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Your kitchen is more than just the food-based center of your home. A hub of activity, port for entertaining and altogether-essential room, the more functional your kitchen is, the more valuable it is. As a general rule of thumb, if you plan to do any more than a few hundred dollars’ worth of upgrades, calling in a kitchen designer is a worthwhile investment. Far more than someone who coordinates colors and patterns, an interior designer has an intimate understanding of both the function and beauty of a kitchen. Considering the costs and advantages of hiring a kitchen designer is critical if you’re planning on such a large renovation project.
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Table of Contents
- Kitchen Designer Cost
- Kitchen Designer Cost Factors
- Why Hire A Kitchen Designer?
- Kitchen Design Considerations
- Kitchen Remodeling Prices
- DIY or Hire A Pro?
- Tips for Working with Kitchen Designers
- Find A Pro
Kitchen Designer Cost
When making a basic change to your kitchen, such as swapping out countertops or upgrading appliances, professional consultation isn’t always needed even though it’s always available. In fact, for these small changes, many home improvement and design stores employ design staff who can offer advice and ideas free of charge or for a minor fee ($100 or so on average). These stores may also provide more complete services and in-home consultations for a percentage fee attached to the materials you buy. For these more complete services, expect to pay between $100 and $750.
However, for a complete teardown kitchen remodel, a true, independent professional is your best option. Not only do these types of designers have more experience in large-scale renovations, but they’re much less likely to choose materials or designs according to what a store has in stock. This sort of professional design service costs on average $100 - $200 per hour, with homeowners reporting an average price of 10% of their total project cost. Therefore, for a $30,000 kitchen renovation, you can expect to pay $3,000 in design fees.
Kitchen Designer Cost Factors
The bottom line when it comes to kitchen design pricing is the extent of the design advice you seek and the level of detail you want. For example, on the high end, a kitchen designer starts by speaking with you, sharing ideas and brainstorming. Then, he or she takes measurements and views your space to develop a drawing of the proposed renovation. This may include hand sketches as well as computer-generated 3D renderings, materials, color schemes and more. Then, once you settle on the plan, the designer will put it out for bidding among contractors and oversee the entire renovation and renewal process. This is the level of service that costs 10% of the total renovation fee.
However, as the homeowner, you can decide on the extent of your designer's involvement, opting for plans without oversight, for example, or limiting input on elements like color and material. Much of this depends on your own experience and other professionals working in your home, such as a general contractor or architect. In addition, using in-store services obviously reduces the total price of kitchen design services while still providing you with advice and reassurance that the changes or redesigns will be safe, effective, functional and beautiful.
Why Hire A Kitchen Designer?
Hiring a kitchen designer may seem like a large and unnecessary expense, especially if you’re already spending tens of thousands of dollars on a kitchen renovation. And in some cases, this may be true, especially if you hire a contractor with design experience or are looking for a more basic remodel that uses the same layout or cabinetry you already have.
However, when it comes to a complete overhaul, a kitchen designer fills in the blanks in areas where you don't even know there’s a blank space. It’s really easy to get caught up in the decor aspect of a kitchen renovation, focusing on colors, patterns and materials and losing out on the key element of such an important space in your home: function. A kitchen designer, with extensive experience in designing this room specifically, knows how to present a beautiful and functional space. In essence, if you want a completely effective redesign, hiring a professional is the best way to achieve that.
Kitchen Design Considerations
The main focus of a professional interior designer is to find a way to lay out your kitchen in a way that facilitates cooking, cleaning and prep; add in space as needed for entertainment and dining; optimize energy and existing systems such as plumbing and do it all in a way that’s clean and beautiful. To do this, a designer will not only talk to you about design and look at samples, but will also ask about the way you use your kitchen. Issues such as how often and how you entertain, the size of your family and who cooks frequently will all influence the options that your designer presents.
However, making basic changes to refresh or modernize an existing kitchen, such as switching out products or upgrading appliances, is quite a different story. In these cases, designers inside a store or showroom can help you consider materials and colors for a basic redo of cabinets, floors and backsplashes or even appliances and fixtures. This type of consultation focuses more on budget and decor and less on the function of the space itself.
Kitchen Remodeling Prices
Once your designer comes up with a plan, a lot of work needs to take place. Luckily, we’ve compiled a detailed listing of the costs of the most popular kitchen remodeling projects to help you get a better idea of what you can expect to spend. This includes:
Upgraded appliances are important for the fashion and function of your new kitchen. State-of-the-art refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves and ovens are the heart and soul of your kitchen because they really do all the work. The costs for these appliances range from as low as $400 for a basic dishwasher to $3,000 or more for industrial-grade stoves and refrigerators.
Your kitchen cabinets are probably the first thing most people notice because they’re so large and expansive. While old or worn cabinets stick out, there’s a variety of options and price points you can consider when rearranging this aspect of your kitchen, including refinishing the cabinets you have for just a few hundred dollars or opting for custom-designed models for around $60 per linear foot.
Counters are another major focal point of any kitchen, but they’re much more difficult to refinish than cabinets. Luckily, there are a variety of price points and lookalike options if you can’t afford more premium materials like granite and quartz. As such, the range for countertop costs varies from as little as $7 per square foot for tile to $100 per square foot for certain types of granite.
Considered the third element of the "big three" kitchen renovation materials, flooring options are as diverse as countertops with a range of solutions to fit high-end and budget price points. Opt for laminate floors if you need to save money — they’re available for as little as $0.50 per square foot. On the other end, high-quality limestone floors can cost up to $11 per square foot.
This includes plumbing, gas and electrical lines that you need to add, upgrade or expand to accommodate your new kitchen design. Costs range from as low as $200 for adding an electrical outlet or switch to nearly $3,000 for adding a drain for a new or second sink. In between those values, wiring and light fixture installation costs around $1,000, and plumbing piping will set you back about $1,500.
DIY or Hire A Pro?
While it’s possible to completely design your own kitchen, it’s by no means a straightforward task. There are many elements that may go wrong or end up costing you more than you plan without the help of an expert. In this case, your best bet is to start thinking about your preferences before hiring a designer, and then control how much involvement that designer has.
Tips for Working with Kitchen Designers
Working with any professional in your home presents its own challenges, and being prepared for these challenges ahead of time is a good way to save your own time and money. Here are some considerations you should make before and during the process of working with a kitchen designer:
- Plan Ahead - Know the types of designs and styles you like in order to avoid having the designer take over the entire aesthetic of your kitchen. Gather photos or websites to showcase what you like to help set the tone.
- Budget Appropriately - You can’t have a chef's kitchen on a fast food budget. You need to be realistic about what you can afford and communicate that with the designer right away. Miracles can’t happen on a shoestring, but there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing function.
- Be Patient - A new kitchen doesn’t happen overnight, and there may be delays in both the design and execution stages of your plan. Rushing any stage of your renovation opens the doors to shoddy work along with the wasted time, expense and heartache that come with it down the line.
Find A Pro
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Last updated on Nov 17, 2016