With the time, money and decisions involved in renovations, it can quickly lead to stress and frustration. Unfortunately, this can get directed at our significant other and put a strain on any relationship. Having completed 2 major renovations together (so far) we have faced a number challenges that tested ours. We knew we couldn’t be alone in this struggle! This was one of the main reasons we started Helping Hunny. We want to share our experience and lessons learned renovating as a couple as well as be a resource for other couples renovating together.
While we have some experience, we certainly don’t have all the answers. So we’ve rounded up 10+ amazing tips from fellow renovation and DIY Bloggers on how to make renovating as a couple easier. Through personal experience and/or professionally helping couples remodel, these Bloggers share their top tips to reduce the stress on your relationship when renovating as a couple. Not surprisingly, a lot of the tips address planning and communication – something that is helpful for big and small projects you take on together. This post is longer than our usual but well worth the read! These proven tips on what you can do before your renovation starts and during the process will help you do-it-together on your next project.
Before you Start your Project
It is important to be on the same page before you start your renovation together. Having a clear understanding of what your reno entails will help manage both your expectations, especially if you are DIYing.
Here are some ways you can prepare before you even pick up a hammer:
“We are strong believers that planning ahead effectively as a couple can make all the difference between having fun together during a remodel or being frustrated with each other the entire time. For us this means before purchasing even one light fixture or knocking down a wall, we set aside time to sit down and communicate our desires and expectations with each other. We start by each individually creating a list of 3-5 must-haves for the project. We then use those must-have lists to create a plan that works for both of us. Having shared goals from the beginning helps to reduce conflict along the way and ensures we are approaching the project as a team.”
Ryan and Tessa are the minds and muscle behind TruBuild Construction; a design-build firm with the goal of creating beautiful spaces that are a reflection of the unique needs of the people who use them. Their blog shares past projects, inspiration, DIY tips and design ideas to empower you to create your dream home.
“Working with your partner on project can be somewhat of a balancing act as you strive to achieve high quality results, in a timely manner, and not strangle each other in the process. Set yourselves up for success by evaluating the feasibility of the project before you commit. Start by assessing the overall difficulty of the project, the desired completion date, and the amount of time you each have available to devote to the project.”
Kendall is a renovation and real estate professional. Renos 4 Pros and Joes features renovation and real estate resources for property owners, DIYers and industry pros. Here you will find tips & strategies, product reviews and support services (as well as lots of renovation before and after photos).
“As an organizer, I’ve discovered one way to make working with your partner on a home project less surprising and more rewarding is to do a project audit. Here’s how to do it: before you start the work, sit down together and list out everything you want to accomplish during your home project. Then, separately rate your enthusiasm to take on each task on a scale of 1-5. Go through your list and delegate the tasks according to your interest level. If there are ties, try to fairly distribute those tasks. If you can, try to estimate how long each task will take, and how much each will cost to complete. This will not only give you an equitable plan, it will give you a sense of your budget and timeline.”
Organized By Heart is a blog that offers DIY inspirations to help you edit your room, revise your routines, and love your story.
“Talk about all of the details of how you would like your project to look before any cuts are made. This may seem like a no-brainer but my husband and I had completely different ideas for how our mantel would look and he was excited and started making cuts. Luckily, I was able to talk to him and explain how I wanted it before he cut too many pieces and we were able to make it work.”
Jannine is currently renovating their newly purchased home and is a motherhood blogger at www.HappyStylishFit.com. She helps mothers create a a happy, stylish, and fit lifestyle for themselves and their families through tips, tricks, tutorials, and recipes.
“Communication is so so important! Most of our mid-project arguments happen when Hubby realizes that the scope of the project in my head is different (read bigger and more involved and cooler) than the simple project he thought we were taking on. I’ve learned that drawing a simple picture (and I’m no artist) can help us both get on the same page. So can sitting down to discuss the details before anyone ever goes to the hardware store.”
Jess is an interior designer and DIY enthusiast. She loves to help people create beautiful, affordable, family-friendly spaces they love through her blog, JessicaWellingInteriors.com.
“When renovating as a couple, you’re forming a project management committee.
In my experience, many challenging committee negotiations during the project will concern time and money because you have almost certainly under-budgeted for both, regardless of how much you intend to DIY or contract to experts.
