If you live on the east coast, you just got through the major snowstorm that swept across the region last weekend, with some areas even getting over two feet of snow. Hopefully by now, you have finished your shoveling and are able to get in and out of your house without much trouble. In the winter, you may feel compelled to just stay inside during your downtime as a way to limit your interaction with the cold weather. While you’re spending all of that time inside, it may be wise to use this as an opportunity to complete some home-improvement projects, all of which will especially come in handy if you plan on selling your house in the spring.
Seeing as it’s winter, the first thing that probably comes to mind when considering home improvement is your heating. One thing you should think about installing in your home is a programmable thermostat. This will also save you money on your heating bills, and it’s also a very convenient device because you’re able to program the thermostat so it uses less heat when you’re not a home. Some models even allow you to program the thermostat from your smartphone or tablet, so if you want to make any adjustments, you’ll be able to do so right at your fingertips.
When focusing on heating, you may also want to consider improving the insulation of your house, a task that won’t leave your wallet weeping and will make your home greener. Because heat rises, you want to make sure you outfit your home so it can combat the cold temperatures. You can do so by placing rolls of insulation in your attic, basement, and any little crawl spaces you may have. The last thing you want during the winter is heat escaping from your house, so make sure to place an adequate amount of insulation in the appropriate parts of your home in order to reach full effectiveness.
If the winter is going to be influencing you to stay inside, you’ll want as much room as possible in which to move around, so you should take some time to de-clutter your home. Ever since your last foray into spring cleaning, you have probably accumulated more stuff you may not need in your home. In this case, go through your closets, basement, attic, and any other storage spaces you may have, and then divide everything up by what you want to keep, discard, and donate. Not only is this an easy home-improvement project to get done while stuck inside, but it will also give you a jump start on this year’s spring cleaning!
In terms of redecorating, you may be struck with the desire to give your walls a fresh coat of paint. Since you’ll probably be spending a lot of time behind the walls of your house, you might as well give them a burst of color to combat the white and grey of the winter season. I know you won’t be having any windows open during the season, so you may be worried about the paint fumes sticking around inside. But, as long as the paint is waterborne and environmentally friendly, there will be very few fumes. And, if you don’t want to go the painting route, but still want to spruce up your walls, you can go for some wallpaper. Wallpaper comes in all sorts of designs, and choosing the right design can certainly add some liveliness to your house in the dead of winter.
Although the days start to become longer at the start of winter, you still have the sun setting before 5:30 for most of the season, decreasing the amount of natural light that comes into your house. To brighten up your home during the early nightfall, think about adding some more lights in your house. If you’re spending a lot of time in your home during the winter, you should have it light enough so you can enjoy the surroundings of your house. For me, one of the most relaxing things to do during our coldest season is to unwind in a well-lit living room, so add enough lighting that will be comfortable for when you return home from a day at work and want to take it easy on the couch. Of course, you’ll feel even better if you install some LED lightbulbs. Yes, they do cost more than regular bulbs, but they last longer and use less energy, so you’ll be saving money in the long run.
If you want to get some remodeling done, consider doing it to your kitchen or bathroom. Just like painting your walls, a task such as this will take quite a bit of time, which will help take your mind off the incessant cold and winter precipitation outside. Thinking about and choosing the different paint colors, tile designs, and appliances that can be included in your kitchen and/or bathroom can be a lot of fun and will get you stoked to finally begin bringing your designs to life. Once you’re finished with your remodeling project, you can celebrate the fact that when spring rolls around and all of the snow has melted, you can shift your focus to sprucing up the outside of your home for the warmer weather.
Although winter is about halfway through, you still have plenty of time to do some worthwhile home-improvement projects that will benefit your house for the rest of the season. During this time when you don’t want to go outside unless it’s necessary, doing some of these tasks around your house will keep you active and occupied, which is something we all need when confined indoors during these cold months. Just decide what you want to get done, and then start working!
When you own a home, there will come a time when you want to make some changes to the layout. Maybe you’re getting tired of the look, and you’re now in the mood to try something a little different. If your desired renovations are pretty significant, it would be best to hire a contractor to help bring your ideas to fruition. When you pick a contractor, however, you have to make sure they are going to do the best job possible and not cause you any grief. There are several steps to take in doing so, but these are a few to get you started.
The first thing you should do is ask around for recommendations. When you talk to people whose opinions you trust, such as friends, family, or even your building inspector, chances are they will have several names to provide for you, and inquiring others about contractors will give you a better idea of who you might want to consider hiring. If it were me, I would want to talk with my acquaintances first before checking online reviews because you can actually talk with those of the former group, instead of just reading an online review.
After you have done some research and made a list, begin making phone calls to your possible contractors, and also have all of your questions ready, such as if they are insured and licensed, before you start calling around. This is a big job for your house, so you want to make sure you know what you’re looking for and that the contractors know what you’re looking for. It also won’t hurt to ask your contractor for a list of previous clients. This will give you an idea of their past experiences, which will come in handy because you don’t want to hire just anyone. Also, ask the contractors if they will be working on any other projects at the same time as your home. You want to hire a contractor who is going to be able to commit as much time as possible to your home. So, if they have multiple projects going on, you might want to consider hiring someone who will be a little more flexible.
Once you make your calls and narrow down your list, the next step is to meet with your final choices. This will further help you when choosing a contractor because you will get to see how you interact with them in person. Don’t forget, this individual is going to be working on your home for a period of time (depending on how long it takes to finish the project), so even if you agree with the personalities of your contractors, it will be in your best interest to check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if these contractors have had any arguments with previous clients. This is something you need to find out because you have to be sure that you hire someone with whom it will be easy to communicate in a friendly and professional manner. If you’re making changes to your home, the last thing you need is a contractor who’s going to cause problems.
After you meet with your final choices, it will greatly benefit you to contact some of those contractors’ past clients and ask how they felt about those contractors. Without being intrusive, ask those clients if they wouldn’t mind letting you see their finished products. This is pretty much the equivalent of contacting a person’s references on a job application and will give you an idea of the quality of work that these contractors will be doing on your home. All of this feedback from past clients can be an important factor that determines whether or not you decide to hire a certain contractor.
Making considerable changes to your home is a time-consuming task, and you want to make sure that it goes smoothly. In order to make that happen, you have to hire the right person, so take your time in researching who you would like to work with. Once you find your contractor, you will then be ready to remodel your home!