Help Me Cheaply Renovate My Wife out of My House

Basically - My wife of 17 years has recently disclosed a secret which basically makes my marriage impossible due to me being the wrong gender, and I never have been.. I'm sure you get the gist of what went down, and it's basically a bad situation mentally.

I've agreed to buy her share of the house off her, at great expense in this current market.

What I want to do is go from the back fence to the front door and make the house 'mine', and equally somewhere welcoming for my kids.

I'm quite good at DIY, but I'm needing cost effective ideas of how to 'cleanse' the house.

So far I've thought I'd like to:
Create a garden
Recarpet and paint the bathrooms
Redo the bathrooms ("paint" the tiles, put in new vanity, toilet and mirror)
Tile a splashback in the kitchen
Replace the light switches with smart switches
Replace the front door
Create a garage workshop

I'm guess I'm after some 'hacks' people have done to make big differences on a budget. Time and effort isn't an issue, as I'll sadly only have my kids 50% soon, so I'll need projects :(


Thanks for the replies so far, it's a great idea about involving the kids! To give a complete picture.. we are amicable, and are working towards a financial settlement. So we're trying to provide the best we can for the kids - but I'm making this space about me and the kids. It's about moving on, in my space :) I need ideas for cheapy/simple reno's in that regard.


    • +1

      I have a 'privacy wall' outside that has rusted posts, slanted, horribly painted timber and it's in need of a redo..

      And this looks perfect, thanks for posting!!

  • +1

    Oh and BTW, having been through it (young fella is 16 now, so nearly 16 years of experience. Get a lawyer and formalise everything, if not for now, do it for the 16 times that you'll have to pull her up on something in the future.

  • +3

    List 10 things that you wanted to do, but she stopped you doing. Go a do them. This will make you feel a lot better about the situation.

  • +3

    Ok so speaking for experience once a lady hits 40 something changes hormones ect and they start to evaluate life.
    They start to want something new and something exciting in their lives.
    So they start looking to fill the holes they currently have in their relationship.
    Not realising the holes the previous relationship filled.
    Or how this will impact the family. ?
    And after a while they realise that although this new relationship is fun and exciting. It will be lacking in places the last relationship filled.
    My advice is to be happy act really happy. To see someone really happy and moving on with life makes you want to be happy and wishing you were there with them. Go on holidays when you can enjoy your kids. Do things you never did with your ex horse riding camp under the stars . Buy a puppy nothing makes women more envious than seeing how happy the kids are playing with a new puppy. 😊 hit up eharmony or rsvp just to find someone to chat to enjoy others company. And try to enjoy life. Just because she left doesn't mean she's any happier than you. Hope this helps and reach out for help when needed. 😊

    • +2

      Thanks Jodie.. All I can say without going into details in public - they're very interesting points that have been brought up by a few professionals. But, for me, I can only take on face value what the other person tells me :)

      Thanks for the advice and kind words.. I've been thinking of things that I can do without a wife (and kids 50%) and will try to make the most out of it.

    • +4

      This exact process is currently under way in at least one-third of the long term married couples we know.

      Last week, one of my wife's friends told her husband to pack his bags for what I thought were utterly mundane reasons. They have three young children. Basically she is into yoga, weird funky food and new age spirituality, and he isn't. They are both in their early forties. He's a conscientious guy, a good financial provider and has basically kept up his end of the bargain. I've thought about it a lot but still can't work it out fully. They are both educated and up until two weeks ago I considered them both rational people.

      My attempt at understanding it so far: I think the life trajectory of men and women is somewhat different. My twenties were a miserable time, Ive spoken to many men who feel the same way. Angry young men. You have hormones racing through you but you're still on a crappy salary, driving a crappy car, you dont have any life experience or any charisma. Pretty hard to do well in the dating game without the coin to back it up, fundamentally.

      Meanwhile, women in their early 20s are spoilt for choice, they get attention from not only men of their own age cohort but those older as well, they start off on a high. Life is good. But the tides start to turn into the 30s. The men start to earn more, you get a bit more confidence, a bit more swag. I've worked in a fairly competitive field and have built up a bit of a bastard streak, to be honest, which I find women respond to quite positively.

