While home renovations can certainly be stressful, they also offer plenty of potentially positive mental health benefits. In some cases, these ancillary perks are enough to justify making an investment in a home remodel project.
The psychological side of home renovation projects
Your home is your castle. It’s also your immediate environment, which numerous psychological research studies have repeatedly shown to impact the way you think and feel. By remodelling your home, you may benefit from any or all of the following:
- Sense of control and autonomy. According to psychologist Krystine Batcho, people have an emotional investment in their homes that impacts the way they think and feel. “When a person has some control over their residence, psychologically their home becomes an extension of them,” Batcho says. “More than a collection of things, it’s also the reservoir of some of life’s most important experiences and memories. The table in that kitchen is where people who love one another share more than food and drink; they share the joys, successes, disappointments and worries of their lives.” While we might not always consciously connect these dots, the reality is that renovating rooms in our homes gives us feelings of autonomy over our environments. This leads to a long list of secondary benefits.
- Stress and anxiety reduction. Depending on the size of your family and how many people you have coming in and out of your house on a daily basis, it’s possible that your home experiences a lot of “traffic”. By renovating your home, you can intentionally create “safe” zones or quiet spaces where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the day. This leads to less stress and anxiety, which naturally makes you feel more comfortable in your house.
- Healthier relationships. Spaces affect relationships. For example, if you have a crowded kitchen where you and your partner are constantly tripping over each other to prepare meals, it’s probably going to create some stress in your life. Or if you only have one sink in a bathroom shared by two teenagers, there are going to be some issues with getting ready in the morning. Remodelling your home can make it more functional, which in turn can help protect family relationships by giving everyone the space they need to thrive.
- Sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. As humans, we’re designed for work and progress. We never intended to sit around and mindlessly spend our time binge-watching Netflix or playing Call of Duty. Projects with definitive results are what motivate us and give us meaning.
A home renovation can keep your mind busy and give you something to focus on (other than your current problems, health issues, or dissatisfactions). With a remodel, you get the benefit of clear visual progress. And in many cases, the results can be seen in a matter of days or weeks. This sense of accomplishment breeds satisfaction.
How to plan a stress-free remodel
While there are clearly plenty of psychological benefits of home renovation projects, let’s not ignore the stress that a remodel project can bring with it. If you want to maximise the advantages, make sure you’re proactively planning ahead to reduce the friction you and your family experience during the project.
One of the best things you can do is set a conservative budget that makes sense for your finances (lest you get in over your head and end up causing unnecessary financial stress and strain to your household). The general rule of thumb has traditionally been to plan an extra 10% cushion in your budget for overages. However, in today’s inflation-rampant marketplace that’s laced with supply chain issues and rising costs, you might want to include more like an 18% to 20% coverage.
Not sure where to start? Use these rough kitchen remodel estimates to get a good feel for what things cost. And, as always, make sure you get a quote that’s specific to your project before going too far down the road.
Is it time for a remodel?
While most people think about home remodels from a financial ROI side of things, it’s important to also consider the psychological ROI. From stress and anxiety to comfort and relationships, there are also plenty of emotional benefits to remodelling your home. Take all of these factors into account as you consider your next move.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.