It’s always rewarding to sit back with a cup of coffee in hand as you admire your sparkling new kitchen, stunningly remodeled bathroom, or those shiny new hardwood floors. In fact, the feeling can be so overwhelmingly positive, it can be easy to forget how challenging remodeling can often be.
There’s a reason home improvement projects are consistently ranked amongst the most difficult things for any relationship to go through. Unusually large amounts of money are being spent, long term decisions are constantly being made, and tensions are generally high. The experience can be so bad at times that it can make any future renovation project with a partner sound like a nightmare.
Fortunately, you don’t have to repeat that negative experience of your past. If you find that you’re at risk of being at odds with a renovation partner, all it takes is a little communication and compromise to smooth things out beforehand and make sure that your project is set up for success.
Communication is Key
Everything starts with communication. It’s a mainstay of the business world, it props up healthy relationships, and it can be a lifesaver during a stressful renovation. When partners get stuck in their own minds and neglect to talk things through, it’s only a matter of time before they stray from one another.
Renovation 101 dictates that anyone trying to actually finish a project needs to keep their lines of communication wide open. This goes for everything from minor decisions like whether or not to hang a painting on a wall, to major decisions like what kind of hardwood to use for the floor. Whatever the time or place, always be communicating.
Setting up a household budget is an important part of life, in general. It’s critical to track income and expenses so that everyone can stay on the same page, and, unsurprisingly, this goes for renovations as much as anything else. If everyone goes into a home improvement project with varying budgets or, even worse, no budget in mind, it’s only a matter of time before tensions boil over into outright antagonism.
For instance, if a budget isn’t in place, it’s easy to justify multiple high-level expenses in order to make everyone happy. This goes well initially, but once those bills start adding up, everyone gets stressed out and it’s easy to start blaming the other person’s decision to spend high on things that you may not have personally prioritized.
If a budget is in place from the beginning, it forces partners to sit down and hash out the best way to spend their money before the stress of excessively high bills ever has a chance to factor into the mix.
Go in With a Plan
Along with having a budget in place, remember that it’s wise to always do your research before you break ground. Ask for quotes, make sure that you’ve scheduled deliveries, and try samples of things like paints and stains.
When partners try to pull off renovations “by the seat of their pants,” so to speak, they’re setting themselves up for unnecessary crunch time decisions and pressure, in general, as they regularly figure things out at the last minute. If there is any amount of variation in the partner’s thoughts, opinions, or tastes, it’s better to work that out in the planning stages.
Compromise is Okay
When you’re at odds with your partner, remember that compromise is okay. In fact, it’s a great way to help everyone feel that they have a say in the ongoing project. While it’s tempting to keep fighting for your own decisions because they seem the best to you, it’s important to put yourself in your partner’s shoes from time to time — especially when you’re not in agreement.
For example, if you prefer a traditional style while your construction partner wants to go with a modern look, you could agree to build with a modern style as long as you can use more traditional decor in the space.
In fact, often it’s the little, powerful things like area rugs, clocks, knobs, and even outlet covers that stand out as much as a room’s structure or architectural design. Incorporating a trendy Persian rug or a Ship’s Bell Clock into a modern room can be an excellent way to compromise and leave both parties smiling.
Nothing is Permanent
It can also be helpful for all renovation partners to remember that nothing in the remodeling world is ever permanent. In fact, there are plenty of ways to transform the look of a room if you should ever want to do so in the future.
From fresh paint to new floors, replacing windows, and even simply rearranging the furniture, there are plenty of ways to work with a remodeled space over time. In other words, it’s not worth the stress and strain of bickering and fighting in the present.
Manage That Stress
Finally, if you’re feeling stressed out during a project — and chances are, at some point, you will be — try to take steps to manage your stress outside of the renovations themselves. A few suggestions include:
- Taking some time to meditate.
- Getting some exercise.
- Checking that you’re eating and drinking enough.
- Making sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Having a partner to help you make decisions during a project should be a blessing, not a curse. Still, if you don’t take the time to get on the same page and then stay on the same page during the course of home improvements, it can be difficult for partners not to stress each other out.
That’s why it’s important to take the time to plan beforehand, exercise empathy and compromise throughout the project itself, and take steps to manage your stress. If you can go into a renovation period with these things in place, you’ll likely find it much easier to support and be supported by your partner through all of the ups and downs that any home improvements might throw your way.
SmartReno can help you find the right contractor for your Interior renovation project