11 Home Improvements & Upgrades You Should Complete Before the Holidays

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/5/16 1:26 PM

Topics: Home Ownership

Let the holiday countdown begin! With Thanksgiving just weeks away, so are holiday guests. If you're expecting company over the next month, these upgrades are quick, efficient and relatively budget-friendly.

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Have Carpets Cleaned

Fall weather, open windows and heavy foot traffic leave carpets infested with dust and allergens that a vacuum can’t diminish. You can rent your own carpet cleaning machine from a home improvement or big box store or have it done by a professional. According to Angie’s List, the cost of the average carpet cleaning runs around $51 per room, though some companies may charge by square foot.

Prep Your Fireplace

Fireplaces are the perfect home feature for holiday ambiance, but they are also a source of major fire hazards. Fireplaces and chimneys are the cause of 42 percent of all home-heating fires. Make sure to have your fireplace and chimney properly prepped before using it this year. Read our preparation steps here.

Install a High-Tech Doorbell

Installing a doorbell like the SkyBell (SkyBell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell, $200) allows you to access your front door, even when you're not home. The doorbell sends you an alert to your smart phone when the doorbell is rang, giving you the opportunity to see, hear and speak to your visitor through the Skybell app.

This device also adds security to your home by sending you alerts when someone is in your doorway but doesn't ring the bell. The live monitoring feature is also beneficial when you're trying to keep an eye on holiday packages that have been dropped at your door.

Add Pathway Lighting

This home improvement is essential if you're expecting holiday guests. Adding LED or solar path lighting will help prevent slips or falls on icy walkways while guests are trying to make it to your door.

Install a Garage Floodlight

One of the downsides of the holidays is the spike in home burglaries. One of the best ways to deter burglars is to install adequate lighting on you home's exterior. Invest in motion-activated floodlights for any entries on the rear of your home and above the garage. The garage floodlight will also help guests find their way inside after sundown.

Prevent Winter Drafts

If your older model doors or windows aren't extremely efficient, you'll want to keep your overnight guests comfortable temperature-wise without spending a fortune on utility costs. Invest in any or all of the following draft-proofing items:

  • Weatherstripping
  • New door sweeps
  • Window film
  • Insulated window treatments
  • Re-caulking windows and doors

Install a Programmable Thermostat

If your home still has a dial thermostat, it's a good time to upgrade to a digital or smart thermostat system. The Nest thermostat (3rd Generation, $249) saves homeowners an average of 10-12% on heating bills and boasts the feature of programming itself based on your temperature preferences. This smart home gadget is a home improvement that pays for itself.

Get Your Kitchen Ready for Entertaining

The kitchen is one of the best places to spend your home improvement dollars. Quick, budget-friendly upgrades include:

  • Adding under-cabinet, battery-powered puck lighting
  • Adding more storage space or places to add seasonal decor by installing shelving above your kitchen sink
  • Creating a backsplash with DIY self-adhesive tiles
  • Replacing cabinet pulls and knobs

Make Your Bathroom Inviting to Guests

Your bathroom is another place worthy of any home upgrade dollars, especially if you'll be having overnight guests during the holidays. After a thorough scrub-down, add simple upgrades like:

  • A curved shower rod for more shower space
  • Apothecary jars to neatly display necessities like cotton balls, q-tips, etc.
  • "Guest" towels, ones you only set out when you have company
  • A new, low-flow showerhead to cut down on water usage


Not necessarily a home improvement project but now is a great time to bust down on all of the belongings you've acquired over the past year, especially if your home is going to be the spot for family get-togethers and gift giving.

Now is a great time to make room for new clothes, toys, kitchenware, etc. Separate items you're parting with into three separate piles: donate, throw or sell. Make a drop-off to your local thrift store and utilize Craigslist and social media to sell items you have duplicates of.

Power Wash the Exterior

Take advantage of one of the last warm days of fall and pay attention to your home’s exterior. Washing siding will not only make your curb appeal radiant but will also help prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Just make sure to check with the manufacture guidelines of your siding to make sure you are using the proper power and tools to do so.

Interested in making larger home improvements over the holidays? Download our free Rehab & Construction Guide for options that allow homeowners and homebuyers to combine the costs of remodeling with their mortgage.

Download: Rehab & Construction Guide

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