The Home Improvement Projects You Should 100% Add to Your To-Do List This Season

Plus, the service you should schedule ASAP

Roaring fireplace in dining area with decorations
svetikd / Getty Images

If spring and summer are time to get out of the house, explore, and focus on the outdoors, fall and winter are time to look at your home, figure out what needs fixing, and tackle those projects ASAP. Beyond just preparing your house for winter, good fall and winter projects make your home more comfortable or more pleasing to spend time in, particularly as temperatures drop.

But where to start? As you’re wondering what kind of projects you’ll appreciate the most—whether because they make your home more secure and comfortable during colder weather or because they increase your enjoyment of your space—it might be helpful to know what projects other people are planning. Enter home services platform Thumbtack.

Thumbtack took data from millions of projects across 500 categories to determine which projects are trending for this fall and winter. (Hint: It’s all about seasonal entertaining and cozy relaxing right now.) To make sense of the data and help pinpoint the most essential projects for this season and the next, we also spoke with David Steckel, a home expert at Thumbtack. Read on for everything you need to know about updating your home in the next few months.

Meet the Expert

David Steckel is a home expert at Thumbtack, a home services platform.

Prioritize Necessary Repairs and Winter Prep

With late fall and winter comes harsher weather. Depending on where you live, you’ll need to perform plenty of repairs and preemptive maintenance (and even winterize your lawn and garden) before winter arrives to prepare for freezing temperatures—and now’s the time to start.

“The idea is to get ready for winter in the fall because we never know when the weather will change,” Steckel says. “It is best to do this work before winter hits because once the temperature drops and people start turning on their heat or fireplace for the first time, a good percentage will have an issue (or even failure), so everyone is going to be calling the pros at the same time.”

Thumbtack has seen an increase in repair projects, with users commonly searching for professional help with appliance repairs, electrical and wiring repairs, plumbing pipe repairs, and roof repairs. There’s also been a huge increase in interest in plumbing clean-up and preventative care, with a 90 percent rise in searches for home waterproofing projects in the last year and even larger spikes in interest for other water damage–related projects. Other top-booked fall repair projects include plumbing drain repairs, drywall repairs, central air conditioning repairs, lock repairs, garage door repairs, and sprinkler and irrigation repairs.

If you think any of those items or areas in your home could use a little TLC, consider inspecting them now to potentially stave off the need for future urgent repairs. These projects are essential for a safe, secure home during winter and definitely shouldn’t be put off.

“At this point, it is really important to start planning projects as soon as you know you have the budget and the commitment to do so,” Steckel says. “You might be waiting weeks or months longer than you would have a year ago to get the materials you have in mind, so I would suggest that now is the time to start any project on your list.”

Try to accomplish outdoor projects first, then turn to indoor ones that you can continue to work on after the first freeze. Planning ahead—whether it’s for a winterizing project or an aesthetic update—is key, particularly as interest in home improvement projects continues to climb with no signs of slowing and supply chain issues make obtaining necessary materials challenging.

Steckel predicts the rise in popularity of home improvement projects will continue. “My bet is on an increased demand for home services,” he says. Try to stay ahead of waitlists and delays by planning in advance, particularly for time-sensitive projects.

If you want to be proactive, Thumbtack recommends coordinating carpet cleaning, pest control services, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, and duct and vent cleaning in the fall. Handling those projects now could save you time and even money later, particularly if they find and prevent an issue that could require urgent repairs if not addressed quickly.

Think About How You’ll Enjoy Your Space This Season

Once the essential projects are taken care of, you can start thinking about what indoor upgrades might help you enjoy your space the most, particularly as you spend more and more time inside.

“Now is the time to start thinking about hosting dinners or having friends and family visit, so this is why we’re seeing such a huge increase in fireplaces, painting, and TV room projects,” Steckel says.

According to Thumbtack’s data, top indoor projects for fall and winter include house cleaning, interior painting, TV mounting, floor installations, tile installations, lighting installations, home organizing, door installations, bathroom remodels, and wallpaper installations—all projects that increase the aesthetic appeal or functionality of a space (or both!).

Fireplace and chimney installations have also grown 83 percent in popularity over the last three months, Thumbtack reports, further demonstrating that people want to make the interiors of their homes as cozy as possible.

Don’t Put off Holiday Light Installation

The number one project Steckel says people should tackle ASAP? Installing holiday lights, particularly if that installation requires some professional support.

“We had a pretty cohesive and thorough list of things that ‘should be done,’ but one item that didn’t make the list that most people think about too late is getting your holiday lights installed,” he says. “There are only a few pros in every area that do these, and they book up quickly.”

If you need to hire someone to climb onto your roof or scale a tree to hang flashy ornaments from, do it quick so you can enjoy your holiday decorations for as long as possible.