Remodeling can add value to your home, but the stress involved with gutting and rebuilding the kitchen or adding on an addition can also remodel your marriage. According to a recent online survey from home design website, Houzz.com, 46 percent of couples reported feeling more frustrated with their spouse during the redecorating and remodeling process, with a full 12 percent admitting to contemplating separation or divorce by mid-remodel.
Couple conflict when overhauling the house appears most rooted in matters of taste and style. Many survey respondents specifically mentioned feeling stress or anger over being stuck with items they hate but aren’t allowed to get rid of because their spouse objects. The items include old furniture, followed closely by posters and artwork. Some of the other hated items mentioned were antlers and other hunting trophies, wood paneling and old magazines.
Not working as a team also led to couple discontent, with approximately 20 percent of respondents saying they made a significant decision during the remodel process without telling their partner, from tearing down walls and picking paint colors to choosing furniture and appliances.
This may seem like nothing more than a fun little survey about squabbling couples who ultimately get to enjoy their freshly painted living room. But in New Jersey, of course, many home remodels in the past year aren’t due to a joint decision on the part of the couple to upgrade their bathroom, but are necessary home repairs and rebuilding brought about by Hurricane Sandy. As is reported time and again, many families are still rebuilding from the devastation wrought by the Superstorm almost one year ago. For these couples, most of whom are already under stress, add in normal arguments about things like what type of faucet fixtures to install in the kitchen, and you can have a very easy recipe for rocky times.
If you’re in the middle of a remodel brought on by Sandy or even if you’re a couple simply wrapping up the summer with some home upgrades, know that stress doesn’t need to cost you your relationship. According to the experts at Houzz.com, here are a few tips for keeping the peace during the remodeling and decorating process:
1. Strike a style balance. Can’t see eye to eye on traditional vs. contemporary? Before you begin a project, browse photos online and in magazines to create ideabooks with images you like and have your partner do the same. Then, have a date night to share each other’s ideabooks and look for commonalities that will establish the style for your project.
2. Compromise or downsize. If you insist on tossing his mounted antlers, be prepared to give up something you hold dear. Conversely, if you’re not willing to let something go, be prepared to let him or her keep something you’re not a fan of either.
3. Money matters. Money is already major pain point for many couples. Avoid adding this stress to your remodel by agreeing on a budget up front. Research costs for materials and projects early on and make a list of items that both partners need to approve such as wall color, kitchen appliances and electronics.
Has remodeling been good or bad for your marriage?