For those of us who live in cold-weather climates, the winter months are synonymous with hibernation mode. Who wants to go outside when you have to shovel 2 feet of snow just to see the sidewalk?
But don’t let the next blizzard or polar vortex take the wind out of your home renovation sails. A frigid winter weekend is the perfect time to tackle an indoor project (as long as you can coax yourself away from your blanket and your Netflix queue).
1. Update your kitchen backsplash
Time: Half a day to two days
Tools: Score tool, tile cutter or wet saw, power drill, grout, joint compound, joint knife
Maybe you don’t have a backsplash in your kitchen, or maybe you’ve been putting off replacing your existing one. Either way, updating your backsplash is a project you can easily accomplish in a weekend.
“This is an area of only 30 square feet in most homes,” says Yuka Kato, content manager at Fixr, a marketplace for contractors and homeowners. The relatively small scope makes this an ideal project for tile novices. Before you jump in, read our detailed guide on how to install tile like a professional.
If you’re a renter and you can’t install permanent decor, pick up some peel-and-stick tile to add temporary (and totally removable) pizazz to your backsplash.
2. Install a smart thermostat
Time: One to two hours
A smart thermostat can help you save money during the winter months, when you’re most likely to rack up expensive energy bills. And the best part? You can easily knock out the installation in a couple of hours over a weekend.
Do your homework before you head to the store, so that you know which thermostat will best fit your needs. And make sure to review the instructions ahead of time, to be sure you’re comfortable with the installation—nobody wants to get stuck with a dysfunctional thermostat in the dead of winter.
3. Create an accent wall with removable wallpaper
Time: An hour
Tools: Scissors, utility knife
Wallpaper has made a serious comeback, but today’s bold hues and prints are a departure from the granny-esque designs of yore. If you’re curious about this trend but not quite ready to go all-in, start by wallpapering an accent wall rather than an entire room.
Opt for a peel-and-stick removable wallpaper that you can easily take down once you tire of it. Unlike traditional wallpaper, the removal process is painless (for both you and your walls), which means this weekend project is feasible for renters and homeowners alike.
WATCH: 5 Budget-Friendly Home Improvement Projects You Can Do in a Day
4. Create extra storage
Time: A few hours to half a day
Tools: Power drill, screwdriver
Entryway storage is crucial—especially in the winter, when puffer jackets, snow boots, and scarves demand extra space. Marty Basher of Modular Closets suggests visiting the local craft store to purchase bookcases or shelving, so you can keep odds and ends organized in the entryway.
A wall-mounted shelf above the table will add space for hats and gloves, and you can install hooks for hanging keys or the dog’s leash as well.
“An antique, wooden small table with drawers can easily store small items like note pads, pens, a stapler, and other accessories,” Basher adds.
5. Give hardware and fixtures a fresh look
Time: An hour or two
Tools: A screwdriver
The weather may be dreary, but your home fixtures can still be cheery. A simple swap of cabinet hardware in the kitchen, the bathroom vanity, or an old dresser will breathe new life into your home’s appearance without breaking the bank.
If you have room in your budget for a more dramatic face-lift, install a new dining room chandelier or updated lighting in the foyer, or take the plunge on a statement fixture for above the kitchen island.
6. Swap out your showerhead
Time: An hour
Tools: Wrench, pliers
Over time, showerheads become grungy and gross. If yours is overdue for an upgrade, spend some time this weekend swapping out your old showerhead for a new, low-flow model. Not only will you take the ick factor out of your shower, but you’ll also save on your water bill.
“New showerheads spin the water droplets so that you actually feel like you’re getting more volume, not less, while you save,” Kato says.
7. Apply a fresh coat of paint
Time: One to two days
Tools: Paint, brushes, drop cloth, painter’s tape (optional)
Painting is a perennial favorite project for DIYers, and for good reason: It doesn’t cost a lot of money, it doesn’t require any special skills, and it can be accomplished in as little as a day, depending on the size of your room.
If you’re considering selling your house in the spring, opt for neutral white, gray, or tan. If you’re planning to stick around for a while, why not go big and pick up a gallon of your favorite statement color?
“Painting a room is an easy way to change the mood of the space and add some color,” Basher says.
So go ahead—buy a can of that moody aubergine for your master bedroom or the turquoise you’ve been mulling over for the powder room. When you’re ready for a new color, you can paint again—a good project for next winter, perhaps.
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