PALO ALTO, CA -- Remodeling a home can be an emotionally stressful experience, putting strain on even the strongest couples. Pulling back the covers on remodeling and relationships, a new survey from Houzz (www.houzz.com), the world’s leading platform for home remodeling and design, reveals that while 46 percent of respondents found the remodeling and redecorating process with their significant other to be collaborative, the same amount found the experience frustrating and 12 percent admit to considering a separation or divorce mid-remodel. In the end, there’s no place like a remodeled home, with the vast majority of couples (84 percent) spending more time at home after their remodel.
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.
"Remodeling can be a stressful time for couples, but our community tells us Houzz serves as a de facto marriage counselor, helping them fall in love all over again, only this time with their homes," said Liza Hausman, VP of Community. "We’re providing tools that make the experience collaborative, fun and a whole lot less painful."
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. Use tools like the Houzz Real Cost Finder to come up with a starting point, and help each other keep the project on financial track.
The “Remodeling & Relationships Survey” is an online survey of Houzz users conducted July 2013.