You're stuck indoors. Why not accomplish something?

Winter Home Improvement Project Ideas

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

How to Conquer Debt eBook

Winter Home Improvement Project Ideas

If this coming winter is like most for our part of the country, we'll be stuck inside from January into March. I'd like to be a bit more productive than I usually am during this time and try my hand at some indoor home improvement projects. I am open to any and all ideas whether they be for organization, (easy!) remodeling, or any other type of projects that can keep me busy and indoors this winter! Thank you!

Pick One Room to Start

Two to three months, with DIY projects, can go much faster than you think. I suggest you pick one room you want to update and start with that, and move on from there as time permits. As someone starting out with DIY projects, you might want to avoid those more difficult rooms to update like the kitchen until you have a bit more experience under your belt. Dealing with one bathroom cabinet is a lot easier than dealing with a kitchen full of them.

Paint is a great and easy update, and with today's heating systems, painting in winter generally isn't a problem (unless you have very poor insulation and very cold outer walls). You can freshen up a room with a new color, or maybe choose a more challenging project such as painting out of date cabinetry. With enough care, even a countertop, bathtub or appliances can be updated with paint. Just do your research on the right supplies and preparation needed for painting the type of surface you want to update ahead of time.

Depending on your comfort level and the current flooring in the room you choose to work on, replacing the flooring may well be something that can be taken on as a DIY. It's easier to replace vinyl flooring in a small room than redoing tile in a large one, but it really all depends on your comfort level. Laminate flooring is fairly easy to install, particularly if your current flooring doesn't need to be removed first. We've gone over linoleum with laminate in our bedrooms with no problem.

If you have any sewing skills (just basic skills needed), you can watch for sales on drapery and upholstery fabric and try your hand at making new curtains, recovering cushions or throw pillows, or making a new custom shower curtain to bring your new room together.

In all cases, you really need to get yourself some good and reliable instructions and do a little research first, but you may be surprised at how many DIY options there are that only require basic skills.

Learn to Sew

Use this time to learn to sew things like quilts, garments, gifts, upholstery slipcovers, and drapes. Think of all the ways you can save money and decorate your home and your family.
JD in St Louis

Related: Slipcovers for a Budget Furniture Makeover

New Ideas to Consider

These are some of my winter home improvement projects:

  1. Paint three rooms and rehang pictures in new groupings.
  2. Plan a new garden where my man-made pond was. This will lower the mosquito problem.
  3. Make or buy new daybed cover, shams, and wedge covers for my daybed.
  4. Repair small things such as a drawer that does not slide correctly.
  5. Build or buy a small but tall shelving unit to store books in a narrow area.
  6. Replace or repair the spare bathroom's toilet valve.
  7. Clean baseboards, window frames, and windows.
  8. This is not strictly home improvement but it's still important. Review all my investments and rebalance them or change whatever needs changing to meet my financial goals.
  9. Find a way to cover my eight-foot-wide slider doors to lessen heat loss. (There is not much room for drapes and blinds to be pulled to one side.)

I hope this list prompts new ideas for others.

Related: Tricks to Painting Interior Trim

Remove Wallpaper and Add Value to Your Home

I, too, will be stuck inside my home for most of the winter (when I'm not working) and I plan to use that time to remove wallpaper. If your home has any wallpaper at all, including borders or accent walls, removing it can add significant value to your home. Yes, it is a lot of work, but it doesn't cost a lot.

We just bought our home last spring and the realtor told us that the reason it sat on the market for so long was because the wallpaper drove buyers away. We bought it anyway (for a good price) and knew that we wanted the wallpaper to come down as soon as possible, but waited until winter because there were many other projects to do in the summer/fall months and wallpaper removal just seemed like too much of a hot and sticky job for the warm weather days. So time stuck inside this winter will be spent removing wallpaper, painting, and adding value to my home!
Kathy R.