      By contrast, the women become increasingly conscious during this time that their looks are a steadily diminishing asset. They get to their early forties and think, okay, in ten years I am going to be completely past it. If I want to roll the dice again I have to do it now, or I wont have the chance again. Maybe they panic. Maybe its buyer's regret, should have rolled the dice more when I was back in my twenties. It doesnt work out for most of them, as far as I can tell. If anything the dating market is tilted very much against them, and there are only so many yoga teachers, instagram influencers and life coaches that the market can sustain.

      • +2

        This really doesn't make any sense to me. You don't need to be rich to date in your 20s. Most women could care less about "attention" from older men. And by your own logic, the husband is becoming more attractive in their 30s, why would their wives suddenly decide to divorce?

        Making generalisations like this is pointless. People break up for all sorts of reasons. It's crazy to put the blame entirely on women being insecure about their looks.

        • Admittedly I am painting with a broad brush and there are lots of guys who date extensively and successfully in their 20s. I did meet my current wife in my late 20s. But honestly there was a period of about six years beforehand where I didnt so much as touch a woman and this seems to be a pretty common experience for a lot of males.

          Most couples I know tend to be of approximately equal age but there are a fair contingent where the male is quite a bit older. I am myself a few years older than my wife. So attention from older men is not always unwelcome.

  • +1

    If you are doing electrical (and by that, I mean paying somebody qualified) I would recommend checking out Sparky Direct to buy the switchgear ahead of time. The Clipsal Iconic range is very affordable through them, and once your electrician has installed the basic white GPOs and switches, there is a huge range of accessory skins you can install DIY.

    • Awesome, thanks for that link! I have a sparky in the family (licensed but not practicing) - I'll take a look because I want to deck the place out with smart switches.. change the lights etc.

  • +3

    "Recarpet and paint the bathrooms"

    You have carpet in your bathrooms?
    I'd get rid of that first.

    • I was told its all the rage….

  • +5

    Before you do any dramatic renovations/purchases. Make sure you finalise the divorce and asset settlement.

    I'm sorry to hear that buddy. Hold no hard feelings, move on with your life and find a new way to be happy. It will come with time. Much love, you can do this.

    Also hit the gym and eat healthy. It will all pay off in 4 months. I promise. I know.

    • Thanks mate, appreciate the kind words and advice. I've been going to the gym but nothing major.. I think I'll enroll in a six week challenge to get some motivation :)

  • +1

    Not particularly DIY but consider a mirrored splashback if you can. They really do look good.

  • +1

    Wish you luck Mate, Ensure its all down on paper so when she changes her mind later on about your home and kids in a few years when she needs more to fund her lifestyle.. been there and been male have been delt the raw card with my kids not getting 50 / 50 - Lawyers. Getting bank loans to pay out the ex and so on…
    . But in the end You will be in a better place as I am now with a person that loves me for me and not for what I can do for them 3 years later ..
    Keep yourself busy as it give you less time to focus on the Bad things, Spend time with those who you know are there to support you, Move on and don't have a negative future because of what someone has done to you in the past.. Live Life. Enjoy. enjoy your kids as I do with my Time with Mine…

    • +1

      Thank you for the encouraging words, I really appreciate them :)

  • Consider putting up a gallery wall or art installation of something that really reflects your style and tastes. Get rid of as much old stuff as manageable, even getting rid of old clothing which is attached to memories. Get a new aftershave as smell is very linked to memories too and you want it to remind you of your new start.

    I would suggest getting a new bed as well, again just getting rid of the old juju. You could even do a sage cleanse of the house to help with any "negative vibes". I know it might sound like a lot of nonsense, but the mental practice of focusing on removing negativity from your space has honestly really helped for me in the past.

    Get some home decor - cushion covers, tea towels, bedding etc. in your favourite colour.

    I love the idea of getting a new door by the way, it seems like symbolism for opening a new door in your life. Best of luck with everything, congratulations on being amicable about it all and being there for your kids through everything.

    as for @jonathan111 if you are reading this I don't mean to sound rude at all but I really think you could benefit from talking to a professional, it sounds like you are holding on to a lot of negativity and blame and it surely will not help you moving forward and creating a happy and meaningful life for yourself. Women are not the enemy, even though you have been scorned along the way in life by some. I have been a "man hater' for periods in my life, but it was when i was holding on to a lot of pain. When you process that pain and move past it life becomes a lot more simple and enjoyable, some people are jerks, but most people are just doing the best they can.

