7 Renovations You Can Make in the Winter

During the winter, many homeowners hit pause on renovation work. But, while replacing windows or adding a backyard pool may be less-than-ideal (or off the table entirely) amid chilly temperatures, plenty of projects can happen right now. So if you’re looking to enhance your living space, here are some tasks that don’t require opening up your home to the cold – or having a constant flow of people in and out.

#1. Kitchen Upgrades: A Culinary Revamp
A kitchen upgrade can be an ideal winter project. Upgrades like installing new countertops, painting or replacing cabinets, or adding a new backsplash can give your kitchen a fresh look and add much-needed functionality without a heavy lift. And (bonus!) by starting now, your kitchen will be ready for warm-weather entertainment. Considering the high ROI on kitchen remodels, this could be an ideal investment.

#2. Bathroom Refresh: Modernize Your Space
Bathrooms are another area where small changes can make a big impact. An easy upgrade? Consider replacing outdated faucets and fixtures to give your bathroom a modern, fresh look. Opt for water-efficient faucets, and you can reduce water flow by 30% or more.

#3. Maximize Your Storage
Now is the perfect time to reorganize and redesign your closets with a new custom shelving system. Designed around your specific needs, these built-ins are perfect for keeping shoes, bags, and other pieces organized and ready to grab and go. Layer in custom pull-out drawers to add versatility to your storage options, ensuring every item has its place.

In larger closets, incorporating a center island provides additional storage space and a flat surface for laying out clothing and accessories. This feature, often seen in high-end homes, is now catching on in lower price ranges too.

Another popular upgrade is energy-efficient lighting. Adding LED strips inside your closet brightens the space and adds a sleek look versus more traditional, ceiling-mounted fixtures. Consider motion-sensor LED lights that turn on when you open the closet door – they’re energy-efficient and make diving into your closet much easier.

#4. Lighting Makeover: Brighten Up Your Space
Speaking of lighting, the right lights can create the perfect vibe – whether that means making your home feel warm and cozy, emphasizing a special piece of art, or turning a home office into a more productive space.

“Ambient light has become so important and such a style feature. And to have dimmers and other opportunities to integrate light is a game-changer,” says LJ Savarie, owner of Savarie Interiors in Winnetka.

Consider energy-efficient LED options or smart lighting systems that allow you to control the light intensity and color to match different times of the day or activities. The average household saves hundreds of dollars per year by simply switching the LED bulbs.

#5. Give Your Walls a Makeover
New wallpaper can do wonders for your home’s interior, and it’s a relatively easy and cost-effective way to give any room an instant facelift.

“Wallpaper can transform a space very quickly,” says Savarie. “It can brighten up a space and make it feel important.”

There are countless options, Savarie adds, so don’t be afraid to explore the different colors, patterns, and materials on the market.

“Vinyl wallpapers are a great option for kitchens, mudrooms, and powder rooms,” she says. Beyond that, many opt for wall decals and removable wallpaper, which are mess-free and won’t damage walls.

#6. Laundry Room Update: Enhance Efficiency and Aesthetics
Though many of us spend hours tackling seemingly endless piles of laundry, the laundry room is also easy to overlook when it comes to upgrades and renovations. Installing new storage solutions, updating appliances, or adding a fresh coat of paint can breathe some much-needed light into a high-traffic space – ideally, making washing, drying, and folding feel less of a chore.

#7. Smart Home Integration: Get Smart and Save
Smart home appliances are no longer a nice-to-have. Now, 30% of U.S. homes have three or more smart devices, and the numbers continue to rise.

If you’re just starting out with smart appliances or want to boost your home’s “smart” factor, consider easy add-ons that can save time, resources, and money. For example, adding smart thermostats for better energy management, smart locks for enhanced security, or smart speakers for a more connected and convenient lifestyle are small changes that can make a big difference in everything from efficiency to comfort to overall value.

Even if you aren’t ready for a significant change, Savarie recommends using these colder months to reassess and organize your space – and, potentially, to integrate small changes like new accessories or stylish vintage finds.

“Even if you aren’t looking to take on a major renovation, you can always bring in inexpensive accessories that feel layered and collected,” says Savarie. “That can be a fun upgrade in any room.”

Often, homeowners can even look to pieces they already own, creating something truly meaningful.

“Maybe there are pieces you forgot you had or haven’t seen in a while,” Savarie says. “Find those plates in the attic, hang them on a wall, and create an art installation. Finding those pieces can be a very cost-effective way to update a room – and have something that’s so unique.”

No matter the project, though, Savarie offers a universal piece of advice: consider the entire space before diving into any design or renovation work – big or small.

“Whether it’s a pillow or wallpaper or a piece of art, be sure you’re thinking about the whole room.”

Written by @properties
@properties Christie’s International Real Estate is Chicagoland’s #1 brokerage. Through our affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate, our network spans nearly 50 countries. No matter your real estate needs, we’ve got you covered.