Keep an Ongoing To-Do List

I always have projects going and actually write lists for summer projects and winter projects. For this winter, I've already shampooed my carpets. I find that they dry a lot quicker in the winter than the summer. In the summer, we have a lot of humidity, but in the winter, the furnace is on and the air is dry. I'm pretty sure that this helps to put moisture in the air as well.

I also fill my freezer in the winter by making extra food and doing the baking that I would rather not do in the heat of the summer. In the summer, I'm too busy outside and too hot to cook.

I also sort my papers from bills and so on, put them in what I call a burn box and have a winter bonfire when the cold weather isn't too bad.

I fix and replace fans and have a place in my house that I keep planters and other outdoor ornaments that need to be fixed and stained. I always make sure that I have some air circulating.

I have an indoor tool box that I keep handy. Door stripping (inside) can be replaced and windows can be sealed inside. Use a blow dryer for a few seconds to warm them up.

I do a lot of crafts and knitting in the winter, as well as sewing. I wear clothes out in the summer, so in the winter, I make rags out of my tees and put those back in the shed for the summer.

I've refinished furniture, replaced a tub and shower insert, grouted tile, rearranged furniture, cleaned rooms thoroughly, replaced door handles, made floral and fountain arrangements that will go outside the following spring, planted bulbs in the house, and done some rewiring in the winter.

I find that it's easier to clean furnace ducts in the winter when the furnace is on. Something else I do that has proven to be invaluable is to book work to be done outside that coming summer. Once spring comes, most contractors are booked solid until the fall. I also plan out what I'm going to do and so on. I also attend workshops and coffee groups that are usually available within my community to get out of the house. Hope you enjoy your winter!
Karen K.

Keep It Indoor Friendly

It really depends on what you need to have done and what you like to do. I wouldn't encourage something like refinishing furniture or hot method soap making, as ventilation is an issue. But quilting, woodworking, sewing new curtains, making pillows all add decorative touches to your home and are indoor friendly.

Spruce Up with Paint

Get a couple gallons of paint and do some rooms for a new look. However, be sure to wait for a paint sale.

Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?

Don't Forget About You

Think of the winter as a time to take care of your indoor business. That can include organizing and then donating what you find you don't need. This can also mean finishing any projects that have been put by the wayside. How about taking care of those minor indoor household things like the drippy faucet or insulating around the doors, windows, or attic stairs. Tackle the projects that for some reason always fall to the bottom of the to-do list.

Also don't forget about you. Winter is a time for catching up on all the things inside that you like to do. Maybe catch up on reading or watching some of shows you have been meaning to watch. Make time for the hobbies you love. Consider learning a new hobby or skill.

If you run out of things to do, then there is always planning ahead for spring. This is something I love to do in the middle of winter. It perks me right up. Make your list, prioritize it, and then get to work. Personally, I don't go into this mode until after the holidays. I cut myself some slack until then. After all the decorations are put away that's when I get to work. First on my list this year is painting my kitchen cabinets and the list goes on from there. Will it all get done? Absolutely not. But the point is to stay busy, be productive, and pass the time and that I can handle.

A Fresh New Look With No Expense

One thing you can do to improve family life is learn some new cooking techniques or try some new recipes. Yes, it's not exactly home improvement, but it's a great way to spice up dinner. You can even use it as a teaching time for any kids in the house.

Another thing you can do is simply move furniture around in a room (or even from room to room), giving a fresh new look with no extra expense!

Reviewed December 2017

Take the Next Step:

  • Try these 5 free home improvement projects.
  • Discover more ways you can save on home repair, remodeling, and maintenance by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
  • Find out how easy it is to make more room while making money with Decluttr.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
  • Have an idea that we didn't include? Send it to us and we'll add it to the article.

    Stay Connected with TDS

    Little Luxuries

    to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
    of our ebook
    Little Luxuries:
    130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
    for FREE!

    Your Email:

    View the TDS Privacy Policy.

    Debt Book