You’ve finally decided it’s time to say “goodbye” to those laminate countertops and that puny white refrigerator. Here’s how a professional kitchen designer can help make the kitchen you’ve envisioned come to life.


From a design and build perspective, kitchens are typically more complicated than the other rooms in the house. Planning one involves plumbing, electrical, and sometimes gas lines; appliances, fixtures and lighting, work and storage areas. We spend more waking hours in our kitchens than anywhere else. And because they are so often the central gathering spot for family and friends, we may expect them to be showhouse-beautiful to boot.

There’s a lot at stake when you’re designing a kitchen. So before you click “complete order” on that built-in range or designer backsplash, consider this: Do you really want to go it alone?

The Advantages of Getting a Kitchen Designer

Hiring a pro to help with your kitchen design doesn’t mean relinquishing control of your new-kitchen dreams. It means putting those dreams in the hands of someone who can help you realize them effectively, efficiently, and with style. A recent study by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) of consumers who had remodeled or who are currently remodeling their kitchens revealed that 54% had used a designer. While a simple cabinet swap, appliance change or cosmetic makeover can be easily handled on your own, it’s worth considering a kitchen designer for a major remodel. Hiring a professional designer can save you money on the total cost of the remodel and help you build the kitchen you envisioned.


Finding the Right Kitchen Design Professional for Your Project

Architects, interior designers, and kitchen designers all design kitchens. If you’re already working with an architect or interior designer on your home project, you may choose to have that person design the kitchen as well. Design-build firms, which handle both design and construction tasks, can also be counted on to design kitchens.


A Certified Kitchen Designer

If it’s just the kitchen you’re working on and want top-notch guidance, you’ll get the most expertise from an NKBA-certified designer. The organization’s designations, which include Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD), Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) and Certified Bath Designer (CBD), require five years of full-time design experience as well as knowledge of construction, mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems. Certified kitchen designers must complete a professional development program, pass an exam, and maintain their certification by meeting continuing education requirements. A Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD) is a highly experienced designer with additional educational and professional credits.

A kitchen designer with that knowhow can help you make the most of your kitchen with an efficient floorplan, good lighting, ergonomic features, smart storage and a pleasing design. He or she can advise you on materials and appliances, and work with suppliers and your contractor to see the project through quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.

Contractors and Retailers

There are less expensive options. A contractor can offer advice on your new kitchen, but unless there’s a dedicated designer in the firm, the big decisions (gulp!) will be up to you. Likewise, your local home improvement store or cabinet dealer will likely offer the services of an in-house designer along with your purchase or for a nominal fee. In many cases, that person will be able to help you arrange and fit your cabinetry, but may not be able to assist in other areas, such as lighting or appliances. Unless they are specially trained, any structural reconfigurations will also likely be beyond their expertise.