One of the most common fears cited by homeowners about to embark on a home improvement journey aligns nearly perfectly with one of the most commonly cited complaints by Pros. In a perfect scenario, everyone involved in the project is on the same page, that is, that spouses, as well as, the Pro all agree on what should be done. This isn’t always the case, however, and can be why many couples fear to enter a project together. This can also make many Pros nervous about working with a new couple for the first time. While you and your partner may agree that it’s time to start a new home improvement project, you may have differing ideas about what it is that this project will inevitably look like. Without good communication, you may both end up giving your Pro conflicting opinions or requests, driving up the costs of the project and extending the time frame. You may also both find yourselves embroiled in arguments that can make even the most straightforward home improvements far more stressful than they should be. That’s why any couple about to start out on a home improvement journey needs to take the time to make some joint decisions early on to keep everyone happy and on the same page throughout the project.

Deciding What’s Important

Many people have a tendency to hold on tightly to something once they decide that it’s right or something that they want. This is normal and natural but unfortunately can also lead to conflicts if you and your spouse have decided on different things for your home.

Before you begin arguing or start getting further into your decision of what you want to be done for the home, ask yourself what changes or items are the most important to you. Is it the aesthetics? The eco-friendliness of a material? How easy it will be to maintain? The return on investment you’re likely to get after the project is complete?

Anything that does not fall into the category of Most Important should not be something you argue over with your spouse, especially if the same choice does fall into their Most Important category. For example, if you want an aesthetically pleasing kitchen design, and your spouse feels that creating a healthy, sustainable kitchen is most important, then you may need to confine your choices to materials that are both eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, such as choosing recycled glass counters, for example. You choose the ultimate colors and style, while you honor your spouse’s commitment to the material and source. Did you dream of a kitchen with marble counters? That may be the case, but is it the marble that's essential or is it the style? Because style can be found in other materials. If, however, it truly is the marble that’s the most important, then finding a locally sourced material, such as Vermont Danby or Texas Limestone may be the better choice for you both, as locally sourced materials are more sustainable than those quarried far away.

Hammer Things Out Early On

Once you both know what the most important things are to you both in the renovation or project, sit down and hammer things out. Get on the same page. You may not realize it, but many Pros have found themselves in a similar situation:

Homeowner A tells the Pro that they want very clean, minimal design. No extras, no moldings, no variation. The Pro gets to work, sourcing materials and drawing up the plans, spending hours on the job. When the Pro presents everything, Homeowner B says, “Wait. This isn’t what I want. I want character, I want originality.” And now the Pro must redo all the work that's already been done, likely at your expense. This drags out the project, frustrates everyone involved, and raises costs to the point where it puts unnecessary stress on your all.

Get on the same page early on. Any time either one of you speaks to the Pro, loop the other in on the conversation. Maybe your Pro will have some solutions that you haven’t thought of yet, for example, a way to give you a minimal design that has character. By keeping in close communication with each other and with your Pro, you eliminate this stress, added cost, and extended time on your project.

Will you always agree? No, not necessarily. But when you identify what’s the most important thing to you, it makes it easier to give on the other areas. And this means that in the end, you both get what you want out of the project. Remember to communicate with your Pro, too; they have likely done enough projects that they'll have fresh ideas about what’s out there and what’s possible that you may not have thought of yourselves. So rather than argue, or prolong the project, communicate with each other and your Pro right at the start. You’ll find that doing so keeps your project moving along as smoothly as possible.

Communication Is Key

Remember that staying open and in touch with everyone involved in the project is crucial for project success. Keep the lines of communication open at all times to ensure that your project goes off without a hitch.