Can Home Remodeling Strengthen a Relationship?

Try Googling “Remodeling and Relationships” and you’ll get entry after entry about relationship woes caused by the stress of remodeling. Even Houzz.com, a site dedicated to remodeling and home design, released results of a survey showing that 12 percent of couples consider separation or divorce mid-remodel.

It’s human nature to feel stressed when your home is in a state of upheaval. If your marriage is in a fragileBoston couple home remodeling state already, I’m sure the additional stress may be all it takes to question your choice of mate. In the 30 years that I have been renovating homes, however, I have seen remodeling strengthen relationships more often than strain them. I’ve seen couples collaborate, communicate, and celebrate when the process results in a home that suits their lifestyles.

Houzz recently released the results of a survey with a subhead that says: “Houzz Survey Unveils Happy Ending to the Turmoil as 84 Percent of Couples Spend More Time at Home Post-Remodel”.  It turns out that remodeling really can be good for a relationship!

The release had some interesting points about the importance of collaboration and how to strengthen a relationship during remodeling. Here are a few interesting excerpts:


Conflicting style is a major source of stress as one third of respondents do not like their significant other’s design style. They’re not shy about telling their partner, either, with 76 percent sharing their opinion with their significant other. But honesty doesn’t help get rid of some of their partner’s favorite items. Forty-two percent of respondents reported being stuck with items they hate but aren’t allowed to get rid of – yet one in five has gone ahead and removed a significant other’s item without telling them. Forget knickknacks, the most common item creating clashes is 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.

While the majority of respondents describe their process as collaborative, when couples can’t agree, some partners move ahead on their own. One in five respondents have 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.

Despite the stress of remodeling, home really is where the heart is. Four out of five survey respondents reported feeling more relaxed in their home after completing their project. In addition, 42 percent of respondents do more entertaining and 41 percent report an increase in their level of happiness with their significant other.

Here are a few tips for keeping the peace – and even strengthening a relationship – during the remodeling and decorating process:

  • Strike a style balance. Can’t see eye to eye on traditional vs. contemporary? Before you begin a project, browse photos on Houzz, 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
The “Remodeling & Relationships Survey” is an online survey of Houzz users conducted July 2013.

Tags: home remodeling, remodeling trends, Boston remodeling