10 Home Improvement Projects Perfect for Winter

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated January 5, 2022
A living room with a blanket on a sofa
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock


  • Completing home projects in the winter can save you money since it’s most contractors’ off-season.

  • Kick things off by insulating your home properly, saving you money on energy bills during the rest of the season.

  • Remodel several rooms, such as the laundry room and basement, without having to open your home to the cold elements.

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Enjoying hot cocoa while getting cozy under the covers is a wonderful way to spend a winter evening. But many home improvement projects don’t take much effort or even require you to open a window or go outside—and will give your home a refreshed look once the ice starts to thaw. Don’t lock away your toolbox until March. Read on to learn about 10 home improvement tasks to complete before the spring equinox.

Why Complete Home Improvement Projects in Winter

Summer is considered the most popular season for home remodeling since the days are long and sunny. That being said, there are many advantages to completing some projects during the winter.

  • Less competition: Home remodeling companies are less busy, so if the contractor you love is usually booked, you might be able to get them to work during the slower season.

  • Lower costs: At a slower time, contractors may be willing to complete the work at a lower rate than during peak season.

  • Helps pass the time: Having home improvement projects to complete can leave you with a feeling of accomplishment and will pass those cold, dreary days spent indoors much quicker. 

1. Insulate and Seal Up Cracks

A well-insulated home means lower utility bills and cozier evenings when temperatures drop below freezing. Have your home evaluated by a top-rated local insulation contractor to check for areas where you’re losing energy or insulation is too thin. They’ll calculate the R-value, which indicates how well your insulation keeps heat from entering or leaving your house. 

The assessment may result in you needing to add new insulation in your attic or more energy-efficient windows. You may also discover that you need to seal up cracks around the windows and doors with an insulating spray foam.

Time required to complete project: Two to five days up to two weeks

2. Install Hardwood Flooring

The colder, drier winter months offer an optimal climate for installing new hardwood flooring. The dry air helps prevent gapping in newly placed boards, and lower humidity decreases the risk of water damage. In addition, the winter air will lessen the drying time for any adhesive involved in the installation. 

As a bonus, new wood flooring has better insulating properties than older worn flooring.

Time required to complete project: Two to five days up to two weeks

3. Replace Kitchen Countertops

Redoing your kitchen countertops can give this heavily trafficked room an easy upgrade. Plus, it’s a project that doesn’t require any time outside, ideal for those blustery January days. This project can offer a big payoff, as minor kitchen remodels have an average return on investment of 72%.

Time required to complete project: One to three days

4. Revamp the Laundry Room

More likely than not, you can give your laundry room an excellent upgrade without needing to knock down walls. This means you don’t have to worry about dust so you can keep your windows closed. 

Add shelves, paint the walls in a cheery color, and buy yourself some new laundry bins to keep your clothes and supplies sorted. And if your 10-year-old washer is finally about to kick the bucket, know that appliances typically go on sale September through November and once again in January. 

Time required to complete project: One to three days

5. Renovate the Basement

Like the laundry room, the basement is another area where you can remodel without having to open up your home to the elements as it’s underground. While this is a room prone to mold, the less humid winter air lowers the risk. Consider upgrading the insulation, installing new lights, and replacing the flooring (after fixing any issues with the existing concrete, such as cracks).

You might also wish to remodel your unfinished basement to create a more functional or fun space, like a gym, playroom, or office.

Time required to complete project: A few days up to two weeks 

6. Upgrade Your Lighting

 A woman learning to her child changing a light bulb
Photo: FluxFactory / E+ / Getty Images

Got a dull bulb or 10? Replace all of them so even when there’s a lack of sunlight outside, your home will be bright and cheerful, no matter the weather. In addition, consider swapping out your old bulbs for natural spectrum light bulbs, which provide the same broad spectrum of natural daylight.

Time required to complete project: Less than a day

7. Repaint Walls

Similar to how the cold, dry air affects adhesive for flooring, the winter atmosphere makes optimal conditions for paint, which will dry quicker than during the more humid months. Also, manufacturers usually offer lower prices on paint during wintertime, saving you money. 

Look for low-volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints, which don’t require you to open all the windows and doors after application. A heavy-duty fan to help circulate the air will do just fine.

Time required to complete project: Two days (to allow time for the walls to dry)

8. Replace Hardware

It seems like a small thing to do, but replacing all the knobs, handles, and even bathroom faucets can greatly impact the overall look of your home. And it takes very little time to accomplish. 

Time required to complete project: A few hours

9. Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries

Make a habit of replacing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the wintertime so they never lose power unexpectedly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71% of smoke alarms that failed to operate had disconnected, missing, or dead batteries. In addition, some of these devices also have expiration dates on them, indicating when they should be replaced.

Time required to complete project: A few hours

10. Prep Your Yard for the Next Season

A little bit of care when winter starts will ensure a lush yard when things warm up. Mow and fertilize your lawn to keep the grass short, which will prevent critters like mice and insects from using your yard as a place to hide and hang out. 

Also, remove any items like pet toys or furniture so you don’t get dead spots in the grass come springtime. Finally, remove any dying trees on your property. The colder ground will make removal less disruptive to the surrounding vegetation.

Time required to complete project: A few hours

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