Homeownership8 min read

Home Improvement Projects to Complete During the Winter Months

By Noah - February 1, 2021

Most of us have had plenty of time in the past year to get familiar with every corner of our homes. You might even have mixed feelings about your home right now. On one hand, you’re grateful that your home has served as your family space, your office, maybe even a school or college campus. On the other hand, over the course of months at home, you’ve become aware of every ding and dent, every wobbly doorknob, and every drafty corner of an otherwise perfect office space.

If your home improvement list is growing, good news! Winter home improvement projects are a great way to boost curb appeal and improve your home’s comfort and function. A winter remodel can be cheaper than in other seasons, and completing indoor home improvement projects now can give you a freshened-up space in time for spring cleaning.

Why Winter Home Renovations Are Smart

Many homeowners get excited about renovation projects in spring, which means homeowners taking on winter home projects may score better deals on supplies and services in the “slow season” before the spring rush. Look for discounts on paint, or browse landscaping services that may see less demand in winter.

Homeowners who live in temperate climates can take advantage of the mild weather, too. If you live in the Midwest you may prefer to avoid winter home improvement projects that involve sawdust or paint fumes. But California homeowners may have an easier time throwing a few windows open, so you might be able to take on more ambitious projects without sacrificing comfort.

Top Home Improvement Ideas for Winter

Need inspiration, or just an idea of what to tackle first? Check out these winter home improvement tips. Whether you’re hoping to keep your energy costs down or improve your cold weather curb appeal, you’ll find something on this list just for you.

Seal up cracks

An irritating draft does more than break your concentration during work hours. Leaks add to your energy bill by forcing your house to work harder to maintain its temperature. The EPA estimates that you can save 15% on heating and cooling costs by sealing cracks around doors and windows, in your attic space, and in the foundation of your home.

Add insulation

Houses in colder parts of the country probably have thorough insulation already, but homes in milder climates may not have a fully insulated attic, duct system, or foundation. Adding insulation or replacing degraded insulation in older homes can keep you snug and help you save money on utility bills by using air and heat more effectively.

Change HVAC and furnace filters

If you have pets or kids adding to household mess, you live in an area with high wind or poor air quality, or it’s been more than three months since your last filter change, you’re due for an update. West Coast homeowners affected by poor air quality from wildfires or heavy traffic may benefit from even more frequent filter changes.

Add a fresh coat of paint

Some homeowners hesitate to paint in the winter. If bitterly cold winds are common where you live, you might not enjoy the prospect of deciding between living with a chilly indoor space or smelly paint fumes for hours. If your local temperatures are mild, though, this might be the perfect time of year to paint. Paint manufacturers may offer discounted prices. Winter weather also tends to be less humid, which can result in a smoother paint job.

Improve winter curb appeal

Late winter is prime time for pruning trees and shrubs in your yard. It’s easier to spot weak areas on outdoor plants that didn’t survive a cold snap. Grab your hedge trimmers and get your yard neatened up for spring. This may also be a good time to consult a landscaping service to plan or complete improvements before planting season is in full swing.

Add a tile backsplash

Move over, pandemic jigsaw puzzle. There’s a new game in town. Think of a tile backsplash for your kitchen as the home-value-boosting, assembly-based hobby — no hunting for edge pieces required. The trick is the pieces you place are permanent, so measure carefully and take your time for best results.

Upgrade cabinet fronts and fixtures

Fresh cabinet doors and attractive knobs, handles, and finials add a level of care to detail that can have a dramatic impact on your space. This is a great winter project because you can putter with it little by little to fill chilly afternoons with nothing much to do.

Add wainscoting or crown molding

Finishing your walls with wainscoting paneling or crown molding adds serious elegance and wow factor. It’s also a low-mess, low-dust makeover project, perfect if you have a cold snap and want to keep the windows closed.

Should You Hire a Contractor or DIY Home Improvements?

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make about winter renovations is who will do the work. Rolling up your sleeves yourself saves money, and might even be an enjoyable way for some homeowners to spend their time. Hiring a contractor can improve your chances of getting high-quality results, and some projects are difficult or even dangerous without a professional on the job.

Consider these factors to make the right decision for your next winter home improvement project:

  • Project difficulty: Removing drywall and adding insulation isn’t an easy project. On the other end of the difficulty spectrum, it may feel silly to hire a professional to install a new faucet.
  • Experience level: Some homeowners are handier than others. If you’ve got a green thumb, you might like applying your talents to your yard. If finicky detail work isn’t your thing, please don’t put yourself through the pain of a tiling project.
  • Budget: A DIY paint job will likely cost a few hundred dollars (plus, of course, the time you put in to do the work). Even in the off-season, hiring contractors can easily bump you over $1,000, depending on the size of the room and the paint you select. Weigh time and budget constraints to decide what’s the best value for you.
  • Health: Right now, pandemic concerns play an additional role when you plan to bring another person into your house. Don’t push yourself into projects outside your abilities, but you might want to make a plan for how to minimize contact and ventilate your space to offer the best protection for you and any workers entering your home.

Winter doesn’t have to be a time of hibernation. If you’re eager to freshen up your home, you may find that the colder months are an ideal time to fix up your space and look ahead to a happy spring and beyond.

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