DIY Experts Share Their Favorite Winter Projects

We participated in a Redfin article about favorite winter home improvement projects. Here's what several of us DIY sites have to say

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

While the weather outside is frightful, these DIY projects are certainly delightful! To save you from those post-holiday winter blues, Redfin has gathered DIY experts from Atlanta to Bend. Whether you need tips on must-have tools, a fun idea to tackle on a chilly afternoon, or just a good laugh at common DIY mistakes, these handymen and women have got you covered. So, grab your toolbelt, pour yourself a cup of joe, and prepare to be inspired!

HomeISD: We love everything that looks unique and gives your décor a personal touch (isn't that what DIY is all about?). So one of our favorites has to be the DIY curtain rod. First of all, it's unexpected (rarely does someone decide to make their own rod). Secondly, you can reuse so many cool items for stunning and whimsical décor - some of the most exciting things might be a canoe paddle, a dried tree branch, plumbing pipe, and anything else that resembles a bar.

Bianca Octavia: Prep & protect your work area: During the winter you may find yourself completing more DIY projects indoors in order to avoid the cold weather. While doing so, be sure that you are protecting the interior of your home at all times by properly prepping your work area. Try to use things you may already have like old towels & sheets, flattened cardboard boxes or poster boards for surface area protection. If you happen to run into any spills, remember these three cleaning methods: rubbing alcohol for wood floors, warm water & dish detergent for carpet and a boiled water & vinegar solution for glass.

John McClain Design: I love to have a great toolbag for DIY Projects, and here are my essentials for what’s inside: I can’t live without my cordless toolset that includes a rechargeable drill, jigsaw, sander, and circular saw; and the best part is you can use them anywhere with or without electricity.

Next, make sure you have a 25 ft minimum length measuring tape (pro-tip: pay the extra money and choose one with a longer/stronger extension, you will thank me later when trying to measure that extra-long wall).

Finally, a pencil, pencil sharpener, shop rags, wall spackle and plastic trowel (for those holes from the picture you moved 3 times), various screw sizes, drywall anchors (I prefer the metal ones for ease and durability), and a good cell signal to YouTube your DIY project!

Studio DIY: I love adding color and pattern to unexpected places, like inside closets or on doors. My husband and I recently DIY'd new doors for a nursery closet, inspired by some of the old sunburst screen doors you see here in Los Angeles. We used an embroidery hoop and square dowels to create a sun pattern on solid bi-fold doors. We custom cut each piece and nailed it to the door, then painted the entire thing a sunny yellow to give a subtle, tonal pattern and a big pop of color to the room.

Yellow Brick Home: A DIY mistake that we’ve made, and hope to help others avoid, is making decisions too early. We encourage people to live in their space and establish the way it needs to function for them before making major changes. Giving time to determine needs in a space almost always results in a finished product that you’ll be happier with in the long run!

Décor Hint: One of my favorite DIY projects for winter is also one of the easiest. I love making no-sew DIY fleece blankets for our home. Not only are they inexpensive and easy to make, but they also look really pretty and are so practical for those chilly winter days. Trust me, you will want one for every room in your house!

Hello Lovely Studio: It's not sexy or likely to draw oohs and ahs from guests, but touching up paint on baseboard and trim throughout our home is a favorite winter DIY project around here. With painter's tape, semigloss paint, and a 2" angled brush in hand, it's a job that can become a meditative exercise (play Mozart), educational (cue that history podcast), or even interactive (chat with a wireless cell phone headset). DIY painted trim touch-up never takes as long as you imagine it will and is highly gratifying in the end!

Ashley White Design: Spend a blustery day styling or restyling your shelves. It can be just as impactful as a project requiring handyman level skills, and you don't even need to use tools! You will be surprised how many compliments you get when you thoughtfully arrange your shelves. Thinking of a bookcase or set of shelves as a composition really lets you show off your favorite accessories and books while also serving a purpose. I would start by pulling a few images that I really like to use as a guide. Next, collect the items that will be on the shelves. You may have to omit some items or add some along the way. You will want items with a variety of heights and widths. Other than that, a lot of the process is just “feel.” Step back from the shelves from time to time to make sure you are happy with how your “composition” is taking shape.

Renovation Semi-Pros: Winter is a great time to complete indoor projects that add value to your home and provide a welcoming space for your guests! Our favorite is a DIY Murphy bed project that can be completed over a weekend (we promise!). Using materials from any home improvement store, plus a few simple tools, you can add stylish and comfy extra sleeping spaces that don’t take up space all the time. This is also a great project if your old futon/hand-me-down guest bed/blow-up mattress is no longer cutting it!

DIY or Not: Great tools to use: A paint spinner is used to clean paint brushes and roller covers using latex paint. After rinsing the brush or roller in water, you pump the handle of the tool and its spinning motion removes the excess into a 5-gallon bucket. For a paintbrush secure its handle in the clamps of the tool; a paint roller slides over the drum. The spinning motion forces the paint to splatter into the bucket The water and paint are released as you pump the tool. It works like a kid’s spinning top toy or a wet shaggy dog shaking itself to get dry. By using the spinner you can invest in good brushes and covers that you can reuse for years to come.

A basin wrench is a specialty plumbing tool designed to install or remove a faucet which can be difficult in the tight confines under a base cabinet. The tool lets you loosen the nuts that hold the faucet onto the sink and reach the faucet nut, which is not easy to do with a regular wrench.

Kravelv: Favorite DIY project: That would probably be interior painting. Colors can certainly affect anybody's mood. And picking the right one for each room is certainly a must. For instance, you can paint your bedroom any shades of blu,e for it gives soothing feelings and is said to slow the heart rate according to experts. And the fun part is that you can do it with your kids.

Most essential DIY tools: That would be paint sprayer, paint and paint tape. I don't know if it's just me but whenever I start a project, I usually look for these three items. It seems to be a part of every project. Most common mistakes you see in beginner DIY'ers: That would be using the wrong tools for the job and too much improvisation. The recipe for a successful project is that you stick with the plan, use the correct tool and do not go overboard.

Originally published on Redfin by Ryan Smith