Contrary to popular belief, the winter months are an excellent time to commence home improvement projects. They say spring brings new beginners, but winter home improvement projects offer slight advantages over warmer seasons, including shorter completion times and potential discounts. This timeframe, although generally reserved for family, friends and holiday celebration, is an end-of-the-year slowdown for many businesses and contractors. In return, it can be a lucrative time of year to not only secure a great deal, but check off those last-minute items on your to-do list before washing your hands clean of 2016.
The general perception of winter home improvement projects involves a hefty price tag, but the reality is quite the opposite. Whether small projects or moderate upgrades, the following highlights the best winter home improvement ideas that won’t break the bank:
8 Winter Home Improvement Projects For Under $500
1. Get A Jumpstart On Curb Appeal
One of the earliest home improvement projects to undertake before the thick of winter hits is the fertilization of your home’s landscape. With fall in the rear-view mirror, this affordable winter project entails adding fertilizer to trees, shrubs and grass in preparation for winter months. As a homeowner, fertilizing your yard will not only keep it nourished during the dead of the winter, but provide optimal care until it’s time to shine in the springtime. While the winter months represent the offseason for curb appeal, it shouldn’t be translated into taking time off. This preparation tactic as a homeowner is not only inexpensive, but only requires a few hours of your time to get started.
Cost: $25 – $50
2. Apply New Paint (Interior)
Is there anything a little paint can’t fix? Another popular winter home improvement project, especially in areas largely impacted by harsh weather conditions, is applying a fresh coat of paint to the interior of your home. At roughly $30 a gallon, this indoor improvement project offers significant value to homeowners, both short and long-term, and especially when confined to indoor activities only. It’s recommended homeowners use white paint: using anything else will require multiple coats, therefore utilizing more paint, which will equate to costing your more money. For homeowners looking to sell, white painted surroundings offer a blank canvas to potential homebuyers. It also doesn’t hurt that interior painting offers one of the higher return on investments (ROI). That said, focus on areas of importance and leave them enough money for a quality primer.
Cost: Under $500
3. Seal Openings & Air Leaks
For under $500, the least expensive home improvement project a homeowner can undertake this winter season is to sealing openings and air leaks in their home. Taking the time to seal seams around windows and doors with caulk, waterproof sealant or weatherstripping will not only improve your energy consumption, but lower your utility costs as well. According to EnergyStar, sealing leaks can improve the overall quality of your home and help to fix many common problems, such as:
- Reduce noise from outside
- Better humidity control
- Lessen pollen, dust and insects from entering home
- Lower chance for ice dams on the roof/eves in snowy climates
With winter approaching, now is better time than ever to set aside time to seal seams around windows and doors, including any openings around pipes and vents.
Cost: $3 – $30
4. Install Programmable Thermostat
Technology has greatly influenced home appliances in recent years, especially when it comes to programmable thermostats. This must-do winter home improvement project lets homeowners customize the heating and cooling of their home to fit their needs, automatically regulating the temperature in their home. With different programming options available, including the ability to control some thermostats remotely, this improvement project will not only enhance your quality of life, but save you money in the process.
Nest Labs, a home automation producer, released a report last year revealing that homeowners accrued 10-12 percent savings on heating and 15 percent savings on cooling by upgrading to a programmable thermostat. Although every manufacturer has different savings claims, Nest users reported saving between $10-$20 per month.
Cost: $20 – $300
5. Add A Tile Backsplash To Kitchen/Bathrooms
The majority of winter home improvement projects consist of indoor upgrades focused on small details that make a huge difference. One of the more affordable options is adding a colorful backsplash to kitchens and/or bathrooms. This do-it-yourself home improvement idea will add some personality to a room’s look, helping to accessorize and emphasize your countertops, cabinets and appliances.
The cost of adding a tile backsplash will depend on the size of area, including the type of tile you want to use. The skill level needed to complete this project ranges from medium to advanced, but patience and a steady hand will go a long way with this project.
Cost: Under $500
6. Go The Extra Step With Crown Molding
Believe it or not, the addition of crown molding can be achieved for a lot less than people may think. The price of purchasing crown modeling isn’t necessarily the hardship — it’s the cost of having someone install it for you that’s the problem. The good news is, it can be achieved for a lot less than you may think and it won’t be as difficult as originally believed.
To get started, homeowners will essentially need a handful of tools, but most importantly a table saw. If you don’t own home, they can easily be rented from improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot. In fact, Home Depot even has a tutorial on installing crown molding. For less than $500, crown molding is a small detail can also make a big impact on your home, including the overall detail and style.
Cost: Under $500
7. Insulate The Attic
Insulating your home’s attic is one of the best winter home improvement projects that pays. Proven to produce the largest return on investment (116.9 percent) for homeowners, this project will not only help to lower your energy bill (anywhere from 5-10 percent), but it’s also eligible for tax credits (up to $500). Although insulating a home’s attic may seem pricey, done right, it can be tackled for less than $400 and without the help of a contractor.
The first thing homeowners should do is have their home evaluated through a home energy audit, otherwise known as a home energy assessment. This will outline how much energy your home consumes, including areas of problems and how to fix them.
8. Refurbish Your Doors
Homeowners understand the visual impact interior doors can have on a home. Instead of being out of pocket to replace them, one of the more popular winter home improvement projects is to simply refurbish them. Whether the front, bathroom or bedroom door (or all three), this home improvement idea includes painting doors to make them look more expensive or modern, installing decorative door knobs to add flare, and even adding molding to flat doors to create dimension.
Homeowners looking to make last minute upgrades to their homes should consider winter home improvement projects. In addition to saving on cost, waiting until the colder months to complete these tasks can provide optimal results for homeowners and investors alike.