Expect that events of the following magnitude, with associated negative impact, will happen:
-A tired forklift driver smashes your frameless glass sliding doors while unloading a truck.
-A storm collapses the roof of a supplier’s warehouse and due to the calamity it will be weeks before things get back to normal.
To better cope when adversity happens, create as detailed a plan with possible contingencies as you can now, then immediately increase your budget for both time and money – don’t set out to manage significant projects wearing rose-colored glasses. The more breathing room you create now, the more functional your ‘renovation committee’ will be able to be.”
Totally Home Improvement offers advice and information related to home life and improvement.
Tips for DURING your renovation
Here are some tips to help you get through your renovation with more fun and fewer fights:
“When renovating as a couple, know that things will go wrong and be willing to compromise. Make sure you have lots of snacks, drinks, and start the day off with a positive attitude. If you’re feeling frustrated with a project, talk to your spouse about how you’re feeling before it ends in an argument. But most of “all, just try to have fun!”
Jessica writes a DIY and home decor blog. The Vanderveen House is a story of the homes she’s lived in and fixed up with her husband, Tony. They help readers create a home they love by sharing what they’ve learned along the way.
“You’ve gotta have a ‘safe word’, as we lovingly call it. During renovations, especially with your partner, tensions can get high. Things don’t go right and it can be easy to take it out on your #1. Nick and I have gotten in fights and after everything is said and done we would realize that, of course, we didn’t mean what we said. So, we developed a system that has worked for us. When we’re feeling like we’re going to lose our temper and just need the other person to step out for a moment so we can collect ourselves we say our safe word, which is Lunch Box. We don’t just throw this word around -we only bring it out when it’s getting to that point of no return. It’s seriously helped us avoid fights. Not fighting keeps feelings from getting hurt, it saves time, energy… I could go on and on. Try it. It’s worked wonders for us! We’ve been renovating as a couple full time for over 5 years and we’re still going strong!”
Nestrs is a Columbus, OH based husband and wife team that shares their adventures building their Airbnb business, client renovation projects, and creating how-to content that will save the DIY home owner time, money, and frustration! Visit Sarah and Nick over on their blog, Nestrs.
“Unity and laughter when renovating as a couple are so important for a successful and stress-free(ish) project. Laugh off the small problems so they don’t turn into bigger issues and don’t blame each other for anything, big or small.”
On The Stone Head DIY, Kiersten chronicles the journey through real estate investing and remodeling with her significant other and shares the knowledge, information and resources they discover along the way.
“Treat DIY projects like a job. Get up and go to work, and don’t work late. Limit yourself to a reasonable day (and a reasonable work week) and recognize when your spouse is reaching burnout stage. Tell him to go fishing. Send her for a pedicure. No DIY project is worth stressing your marriage, no matter how badly you want to get it done.”
The Slave to DIY Team posts about renovations, DIY projects, decor and staging tips in a fun, big family environment. Check out their projects at SlaveToDIY.com.
“Our home renovations became a family affair out of necessity. Our children have grown up around power tools, paint, and sawdust, and they have already learned their way around a tool box. Consider finding ways to involve your whole family during the home renovation process. For safety, unplug every power tool when you walk way.
Clean up after you’re done for the day. Buy a toy tool set and mini tool belt for the little ones, and let older children get involved in age appropriate ways. Take advantage of teaching moments and learn to be ok with a mess! A little dirt won’t hurt them!”
Hammers N Hugs is a blog of DIY inspiration for the home and family. Ahna is wife to her DIY partner-in-crime Zach, and mom to the cutest little construction crew of 3. Hammers N Hugs is for the home renovator, entrepreneur, DIY enthusiast, home builder, and lover of French Country design. Check them out at www.HammersNHugs.com!
As these tips attest, renovations inherently come with a bit of stress – especially when renovating as a couple. However, projects -big or small- don’t have to negatively impact your relationship. Preparation, communication and cooperation are all needed to complete your renovation without ruining your relationship.
A huge thank you to the contributing bloggers for the AMAZING tips they shared on renovating as a couple! Click on the blog and post links throughout this post for fantastic advice, how-to’s, before/afters and so much more from these excellent blogs.
Please share your experience with any of the tips in the comments!
Denise and Sean