Are you aware of your partner’s preferences for colours, designs, styles? You will be after you’ve been dragged through endless decorating supply shops and they are still searching for “that perfect colour or they will know it when they see it”.

“It is incredibly stressful,” says Simon Turner of Marquette Turner Estate Agents. “There’s no getting around that. You’re taking a leap from the known to the unknown, you’re losing control and you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s liberating but it’s frightening at the same time!”

When you’re in a relationship, there are likely to be times when you see the worst of each other. It’s a shock, but it’s because you’re under so much stress, so my first piece of advice is don’t be shocked!

Simply be prepared for the many left-field decisions you’re going to have to make and it’s a real challenge to live in absolute chaos.”

Considering that many of us can get away with making about three decisions every day – will I get up?, what will I wear?, what will I have for dinner? – the renovating process is a potential minefield. Not only are you choosing fixtures, fittings, colours and layouts you have to choose tradesmen, check contracts, compare quotes, decide if you’re going to oversee the work yourself, find someone to draw plans, decide how much you can spend (and try not to get too upset when you go over which is almost inevitable…) and the list goes on.

Given all these consideration, it is no wonder that we can feel consumed by it, and often to the detriment to all else? Finding time to spend with the one you love can be relegated to very low on your priority list. Quite simply, prior preparedness is the key.

And then there’s the question of taste: Even with my own family home renovation there has been troubles with picking colours. I arrived home to find they have painted the bathroom light blue. The colour was selected by a family member and every time I walk past it, I hate it. I think that it’s very important that everything is chosen to fit the style and personality of your home.

To avoid such drama, there are a few rules to follow: talk about ideas (with magazine photos in hand) before you so much as pick up a colour swatch, work out what you can live with and what you definitely can’t – and then compromise again. Finally, keep a space that is a renovation-free sanctuary, make sure that there’s a small space in the house that’s completely renovation-free (no dust, no paint charts, no ‘mood boards’) so that you have an escape.

Simon Turner

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