DI-You Still Love Me? The DIY Tasks Causing Rifts in Relationships

DI-You Still Love Me? The DIY Tasks Causing Rifts in Relationships

When renovating or decorating a home, many will often take on DIY projects to achieve their goals. It’s a popular alternative to hiring professionals for many reasons – money-saving, full control, and even a sense of achievement. With many DIY tasks being posted on social media to follow, a lot of consumers have the impression that these projects are easy and simple to do. However, what a lot of people do not account for is that while there can be benefits to pulling off a seemingly-straightforward DIY task, these projects turn out stressful, time-consuming and argument-inducing. 

DIY projects are difficult to achieve. Odd jobs can be done quickly but for the most part, DIY tasks take a long time to finish. Buying the supplies, looking up tutorials and then completing the project takes a lot of preparation. When left with little downtime and a lingering finish date, an individual might become less patient. Not only that, DIY tasks are assumed to be cost-effective against professional help but can end up costing nearly the same amount as someone else doing the job. Things that may not go to plan include buying the wrong supplies, taking the wrong measurements or even not finding enough time to complete it. 

With this in mind, Cut Plastic Sheeting has surveyed the UK public to find out which DIY tasks and household chores cause the most rifts and arguments. 

Flat-pack furniture is a popular method for companies to ship their furniture as it’s more efficient for shipping and storage. For those who have experience with building furniture, putting together flat-pack furniture should be a supposedly quick and easy task. However, this isn’t the case with every couple. As it arrives dismantled, putting together furniture can become tedious and complicated. This creates ample opportunities for couples to become frustrated and in turn cause disagreements. According to the results of our survey, over ⅓ of respondents who live with their partner end up arguing over putting together flat-pack furniture. Our study finds that out of all generations, Gen Z (45.83%) and Millennials (42.81%) argue the most about putting together flat-pack furniture. 

This is followed closely by the popular task of painting rooms. This DIY project seems simple enough for some – however, the study finds that over a quarter of couples (29.32%) agree that painting rooms together causes disagreements. A good paint job is slightly harder to pull off than one can presume and requires patience. Small mistakes such as a bad priming job or the wrong paint might ruin the project and cause a couple to bicker. Not to mention, making choices in regard to the colour of the room can also create tension. 

While DIY projects are argument-inducing enough, our research has found that household chores can also start a quarrel between those living together. 

Cleaning was found to be the source of a lot of arguments within households. Individuals have a different understandings of cleanliness, which may cause them to approach tasks in a different manner. Someone may clean the shower after each use while their partner prefers to clean it once a week, for example. Cleaning the bathroom is the second task that causes the most arguments, with 29.52% of respondents agreeing that this task causes arguments within their household. From stray hairs in the sink to empty loo rolls lying around, tension is bound to rise from cleaning the bathroom. 

Doing the dishes is a chore that many do not enjoy and often try to palm off on someone else or procrastinate from doing. There are many reasons that one might put off washing up – the amount of dishes in the sink is overwhelming, the texture of dirty dishes might be unnerving, and even the annoyance of having to constantly clean up after everyone else’s mess. We found that over a ¼ of couples believe that washing up or loading the dishwasher causes an argument. Clearing the shed/garage seems to be a DIY that couples do not wish to do together either, with over a ¼ believing it would cause a spat. Perhaps it’s clearing the cobwebs or parting with old items that make the task so unpleasant.

There are many reasons for quarrels to take place when it comes to DIY tasks or household chores. Whilst some may not be particularly eager to do them, there are certain tasks that they feel responsible for. Having completed a chore in a certain way their entire life, it is hard for someone to trust their partner to do it to the same standard. That could be why 21.57% of respondents agree that they’re better at completing DIY tasks than their partners. 

In line with this, it might become hard to distribute the chores and tasks within the household. Some are used to their partner doing the bulk of the housework for them and leaving it up to them entirely without offering help. 16% of respondents agreed that they’re always the ones expected to complete the DIY tasks in their household.  For instance, if an individual is good at handiwork, they are expected to always change the lightbulbs or put up shelves which do get tiresome. Our research shows that over a ¼ of males surveyed agree with the statement while 7.43% of females agreed.

Doing all of this without recognition is a surefire way to start a fight. After working tirelessly on DIY projects or completing household chores, a pat on the back is always nice. In fact, over 1 in 10 agreed that they expected praise or thanks from their partner for completing a DIY job. While you do not have to say thank you every time something gets done, praising a partner often enough that they feel recognised will limit many disagreements.

Different ages have different attitudes towards tackling household chores and DIY projects. Those who are younger complete them faster while those who are older might be more knowledgeable on how to get it done. Regardless of age, arguments can’t always be avoided. 

Interior design is something that changes depending on anyone’s unique tastes. In a time where social media is so prevalent, you can find a plethora of inspiration for your home – Scandinavian, minimalist, traditional, etc. It makes choosing an aesthetic for your interior design difficult. Throw in a partner who does not agree with your choices and an argument will ensue. Out of all the age groups surveyed, almost half of Gen Z couples were found to argue the most about making interior design choices. 

Our study finds that as couples age, however, the arguments caused by DIY projects and household chores occur less frequently. There are lower percentages of arguments within Gen X, Baby Boomers and Silent Gen couples compared to Gen Z and Millennial couples. Signalling that perhaps once you have argued enough over the years about chores, individuals fall into a routine that benefits them both! 

When living with a partner, household chores and DIY tasks tend to be split between one another. More often than not, some of these tasks are expected to be taken on by one party more than the other. One can feel inclined to take over certain tasks more while leaving others for their partner. Our study found that ¼ of all male respondents said that they’re always the ones expected to complete DIY tasks in their household, compared to just 7.43% of women.

However, ¼ of the female respondents agreed that household DIY tasks should be split equally between the residents of the property whilst a tenth of the male respondents believed that it should be split equally. This could be because over a ⅓ of the male respondents believed that they could complete the DIY tasks better than their female partners.

After analysing the survey data, it’s safe to say that DIY projects and household chores can be tricky topics to manoeuvre through for couples. Whether it’s something as simple as doing the laundry to upgrading the bathroom, there are always helpful tips to avoid having tense conversations. Even improving your garden can become a simpler project once you’ve looked online for inspiration and shared it with your partner.


Research was conducted by Censuswide with 1,000 respondents who live with their partner (nat rep) in January 2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which are based on the ESOMAR principles

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