Renovations can be deadly to the best of relationships, and even a small project will require patience and understanding. Despite the challenges, more and more DIY couples are making their own home improvements. Some do it because it’s rewarding to work on their own home together as a couple. Some do it to save money. Whatever the reason you started that home renovation project, here are some top tips to help you land the home of your dreams and keep your relationship on solid footing.
1. Be clear in your vision.
Long before you pick up a hammer, you need to sit down and decide what you want out of the renovation. Just like any other area of your life, if you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t get there.
For example, if you are doing a kitchen remodel, ask yourself “What do I want from my new kitchen and why?” Maybe you want a place for you and your family to get together and socialize. Perhaps you want a gourmet kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances where you can prepare exotic dishes. Maybe you just want a functional space that’s fresh and clean.
Make sure that both you and your partner write or talk about what you want so that it is clear. You may be surprised to find that you have very different views of the new space. Once you know what you both want, you can compromise if necessary for both of you to satisfy some of your desires.
2. Prepare yourself mentally.
This is an area that couples tend to overlook. Unfortunately, “reality” television has given people the idea that you can remodel a kitchen in a weekend or build a house in two weeks. This has created many homeowners for a terrible reality check once they have started in their own space.
You need to create a reasonable timeline for the project. Ask people who have already renovated, call a few contractors, or go online and find out how long your type of project takes.
Keep in mind that you are probably not doing the job full time and even if you are, you are not as experienced as the professionals. My advice is whatever you think the timeline is, double it down and be ready for it. If you finish earlier great, if not it shouldn’t cause additional stress.
3. Delegate effectively.
You and your partner should sit down before starting the project and decide who will be responsible for which tasks. It is best to stick to your strengths as much as you can. For example, the person who is in charge of household bills should be the person responsible for keeping track of the budget. If one of you likes to surf the web more than the other, let that person research the products.
Don’t try to force the other person to take responsibility for an area they aren’t comfortable with. If one of you hates shopping and argues every time he goes to the tile store, stop taking them. Go yourself and choose 3 or 4 tiles and take the samples home. You can select the best together without the drama, and the other person can use her time doing something else.
4. Do not neglect your diet.
Think of your renewal as a marathon, not a sprint. Just like running a marathon, you need to keep your body and mind fueled. The risk of injury and making poor decisions can be reduced by staying sharp.
Be sure to eat a diet of healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and get 6 to 8 hours of sleep. If you’re doing a kitchen renovation, try to prepare a bunch of meals before you start and freeze them. Set up a temporary kitchen in another room of the house complete with a microwave or toaster oven for heating.
5. Take time to play and relax.
This may sound like something you can skip, but it really is an important element in a renovation, especially if the project will take more than a month to complete and you’ve budgeted for all your free time. Obviously, if you’re only working on the renovation for a couple of hours a week, you may not need to do this.
Use a day off or play date as a reward for completing part of the project. For example, take a day trip after you’ve finished the drywall or go see a movie after you finish the bathroom floor tile. Pick something you both enjoy doing as a reward, and don’t waste time talking about the renovation. Just relax and have fun together.