Bring up the topic of renovation, remodeling, or redecorating to almost anyone you know who’s gone through it, and they’re likely to share a story about how stressful it was. They may also describe some unexpected disagreements (or even battles!) it created between themselves and their significant others. When you embark on home remodeling or design project of any size – even something seemingly as painless as choosing the color of the bathroom towels – these kinds of decisions tend to provoke all sorts of unanticipated emotions and arguments.
So, if you’re planning to renovate your home, but are worried about how this might affect your relationships – and your own well-being – it’s important to prepare for the renovation by making your plans together, with a unified vision and intention.
Start with a Vision Board
It really is possible to overcome potential disagreements about your home, even if your tastes vary greatly. Vision Boards are powerful tools for creating a unified vision that you and your partner will both love when it comes to your renovation or remodel. Start big! Together, gather your dream home images first. If you’re creating a digital Vision Board, pull some pictures from the internet. Alternatively, you can simply cut out images from magazines and stick them to a poster board. (To learn more about how to create your own Vision Board, check out this blog: The Magic of a Vision Board.)
It’s fun to dream together about the possibilities for your home environment. With open communication and an open mind, you’ll undoubtedly be able to find some commonalities among your individual preferences. Keep these as the base for your now home. Then build on what you find in common, until you establish a look that you both enjoy. If you have children, it’s a good idea to get them involved, too. Creating Vision Boards as a family is a fun, collaborative activity that can help to bring everyone together. Your kids will light up when you give them permission to participate, as well. It gives them a sense of ownership, and can generate some excitement around working together to create a home environment where the entire family can thrive. It’s amazing what you’ll discover about one another and about what each values in a home, simply by creating some Vision Boards together.
After collaborating on your joint Vision Boards, make a Projects List and be sure to set your project budget right at the outset, prior to purchasing anything or enlisting any contractors. This will help to set some helpful boundaries, plus you’ll achieve needed mutual compromise much earlier in the process, which will take a lot of potential emotional stress out of the equation.
Learn the Art of Compromise
Sun Tzu famously wrote about The Art of War, but when it comes to planning your home renovation, it’s really about learning The Art of Compromise. When you’re making these kinds of plans with your special someone, just because your partner’s tastes and opinions may differ from your own doesn’t mean he or she is right or wrong. This is where mutual respect can go a long way: communication, listening, and compromise will set the stage for mutual success. So, when disagreements come up and emotions are triggered, you can just go back to the Vision Boards you created together. Look at them and remind each other of what’s truly important: your relationship! Then you can back to working together in creating a dream home you both love, or that your whole family will love. Focusing on the bigger picture of what you want to create together, rather than getting caught up in little distractions, will help. So will really talking and taking the time to listen to each other’s viewpoints as you discover new ideas and solutions.
When you’re ready to get started with your planned renovation(s), here are 6 pro tips to help everything go smoothly:
Pro Tip 1: Keep track of your projects and tasks using a software tool like PowerPoint. With this method you can make as many edits as you want while you move through the design process, plus you can add pages and save multiple versions with ease. Programs like Word, Excel, Evernote, and Notes can also be helpful tools to use.
The key is to use something other than your solitary brain as an organizational tool for your renovation. You can even use a regular spiral notebook to collect your thoughts on paper. Choose a method that feels comfortable to you. One caveat: try to avoid using a collection of sticky notes, as these can start to feel a lot like clutter, and can get easily lost as well.
Pro Tip 2: No matter the size of your renovation, working with a set budget will help to guide you in planning your priorities. This keeps your projects and related purchases focused. It also guards against getting halfway through a project only to realize you can’t finish it, and can also help prevent you from going into debt. As with other aspects of your life and home, it’s important to set an intention. What is your intention around how much money you want to spend?
Use your Projects List to build a spreadsheet for all your projects, purchases, and expenditures. Keep all budget numbers and purchase amounts in one place, and create a timeline for when your budget will allow you to make each expenditure.
Pro Tip 3: Budget 10 to 20 percent for overages. This is a smart way to help build in some margin for any unforeseen expenses, and can help prevent you from being caught off guard. Adding in a 10-20% buffer will help you weather any unexpected financial storms that might arise along the way.
Pro Tip 4: At what point should you make the decision to hire something out? Obviously doing the work on your own can save you some money in the short term, but sometimes that route doesn’t result in the desired long-term outcome you want. Be realistic with what you can take on as a DIY project, and when you should really hire some help. Keep in mind the value of your time. Often, we think we can save money by doing something ourselves, until it ends up taking a great deal more time than we thought it would. Unless it’s something you truly enjoy doing, sometimes the cost of hiring a project out is really worth the value of your time and effort. Also consider the added value of professional workmanship accountability, along with greater warranty coverage that comes along with a professional installation or service.
Pro Tip 5: If you’re looking for other ways to save money, ask yourself about which items in your home you may be able to simply repurpose. Look at each item with a fresh set of eyes. For example, sometimes all it takes is a new coat of paint to help an existing accent item work beautifully with your updated décor scheme!
Pro Tip 6: Assuming that you’re still living in your home while your remodeling project is going on, expect there to be some lifestyle disruptions. Workers may need to do a lot of coming and going, and your home could become a little messier than usual. When your house feels like a perpetual construction site, that can start to feel pretty annoying. In this situation, some people may tend to put off their cleaning routine, thinking, “Why bother? Everything’s just going to get dirty again!” It’s important to resist this mindset, though. Now is not the time to slow down on your cleaning or organizing. In fact, it’s really more important than ever! Try to keep your environment and your routine as close to normal as you can. And if the burden becomes too heavy to bear, it may be time to go check into a hotel for a night or two. This break from the chaos and mess can help to do wonders for your relationship!
Don’t let any potential worries stop you from renovating your home – it really is doable, and can actually be a richly rewarding experience. Remember to keep things in perspective, and try not to take any disagreements that may pop up personally. Open communication, mutual respect, and the art of compromise are all keys to achieving the goal of creating your dream home together!