It’s one of the most daunting decisions a couple can make: agree to renovate their home.
No matter how big or daring the project, a home improvement project can be an emotionally stressful experience and chances are you’ll be at loggerheads somewhere down the line.
Indeed, according to a recent survey by home renovation and design platform Houzz (Houzz.co.uk), more than two-thirds of respondents had disagreements with their partner during the process (66%), nearly half found they were renovating with their partner. “frustrating” (47%) and one in 10 said the idea of couples counseling had even crossed their minds.
From planning and research to managing budgets and making decisions, what’s the secret to avoiding conflict and actually benefiting from the process?
Here, experts share their top tips on how you can improve your home and preserve your relationship…
1. MAKE A PLAN
“In any renovation project, staying organized helps avoid unnecessary tension and arguments,” says Victoria Harrison, Houzz editor. “The more time and effort you invest in preparing your project, the better.”
She says planning the scope of the project from the start will help in the long run, suggesting online resources can help you build a clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve.
However, it is important to leave room for reflection. Omar Bhatti, director of Space Shack, says, “Your ideas, designs and circumstances may change throughout the project.
“Be prepared for this and keep an open mind when starting and planning,” advises Bhatti. “Try to make sure you have enough time to discuss design details with your partner, to avoid feeling like you have to rush into a decision when the project is underway.”
2. HIRE THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL
“A good professional can take a lot of the stress out of a renovation and make you feel more confident going forward,” Harrison notes.
And Bhatti added: “Make sure you both have a good vibe and energy with the professional you hire – after all, they will be part of this journey with you and it is crucial that you connect. all on a design level and on a personal level.
“You let someone into your house and probably one of the biggest projects of your life,” he continues.
To keep a renovation project running smoothly, Harrison says clear communication between you and your partner will be important to keep you both on the same page.
She recommends deciding on key elements as early as possible, to avoid rushed decisions or arguments later. Being able to compromise is also vital.
For important discussions with tradespeople, Caroline Nicholls of Slightly Quirky suggests involving both parties. “It is important that no one feels excluded from the decision-making process,” she explains. “A partner trying to commit later can be problematic, as some important decisions might already have been made – and any changes can lead to additional costs or delays.”
Even for couples who are great communicators, Harrison says it can be surprisingly difficult to convey your design ideas to each other. “If that sounds like you, try using images to help communicate the elements of a design you love,” she suggests. “Include notes that highlight why you like a particular design, to help your partner better understand your vision for the space.”
4. STAY ORGANIZED
During a project, you can balance a budget, communicate with multiple trades, and try to make decisions about design details.
“Keeping control of it all can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be,” Harrison says. She says centralizing everything will really help. You can do this by setting up folders where all communications and designs are stored, or by exploring options online.
It might also be helpful for couples to delegate tasks to each other throughout the project. “One person could manage and speak directly to the designer about design-related items and the other about costs and payments,” Bhatti suggests. “That way everyone is involved in the whole process, but communication is easier when it’s one-on-one – and there’s no miscommunication from multiple parties sending emails. emails on the same subject.
5. TAKE A BREAK
“Renovation projects can sometimes feel overwhelming with decisions to be made and dust gathering,” says Harrison. “It’s important to take the time to do things together that don’t involve renovations, to put everything into perspective.
Bhatti suggests taking time out of the design and project process. “Have a romantic evening and try not to talk about the renovation at all,” he encourages.
If you feel like the conversations keep coming back to the project, try imposing a “renovation conversation curfew,” Harrison says.
6. KEEP THE OVERVIEW IN MIND
Despite the relationship strain, Harrison says more than 90% of homeowners said the outcome was worth it, with nearly two-thirds adding that they felt happier in their home as a result of the project, more comfortable and more organized.
“So don’t forget to think about the reasons for undertaking the renovation,” says Harrison.