Create your dream home with the look and feel you desire, while still meeting the needs of your budget and lifestyle.

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Q: We want to turn our recently purchased home into the home we see in our heads. Any tips on handling interior design?

A: You’ve just bought a home and the excitement is high. You also have a vision in your mind of what you want it to look like. But how do you turn the corner from imagination to reality, creating your dream home with the look and feel you desire, all while meeting the needs of budget and lifestyle?

Jordan Wells, interior designer for Macadam Floor and Design, shares a few tips on how to uncover the design vision that’s right for you.

Tip No. 1: Explore for inspiration

“We highly recommend going on websites like Pinterest and Houzz and browsing through pictures first,” says Wells. “Don’t overthink it, just pick and pin images that catch your eye, that you feel drawn to for whatever reason. Often, there will be a common thread that you can pinpoint later that will help you hone in your taste.”

Wells also suggests visiting model homes. Macadam works in partnership with homebuilder Toll Brothers, and the designers have the advantage of touring these gorgeous homes to gain their own inspiration. Wells routinely encourages her Toll Brothers clients to walk through all the Toll Brothers model homes to gather ideas they might not have considered.

“Toll Brothers allows their clients to personalize every detail of their home, and the models exemplify the possibilities,” she adds. “We work very closely with Toll Brothers, so if there’s something in particular they’ve seen, we can reference that material pretty easily.”

Tip No. 2: Understand your style

Some homeowners already have an idea about what they like, says Wells, but if not, she gives some guidelines to narrow it down. By determining your taste, you can use the style keywords when browsing for specific decor or hardware ideas.

Classic. These interiors use ornamentation, softer textures and patterns for warmth that create a homey feel, and encourage comfort and relaxation. Classic design conveys elegance, order, symmetry and has a timeless feeling that often relates with Old World, European or early American history.

Contemporary. This style embraces the mantra “less is more” and emphasizes line and form that lends to playfulness and energy. This style is smooth and sleek and embraces open space, clean lines, basic shapes and little to no adornment. These rooms are often neutral and can have pops of bold, saturated colors.

Transitional. Transitional interiors embrace the comfort and warmth of classic design and the clean profiles and understated colors of contemporary design. The style combines curves, patterns, and geometric lines with simple and smooth design. The result is an elegant, enduring interior.

Tip No. 3: Think about lifestyle

Considering kids and pets is an important part of choosing a design style that works, says Wells.

“It’s key in thinking about things like hardwood floors, for example, because some of them are more distressed, which can hide scratches from pets. If you don’t have pets, a smoother look might work for you,” she adds. “Also, with cabinets, a lot of people like a white painted look. But you should consider how dirty they’re going to get with kids.”

Tip No. 4: Expand the possibilities of your home

Think about things like home automation, which could make life more comfortable and save on bills. You can go as far as controlling everything from lighting to heating and audio to security at the touch of a button.

Also, consider outdoor living. More and more, builders are incorporating covered outdoor settings that include fire pits, entertainment systems, barbecues and more.

Finally, Wells says that design decisions should be made while considering the value they will add to the home. “Focus on the kitchen and master bathroom,” she says. “Making sure that those are done really well is a smart decision. That’s where you’re going to see your returns.”

Toll Brothers is a member of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.