Certain types of renovations call for warm weather and clear skies, but you don’t have to hit pause on your home improvement plans just because the days are shorter and colder. Winter is the perfect time to tackle a wide range of indoor projects — and not just because you’re stuck inside with nothing better to do. In many cases, now is actually the best and cheapest time of the year to get things done.
Refresh your kitchen
As long as you wait until the holiday cooking rush is over, winter is the perfect time to show your kitchen some attention. Everything from small DIY projects — like a new backsplash or refreshed countertops — to a full-blown professional gut remodel is a little easier (and cheaper) to pull off this time of year. This is especially true if you’re hiring pros, who tend to be the least busy in January and February.
Deep clean your carpets and upholstery
Hosting family and friends for the holidays can take a serious toll on carpets and upholstery. If you’re dealing with a bunch of new stains and spot cleaners just aren’t cutting it, it’s time to get out the heavy machinery. You can rent a professional-grade cleaner from just about any hardware store, or hire a pro to do an even better job. Just keep in mind that professional rug cleaning may involve removing your rugs from your home and sending them off to the cleaners. If you can stand bare floors for a little bit, you won’t regret it.
Repaint a room or two (or all of them)
Painting in the winter might seem like a bad idea; how’s the paint supposed to dry if you can’t open the windows? That’s a fair question, but consider this: If you live in a place where the winters are cold and dry and the summers are hot and humid, it may actually be better to repaint your interiors in winter — especially if you have forced-air heating. (Dry air: Horrible for your skin and sinuses; awesome for wet paint.) Keep it simple with an accent wall or go whole hog and repaint the entire house; the only limits are your budget and your interest level.
Change up your wallpaper
It takes a special kind of sicko to enjoy putting up (or taking down) wallpaper; after a few cold, dark months stuck inside staring at wallpaper you hate, perhaps that sicko is you. Carve out some time to pick the perfect pattern — or make your own out of fabric — and carefully plan out the work so you know what you’re getting into. When you’re ready to start work, don’t forget to fire up your favourite music, audiobook, or podcast — it may not make wallpapering fun, but it will definitely help pass the time.
Refinish or replace flooring
Updating your floors isn’t cheap, easy, or low-effort, but it makes a huge difference in the way a room looks and is more than worth the hassle. If your hardwoods need polishing or you’re dying to replace some ancient linoleum and grimy old carpet, winter is the perfect time to do it. Floor projects can quickly get away from you in both scope and budget, so if you’re new to DIY, start with the smallest possible room to get your bearings before, say, tearing up the entire living room.
Improve your lighting situation
Cold, dark winter nights have a way of exposing subpar lighting. (And let’s face it: The day’s aren’t so great, either.) Whether you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or regular old winter blues, improving the lighting in your home can make a huge difference in your mood. You don’t have to splurge on brand-new lighting in every room; even something as simple as investing in decent floor lamps with the right bulbs can be helpful, and you’ll reap the benefits for many winters to come.
Insulate your drafty attic
Even if you’re not trying to hang out in your attic, properly insulating it is definitely a “better late than never” type of project. A drafty attic can seriously reduce the efficiency of your home’s heating system, which drives your heating bills up. Spray foam is pricier than fibreglass insulation, but it offers more protection from heat and cold, making it a better choice for finished attics or those who want their home to be as energy efficient as possible.
Identify (and fix) dangerous foundation cracks
There’s never a great time to deal with a leaky basement or a cracked foundation, but winter might be the worst of all. Get ahead of any potential issues by learning the difference between dangerous and not-so-dangerous foundation cracks so you can get them fixed if necessary.
Upgrade your bath fixtures
There’s nothing like a hot bath or a scalding shower on a cold winter night, and upgrading your bath fixtures is a relatively easy way to make self-care even more enjoyable. Spring for a luxurious high-pressure shower head, swap your old faucets for nicer models, install a bidet, invest in a more efficient toilet — the sky’s the limit.
Splurge on a professional deep-clean
Cleaning is a learned skill, and nobody does it better than the pros. If renovations just aren’t in the cards this year, treat yourself to a full-on, top-to-bottom, professional deep house cleaning instead. (Good house cleaners aren’t exactly cheap, but they’re a lot more affordable than many renovations.) Starting the year with a sparkling clean house just feels good — and it feels even better when you didn’t have to do any of the work.
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