Texture a wall
Faux finishes have been around a long time, and one of the most enduring is one that creates a subtle texture to a wall, giving it a plaster look from the Old World. While the texture gives the appearance of plaster, the surface is not rough. Some builders are using these finishes in new homes instead of wallpaper because they're a way to distinguish the surface of walls without adding another covering to them.

To apply a texture finish to the walls of a 10-foot by 15-foot room, or about 300-square feet of wall area, a decorative painting contractor will charge $468, which includes the labor and material. You can do the job for $70, the cost of the paint and materials, and save 85 percent. Using a specialty paint like Dimensions Old World Plaster by Dutch Boy, the process involves first cleaning the walls so they're smooth, dull and dry. You make a first application in irregular-size sections and patterns to reduce the possibility of lap marks, cutting in with a brush and then rolling the paint within the sections. Use a 4-inch steel trowel to skim the surface in a crisscross pattern, creating a textured plaster effect. When the first application dries, use the trowel to dry burnish the finish, gently scraping the trowel over the surface to knock off any ridges. Apply more applications if necessary, until you receive the effects you like.

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Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$468 -- $70 -- 10.9 -- 16.0 -- $398 -- 85 Percent