With Christmas just around the corner, why not consider making home improvements that decorate for the holidays and last for the entire year? One of my favorite improvements is to add exterior lighting that you can deck with light strings, vines, wreaths or bows. But this year, put in doorway lamps, entry overhangs, walkway lighting, and planter lights that use energy efficient LED bulbs. If you live in a cold climate, install ENERGY STAR fixtures that are made precisely for service in temperatures below zero.
Kichler produces an attractive, ENERGY STAR-rated flush-mount lantern. It's priced under $150 online. Install it, drape a clutch of evergreens around it and you have instant holiday flair, plus long-term value. You can complete home lighting projects all-year-round, in most weather conditions.
Yuletide doors and windows
Time for a new front door? Exterior doors with foam insulation cores can keep your home well-protected from heat loss, sweeping arctic air and exterior noise all year long. Whether you choose a wood door or metal door with a wood facade, choose one that meets the ENERGY STAR rating for your climate. Now hang a huge, round, gorgeous wreath on it and your home looks inviting.
If you love holiday window silhouettes or scenes, consider using eye-catching ribbon, window jewelry, or backing with vintage linen. Clear glass ornaments hung inside the window look great from the outside, and they cast columns of warm light around the inside of your rooms. If you have a row of windows or a large picture window, attach small wreaths across in a horizontal pattern.
Consider creating a winter window box. Spruce tips, juniper boughs, rose hips, pinecones or crabapples will hold up great through the winter, and your new window box will be ready to accept spring plants when the cold months pass.
Landscaping and more
Pre-potted evergreens, walkway lanterns, and ornaments can really cheer up the yard. Statues don't have to echo the Christmas theme. Animal sculptures, bird baths and glazing ball stands can serve all year long. But for now, add lights, Old World ornaments, wreaths, ribbon wraps, or pinecones.
Perhaps the best part of installing home lighting, planter boxes and walkway accessories this time of year is that you won't have a huge job taking them down and finding a place to store them for 11 months! Remove the draping and string-lights, and your project continues to improve your home the rest of the year.