If your kitchen is beyond a minor facelift and requires a complete gut job, using a designers’ services can be well worth the investment – saving you time, money and frustration. A kitchen designer will use planning tools to help you visualize a new kitchen, and they will know the latest building codes, trends in materials and space planning for optimum workflow.
Here are some things you should know before choosing a kitchen designer…
Types of Designers Cabinet makers or chain stores usually have designers on site that may include their design services in the price if you order through them, or charge a small percentage of the sale. This is a good option if you already know what you want and just need help putting it on paper. Keep in mind, however, that these designers will only use materials available to that particular store, so the options may be limited. Another alternative is an independent interior designer or design firm. The benefit of hiring an interior designer or firm is that the choice of materials are limitless. These designers usually work with their own team of contractors and can take care of every detail of the project.
But every designer or firm works differently: some charge a percentage of the total project budget (usually 10 to 15 percent), while others charge a flat fee (which varies depending on designer and project scale), or they may charge an hourly fee plus the mark up on materials (between $50 to $150 per hour).
Know your Budget Going into the renovation, you should know what you want to spend to avoid a disconnect between the plans and what is realistically possible. For resale, it is wise to keep the cost of your renovation between 15 to 20 percent of the current value of your home.
Know what you Like Finding images of kitchens that appeal to you will go a long way in communicating your vision to the designer. While it is good to have a basic idea of the style you like, try to be open if the designer suggests something different – after all, you are hiring them for their expertise.
Research and Qualifications If you decide to go with an independent designer, ask friends and neighbors for references or look on Houzz in the “Find A Pro” section and view their work to see if it suits your style. A good designer will have a list of questions they ask about your style, budget, lifestyle, level of involvement, desired timeline etc. This shows that they are experienced and care about your vision for the space and not only their own. Be sure to ask the designer any questions or concerns you may have. Clear communication will go a long way in ensuring your project vision is achieved.
Settle on a Timeline and Details You should agree on a timeline for the project that works for both parties. Before construction begins, make it clear to your designer if you plan on living in your house through the renovation.
Keep Changes Minimal Once you have signed off on the plans, try to keep change requests minimal. Change orders can be anything from a minor nuisance to a major issue. Not only will they hold up progress, but they’ll also put a strain on your wallet.
Be Patient Renovations are nothing like HGTV: they require time and patience and can take a toll on relationships. It may even be wise to stay in a hotel during part of the renovation to make the process easier for you and your family. In the end, it will all be worth it when you have the kitchen of your dreams!