9 Secrets to Successfully Remodeling a House Together

Classic flat lay composition in beige and gray color palette with textile and paint samples, panels and tiles. Architect and interior designer moodboard. Top view. Copy space.

They say moving is one of the most stressful experiences you can encounter in life. Clearly “they” haven’t attempted a joint renovation project. Add construction dust, decision-making and the absence of a working toilet into the mix and you have a recipe for run-ins.

However, there’s something remarkably satisfying about completing a project together. You can craft a home that’s exactly how you want it to be. And the memories you’re left with will keep you laughing long after the builders are gone. Here are 10 tips to help you maintain a harmonious (albeit half-finished) home.

1. Find Photos That Illustrate Your Point

It’s much easier to show your partner a photo that depicts what you’re imagining for a space, rather than relying on descriptive powers alone. Create a shared ideabook on Houzz and you can both input inspiring pictures. Then you can use it to find and collaborate with your design and remodeling team so everyone can see exactly what you’re aiming for — once you and your partner have agreed which ones to keep and which to delete, of course.

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2. Prioritize and Plan by Season

There’s no point pushing to get the spare room decorated during the summer if the windows desperately need painting before it turns cold. And bigger projects, such as a new kitchen, may be more bearable to live through while the weather is warm.

Try to plan jobs in a sensible order, based on the season, rather than each other’s personal desire to see a particular task completed immediately. Bargaining skills akin to hostage negotiation may prove advantageous.

3. Believe ‘Done’ Is Better Than ‘Perfect’

When undertaking a home project, don’t get waylaid by insignificant details. Perhaps your partner’s approach isn’t quite up to your scrupulous standards, but progress beats perfection in most cases. You’ll soon forget to sulk about that reluctant compromise when you’re kicking back in the fantastic new room you’ve created together.

4. Don’t Be a Decor Bore

Pause and give yourself a time out if you find yourself rambling on about your project. Even the most patient and proactive of us needs a break from the onslaught of decisions and general decoration discussion that goes along with home remodeling. Think before you speak and save that “great idea” until your partner’s out of the shower.

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5. Tackle One Job at a Time

Warning: Living with every room in a state of upheaval may turn you into an embittered husk of your former self. Finish one space entirely before moving onto the next, rather than trying to manage multiple projects simultaneously.

This will prevent you from growing resentful over your partner’s over-enthusiastic planning and help to foster a shared sense of achievement.

6. Do Proper Swatches

What your other half terms “baby poo green” may in fact be the neutral greige of your dreams. But a small, wishy-washy patch of your chosen color painted on top of existing paint won’t win over doubters.

Paint swatches are best done on a white background, in large squares, with several coats of paint and on multiple walls. This will also mean you have ready-made swatches to show to a designer if it’s part of a full-room revamp.

7. Divide and Conquer

Make a (manageable) list of tasks requiring attention and assign them between you based on skill set, time available and patience level. For example, you might be driven to breaking point by an online kitchen planner, while your partner finds the software totally tolerable.

If in doubt, take one for the team. That vaguely boring job will bag you brownie points that you can use later.

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8. Know Your Limits

When it comes to home remodeling, it’s important to recognize when a task is too technical for either of you to attempt. If your partner is the overconfident type, he or she might take some persuading that a tool belt does not a builder make.

Try to be tactful when suggesting you call in a professional for a quote, and make sure they’re involved in the conversation about how involved the job is. Hopefully, the degree of difficulty will become apparent.

A professional designer will also be a source of clever ideas that are worth their weight in budget allocation.

9. Venture Into the Garden

Don’t neglect your outside space. A little time invested now will pay dividends in terms of creating a restful and attractive outdoor area to enjoy together in summer. The garden could also offer unfamiliar freedom for couples with diametrically opposed decor ideas. Perhaps each of you can have assigned areas — indoors and outdoors — to oversee.

You may even find that managing linked but separate projects may — in the same vein as the Scandinavian trend for separate duvets — bring you (and your creative ideas) closer together.