The coldest months of the year may not seem like the best moment for home improvements, but experts say that, on the contrary, winter is actually the ideal time to tackle certain projects.
Only which ones? Well, it largely boils down to what you can easily do indoors … and what you’ll enjoy most now that the temperature has dropped.
In case you’re looking for some ideas to make the most of some frosty weekend, check out this list of what experts say are some of the best winter upgrades around.
1. Add a spa showerhead
Replacing your showerhead is a quick and easy way to upgrade your bathroom—and what’s better than a hot, spalike shower on a frigid morning?
For a truly luxurious upgrade, Matt Daigle, CEO and founder of Rise, a site that connects U.S. homeowners with home improvement professionals, recommends the Nebia Spa Shower 2.0 ($499, nebia.com).
“This spa-style showerhead uses new technology to atomize individual droplets of water,” he explains. “Essentially, you end up bathing in a cloud of warm, misty water.”
The sleek design feels upscale and modern, and the showerhead uses only three-quarters of a gallon per minute, well below the EPA guidelines for Water Sense-rated fixtures.
The negative? At $499, it’s a tad pricy. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider the Methven Aio Handheld Showerhead ($129, homedepot.com).
2. Install heated bathroom floors
A more involved but incredibly rewarding bathroom project is installing electric heating mats under your tile floors, so that you’ll have a nice warm floor to walk onto after your spa shower.
“This is actually not as expensive as it sounds, and can be beneficial in helping to heat the overall house,” says Jonathan Faccone, founder of Halo Homebuyers, a professional home buyer and redevelopment company based in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
According to Angie’s List, heated flooring will run you about $5 to $7 per square foot for the materials and $8 to $12 to install. And you’ll need to remove your existing flooring, so if you’ve been thinking about retiling, this is a great time to take the plunge.
3. Make over your mudroom
Winter means snowy, slushy boots, bulky winter jackets, and soggy mittens … which means it’s prime to make sure your mudroom is up to snuff.
“The key to winterize your mudroom is to create a space where snow, water, and mud can be left at the door,” says Bailey Carson, who oversees services provided by home improvement pros for Handy.com.
For starters, she recommends adding an extra throw rug or two to absorb moisture on the ground and prevent slipping. You’ll also need extra space to hang the various winter gear.
“A temporary clothing rack is a great solution to this problem,” says Carson. Try a rolling rack like this one from Simple Houseware ($39.97 at Amazon.com).
Photo by Charlie Dresen, SteamboatsMyHome
For extra credit, add a boot rack. Carson suggests using a draining board for the shoe rack and a rubber mat with raised edges to keep all the mud, liquid, and debris from spilling out.
“Don’t forget to clean the draining board at least once a week to avoid mud and water buildup,” she adds.
4. Trim your trees
So, this one may surprise you—it surprised us! According to Lisa Tadewaldt, the founder of Urban Forest Pro, winter is actually the best time to prune your trees and shrubs.
“During winter, the trees are bare of their foliage, and that allows the pruner clear visibility,” Tadewaldt says. She adds that because shrubs and trees are dormant in winter, they’re less likely to attract a systematic disease or insect infestation.
Ready to get trimming? Here’s more on how to prune trees.
5. Organize your garage
Photo by MyDesignerShades
Snow shovels, ice scrapers, snow melt, salt—winter comes with a lot of extra stuff that you’ll want to corral into one designated storage area. If you have a garage, that’s ideal, but a closet or other space that’s just for all that snow-related stuff will also work.
Carson recommends devoting an afternoon to organizing, so that everything is in one place and easy to access. If you’re someone with multiple shovels and snow-related tools, consider something like the Rubbermaid Deluxe Tool Tower ($42.99 at Amazon.com) or the WallPeg Tool Organizer ($29.95 at Amazon.com).
And, if you’re feeling ambitious, grab a space heater and some coffee and organize everything in your garage. You’ll thank yourself when spring rolls around!
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