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Home Improvement Projects for the Winter

Just because days are darker and nights are colder doesn’t mean that winters should be dismissed as a less-than-ideal time for home improvement. Being pent up inside for weeks at a time might just motivate you enough to tackle some of those projects that have spent way too much time on the “To Do” list.

Winter is a prime time for at least a few home improvement projects and, as a bonus, some winter projects will help cut down on your spring cleaning.

Here are five home improvement projects for the chilly season:

1.  Update interior lighting.

A great way to fight the winter blues is to revisit your lighting strategy. Without adequate lighting, even the most tastefully decorated rooms will seem dingy.

Winter is also a popular time for parties, holiday dinners and family gatherings. What kind of a mood is set by the light fixtures in your main gathering space? Could the room use a little more oomph in the illumination department?

Remember that winter days are very short and natural daylight is rarely considered a primary light source, so perk up dreary rooms with new light fixtures to help brighten everyone’s mood.

2.  Let your garage serve double duty.  

For anyone who doesn’t have a fully finished basement, this one is for you. Installing rubber tiles or an epoxy resin floor in your garage can change it from a full time storage space to a part time living space.

During the coldest months of the year, the garage can act as an extra play area for kids or as the “man cave” for those restless husbands. On days with clear weather, move the car out of the garage and stage a mid-winter “Summer Olympics” complete with tricycles and jump ropes.

3. Organize the closets.

To some, this might mean taking everything out of the closet and rearranging it in an orderly manner, but to others this project might mean a total closet overhaul.

Whether you aim to make room for all those holiday gifts or install a new organizational system with more shelving, winter is a fantastic time to open the doors and clear out the mess.  An inexpensive closet storage system can add value to your home and help you keep your sanity during those long, stir-crazy months.

4. “Tighten” your home by sealing air leaks.

This project can even save you money!  There are several ways to check for air leaks at wall openings.  Some professional contractors use thermographs, a type of thermal imaging device, to locate the cool spots.  D-I-Y enthusiasts can use smoky incense to indicate where drafts may be present.

A surefire way to catch all the leaks is to gather your caulking gun, weather-stripping, insulating gaskets and expanding foam; then, systematically address each hole in every wall (outlets, windows/doors, light fixtures, fireplaces, etc.).  It can be time consuming, but, hey, winter can be very, very long.

5. Winter landscaping.

Yes, the words “winter” and “landscaping” can be used in the same sentence.  If you are the type of person who can’t stay inside for long, here are some ideas for sprucing up those dreary, winter yards.

Try installing some solar powered lighting to outline pathways or planting beds.  It will help guide the snow shovel and add a cozy twinkle to the drifts.

Or consider attracting winter wildlife with a new bird feeder.  An ornamental bird feeder can act as a landscape’s focal point and there’s really nothing like a bright red cardinal to animate a bleak, brown (or white) yard.

Winter is not the time to ditch the hammer; it’s an ideal time to refocus your energies and prioritize that long list of home improvement projects.  The above winter projects can stretch square footage, lower heating costs and even brighten your day.

By Emily Struzik

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