It’s important to find a professional kitchen designer who you trust and who can help translate your design goals. They are the person who has the knowledge to create a workable space, with the available puzzle pieces. Here is a cheat sheet to help you get the maximum value out of this important relationship if you are wondering what to know before hiring a kitchen designer.
DOES IT COST TO HAVE A KITCHEN DESIGNER?
Some kitchen and bath firms provide professional cabinet design services as a complimentary service which is included with the purchase of the cabinetry from that firm. Other firms charge additional design service fees, which can be hourly or a flat rate, depending on their structure. Some firms don’t have on-staff kitchen designers and may use independent kitchen design contractors to fulfill your design.
Firms that operate as a cabinet dealer or authorized resellers may also use the cabinet manufacturers’ internal design services and operate as an intermediary between you and them. All options can add loads of value to your project and are worth it, but it’s good to know the differences and which model you are more comfortable with. For more information on this, see Choosing a Cabinet Store.
DO I NEED A KITCHEN DESIGNER?
When using semi-custom cabinets, the answer is yes. Essentially your kitchen designer is the person that puts your puzzle together. Each piece is carefully selected to serve you, fit your space, and align with your budget. If you are curious about some of the traits to consider before you choose or hire a kitchen designer, read The 5 Superpowers of a Kitchen Designer. Your kitchen is a 3 Dimensional puzzle with many items that open and close. One miscalculated error could result in things not functioning well or even colliding.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH YOUR KITCHEN DESIGNER
Did you share your overall cabinet and countertop allowance with your kitchen designer? If not, you may want to consider doing this as your first step. Their number one goal is to help you achieve the best look, for the best price. Helping them with this important information from day one will further help you achieve those goals. Your cabinet designer can help you make important budgetary adjustments and decisions for you, which will ensure you attain what you want.
Allow Enough Time
It’s important to allow enough time to go through the creative process when planning your dream kitchen. This is a fine balance because too much time can also be a detriment. This amount of time depends on each client, the scope of the project and how many approval parties are involved.
A general rule of thumb is to allow a minimum of one month for this planning cycle. This is because your dream kitchen will probably take 2 to 3 revisions to get it to where it needs to be before you order it. Each revision may require an additional meeting and the cabinet designer may need several hours or sometimes days to complete the revision. This allows them to make the changes, re-estimate the project, create 3D renderings, produce the revised proposal, and present the changes to you. Allowing more time is always better if you can spare it.
Just like any good relationship, open and proactive communication is a necessity for success. Keeping your designer in the loop of any changes or thoughts you have about possibly making changes while in the planning phase, is a great thing. Remember your professional cabinet designer is there to help you get the best-finished product and open communication is the only way to get there. Also, batching communication to your designer is a great tip to ensure the best results. Keeping a note on your smartphone with clear concise bullet points with discussion items or required revisions is handy.
Limit the Number of Changes
For well-planned projects and quick decision makers, revisions sometimes aren’t needed. However, for some homeowners, making changes to your cabinet design is important and inevitable. The vital thing is to limit the number of changes, make a checklist and schedule them into batches. Batching allows the changes to be translated, detailed, and processed by your designer in a group, rather than one by one. This avoids costly mistakes and errors, both on the client and design side, as it is easy to miss things.
It is also more efficient for both parties, as this can save you valuable time. If you are paying for the kitchen designer services, limiting the number of changes will also save you money.
Making too many changes can sometimes be confusing for the end user to recall 100% of what the intended and planned result was supposed to be. This is because your cabinets get installed afterwards, sometimes 8-10 weeks from sign-off, making it difficult to remember things later on.
The best way to limit the number of changes is to invest time in the planning phase. This includes establishing your budget, collecting inspiration, working on your “must have” checklist and gathering the necessary requirements for your designer to do their important work. See the Superior Cabinets Getting Started information.
INSIDER QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR KITCHEN DESIGNER
Here are some important and interesting insider questions to ask your experienced kitchen designer while in the planning phase of your project.
Is there anything we’re doing in this design that I’m going to regret? Although this may seem a bit confrontational, not all designers are comfortable discussing things that could potentially be a mistake or regret. This question can open a conversation to see if you are making any decisions that may have greater impacts that perhaps aren’t being considered. Those impacts could affect resell of the home/property, functionality, or may leave you with items that won’t end up being used, just to name a few.
Is there anything in this design that you would add if this was your home? All professional and experienced kitchen designers have a dream list of items and things on their “must have” list. Asking this question may open a dialogue of possibilities and introduce you to things you may not have previously considered.
Have you ever used this before? This is not to see if you are on trend, but more so to understand if there is history with a particular solution, product, cabinet accessory or finish. Designers are always up to solving new challenges and using new things and knowing if it has been done before can help manage your exceptions on how the job will get done. Doing new things can sometimes influence job completion timeframes, as sometimes things need to be reworked on site or possibly even redone, which is perfectly normal.
What’s one simple thing we could change to lower the price? Design is dynamic and if you are at the peak of your budget, this question is great for enabling your cupboard designer to be fiscally responsible with your allowance. There may be different options or cabinetry finishes that are close to the one selected that may be a bit less expensive. Also, removing or revising one detail that you felt was important, could also potentially trigger savings. Kitchen designers are incredible value engineers, so use their knowledge of their product line and catalogue to your full advantage.
Your kitchen designer is there to help you achieve the best outcome for the best price. All designers want you to have a functional and beautiful space that improves your life. Don’t hold back on sharing ideas, communicating, and being open with your cabinet designer. If you would like to schedule a callback or meeting with a Superior Cabinets Kitchen Designer, you can book an appointment online. If you can’t make it to a showroom in Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary or Edmonton, be sure to get in touch with one of our Authorized Dealer Partners.
LOOKING FOR MORE?
Here are some additional helpful articles to check out:
New Paint Finishes on MDF for Summer 2022
New Wood Stains for Summer 2022 – Inspired by Nature
2022 Kitchen Cabinet Trends
Planning A Kitchen Renovation During A Pandemic
Common Corner Cabinet Types and Ideas
Designing for Today and Tomorrow
Ways to Save Money on New Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen Designer Cheat Sheet
Farmhouse Sink Considerations
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