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Aquafarm is exactly what it's named for: It's a combination of a self-cleaning fish tank and herb garden (the plants on top get their nutrients from the fish waste on the bottom)!

The product comes with herb seeds and a coupon for a free fish.

Retail price is $59.99.

For more info, go to www.backtotheroots.com.

www.colorcord.com offers pendant light sets with vibrant-colored cords and sockets that are decor statements onto themselves.

Retail prices starts at $30.

For those who already miss the classic 60-watt incandescent bulb, Phillips has the SlimStyle LED that casts a 360-degree circle of warm light that recalls the style.

And the SlimStyle will last for 20 years!

It's available at Home Depot or www.homedepot.com for $9.97.

Dr. Doormat is no ordinary one; it's antimicrobial-treated, which traps germs, dirt and even toxins on your shoes, thus preventing them from entering the house. How cool is that?

Cost is $26.99.

Visit www.drdoormat.com for more details.

The Nest may be the world's easiest (and best-looking!) thermostat; it remembers the temperatures you like and when you like them, then adjusts itself throughout the day (so cool!).

The Nest can be operated remotely from your computer, tablet or smartphone; just connect it to the wifi.

Retail price is $249.95.

For more info, visit https://nest.com.

Dressing Up a Bare Wall

A trio of intricate mirrors makes limited space more interesting. Try Better Homes and Gardens Florence Mirrors in a set of 3.

Retail price is $19.88

Want a simple gallery-style wall?

Start with something longer at the center, then accent with a mix of smaller frames.

Better Homes and Gardens Frames start from $6.96.

For more info, go to www.walmart.com.

Painting the ceiling a brighter, glossier white than the walls draws the eye up.

More Recent Home Design Innovations

Chip It is a free online tool that turns any image or photo into a palette of up to 10 Sherwin-Williams paint colors.

For more details, check out www.letschipit.com.

The Homestyler site is a fast, easy and free way for drawing floor plans, creating 2-D or 3-D designs for interior and exterior projects.

Check out www.homestyler.com for more info.

Whirlpool (www.whirlpool.com) has a new line of Internet-connected appliances that will let you know when your laundry's done, for example; or change the fridge temperature or work the dryer by tablet or smartphone.

Sherwin-Williams has also gone high-tech with a special formula paint that reduces household odors.

For more info, go to www.sherwin-williams.com.

Decor Idea

A dining room area can also double as an excellent workstation, as can a breakfast nook.

Either area (or both) can be outfitted with storage bins and containers that can easily fit on shelves.

A portable scanner not only cuts down on clutter (some don't even require a computer).

And there are now wireless printers that can be tucked away neatly inside a bench drawer.

Sources: "why we love innovation" by Diana Dickinson, Walmart ad, "curating a cottage" by Paige Porter Fischer and "calm, cool and collected" by Kit Selzer-Better Homes and Gardens, May 2014, "50 make-life-better innovations" by Jennifer Wilson-Better Homes and Gardens, May 2013,

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