5 Tips for Renovating with Your Significant Other

5 Tips for Renovating with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comHappy Valentine’s Day! I thought it would be fitting to share 5 tips for renovating with your significant other. I’m often asked how Emmett and I work so well together. Surviving remodeling projects and keeping your relationship happy & healthy is super important…. not that we have everything totally figured out, but I will say- we make a great team and with a few houses under our belt, I think we work really well together! After all- they say if you can renovate or remodel with your S/O, then you’re golden and can essentially make it through anything. It can be challenging. I’m not sure if that’s totally true, but I wouldn’t want to do this alongside anyone else. On a side note- it’s obvious we need to take more photos together in our current home. These are all from our first house and we only have one holiday photo from our previous home. I’m adding fam photos to the to-do list RIGHT NOW. Ha! Anyway- click through for my tips.

5 Tips for Renovating with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comI’ll keep this post short and sweet because it’s not a super complex theory- but more about finding balance as a team. Remodeling can be stressful… the stakes are usually high and you’re spending a lot of time, energy, and money to improve your home. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people feel pressure to “get it right” the first time, and it’s easy to deflect anything that doesn’t quite go as planned onto your S/O. This is how we keep things in check.

5 Tips for Renovating with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.com01: Find your aesthetic as a couple. // Luckily, Emmett and I have very similar styles in terms of what we prefer for our home aesthetic. However, that hasn’t always been the case. As we’ve aged and grown as designers & builders, we’ve somehow morphed into one… not quite sure how that happened. I do have a great example to share though! Our good friends have totally opposite styles when it comes to decorating their home. He loves anything super traditional and heavy- like antique colonial furniture. She loves anything kooky, modern, and mid century. They have one of the coolest homes I’ve ever seen and their styles somehow compliment each other. Their dining room I shared a couple years ago is the perfect example. I’d call their combined style Eclectic Modern. My point? Figure out what you both like and design your home with BOTH parties in mind! When you’re working toward something you both love, it makes the process so much more rewarding.

02: Stick to a budget. // Unfortunately, money and finances are usually a hot topic in terms of renovation arguments. Emmett and I like to set the budget before beginning a project and stick to it. This helps us avoid the “let’s just add this” or “we need to buy this” scenario, which can create unnecessary tension. Being strapped for cash sets you up for disagreements and disappointment. Save, plan, stick the budget (also add padding for unforeseen issues), go in knowing what you’ll spend, avoid surprises, and everyone will be happy. If you’re interested in reading more, check out this post on budgeting and creating a renovation plan.

03: Designate roles and divide tasks. // Based on each of our strengths and weaknesses, we try to compliment each other and stick to what we’re good at. We like knowing our roles, what is expected from each of us during the renovation, and what we’re each responsible for. For example, Emmett would never choose paint colors (I’m halfway convinced he’s color blind), and I would never attempt to do plumbing or tackle anything structural (I hate math and always mess up numbers). We depend on each other to do our specific jobs, and we also share certain tasks and work as a team when needed. As long as we have a plan and divide the list before starting, it eliminates the “I thought you were taking care of that!” conversation. I think it’s also worth noting communication is KEY, but I’m sure that one is obvious.

04: Compromise. // If I had one word of wisdom to give newlyweds, it would be “compromise”. Haha! But really… that’s marriage. The same goes for renovating with your S/O. I don’t always get my way and he doesn’t always get his. We problem solve together, push each other to improve, then give and take when necessary. Ultimately, I think compromise elevates our projects, forces us to problem solve, and in the end- we both end up happy. It’s a win / win. Emmett will get his leather chair in his man office someday, and I’ll get another dream kitchen… eventually.

05: Show some grace. // Lastly, I think it’s important to be compassionate. It’s easy to get swept up in renovating and tally the mistakes, money spent, or time wasted. Renovating can be tiring which can lead to a less-than-pleasant attitude (at least for me- I get grouchy). Recognize when one person in the relationship is tired (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc)…. sometimes you need to take a step back, take a breath, walk away from a project, and revisit it at a later time. If something doesn’t go as planned, don’t point a finger or place blame.  Show your S/O some grace. It’s a delicate balance, but in the end- you’re working alongside the person you love toward a goal you’ll both enjoy for years to come and be proud of. Keep that in mind and enjoy the process together! When things don’t go as planned, we try to laugh our way though it… sometimes that’s all you can do.

