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The Commonwealth Blog

Monday, November 20, 2017

6 Easy Winter Home Improvement Projects

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s a good time to tackle some home improvement projects. It’s a win-win situation: you’ll have something to keep you busy on those winter weekends when you just can’t bear to go outside, and you’ll beautify your house in the process.

You don’t have to be a DIY expert to tackle home improvement projects this winter. We’ve got six ideas for easy projects that anyone can do.

Decluttering Deep Dive

Let’s start with the project that doesn’t cost anything or require any specialized equipment: decluttering. Decluttering might not seem like the most fun home improvement project, but look at it this way: whatever you do now, you won’t have to do during the spring cleaning season. (And that translates to more time outside when the weather is pleasant.)

To make your decluttering manageable, tackle one room at a time. Set up “Toss” and “Donate” boxes for the items you’re ready to part with. You can cut down on the sheer amount of stuff in your house and feel good that someone else may benefit from your donated items.

Insulation Update

Winter is a great time to check on the insulation in your attic and crawlspaces. If your insulation is lacking, you could be wasting heat and driving up your utility bill. Adding more insulation will help reduce heat loss while keeping your house cozy (and your utility bill affordable) all season long.

If you’ve never added insulation to your attic before, check out this helpful how-to video from This Old House.

Creative Kitchen Backsplash

Adding a new tile backsplash to your kitchen wall is an inexpensive remodeling project that can make your kitchen look dramatically different. With an almost endless variety of tile styles, patterns, and colors available to you, it should be easy to find an option that complements your kitchen décor scheme and fits your personal style.

The Home Depot regularly holds workshops for DIY tiling projects, so check your local store to see what’s coming up. If there aren’t any upcoming classes, the Home Depot also offers video tutorials online.

Smart Shelving

Adding to your home’s square footage is a pretty big project, but it’s easy to get more use out of your house’s vertical space. This winter, install some floating shelves or a built-in bookshelf to maximize your storage space. A built-in bookshelf sounds fancy, but it’s fairly inexpensive to make one with components from IKEA. The finished product will look anything but cheap.

Fireplace Mantel Makeover

Now that it’s cold enough to light a fire in the hearth, your mind may be on your fireplace. Painting your mantel can help spruce up your fireplace and make it the center of attention this season. If you have a wood mantel, you’ll need to sand it and prime it before applying several coats of paint in the color of your choice. It’s best to tackle the painting part of this project on a day that you can crack the windows open. If that’s not an option, make sure you choose an environmentally-friendly paint that won’t fill your house with toxic fumes.

For those who have some carpentry skills and are feeling ambitious, it’s also possible to build your own custom mantel. This Old House has another video tutorial that walks you through the process.

Interior Door Upgrade

Getting tired of looking at your interior doors? Give them a fresh look. Repainting your interior doors is one of the most obvious ways to upgrade them, but you could also replace the door knobs or add molding to a flat door to give it dimension. If one of your interior doors swings into a small space, you could replace it with a streamlined sliding door.

There’s no reason to get cabin fever this winter: get creative with your home DIY projects and make something that will last for years.

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