Prep your home for the winter with these 6 weekend home improvement projects

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The cool, dry weather and lingering warmth from the sun make fall the perfect time for home improvement projects. But, cleaning the gutters and sealing the windows can be kind of a drag — you’ve got to have fun outside while you still can! Listed below are 6 super-creative home improvement ideas you can do in a weekend to help prep your home for winter and also beautify your surroundings. So, roll up your sleeves and soak in that sunshine while you can!

  1. Get a show-stopping front door (and make sure it’s insulated!)

If your front door isn’t insulated, you can be losing a lot of heat through it. So, why not take the opportunity to upgrade to something that’s truly stunning, and more energy efficient while you’re at it? If you’re looking for a door with striking, architectural windows, make sure the glass panes are insulated with argon gas, which will help keep warm air in and cold air out. Try to look for a steel door with a foam core, or a fiberglass door — both options provide superior insulation, and both come in a huge range of colors that can really add a much-needed pop to your exterior. Don’t be afraid to go bold —perhaps a bright robin red or a soothing ocean blue?

Cantata chandelier by Progress Lighting | Image courtesy of Toll Brothers
  1. Create a simple mudroom

One of the biggest problems in fall and winter is all of the leaves, mud, and snow that track in. Unfortunately, not all homes have a designated mudroom where you can slough off those messy outer layers! By installing a simple decorative bench right inside the front door, and making sure you have plenty of hooks for hats and coats for your whole family (and all your holiday guests!), you’ll keep the gunk at the door and prevent it from getting all over the house. You can find a wide variety of benches at any home improvement store, but it could also be fun to check thrift stores and flea markets for the perfect find.

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  1. Revamp your walkways

Having a smooth, sturdy walkway is essential in winter. With all of the ice and snow to contend with, you don’t want to fall on a loose paving stone or trip over a crack. You could just lay down a fresh coat of cement, but you could also take the opportunity to add decorative paving stones, or even opt for colored or textured cement for a little visual interest. Another fall idea you may enjoy is to add small strings of lights all along the walkway to your door. Many of these lights are solar-powered and cast a serene light on your fall pumpkins and mums. Plus, many can be lifted out of the ground easily before winter comes, so the lights don’t break under the snow.

Simple Outdoor Entertaining Tips. Image via Toll Brothers.
Image courtesy of Toll Brothers
  1. Re-paint your siding

Few things feel better than a fresh coat of paint! Fall is the perfect time to check for any chips or peels in your siding, and the cool weather and sunshine means paint will dry quickly and easily. On a warmer weekend, power-wash your house to remove any flaking paint. Then, give it a fresh coat in a whole new hue than before. Don’t forget to add a contrasting color to the window trim and shutters — perhaps warm brown for the house and an elegant cranberry hue for the windows? Or maybe a soft winter white for the house and an earthy leaf green for the accents?

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  1. Plant pretty new flowers

Forget about mums! There are tons of other fall flowers that will brighten up your landscape and add some fall flair to your home. Consider confederate roses, aster, Russian sage, and goldenrod, which will add some rich reds, pinks, yellows and purples around your home and add a variety of shapes and textures to your garden. In addition to fall flowers, make sure you cut away any dead or broken branches while you’re in landscaping mode — they can easily break off when the snow comes, and you don’t want them falling on (or through) your roof!

Equinox pendants by Progress Lighting | Image courtesy of Toll Brothers
Equinox pendants by Progress Lighting | Image courtesy of Toll Brothers
  1. Bring the outdoors in

Why go out and buy fall decor when you have nature’s bounty at your fingertips? Collect pinecones, red and yellow leaves, and harvest some of your pretty fall flowers to create a thanksgiving centerpiece or fill vases around your house. You can also try incorporating cinnamon sticks to your fall foliage decor. It’ll add a soft, subtle spicy scent to the air that will immediately make any holiday guests feel right at home.

Fall is the perfect time for home improvement projects since the sun is still shining, but the cooler weather won’t make you work up a sweat. And, while it’s easy to get carried away with big end-of-the-year renovation and restoration projects, don’t forget to have a little fun with some quick little improvements.

  • This blog post was contributed by Paul Kavlov. Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.