Ask Angie’s List: How can I brighten my home in winter?


Refreshed decor, comforting paint colors and thoughtful upgrades can add a layer of warmth and sunshine to your winter days. These are a few simple ways to spark joy throughout the next few months – for you and anyone else who steps inside your home.

Update your kitchen backsplash

A simple way to rejuvenate the heart of your house? A brand-new kitchen backsplash. The upgrade is both functional and stylistic, injecting personality and depth to one of your home’s most highly trafficked rooms. Research the different materials available to you – from manufactured stone veneer to classic ceramic tile – and decide which color and type will make the greatest impact. Homeowners report paying as little as $600 or as much as $1,350 for backsplash installation, according to the Angie’s List Pricing Guide.

Swap out door handles and hardware

We interact with handles constantly: to close doors, to open cabinets, to let the dogs out and the kids in. But handles are an oft-overlooked design component that can remake a room: Egg door knobs can add a stroke of ingenuity to a bathroom, new cabinet pulls can refresh a dated kitchen, and a unique front door handle can greet newcomers with a pleasant surprise. The price of handles and knobs vary drastically depending on locks and smart capabilities, but it’s a relatively painless home improvement project that can perk up every room in your house. If you need a hand installing new hardware, a local handyman can help.

Apply a fresh coat of paint

The color of a room can influence us in ways we barely consider, including our emotions, our perceptions and even our appetite. Experts have studied the psychology of colors for years – use the information to your advantage! Open a room with an off-white or eggshell color; add accents of a mood-booster like yellow or cobalt blue to your kitchen. Interior painting costs $2 to $6 per square foot, via Angie’s List Pricing Guide.

Upgrade your laundry room

The laundry room doesn’t have to be a cyclone of dirty clothes, missing socks and dryer lint. It’s the perfect place to experiment with uplifting design elements, including patterned flooring, textured wallpapers and boldly colored paint. These days, wallpaper is much easier to apply and remove than it used to be (there are even some solid peel-and-stick options), so your drywall won’t be destroyed in the process. You can find endless inspiration online for the perfect way to lighten up wash day.

Install a gallery wall

A gallery wall is the perfect way to display photos you love and want to see every day. This layout allows you to hang a multitude of pictures in a cohesive design – but the shape, content and colors you use are entirely up to you. Frames can be metal, hardwood or any combination of each. And, you can hang them symmetrically or hodgepodge – whichever formation makes you the happiest. Call in a handyman if you have trouble lifting, centering or straightening your photos. They run about $60 to $65 an hour, homeowners report via the Angie’s List Pricing Guide.

Diana Crandall is a reporter for Angie’s List, a trusted provider of local consumer reviews and an online marketplace of services from top-rated providers. Visit

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