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Renovations and Relationships

With lockdown keeping us at home, the last 12 months have been one big DIY project for many people. In fact, over the last year 43% of Brits have carried out a home renovation project themselves – and 49% have had an argument with their partner over it.

We polled the British public to see which renovations caused the most arguments, and how couples patched up their disagreements.

Painting and decorating are the biggest cause of arguments

The biggest cause of home renovation arguments? Painting and decorating, which sees more than one in five Brits disagreeing with their partners. This was followed by flooring, and new kitchen installations.

Style and colour are the two biggest challenges that couples face during home renovations, with personal tastes coming into play. Disagreements over colours are most likely to spark an argument, with 46% of couples fighting over them. This is followed by the cost of renovations – 27% of couples fell out about this and 26% argued over improvement taking too long.

While three in ten Brits are able to resolve their conflicts by talking about their concerns and compromising, almost one in ten are unable to reach a solution after their disagreement.

Our survey shows that men and women deal with arguments in different ways. Women choose to talk and compromise, stay in separate bedrooms, or wait for their partner to give in. Men prefer to give in, compromise or not talk for the rest of the day.

The survival guide for renovating couples

If fear of arguing is making you think twice about renovating your home, then don’t let it. We spoke to Lizandra Leigertwood MA MBACP at New Frame Counselling and Psychotherapy, who shared her thoughts on maintaining harmony in your home while doing DIY.

“Moving to a new house and doing DIY are both high up on the list for relationship conflicts. It’s a taxing situation – get it wrong, and you could waste a lot of money, or have to live with your mistake, so it’s no wonder that couples want to get this right.

“The added difficulty is when there are two differences of opinion; and if you and your partner are highly stressed, it can make you less likely to communicate effectively.”

1. Know that feelings and issues can be heightened

It’s normal in any relationship to have power struggles. Just remember that what can seem like an important issue at the time won’t be as big a deal once you’re feeling calm. So, if you’re feeling really frustrated with your partner during your home renovations, just know that it will blow over and won’t be such a big deal once the project is finished.

2. Simplify your communication

Conflict isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it’s quite healthy in a relationship as it means you can get to know more about your partner, as well as their likes and dislikes. If you’re having a disagreement over your renovations, make sure you maintain eye contact, have open body language, and ask clarifying questions to avoid a full-blown argument.

3. Remove distractions

Many of us will have conversations in-person with one eye on the TV or scrolling through our phones. This means we’re not as fully immersed in the conversation as we should be. When talking to your partner, make sure you’re actively listening and remove your distractions. That way you can resolve your issues sooner and work as a team again.

Renovating your home can be stressful, but it doesn’t mean you need to fall out with your partner. By following Leigertwood’s tips, you can make sure you face the challenge together.

The other thing to remember is that by renovating your home you may be adding value to it. That means you’ll need to update your home insurance to make sure everything is covered. Please note you do not have to update your insurer when completing simple decorating changes to your home.

Brought to you by the home insurance experts at


Survey of 1,000 UK couples who have renovated their homes in the past 12 months undertaken by TLF in May 2021.