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Choosing Your Kitchen Designer

Finding a designer you click with is extremely important because you’re investing a lot of trust in them and you’re going to spend a lot of time together. Get to know the designer and let them get to know you. The more they know about you, your family and your lifestyle – how you entertain, whether you eat in the kitchen, even if you are right or left handed – the better their suggestions will be.

Some kitchen designers are Certified Kitchen Designers (CKD), a designation bestowed by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). The basic requirements for a CKD and CBD (Certified Bath Designer) include a minimum of seven years of practical experience designing kitchens, 60 hours of classroom work along with professional affidavits and client references.

What to Ask the Designer About Their Work

  • Ask to see their portfolio
  • Ask for a list of references and their contact information
  • Ask to see actual kitchen installations
  • How long have they been designing kitchens
  • What is their training
  • What is their approach to the designing process
  • Do they specialize in a particular style

What They May Ask You

The designer wants to know that you are serious about the project, so they will have several questions for you. They also want to make sure that the two of you are a good fit.

  • Where did you hear about them?
  • Have you looked elsewhere?
  • Have you designed/built/remodeled a kitchen before?
  • Is this a new construction or remodel?
  • Do you want to change the floor plan or will you use the same footprint?
  • What do you like or dislike about your kitchen now?
  • How do you use your kitchen now?
  • How will you use your kitchen?
  • What amenities do you want that you currently do not have?
  • What style do you like – contemporary, traditional or eclectic?
  • What is the style of your home?
  • What is your budget?
  • When do you want the project to be completed?

Most Common Responsibilities of a Kitchen Designer

  • Take the measurements of the kitchen or house to be remodeled
  • Create design perspectives and draft floor plans and elevations
  • Create a budget and schedule suitable for the client
  • Acquire the materials and products needed
  • Coordinate contractors, e.g. plumbers, electricians
  • Manage the installation of design elements and fixtures

During the Design Process

After your initial consultation, the designer will come back with a suggested layout or two. Many designers can produce computer perspectives with realistic color and cabinetry styles. If this is available, it will make visualizing the room easier. Now is the time to speak up and make revisions if necessary. Talk openly with your designer; don’t be afraid to express your likes and dislikes. Once you’ve settled on a final plan, it’s time to look at all of the color samples together. Gather the cabinetry, flooring, countertop, backsplash and wall covering samples in the actual room. If possible, keep them overnight so you can see how they look at different times of the day.

Once you’ve decided and approved colors, materials and costs, a final plan and contract will be presented for approval and a deposit or pre-payment. When you’re ready to proceed, your order will be placed.