Recognize when it’s time to call in a designer for help. Redesigning any room is a challenging venture, but
redesigning a kitchen poses its own special challenges. Few rooms offer such a vast choice of styles and products and
require us to make decisions that will be so permanent. And
it’s no small matter shutting down the heart of your home to
upgrade with features that may well last a lifetime.
You’re bound to feel overwhelmed at some point in the
process. Your eyes may glaze over as you leaf through stacks
of design magazines or when you size up your oddly shaped
cooking area. Or worse, it may hit you after the work is
done, as you step back to behold your design creation and
spot mistakes that are now too costly to fix.
So when do you decide it’s time to call in a professional?
1. You can’t communicate your vision effectively
Shopping for kitchen furnishings is a time-consuming
exercise, but it can be done. What can be trickier is
describing to retailers the products or overall look you desire.
Experienced designers can help equip their clients with the
right communication tools—from appropriate questions and
descriptive phrases to sample products and floor plans. Or,
you can relax and let the design expert—who knows both
you and the market—present a limited number of product
options to you.
2. A challenging space has you stumped.
Do you have too many doorways? Not enough storage? No
windows? Angled walls or ceilings? If you’re scratching
your head over these complex design issues, it may be time
to call in an expert. They can suggest solutions you may not
come up with on your own, such as adding natural lighting
to a narrow, dark kitchen by placing windows above wall
cabinets—or under them, in the space normally reserved
for a backsplash. If you lack storage space, a designer can
suggest the latest or most suitable options in cabinet design
and storage to help maximize your space.
3. Your head is spinning from too many product
When this happens, people have a tendency to either table
the project indefinitely or make costly mistakes. Why not
seek some guidance from an expert?
4. Temptation is tugging at your purse strings.
If you’ve ever stepped into a kitchen showroom or simply
eyed one in a magazine, you know the seductive power of
a state-of-the-art kitchen. Even the most cost-conscious
consumer may be tempted to go over budget, but a designer
knows what can be done with less.
5. You need personalized advice.
Experienced designers know which questions to ask to
target your needs and lifestyle. Who works in the kitchen,
and how? Is there a height differential between two partners
who’ll be cooking together? Do you love to entertain, or
cook strictly for the family? Are you ready for professionalstyle
appliances and features? The best designers have a
knack for revealing details that can tailor your new kitchen
to your needs.
6. You’re having trouble blending styles or
developing a theme.
Spouses often differ in style preferences, with one leaning
toward traditional styles and the other seeking a more
contemporary look. Finding the right “transitional” balance
can be difficult. An experienced designer can help you blend
styles by using, among other techniques, a cohesive color
scheme throughout your floor plan. They can also help you
develop a period style and obtain products that are true to a
7. You suspect you’re overlooking important details.
A designer will pay close attention to electrical and
lighting—areas that are likely beyond the know-how of most
customers. A designer can also help you make choices in
cabinet hardware and finishes that will best enhance your
If you’re ready to learn more about hiring a designer, the
National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a great
place to start. NKBA designers have special expertise in
design as well as construction, mechanical, plumbing, and
electrical systems, and are certified based on up-to-date
industry education and years of experience