light and personality, this remodel by Innovative Construction offers coziness without feeling like a themed room.  

The basement amenities include a kitchen and bathroom, making it great for entertaining and spending family time, but it doubles as a guest space with plenty of privacy. In fact, the owners prioritized making a comfortable living area for their parents during extended visits — so they’ll want to visit more often.

Main takeaways from these award-winning basements:
  • A basement doesn’t have to feel like a basement.
  • Basements can be moody without being dark.
  • A good basement will be multi-functional.
  • What Should You Not Do When Remodeling a House?

    The sky’s the limit, when it comes to updating your home. Just make sure you don’t fall into these traps:

    • Start without a solid plan and budget: Things can escalate and get out of hand very easily, so be sure to plan for unexpected issues and expenses.
    • Focus on being trendy when it comes to your design: Trends come and go quickly, and you don’t want to regret a big and expensive choice in just a few short months.
    • Overspend on specialty rooms and amenities if you plan on selling soon: Consider that a buyer’s taste or lifestyle may be different from yours, so only spend on expensive add-ons like pools and home theaters, if you plan on enjoying these new luxuries for a while.
    • Over-upgrade or add unnecessary amenities: As with specialty rooms, these mostly pay off if you’re going to use them for a long time. But they don’t add to resale value, so try not to go overboard, and always factor in how long you plan to live in your current house.

    What Are Some Low-Effort and Low-Cost Home Remodeling Ideas That Pay Off?

    Small fixes that don’t cost too much can make all the difference when it comes to home renovation ideas. Here are a few:
    • Redo the siding: This project will usually recoup between 88.5 percent and 94.7 percent of your investment.
    • Add a small deck: It’ll not only give you extra outdoor space, but you’ll usually get back 50 percent of your cost for wood and 39.8 percent for composite.
    • Replace your garage door: It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive — and it enhances curb appeal, which will help in a potential sale.

    How To Move From Remodeling Ideas to Remodeling Results

    Whether you’re doing a quick bathroom redo or renovating your entire home, our Ultimate Home Remodeling Checklist gives you a clear roadmap to planning, prepping, and getting it done. 

    For more remodeling tips, like how to hire a remodeling contractor, visit the PODS Blog.

    Ivonne Spinoza is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Matador Network, PBS’ Independent Lens, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. When she’s not snuggling her cats, she’s either Kondo-ing someone’s life or fighting jet lag at some airport.

    (Source for image featured at top: Neil Kelly Inc)

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    This looks great. Thank you for putting it all together. What is on the walls in the theater? Is that paint or wallpaper?
    Leave a Reply 1 replies
    These look incredible! Thank you for sharing with us and we look forward to your next post!
    Leave a Reply 1 replies
    Very inspiring interior design ideas. I like the most is basement renovation how they can be transformed for fun place where family can spend time altogether. Very impressive. Thanks for sharing.
    Leave a Reply
    always remodel the kitchen and bathrooms first! Adds the most value.
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