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Everything You Need to Know About Working With a Kitchen Designer

With the average major kitchen overhaul costing homeowners tens of thousands of dollars, it’s no wonder that 85 percent of kitchen renovators turn to a professional for help in ensuring that their money is well spent. In many cases, that professional is a kitchen designer. A kitchen designer can take the sometimes overwhelming task of revamping a kitchen — whether it’s updating tired finishes or reimagining the entire look and layout of the space — and help homeowners navigate the process. But how can homeowners know they’ve picked the right designer? Or are asking the right questions? Or are investing in the right places? Here’s a breakdown of what potential renovators can and should expect when they hire a kitchen designer.


When and Why You Should Consider Hiring a Kitchen Designer

Specific kitchen designers’ services vary, but generally these professionals guide the homeowner through the kitchen design process, from initial consultation to installation. Not every upgrade necessarily calls for a kitchen designer. Paula Greer, senior designer at Bilotta Kitchen & Home in New York, says an interior designer or other design pro can help with minor changes such as replacing a countertop or backsplash. It’s when new cabinets and other big-picture elements come into play that a kitchen designer can really make life easier. “A kitchen designer is going to have a background that other people — architects, interior designers — aren’t going to have because they specialize in kitchen cabinetry and the functionality of the kitchen cabinetry and how everything fits together,“ Greer says. Kitchen designers also can help homeowners look at their kitchens with fresh eyes, suggesting new layouts, appliance configurations and room plans the homeowner may not have considered. Kitchen designers typically are familiar with the latest products and trends, can recommend (and potentially later manage) reputable subcontractors and suppliers and often can even help with details such as product warranties, Jennifer Gilmer of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath and the author of kitchen design book The Kitchen Bible, says. While investing in an independent kitchen designer’s services instead of going it alone or working with a customer rep at a big-box store can be pricier, a good kitchen designer also will be well versed in spending where it counts and making your dollars go further. “Regardless of who designs the kitchen, it’s an expensive undertaking,” Gilmer says. “If a client is going to spend the money to remodel the kitchen, then using a kitchen designer will ensure that it’s done as well as possible, both in form and function.”

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