Renovations aren’t all just Pinterest and trips to Home Depot. They can be stressful, but the last thing you want is for your fun and stylish remodeling project to turn into a fight — or worse. Like in any potentially straining situation, communication is key. Think about you and your partner as being teammates in this renovation game and have these key discussions before (and during!) the process.

Have a financial plan

Of course a financial plan will include how you’re going to pay for the renovation, which can include anything from saving before the renovation begins (fewer dinners out and cutting down on weekend getaways and vacations, for instance), to whether or not you want to leverage your home and take out some type of loan, such as a home equity line of credit.

It also, however, includes having a budget — and really sticking to it! Throughout the renovation, commit to being each others’ accountability partner to ensure that changes to the plans aren’t snowballing into a price tag that will put pressure on your financial situation.

Know your limitations

Everyone wants to know what they’re working with, but outlining those factors with your partner beforehand means fewer unpleasant surprises.

First: What do the powers that be have to say? From homeowner association restrictions to condo board approvals, there are some t’s and i’s to be crossed and dotted that your contractor may not be aware of. Then, what is your vision — and, how achievable is it? If he’s looking to open up the kitchen by knocking down that interior wall, make certain there aren’t wiring or plumbing systems for your contractor to discover mid-demo that will get in the way. If she’s got her heart set on one type of Moroccan cement tile no one carries on-island, make sure there’s wiggle room in the budget to account for the purchase, which could be pricey, and the shipping, which could add time to your project.

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Develop a joint decision-making system

If both people in a couple are artists-at-heart (hey, aren’t we all?) with steadfast visions on what the home renovation should look like, you may end up butting heads.

Clear the air first by hammering out your vision as much as possible beforehand, but also develop a plan for making adjustments down the line. That could mean a veto system, or it could mean regular meetings with just the two of you in safe spaces that are opportunities to get a read on each other’s feelings about the situation. Is the budget getting out of control? Does something need to give? Is that tile choice not looking as good as expected? How are we coping with not having a kitchen — and total privacy, thanks to contractors — for a whole week? Know what gets you both heated, and try to find calm moments to tackle decision-making, when both of you can agree to be as objective, compromising and level-headed as possible — maybe over a glass of wine after a nice dinner. Hey, whatever works, right!


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