Updated on 01.12.15

Five Inexpensive Home Improvements for Winter

If you're stuck inside anyway, why not spruce up the place?

Get rolling. Photo: Minnesota Pine

A new coat of paint is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to freshen up your home, so get rolling! Photo: Minnesota Pine

With the holidays behind us, many people are dreading winter and looking forward to the first signs of spring.

Since spring is generally best spent tidying up and working on the outside of your property, winter offers a good chance to get the interior of your home in tip-top shape. There are plenty of upgrades you can do yourself with a limited budget, including these fun indoor projects:

Paint or Repaint

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to freshen up your home is to add a fresh coat of paint to the interior.

If you’re painting over darker walls, start with a coat of primer to prepare the surface for its new color. If you’re beginning the process with lighter walls, wipe all walls and trim with a wet cloth and let them dry before you get started.

Unless you’re an expert with the trim brush, you can use painter’s tape on trim and corners to prevent paint from getting on your ceilings or wood.

It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to brighten up a room and add value to your home. Painting is relatively cheap and easy to do, provided you have the patience and stamina to see your project through.

Winterize to Save Money and Energy

If you want to cut down on utility bills, there are a ton of cheap and easy ways to winterize your home.

For starters, you can buy or create “draft snakes” to sit on the floor in front of any exterior doors. They don’t have to be fancy, but can go a long way toward reducing the draft in your home — and your heating costs.

Consider lining the interior of your windows with plastic insulation kits and adding weatherstripping or caulk to any problem areas. Adding insulation around doors or windows, or around floor joists in your attic, is another great way to cut down on energy use during the cold winter months. You can also install a programmable thermostat so you can have more control of your home’s temperature, and save money in the process.

Declutter Your Home

Now that the holidays are over, you probably have a lot more stuff than you ever wanted or needed. Winter is the perfect time to pare down your belongings and prepare for a warm-weather garage sale.

One easy way to get started is to set up totes or boxes for certain types of items. For example, you could set up a box where you put things you want to donate, another for items for your garage sale, and a third box for stuff that should be thrown away.

Start in one corner of your house and work your way from room to room until you’ve cleared out any items you don’t want, or that you don’t use regularly. And don’t forget to check those closets!

Upgrade Outdated Metal Hardware

While bright gold hardware was once all the rage, most homes built today feature softer metals such as brushed nickel or bronze. Fortunately, doorknobs, kick plates, hinges, and light fixtures are all relatively easy to replace if you know what you’re doing or are willing to hire out the work.

Start by going from room to room to find all the bright brass and gold hardware that needs replacing. Try to buy items like doorknobs and hinges in bulk. Doing so will ensure an exact match and potentially cut down on the price of your easy home upgrade.

Spice Up Your Kitchen

Full kitchen remodels can be incredibly expensive, and that’s especially true if you have to get plumbers or electricians involved. But a lot of kitchens don’t necessarily need a complete redo; they could be vastly improved with just a few inexpensive changes and upgrades.

For example, changing out the hardware on your kitchen cabinets can both update your kitchen’s look and increase its utility. Meanwhile, upgrading your kitchen faucet and sink is a great way to add a wow factor to the heart of your home without spending a lot.

If your cabinets need a facelift, consider sanding and staining them, or even repainting or glazing them to add an updated look. And if your appliances are still in good shape, give them a good cleaning inside and out to help them look their best.

Winter might drag on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make these long, cold months productive. Instead of counting down until spring, create a list of easy, inexpensive improvements to help pass the time while you’re stuck indoors. Then get started – because spring will be here before you know it.

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