I'm certainly not above putting together a shameless plug for my profession, which is exactly what I'm going to attempt doing here. The blog world is home to many designers who are valuable sources of information--from the best design tutorials, to vast libraries of beautiful images, to amazing color advice and wonderfully written design and lifestyle advice. Design bloggers who are also in the business of producing good designs all have one thing in common--they've established themselves as experts in their field, and their work speaks to their talent and ability. I can almost guarantee that there's been no shortage of hard work and perseverance that has gotten them to where they are! As a designer myself, I've worked hard to get to this place, and will continue working even harder to make sure that my clients get the best designs I can produce for them. That said, here are my thoughts on why kitchen designers are a valuable and worthwhile tool when it comes to planning and designing your dream space.
1. It will save you thousands.
A complete kitchen or bath overhaul is not cheap, regardless of how you look at it. Imagine then, spending even more than you originally planned due to costly mistakes that could have been avoided? I've seen floor plans that look and function like a maze, trendy color and style choices that are completely wrong for the period of the home, incorrectly sized appliances, mis-aligned window placements......just to name a few things. Rather than stumble solo through the process and spend the money to end up with a final product that is less-than-expected (and encounter mistakes and re-dos in the process), hire a professional to guide you through every step. Kitchen designers are often extremely detail-oriented and particular people. They are able to ask important questions that you wouldn't have thought of on your own, and plan a space that is perfect for your home, your needs and your lifestyle. A good designer will have product knowledge that is up to date, and be able to educate you on your preferences and choices. Additionally (and I certainly don't speak for everyone out there), many kitchen designers also represent the distributors of cabinetry, countertops and appliances, and may credit you back the design fees if you purchase through them. This fact alone makes it worth hiring a kitchen designer to be involved in the initial planning phases, design and implementation of your project.
2. You need someone bring reality to your dreams.
Kitchen/bath overhauls are expensive, and more often than not, people are floored when the actual numbers and estimates start trickling in. For this reason, it is so valuable to have someone who understands where your budget is, and can help you navigate through the financial piece. In my career, I've seen people massively cut corners when they discovered that their "dream" space was way over budget, only to be disappointed in the end when they realized that they gave up quality and longevity just to get the project done. I've also seen people become very discouraged when they over-design their space and realize that they can't afford what they want to put in. A good designer will have an understanding of what you want to achieve with the budget you have, and be realistic, honest, and up front if your dreams aren't aligning with your cash flow. Also, by hiring someone with a detailed knowledge of cabinetry construction, materials and product choices, you may be pleasantly surprised when that person can design a project that will give you the look and quality (I'm big on quality and product longevity) you want at a manageable price point.
3. You will add function AND style.
I'm all about "form follows function" when it comes to designing a working kitchen, but why conquer just the function piece when a kitchen designer can also help you gain a ton of style. A good kitchen designer will be familiar with various home styles, and be able to provide a design that functions well, and works beautifully and harmoniously within the existing space. Often (but not always, so be careful) a designer will have the product knowledge, industry experience and design background to bring an element of style to your space. You have control over who you choose to work with, so do your research to ensure that you're working with someone who fits your style and aesthetic.
Whew. Well, that's a lot of information in one post. Almost too much for one post, so I'll stop there. Look for part 2 of this post--there's still a lengthy list of reasons to seek out a professional kitchen designer--it could (and should) pay off!