How to survive a home renovation with your partner


From planning and researching to managing budgets and making important decisions, renovating can put a relationship to the ultimate test.

Australian Property Investor Magazine is pleased to welcome home renovation and design platform Houzz as an expert contributor who will share their ideas, expertise and advice with our readers on a regular basis.

A renovation project can be a daunting prospect. From planning and researching to managing budgets and making important decisions, it can put a relationship to the ultimate test.

The leading platform for home renovation and design,, surveyed* their community of homeowners to learn how they tackled renovation projects with their partners and what would have made the process smoother.

During renovations, 15 per cent of couples surveyed considered separating at one point and more than two-fifths said they had found the experience of working on it with their significant other

to be frustrating (42 per cent). For nearly one in ten, the thought of couples counselling even crossed their mind during the renovation (8 per cent).

Of those who had renovated, nearly seven in ten couples had disagreements with their partners during the process (69 per cent). It seems coming to an agreement on design decisions caused the most disputes, particularly agreeing on style and the products, materials and finishes used (32 per cent for each).

Communication and sticking to the budget were also common challenges (30 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively).

What specific items caused the most disagreements?

– Furniture (29 per cent)

– Flooring/Floor coverings (25 per cent)

– Decorative items (25 per cent)

– Wall paint (24 per cent)

Based on the community’s experience, editor Vanessa Walker shared tips on how to avoid conflict during a home renovation and actually enjoy the process.

  1. Make a plan 

In any renovation project staying organised will help to avoid unnecessary stresses and arguments. The more time and effort you invest in the run-up to your project, the better.

Clearly plan the scope of the project early on. Online resources such as Houzz can help you build a clear picture in your mind of what you want to achieve. After their renovations, almost two-fifths of those surveyed said photos and ideas from Houzz had helped them address challenges they’d faced (40 per cent).

  1. Hire the right professional.

A good professional can take a lot of stress out of a renovation and make you feel more confident going forward. By drawing on their years of experience, professionals are able to offer advice on budget, materials, timelines and answer any questions you have about the renovation process. Over two-fifths of the survey respondents said that advice from pros was the most helpful factor in overcoming any challenges during a renovation (41 per cent).

  1. Stay organised

During a project, you may be balancing a budget, communicating with multiple tradespeople and trying to make decisions on design details. Keeping on top of it all can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Professionals using Houzz Pro are able to share a personal project dashboard with you, from here you’ll be able to access all of your previous communications with the pro, a timeline of the project, digital estimates and invoices as well as any outstanding tasks. Keeping everything centralised in this way will make keeping on top of your project a breeze.

  1. Communicate

To ensure a renovation project goes smoothly, clear communication between you and your partner will be important to ensure you’re both on the same page. Professionals on Houzz recommend deciding on key elements as early as possible to avoid rushed decisions or arguments later on. Being able to compromise will also be vital; for nearly three-thirds of survey respondents, this was the best way to resolve disagreements (59 per cent).

  1. Visualise the finished space

It can be difficult to imagine what your finished space will look like when it’s complete and how all of your decisions fit together. For nearly two-fifths of the couples surveyed, access to tools to help them better visualise the end result would have made the process smoother (39 per cent). As part of the design process, ask your pro to share a detailed 3D design of the space to allow you to see how all your choices work together. Within Houzz Pro, pros are easily able to create a 3D floor plan with products, wall colour and flooring and share this with you in a dollhouse view, allowing you to walk through the space and see your decisions in place.

  1. Keep the big picture in mind

When a project was completed, over 92 percent of homeowners agreed that the result was worth the experience. Don’t forget to think about the reasons for undertaking the renovation, and remind yourself how it could improve your lifestyle once completed. Respondents said that as a result of completing the project, they feel more comfortable, happier and more organised (67 per cent, 54 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively).

*Houzz survey of more than 595 members of the Houzz Australian community who have completed a renovation project within the last five years. Fielded January 2022.


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