5 Tips for Renovating with Your Significant Other - roomfortuesday.comI’ll also say this… renovating or tackling home projects is not everyone’s cup of tea. If your S/O doesn’t love it or it doesn’t bring one of you joy, the answer is simple- just don’t do it. Sometimes it’s worth hiring it out rather than bickering your way through it. Keep both of your happiness in mind!

How does renovating typically go with your S/O? Is it easy and natural, or is it something you merely “survive” for the sake of a beautiful space? Hopefully if it’s the latter, these tips will help make it more enjoyable! Keep laughing, have fun, and find your rhythm as a team… that’s what it’s all about. I’m feeling super thankful for my guy today- and everyday. We’re spending the evening on a hot date tonight… working on our guest bathroom. Haha!

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  1. What a thoughtful and interesting post. You two certainly do make an exceptional team. The only thing I would add is that renovating together isn’t a requirement! Really early in our relationship, I enlisted some help on a fun painting project. Nope. I am uber particular and *borderline* tyrannical; he is not a details guy. Plus, he really just hates every aspect of renovation, so why should he have to do it? We make an excellent team in the kitchen; something we both love! Have fun on your tile date!😁💖

    1. Thank you! And YES- such a good point.. I’m adding that into the post right now. It’s not for everyone and if it doesn’t bring you joy, then why do it? 100% agree! Happy Valentine’s Day to the two of you :)

  2. Ugh, I SO struggle working with my husband on our $600 bathroom refresh right now. He is super handy with anything construction, plumbing, electrical, etc which is awesome since we don’t have the $ to pay trades, but he much prefers working on cars. When he IS in the mood to work on house projects I have to have things lined up and ready to go because he’s a freight train and does it with a sort of now or never attitude. I’m a control freak about the details and have deeply thought and planned everything out, but when I don’t know construction realities (like there is a vent pipe behind the sink wall so we can’t actually recess the medicine cabinet for our bathroom refresh?! which affects the faucet and storage plans!!) I have serious trouble adapting on the fly and we end up locking horns and walking away. Very frustrating. Thanks for the reminder to practice grace. A great tip I learned from the Nester was that if you want your spouse to believe that getting projects done makes you happy and want to do more for you… act happy when they do something! LOL. I strive to do this and often succeed, but when things go astray from my vision it’s a real challenge!

    1. That is SUCH a good tip… complimenting each other!! I should’ve included that one. Haha! At least you know how things will play out most of the time and you can try to make the process easier on each other- you having everything lined up, ready to go, and planned out… which will hopefully get your project done more quickly and efficiently :) It sounds like you two have figured out what works and what doesn’t. Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you taking a night off from the bathroom refresh or do you also have a hot date renovating? Haha! xox

  3. Samanthe Wilson says:

    I love your tips! I’m going to redecorate and I want to include my man as much as possible but sometimes find it challenging. Your advice will definitely be helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So happy it was helpful! Have fun redecorating :) xo

  4. If hes not up to doing it I just usually do it myself while i mutter my way through it sweating lol

    1. Ha! You sound like me. If Emmett isn’t into helping with something, I go into “don’t worry, I’ll just do it” mode. lol!

  5. My husband and I can barely get through putting a couple of IKEA pieces together — he’s a grouchy Italian. It’s a shame because his dad was a contractor, and his own high school diploma was in electricity — so he knows how to do a ton of stuff — but we can not agree on ANYthing aesthetically, so EIGHT years after moving into our apartment, we still have NOTHING on the walls, etc etc. it’s really depressing, in fact, we have the bones of a really nice apartment here in Paris, but we basically live in a storage unit (he keeps all sorts of junk including all his tools, in the living/dining room!! And doesn’t use his drawers, and has the whole closet, etc etc etc).

    That last photo of you two is gorgeous! I hope you have it framed somewhere.

    1. Thanks Kim! Haha! Living in an apartment in Paris with an Italian beau does sound dreamy though. lol! Have a great weekend. xox

      1. Haha it sounds fancy doesn’t it!!!??? Hee hee