New wall-to-wall carpeting. (Pratt amp Lambert Paints / March 10, 2014)

Whether you're replacing old carpeting or covering flooring material, new carpeting is an almost instant makeover. The transition can provide color, texture and dimension to the room and change its overall appearance. Since it covers such a large area, it unifies the space and provides a continuous backdrop for furniture.

The choice of carpet styles and grades can be overwhelming, so spend time seeing what's available in your price range at a carpet retailer or home center. Your costs will likely include padding, carpeting and installation, plus an additional charge if old carpeting has to be removed and disposed of. If you're able-bodied, you can do that part of the job, especially if your garbage service will haul it way.

To have good-quality nylon carpeting and padding installed in a 12-by-15-foot room, expect to pay $741, which includes labor and material. You can purchase the 180 square feet of carpeting and rent a carpet stretcher, knee kicker and seaming iron for $500. That's a 32 percent saving.

Don't underestimate the time and energy it takes to prepare the room by removing all the furnishings and vacuuming the floor. If you choose a long-pile carpeting or thick padding, the door in the room may require some carpentry work to shorten it; that involves removing the door from its hinges and trimming off the bottom so it clears the new carpeting.

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

$741 -- $500 -- 4.2 -- 9.5 -- $241 -- 32 Percent