Story by Dakota Murphey – Guest writer
Photography by Various
Want to know more?Contact us
If you're about to embark on a home project, how do you choose the right designer? Dakota Murphey explains
But how do you know if you are choosing the right kitchen designer to work with? Ultimately, it comes down to a bit of research and gut feelings. But as design mistakes are costly, how do you make sure your kitchen designer is one that stands out from the crowd?
Here are nine things to consider before signing on the dotted line.
1. Design ability and creativity
Every kitchen designer you meet will tell you they are the best, but how do you know just how good their design ability is? Find out if your preferred designer has won any design awards. Check how long they have been designing kitchens? Ask to see some examples of their work. Will they be able to show you 3D visuals of any designs they create for you prior to going ahead with any work?
Most importantly, you don’t just want your kitchen to look pretty. Conceptual design can look amazing, but you want a designer with an eye for the practical realities of kitchen life too. It’s worth connecting with more than one kitchen designer to get a feel for the kind of designer you would like to work with.
Also, check the dominant style of kitchen the designer tends to produce. If you want an ultra-modern kitchen, there’s no point hooking up with a traditional kitchen designer.
2. Technical knowledge
Specialist knowledge is important when it comes to kitchen design. Your kitchen designer should have architectural drafting and construction experience. They need to have a good knowledge of buildings and industry trends to bring you a state-of-the-art kitchen design.
3. Product knowledge
Providing the right products and appliances for your kitchen also requires knowledge and skill. Does your kitchen designer work with any particular cabinet makers or kitchen appliance brands? A good kitchen designer will usually have links to trusted cabinet makers and appliance firms they like to work with.
Everyone has to start somewhere, but when it comes to kitchen designers you really want to choose someone with experience when it comes to making such a big financial investment in your home. Ask to see examples of your kitchen designer’s work.
5. The ability to understand client needs
Converting your kitchen dream into reality is the job of your kitchen designer. Be clear about all the kitchen design aspects you want. The best kitchen designers will offer advice and support and guide you to achieve a kitchen design you are completely happy with. Don’t work with a designer if they are pushing their ideas onto you and not listening to what you really want. A good designer will want to listen to all of your ideas and concerns.
Your designer should be asking questions about your living space, your lifestyle, your cooking style, and your kitchen needs. Always remember you are the client, so you can set the terms. Perhaps you have a builder who will install your kitchen for you, in which case you only need a design service, not a fully project-managed service.
6. Communication skills
Having a good rapport with your kitchen designer is really important. Most kitchen designers offer a free initial consultation, which gives you the opportunity to meet with them and find out more about how they work. Use this opportunity to, not only find out about their work, but also get a sense of how they will communicate with you. You should be able to identify a sense of trust, honesty and respect from your kitchen designer. This kind of renovation project requires teamwork between you and your designer.
Communication skills are an important attribute for kitchen designers as they will need to liaise with building contractors, electricians, plumbers and other professionals to get your job done on time and on budget.
You can’t ask for more than a recommendation by friends or family. But don’t let that be the only factor informing your decision. And don’t just look at testimonials on the client’s website 9these are bound to be good). See if you can track down testimonials from other independent sources, or even ask your preferred kitchen designer if you can speak with one of their previous clients. Check if your designer kept to deadlines and if they responded promptly to any concerns.
8. A showroom
Most good kitchen designers will have a showroom with examples of their work. Seeing first hand the types of kitchens they design and build will help you decide if this is the kitchen designer that can bring your dream kitchen a reality in your home.
9. Qualifications and credentials
Make sure your kitchen designer has the qualifications and credentials they say they do. You want to know that your designer not only has an eye for great design, but that they’ve studied and understand construction, plumbing and electrical technologies, and that they adhere to a professional code of conduct.
First published date: 15 December 2017