Choosing a professional kitchen designer
A kitchen designer is a professional who specialize in the interior design of kitchens and sometimes baths. But how do you know if you need a kitchen designer and what should be asked before signing on the dotted line? Hiring a kitchen designer might be money well spent if you’re considering a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project that extends beyond a basic cosmetic facelift. A kitchen designer can create a kitchen plan that utilizes the square footage you have available in the most efficient way possible, are up-to-date on the latest kitchen design trends, and can often find ways for you to save a little money on your project.
When hiring a kitchen designer, the two primary methods are: 1) purely design function or 2) as a contractor who will handle the entire project from start to finish. If you hire a kitchen designer to simply draw plans, once that phase is complete, hiring a remodeling contractor and getting the project done is up to you. Regardless of which route you decide to take, here are a few questions to keep in mind before hiring a kitchen designer.
Hiring a Kitchen Designer – Question #1: How Are You Qualified As A Kitchen Designer?
Just because someone claims to be a kitchen designer doesn’t make it so. Does the designer have any certifications from the National Kitchen & Bath Association or similar organizations? Have they taken any courses in kitchen design and do they attend industry trade shows and seminars to keep up with the latest kitchen design trends and products? It is usually a bad sign if you don’t see any books or magazines about kitchen design in their office.
Hiring a Kitchen Designer – Question #2: How Much Input Will I Have?
When you hire a kitchen designer, their purpose should be to create a space that suits the needs and desires of you and your family – not a kitchen or bath that just demonstrates their talent for design. A good kitchen designer should take time to find out what remodeling ideas you have, your family’s lifestyle, and even tie their work in with the overall style of your home. Find a kitchen designer who is willing to make your ideas a part of the overall team.
Hiring a Kitchen Designer – Question #3: Can You Work Within My Budget?
The perfect kitchen or bath design doesn-t do you much good if you can’t afford it. Be honest with your kitchen designer about your budget for the project and ask if the remodeling kitchen ideas you hope for are feasible for that amount. Don’t allow yourself to be talked into stretching your budget too far as it can take all the enjoyment out of the project and replace it with stress.
Hiring a Kitchen Designer – Question #4: Do You Have References?
While everyone has to start somewhere, it is usually best if it is not on your kitchen project. Ask how many projects similar to yours they have done in the past and if it would be possible to pay a visit to a few of those homes that are within close proximity. When inspecting their projects, don’t be afraid to ask the previous customers what they thought of the services from the designer.
Hiring a Kitchen Designer – Question #5: How Long Will It Take to Create My Design?
This may only be an important issue if you’re hoping to get your renovation done by a certain date or holiday, but it is still nice to have a kitchen designer who will work with a sense of urgency. Depending on the complexity of the project and the current workload of the designer, most drawings should be able to be completed within one to three weeks.
Hiring a Kitchen Designer – Question #6: How Many Options and Ideas Will I Receive?
Many kitchen designers prepare several plans for homeowners that range across a price spectrum to provide options and a variety of remodeling kitchen ideas. Hiring a designer who will do this is a good example of how spending a little extra money can sometimes save a lot.
Hiring a Kitchen Designer – Question #7: Can I Choose My Own Contractor?
If you hire a kitchen designer to handle your project from start to finish, they will often have their own pool of contractors that work on their jobs. In many cases they choose these contractors due to their reliability and the quality of their workmanship, and the designer may be reluctant to make a substitution. If there is a painter or electrician you have worked with in the past, or your brother-in-law happens to be a plumber, ask your designer if it would be possible to use them on your project during the interview stage rather than waiting until after signing the contract.
Whether you hire a kitchen designer to just draw plans or handle the entire project, it can be a wise investment when doing an extensive renovation. And be sure to research kitchen remodeling costs and their return on investment as you interview kitchen designers so you can be sure to get the best return on your remodeling budget.