Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
When winter drives us indoors, it becomes harder to ignore all those repairs and improvements needed around the house. We could just start making a great big “honey-do” and “when spring comes” to-do lists. Or we can take advantage of long evenings and snowy weekends by getting started on some winter home improvement projects.
Of course some projects like stripping or staining that require ventilation that will have to wait until the weather warms up. But there is a lot you can start right now, even with every window and door closed up tight. Here are ten ideas to get you started.
10. Give your bathroom a facelift
It’s amazing how a few small changes can make the smallest rooms in your home feel like new. Just replacing that old faucet with a stylish new one and switching out the handles on your bathroom cabinets can add new style even in the middle of winter.
9. Tile a backsplash
You probably won’t want to do a full kitchen renovation in winter (who wants their new stove stuck on truck three states away?) But something more modest like a new backsplash can turn add color and texture to your kitchen while the snow falls outside. Do make sure you have all the tiling tools, spacers, adhesive and grout before you get started, especially if bad weather is forecast. Hanging tile is no place for “making do” with makeshift tools.
8. Go for wow with a new laminate floor
Winter is not the time to install a new hardwood floor or refinish an old one. The dust is not only annoying, it can actually be hazardous. But you can give your floors a wow with a new snap-together laminate floor. There’s no sanding involved — and they can be installed over existing hard floors.
7. Work on a man cave
Winter is also a good time to install one of those new home theatre or home entertainment systems you’ve been eying. That great big television will come in handy when you can’t get out. And think of the fun you’ll have when your favorite sports team is playing again. Do have an electrician come in and add any extra outlets you need. The rest you can probably do yourself.
6. Add shelves for storage
Having enough storage is something we all seem to have on our wish lists. And winter is an ideal time to make that finally happen. Opt for modular closet shelving systems, freestanding wire shelving or build shelves the old fashioned way with wood and brackets. Add some extra shelving to your pantry, a craft room or the kids’ play room too.
5. Paint a wall
Most people think that you can’t paint indoors during the winter. But if you select low VOC paints, there’s no reason you can’t give any room a facelift any time of the year. If you’re concerned about even the very low odors from these safer paints, slight crack a window open for a couple of hours, or schedule some time away from house for dinner and movie after the painting is finished.
4. Replace tired window coverings
In good weather, the beautiful sky and bright sunshine distracts us from things like curtains and blinds. But now that the curtains are drawn against chilly drafts, it’s hard to miss the fact that some of the window coverings have seen better days. Now is the time to replace dated curtains, swap out broken blinds and upgrade window shades. Start with the room where you spend the most time for the biggest impact on your indoor space.
3. Declutter and organize
Winter is a season made for decluttering. Grab a pile of papers and sit down in front of the fireplace to sort them quickly into piles to “File”, “Toss”, “Act On” or “Review “Further.” File away, shred the toss pile, put the papers to act on where you can do what you need to do, then settle down with the review pile. Once your backlog of paper is done, you can tackle overstuffed closets, filled-to-the-top junk drawers or crammed bookshelves. Box up give aways and drop them off as soon as possible.
2. Add insulation
Okay, so it’s not pretty. But that lower heating bill will more than make up for the lack of aesthetics. Visit your attic, and add another roll or two of insulation over any drafty spots or anywhere lacking enough depth. Then head down to the basement or out into the garage to add insulation to exposed pipes and water heaters.
1. Add or replace interior lighting
When you’re spending a lot of time outdoors in spring or summer, you probably won’t notice that dark corner in the dining room. Or how there’s never quite enough light to read in the family room. But in winter? Those lighting problems are suddenly, well, glaring (bad pun, I know!)
Now is the time to replace too-small ceiling fixtures or to add task lighting in the kitchen. Look for some new reading lamps for your side tables, and something that adds warm light to your bedroom on cold winter nights.
There’s no need to wait until spring to start on home improvement projects. Pick the projects that work best for your home and turn long winter evenings into productive home improvement sessions.