Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

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Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

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Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

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Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

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8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

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Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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Popular in Home Improvement

Carpet Cleaning 101

Get your floors in shape for spring. Here's how to keep your carpets looking their best.

Clean carpets can add sparkle and freshness to your entire home. Your cleaning options are more varied that you might think. Here's a quick rundown.

Now's the time to get your carpet in shape.
  • Own up to it. If you have light-colored carpets and a house full of kids and pets, you may want to purchase your own carpet cleaning system to battle dirt regularly. Ranging from about $80 to $400, home cleaners can actually save you money in the long run compared to hiring a professional when your carpets look dirty. Remember, however, that home units don't have the cleaning power that professional models do.
  • It's all wet. Most home cleaning systems are water extraction units (also called steam cleaners), that inject a solution into the pile. The dirty solution is then pulled back into the machine. To avoid the hassle of dragging a hose around the house, opt for models that do not require a clean water hookup. Also, choose machines with the most powerful motors to ease extraction. When using a steamer, do not overwet the carpets. Overwetting can damage the carpet backing and underlayment causing shrinkage, discoloration, and odor.
  • The dry approach. Other home cleaning systems use the dry extraction method. These machines require spreading a dry absorbent compound over the carpets before vacuuming with the cleaning machine. Although they usually work better than home steamers, dry machines and chemicals are more expensive than steamers and wet extraction solutions.
  • Arrange a rental. Most grocery stores and rental centers rent professional-quality wet extraction cleaners that are more powerful than home units. At about $20 for a rental, plus the cost of cleaning solutions (shampoo, defoamer, spot removers, odor removers, etc.), rental machines can quickly become pricey.
  • Choose a cleaning pro. With professionals, you'll also need to choose between steam and dry cleaning. Each method -- if handled by a qualified professional -- should do a good job. Not only do professionals have far more powerful equipment than you're likely to buy or rent, they offer stain-removing know-how that you really need. Prices may vary dramatically for essentially the same service, so shop carefully.

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