Home Renovations – Beautification or Aggravation?

There’s nothing I enjoy more than thumbing through glossy, home décor magazines and imagining all the changes I could make that would transform our home into a show piece. But while it’s easy planning home renovations, carrying out those plans is another thing entirely. It seems that no matter how well a project is researched, it ends up costing more, taking longer, being far more complicated, and causing much more stress than first anticipated.

If a DIY (Do It Yourself) project is undertaken by a couple, add marital discord to the equation. I am willing to bet that more disagreements between partners have resulted because of home renovations than all other issues combined. So before launching into your home upgrade, consider the stability of your relationship and whether or not it can withstand the turmoil and havoc that comes with such an endeavour.

Over the years, my husband and I have taken on some fairly large jobs, which have included: installing new windows and doors, residing the house, installing new counter tops and reconfiguring the use of rooms, just to name a few. I even helped a friend (who we hired) install hardwood floors and the process went very smoothly. (After all, it might be okay to snipe at your husband, but you just can’t do that to a friend.) We even blew out some walls and added on to the house without facing a complete meltdown. (Mind you, I was sent away for 4 days while this was happening. A wise idea, I might add.) Now, it should be noted that we hired help for some aspects of these jobs, but we coordinated these major undertakings and the projects proceeded quite well.

So, why then, do the smaller fix-it attempts continue to cause the most friction? Take rearranging the furniture as an example. Why must moving around the sofa, dresser or book cases a few times become such an exasperating task? Isn’t that why we purchased those slick, sliding pads? (And, yes, I understand the irritation when everything ends up exactly where it was before.)

Or picture hanging? So the wall ends up with some extra holes because it took a few tries to get it at exactly right the right height. It’s nothing that a little patching and painting won’t rectify. (Yes, I know that’s another job on the list. I thought most of you would recognize my sarcasm.)

But of all, the smaller reno jobs that most people undertake on their own, there is one job that I absolutely and unequivocally suggest bringing in an expert to tackle – and that job is wallpapering! There is not a more frustrating, irritating or exasperating task that couples can undertake. Matching up designs, measuring to the smallest of fractions and hanging those sheets properly without any creases or bubbles, can take its toll on the best of marriages. For some reason, maneuvering those long, uncooperative sheets of paper and making them stick to precisely the correct spot, brings out the worst in people. That’s why I don’t care if it’s the current trend in home décor, if you value your relationship – stay away from wallpaper!

Just one other observation about home renovations – if you really want to make some significant changes to your home, but your partner isn’t convinced it’s necessary, start subtly dropping hints early. How about 3-5 years early? (Yes, I know fashion trends will have changed, that’s why you keep doing your research. That way when your significant other finally capitulates, you’ll be ready to roll.)

In the end, renovations are well-worth the effort. Just remember things can and will go wrong, so when they do have the number of a helpful friend or a skilled professional on hand.

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