    Hugs to everyone out there going through a divorce or breakup, life can be incredibly painful, but with time you will piece yourself together and find meaning in it all x

    • Great suggestions, and wise words - thank you. I realised while reading this that I always bought aftershave that I thought my (ex)wife "liked" - so it's definitely a great idea to get something that I like!

  • Hey mate, sorry life has been rough on you and your family.

    Just a few options which may be "cheap fixes" for you to consider:

    • Instead of doing a new door, would you consider repainting/redecorating the door? Not sure what your current door looks like, but potentially there's room for maneuverability and you can make it look completely different and new with a new set of paint/parts. Some may also go the length of re-doing the outside appearance of the house, but that's not "cheap" and hence outside of your consideration?

    • Would you consider floor boards instead of carpet? This is a personal preference thing. Benefit is that floor boards you can install yourself (or even with your kids!):

    1. Buy floor board. Various vendors, you might even find some good deals on this in OzBargain? Or other second hand marketplaces where people bought too much and as long as you can source ones that are the same elsewhere
    2. (Optional) Pull your carpet up room by room. Optional here is dependent on how flat your current floors are. If they are very flat, can take the lazy option of just laying floorboard on top of your existing carpet. Carpet below can also work as insulation/moisture absorbing layer to protect your floorboard.
    3. (Optional) Lay some kind of sheeting on your floor, similar to above, insulation and absorbing moisture
    4. Start lay down the floor boards like jigsaw puzzles, make sure they click in (maybe a some light smacks with a mallet as well).
    5. Use saw to trim out floorboard pieces for you to fit the edges in.

    Reason why I think this might be good is that floor board approach works quite well with vacuum robots, cuts down time you need to maintain the inside of the house, gives you more time to yourself or to spend with kids.

    • Thanks for that and the thoughts. I'm definitely leaning towards floorboards now - It's a good idea to look around and see if someone has something left over, and see if it matches something in stock at bunning etc. I didn't think of that..

      After reading your post, I was having a look at the old door and was thinking even a new paint coat might be enough. I need to sit down with all these ideas and do a budget.

  • seems you are doing 'cosmetic changes'

    then consider
    - changing the hardware on the doors
    - installing some VJ boards for feature walls
    - repaint the doors on your kitchen

    good luck

    • Thanks for the post - I've never heard of VJ boards.. and I'm actually thinking they might look good as a feature wall in a 'side room' I have. They look pretty easy to put up too. Cheers.

  • +1

    Some ideas of things you can do without renovating the house..

    • Change soft furnishings - mattress/blankets/pillows/sheets/towels etc. Make it feel more like your own place then, and you can pick what ones suit you.
    • Rug - If you don't have carpet, a rug can really change the feel of a room.
    • Plants! (Snake Plants, Pothos, Peace Lilies are all easy to care for indoor plants if you need suggestions.)
    • Oil diffuser - just being able to change the smell of the place will make it feel different.
    • Lighting - lighting makes a massive difference in the feel of the room, so even just changing some bulbs/adding a floor lamp/changing a light fixture etc might make a massive change depending on your current setup. I use Philips Hue stuff, but there are a lot of cheaper alternatives if colour/smart home stuff is your thing. Also filament bulbs are cool :)
    •Wall art? Shelves on wall?

    After the place is 'officially' yours..

    • Painting (If there are any rooms you are in a lot, or remind you of her, focus on those first)
    I painted my place Antique White for a refresh and love it. I was tempted by coloured walls, but it makes it harder to change the look of the place without a fair bit of effort. Antique White you can also already get in a huge paint tin at Bunnings.

    Before you make any massive changes, I'd look for a few images of things you want your place to look like. You have listed a few projects which is a good start to research for.

    I use reddit a lot for inspiration haha

    I recommend r/malelivingspace for a starting point. They have some great guides, and it focuses on more changing the look of a place without renovating. Also lots of image posts.

    • +1

      Awesome, thank you! Thats a great list of sites! I've discovered I'm going to have less money than I discovered - so making minor changes without 'renovating' is something I'll probably need to go with first.

  • Hey mate. It's been a week or so.
    How's it going?
    You looking after yourself?

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