Home Renovation is a Slippery Slope to Divorce


  • Taking on the task of home renovation can lead to divorce, according to surveys.
  • Emotions are high, and communication is key, because your relationship could be at risk during home renovation..
  • Many couples have experienced hardships and divorces during the course of renovating a home.

When you are taking on the task of home renovation, there’s a certain amount of tasks needing to be accomplished beforehand. You need to make sure that you have all of the finances in order to accomplish this goal. You need to make sure that you have a clear and detailed plan for each room, with feasibility and budget taken into account. You need to have the time and labor detailed and scheduled. You also need a clear line of communication and trust with those you are working with, especially if one of them happens to be your spouse.

The divide created while changing a shared living space so drastically can spark a downward spiral in a relationship.

With up to 98 Americans reporting some level of stress in their lives, it is no wonder that the outside stresses of the world would not mix well with the stresses of renovating a home, creating a powder keg within a marriage. This powder keg could spell long-term problems and conflict in any relationship that is left, after the project is completed.

Understand the task

Before spouses enter into this commitment, they need to be aware of all of the pitfalls they face. According to a survey of over 1,400 people, conducted by the home design brand, Houzz, 12 percent admitted to considering a separation or divorce.

These couples allowed the frustration of building a new living space to build until they could not imagine the life that they were creating for themselves, and according to the data, frustration is a substantial part of the experience. The data found that 46 percent saw the overall experience as frustrating.

Part of that frustration can stem from poor communication. Couple can find themselves speaking two different languages and interpreting each others’ reactions in different and unintended ways. Being able to understand what the other spouse is thinking can often be a challenge with all of the other stresses involved in a renovation project.

One spouse being agitated and overwhelmed by a situation involved in the renovation can be interpreted by the other as an unwillingness to participate in the project. Emotions can add fuel to the flames, leaving both spouses vulnerable to saying things that they do not necessarily mean.

Emotions rise

The emotions can be caused by a variety of reasons. The differences between decorative tastes can create animosity and bitterness among spouses. Disparities in style choices can often spark the harshest and longest lasting arguments. According to a survey commissioned by online art retailer UGallery, 60 percent of women thought that one of the biggest challenges in moving in together as a couple was managing different home decor styles.

Renovating a living space, while managing two different decor styles, amid the stresses within a relationship, all done on a budget is enough to send couples over the edge, especially if they are living in the space that they are renovating. Unfinished work and supplies create a level of anxiety that many spouses are unprepared for.

Additionally, the amount of people “in your bubble” can play a factor. As much as calling up family and friends to help with smaller tasks sounds like a fiscally-responsible idea, the amount of people taking up one confined area can create claustrophobia and anxiety that can heighten the tense emotions within a relationship.

Money no more

Occasionally, the situation arises where a married couple could be working on this project is not where a couple is currently residing, putting them the proverbial financial hook for two pieces of real estate. This can affect the amount of money put into the renovation project, thereby affecting the appraisal and return in the eventual sale of the property.

The financial commitment to a big project can be a grand gesture in determining the viability of one’s marriage, according to Observer. The mundane details in creating the perfect home are not often planned upon, but the intention of the spouse leading the charge in this project is taking their marriage seriously and avoiding the divorce experience. Unfortunately, it’s not always up to them.

Part of the fallout that stems from a marriage ending is the division of a household and all of its finances. After a renovation is completed, much of the finances have been dried up in creating the new living space, so adding a divorce in the mix, divides funds even further to the point where most people can no longer afford the home that they have just finished renovating.

Not alone

As a couple attempting to take on a large task, you are vulnerable to the trials and tribulations of the task itself, not to mention the fallout from completing the task itself. If you are one of those couples that suffered irreparable damage because of home renovation, just know that you are not alone.

Recently, Tarek and Christina El Moussa, of the HGTV renovation show “Flip or Flop”, recently announced their divorce, after a police incident in May at their home in which witnesses saw Tarek allegedly take a gun from their home. The police responded to a call to the residence, described as “a possibly suicidal male with a gun.” HGTV has stated that the show will continue production and airing as scheduled, but reports say the show will finish out its current run and wrap at season’s end. Nothing has been confirmed, as of yet.

As with every relationship, circumstances continue to create different details and reactions with every individual involved. Divorced spouses should not be ashamed or embarrassed for attempting a renovation that ended in their divorce. The stress of the renovation only amplified existing problems that would have culminated in a split at some point or another. The only course of action would be to pick up the pieces and attempt to rebuild your life.

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