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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8 Essentials for a Country Porch

If relaxed and informal style is your design aesthetic, take that outside with these must-haves for a country porch.

Country-influenced design holds allure for many homeowners due to a variety of reasons. Some people love its casual, comfy feel, while others have a special passion for vintage items. Whatever the inspiration, a country porch can be a special place indeed -- a repository for beloved items that help to welcome friends and family to a relaxing outdoor spot. If you're hoping to redo an outdoor space or want to add a new lounge area that has the special flair only a country porch can provide, read on for inspiring ideas to help in its creation.

Include Color

Although many country porches rely on lighter hues, some focus on bright pops of color that can be a fun way to integrate focal point hues. If you've got a rustic table, surround it with primary-color chairs, for example, as a way to provide contrast and warmth.

Pick Your Plants

Certain flowers and foliage -- hydrangeas and daisies to name just two -- have a rustic, romantic appeal that's perfect for country porches. If you have a country porch that backs up to an established bed, consider including containers with plants that exude a relaxed, colorful feel. If you have space to establish a new planting area, try using plants with soft lines that are more appropriate for a country porch.

Add Vintage Elements

No country porch would be complete without a repurposed element or two -- either a vintage hand-me-down or a flea market find. Look for metal chairs, wood tables, signs, and other accents to include in your country porch collection.

Embrace the Eclectic

Part of the country porch design aesthetic is blending items that wouldn't typically go together. Try a contemporary coffee table, for example, with an oversize sofa and found side table. Complement it with blooms in rustic galvanized containers and an old sign to complete the country porch look. Or, around an outdoor dining table, supply mismatched chairs in metal and wood.

Get Comfy

By its nature, any country porch invites rest and relaxation. To do that, it must include items that encourage longer stays. So, stash extra pillows and throws in a basket. If budget allows, consider including an outdoor fireplace. Opt for oversize cushions on wicker chairs, and supply a large surface, courtesy of a reclaimed table, for drinks and meals.

Focus on Fabric

Fabric offers a great way to integrate pattern, color, and even a little texture into a country porch. Feel free to mix-up motifs -- gingham with floral, for example, and a striped rug. To establish commonality, carry one hue throughout your selections. Fabric also supplies a good way to break up big pieces of furniture -- think an oversize sofa accented with throw pillows.

Don't Forget Lighting

Pillows, throws, rugs, furniture, tables: You may think you're all done creating a country porch, but lighting plays an integral part in an outdoor space's overall design. For a country porch, think about adding the curving arms of an oversize chandelier, or the pastel hues of a pretty portable lamp.

Include a Little Romance

Unlike contemporary or traditional outdoor spaces, country porches offer a little freedom for homeowners to include those special extras that add charm and allure. In place of ordinary rolling shades to screen the sunshine, consider sheer, flowing drapery panels. Poufs or throw cushions encourage casual gathering, lanterns boost ambient light, and outdoor table linens can supply a final, perfect finish.


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