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What does your dream home look like?

Making the decision to build a new home is just the first in a series of many decisions you'll make before the house is yours. To get the design phase started, it may help to organize your thoughts in one space so that you have something to share with the architect, builder, design consultant, interior decorator, and landscape architect. Here are a few suggestions:

Create an account on Houzz. The website is "a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community." Once you've established a profile, you can create idea books for each room in your new home, then curate photos, products, and ideas in each book. Your profile can be shared with your design professionals so that you're all on the same page with your vision. You can also search for local pros, read reviews, and ask questions.

Start a Pinterest page. Like Houzz, Pinterest is a visual extravaganza of ideas and products. Search for pins that you like by typing in key words such as "farmhouse style" or "glamorous bathroom," then add the pins and pictures to boards you've created on your page. You can have a Pinterest board for every room in the house, plus additional ones for products, color schemes, etc.

Make a vision board. It may sound like a crafts project, but a vision board can be a very useful way to see your future home at a glance. Interior designers make such boards so that all of the finishes and other design ideas are all in one place. Purchase a large piece of foamcore or poster board, on which you can attach swatches of paint, tile, and flooring, in addition to pictures of rooms that you like and the floorplan. Create a board for each room, or use one that sets the tone for the entire house. Swap out samples and pictures until you feel the board is just right.

However you choose to do it, organizing your design desires can go a long way in creating a home that looks exactly as you envisioned it.

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