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

Make the Most of a Small Backyard

Stretch a little square footage into a lot of room for outdoor living with these budget-friendly ideas. We'll show you how to make the most of limited outdoor living space.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Capture the Widest View

      Positioning an outdoor room against the house isn't always the best choice, especially if a section of your home or plantings obscure your yard's most expansive view. Instead, locate sitting areas so they provide a clear view of your yard's longest dimension.

    • Add a Change in Elevation

      Steps or small platforms are a subtle way to create multiple outdoor rooms in a tight space. Increase the visual separation by changing flooring materials between rooms.

    • Simplify Your Plantings

      Part of living large means enjoying your outdoor retreat to the fullest, and that means spending less time on chores such as watering and weeding. Put low-maintenance plants in containers 2-3 feet tall so they can be moved easily, and they'll create instant privacy.

    • How to Paint Flower Pots

      Watch and learn how to turn ordinary clay planting pots into works of art with masking tape and spray paint.

    • Use Small-Scale Furniture

      Pieces with thin frames and petite bodies make a small space feel roomier. Compact bistro sets are perfect for a garden corner or porch. Built-in benches can multitask by maximizing seating and storage in a minimal space. Also, comfy outdoor living requires shade, so make sure to include a sun umbrella, canopy, or pergola above any seating area.

    • Keep the Color Palette Simple

      Keep the outdoor decor and container plantings simple. Having too many accents and different types of plants can make a small space feel disorganized. Select a few colors and accessories and carry the theme from room to room.

    • Keep It Clear

      Keep an outdoor structure uncovered to increase the sense of space. Instead of draping a pergola in climbing roses and vines or closing it in with walls, keep it open so the space feels bigger and yard views remain intact.

    • Light It Up

      Lighting plays a major role in how a space feels, so incorporate both task and ambient lighting to create the mood you want and to provide the amount of light you need.

      Money-Saving Tip: Rather than purchasing expensive lighting that requires installation, light your deck with affordable candles, torches, or solar lights. You can tuck them into planters, hang them from latticework, or install them around the perimeter of a deck so they won't take up much space.

    • Construct a Vista

      An intriguing architectural detail, such as a trellis, arbor, or statue, at the end of your property adds an instant attention-getter, taking the focus away from the yard's small proportions.

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      Create Ambience

      You might not have room for a fire pit, but you can still give your outdoor room a cozy ambience with a tabletop fire bowl.

      DIY Project: To make this bowl, place a 13-ounce can of clean-burning gel-alcohol fuel in a 10-inch-diameter terra-cotta container. Surround the can's bottom and sides with recycled glass.

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      Add Soothing Sound

      Don't have the space or budget to include a pond in your backyard? Add the pleasure of sound and motion to your outdoor room with a tabletop fountain.

      Money-Saving Tip: Outdoor sound systems are also a great way to bring soothing sound into your outdoor room, but consider a portable music player that won't cost any money to install.

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      Build in Stages

      If you just don't have the time or money to complete your perfect outdoor room this season, don't sweat it. Complete your outdoor room in stages, focusing on building the deck or patio in one season and outfitting the space in another. Be inventive with room furnishings and splurge only where you can.

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      Next Slideshow Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

      Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

      Use these outdoor fireplace ideas to give your deck, patio, or backyard living room a dramatic focal point. Browse pictures of fireplace designs for decorating ideas, inspiration, and tips on how to build an outdoor fireplace.
      Begin Slideshow »



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