Syllabus / Pricing 101

How to think about the cost of your renovation


Quality and price per square foot (PSF)

If you are renovating an entire apartment, it makes sense to understand the approximate price of your project based on its square footage and the standard of quality you expect. For example, if you are doing a gut renovation (changing layouts) of a 1,000 square foot apartment in Manhattan and are looking for 'good quality but nothing too fancy', you can expect your project to cost around 1,000 sf * $175 = $175,000.

  • Standard $150 to $200 PSF: The quality of the finish is good (grade A) with good attention to detail but reliant on big-box store sourced cabinetry, MDF etc. 

  • Mid-Range $200 to $500 PSF: The quality of finish is high (grade AA) and customized with fine finishes and materials being used that can last years, if not, a lifetime. 

  • Upscale $500 to $2,000 PSF: The quality of finish is the highest possible (grade AAA) and labor-intensive, with every surface bespoke, new and beautifully finished.

Average costs

Here are the average costs of the most popular renovation projects Bolster carries out in New York City. 


New Bathoom

New Kitchen

Full Reno

Gut reno, combo or conversion

Standard $ 25,173 $ 37,760 $ 100,692 $ 151,038
Mid-Range $ 50,346 $ 75,519 $ 201,385 $ 302,077
Upscale $ 179,808 $ 269,712 $ 719,231 $ 1,078,846

"A great way to approach your project at an early stage is to have either a fixed budget with a flexible scope of work OR a fixed scope of work with a flexible budget - but not both"


David Yum, AIA Architect

Typical starting costs

Here is a guide to what your starting costs are likely to be when you renovate with Bolster. These starting prices all assume the project has followed Bolster's Pricing Process and that the only corners cut are those of your materials.

  • New Bathrooms Begin at $20,000: Assumes basic bathroom renovation with no moving of waste or supply lines, light switches or outlets. Includes replacing some electrical and plumbing, some basic carpentry & finishes and basic appliances.

  • New Kitchens Begin at $30,000: Assumes basic kitchen renovation with no moving of waste or supply lines, light switches or outlets. Includes replacing some electrical and plumbing, some basic carpentry & finishes and basic appliances.

  • Full Renovations Begin at $80,000: Assumes basic kitchen and bathroom renovation with no moving of any waste or supply lines, light switches or outlets. Also includes replacing some electrical and plumbing, some basic carpentry & finishes.

  • Gut Renovations Begin at $100,000: Also includes combinations and conversions. Assumes full kitchen and bathroom renovation with new electrical and plumbing, moving a wall, a new HVAC installation, window replacement, carpentry & finishes and new flooring throughout.

Unique variables

With over 2,000,000 unique homes in New York City, no two projects are ever the same. Here are a few variables that may affect your budget.

  • Hiring an Architect: If your project requires an architect expect to pay a minimum of $5,000 and up to 20% of your project's total cost. 

  • Walkup vs. Elevator: If you live in a walkup without an elevator, your contractor will have to budget for having material and waste carried up and down flights of stairs.

  • Staying or going: If you are planning on living in your home during your renovation, your contractor will have to budget for working around you. 

  • Building rules: If your co-op or condo building restricts working hours, access or requires additional protections, your contractor will have to budget for these.

  • Concrete vs. Sheetrock: If your walls are solid concrete rather than sheetrock, gut renovations and electrical work may be more expensive. 

  • Moving systems: Expect to pay extra if you have to replace your plumbing, move your waste or supply lines or reposition your electric panel.

Value of your home

If you want to base your renovation project's budget on some solid economics, look no further than your home. The following table uses historical Manhattan real estate values to help you set a budget that is proportional to the value of your home and able to be recovered within 5 years.

Your property type

Current value

Forecasted increase in value in 5 years

Maximum renovation budget*

Manhattan co-op $ 1,206,784 $ 202,594 $ 189,932
Manhattan condo $ 2,136,501 $ 588,426 $ 551,649
Manhattan Luxury co-op or condo $ 6,006,274 $ 1,340,134 $ 1,256,376
Upper East Side co-op $ 1,649,092 $ 240,501 $ 225,470
Upper East Side condo $ 2,808,462 $ 1,223,042 $ 1,146,602
Upper West Side co-op $ 1,203,690 $ 144,461 $ 135,432
Upper West Side condo $ 2,286,626 $ 543,886 $ 509,893
Chelsea co-op $ 1,108,786 $ 353,258 $ 331,179
Chelsea condo $ 2,933,140 $ 1,349,626 $ 1,265,274
Greenwich Village co-op $ 1,370,159 $ 486,839 $ 456,412
Greenwich Village condo $ 3,760,509 $ 1,544,425 $ 1,447,898
East Village / Lower East Side co-op $ 948,366 $ 230,725 $ 216,305
Soho / Tribeca co-op $ 2,407,325 $ 505,594 $ 473,994
Soho / Tribeca condo $ 3,696,606 $ 1,250,293 $ 1,172,150
Financial District co-op $ 1,601,135 $ 749,330 $ 702,497
Financial District condo $ 1,086,424 $ 153,392 $ 143,805
* equivalent to forecasted increase in property value in 5 years minus cost of finance at 4% APR.


This post is intended for informational purposes only and is general in nature as it does not take into account your personal renovation situation. You should really consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a licensed architect, general contractor or financial / legal adviser.