8 Simple Home Improvements & Upgrades to Do Before the Holidays

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/22/15 1:13 PM

Topics: Home Ownership

The holidays are just around the corner, as are holiday guests. If you're expecting company over the next month, these upgrades are quick, efficient and relatively budget-friendly.


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 guest 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.

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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