Your home is your sanctuary. Most of us schedule renos in the spring, summer or fall, but you don’t have to put your home improvement plans on hold during the winter months. These four DIY home improvement projects are low cost and provide a good return on each dollar spent.

First Impressions

The problem of tight space in an entryway becomes all too apparent during the colder months. All that extra outdoor stuff piles up. Here’s what you can do:

  • Tackle the flooring first. Tile or commercial vinyl flooring (in stick-on tiles or rolls) is great at shedding water and won’t get damaged with repeated exposure to snow and rain. If replacing the floor isn’t an option, consider lining the entryway with weather-resistant or washable rugs, made of synthetics (nylon, polyester, and polypropylene) or bamboo. These “outdoor” rugs resist mold and mildew. You can also use cotton rugs or throws that are small enough to wash and dry.
  • If you have a narrow hallway, look for vertical shelving and storage. You’ll need durable furniture that can double as a shoe rack. Once you’ve taken care of the functional needs, add some artwork or decoration to tie it all together. By doing this, your home will make a good first impression to its occupants, guests and later resale.

Laundry Chronicles

  • Most laundry rooms are drab so even the most basic upgrade will shine. Like entryways, most unappealing laundry rooms lack functional features. The first step is to add shelves and bins. Figure out what needs to be stored in your laundry room. Make a list, count it all up and then determine if a shelf, cabinet or bin would work best for this item.
  • If you don’t have a top-load washer and dryer, or a stacked set, consider adding a countertop above these appliances. This space can be for storage as well as folding clothes.
  • Consider adding peel-and-stick wallpaper or paint a wall with chalkboard paint. Now, you’ll have a beautiful, updated space that adds charm and a sense of “completeness” to your home.

If you plan to re-do your laundry room this winter, consider these pro tips:

  • Appliances, such as washers and dryers, tend to go on sale in the fall (starting in September until the end of November).
  • For steep discounts, consider shopping for new appliances in January, particularly if you plan to buy sets or groups of appliances.

Kitchen Confidential

Here are two simple and highly effective kitchen updates: cabinetry hardware and the backsplash.

  • Updating pulls and handles on cabinets with new hardware is a simple upgrade that can dramatically change your kitchen. It’s a relatively simple DIY-project that only requires a screwdriver and a bit of patience.

A pro tip for the installation of new hardware:

  • If you inherited minimalist cabinets with no pulls at all, don’t worry. You can use a level and ruler to determine where you need to drill, and then a drill to create holes.
  • If you’re not sure how a piece of hardware will look or you’re not 100% confident of the placement, then use a piece of adhesive putty. The putty will hold the hardware to the cabinet long enough to give you an impression and won’t damage the door.

Colour Your World

  • Bet you didn’t know: Winter is the best time to paint interior rooms. According to professional painters, the paint dries faster because of the cold air. You’ll need to crack your windows enough to ventilate the room. Minimize how cold it gets in the rest of your home by closing the vents and door of that room and tuck towels, or a draft stopper, at the bottom of the door.
  • Other advantages of winter painting include the increased availability, and possibly better rates, of professional painters. Plus, most professionals will want to take advantage of natural light, so they’ll tackle the job earlier in the day—and finish sooner!

Finally, this fresh coat of paint will go a long way to increasing the perceived value of your home. According to surveys, a complete refresh of your home’s interior paint can offer a return of 105% to 110%. (Given that upgraded bathrooms and kitchens tend to provide a 40% to 65% return, this is a great return.)

Romana was nominated for a 2015 SABEW Business Journalism award, won Gold in the 2014 CPA Finance Reporting award, was nominated for a 2011 National Magazine award and a 2010 KRW Business Journalism award. As editor, Romana helped CI Top Broker obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination and in 2011, Romana was part of the team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards. While Romana has extensive experience working in print and providing custom editorial, she’s spent as many years in the online space and as a guest on various television shows, including CityTV News, iChannel and Breakfast Television.