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A Year to Home Improvement: September through December

We’re coming up on the end of 2016, and if you’ve been following our Year of Home Improvement series, you’re well on your way to the finish line!

These tips will take you through the end of the year, one month and one project at a time.

September: Get your home ready for winter.
While home maintenance is a year-round task, getting ready for cold temperatures needs to happen at exactly the right time. September is a prime month to prep for winter, when you’re neither cooling nor heating your home.

Have your furnace inspected by a professional, replace the filters and clean the registers.

To better insulate your doors and windows, use weather stripping and caulk to plug any gaps. Consider adding insulation to your home’s walls and attic floor, too.

For the exterior of your home, clean your downspouts and gutters to safeguard against ice dams that can push water under the shingles and cause roof damage. Ensure the exterior venting systems and chimneys are working properly, too.

October: Install a backsplash in your kitchen.
Give your kitchen a facelift by investing in a tile backsplash. If you begin your project early, you’ll easily be done in time for Thanksgiving.

Determine how much of the wall the backsplash will cover, and bring the measurements with you when you go shopping. Then, visit a home center or tile showroom to view samples. There are hundreds of options available, including rectangular subway tiles and mosaic tiles. Choose a style and colors that coordinate your semi-permanent components, like your cabinets or wall colors.

After you decide on a design, purchase slightly more tile than you think you’ll need. This leaves a little wiggle room for mistakes and accounts for waste. Lastly, consider if you’ll do the job yourself or hire a pro. If you’ve chosen a complex style, it might be easier to pay someone to do it.

November: Add character with moulding and paint.
Architectural trim – known as moulding – helps define any room’s style, regardless of your home’s layout. Adding moulding and a fresh coat of paint is a fast and relatively economical way to update the look and feel of your home’s interior.

Replace lower-grade trim with a taller or custom moulding option. For added elegance, use crown moulding around the ceilings in the living and dining rooms.

Create a unified look throughout the home by painting the trim the same color in each room in a color that contrasts with your wall color. Stark white trim is on-trend, but if your house is older, staining the moulding may offer a more original look. We recommend trying a sample piece of trim to see which look you prefer before you tackle the whole room.

December: Organize your closets.
Early winter is the ideal time to clean out storage spaces and closets. You can donate clothing and household items for year-end tax deductions and declutter your space.

Work on one room at a time. Otherwise, the task might get too overwhelming. Divide items into 3 categories: keep, donate and toss.

Only keep clothing that fits, you’ve worn in the last year, and/or has a timeless style. Keep other items, like artwork or books, if you have sentimental attachments or they’re worth the extra space they take up in your home.

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