What is the Role of a Kitchen Designer

What is the Role of a Kitchen Designer

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Every customer is different and so is every designer. But one thing is cast in stone – the customer’s needs come first. And if you have chosen or are considering the right kitchen company, it should be about what you need, and the style and look you want. The designer’s role is in facilitating the process and bringing your dream kitchen to reality. Both play an important role and bring very different inputs to the table.

Let’s look at the roles first.

The customer

You are buying the kitchen and are the end user. It must be everything you want it to be. Therefore, you define the requirements, the budget, and your personal taste and your needs.

To start with, set the size and budget. Why? These are simple decisions constrained by the space and what you can afford. You may have worked out both before you visited a showroom, but it is time to be specific. Put pen to paper.

  • Size of the kitchen:
    • For a new build, it is very simple. The builder will have provided very precise dimensions.
    • A renovation could be more complex and you may have to think through the possibilities. For instance, will you be altering the size? Are you relocating the kitchen entirely? If you are, speak to a builder who will tell you if it is structurally feasible. You don’t buy a new kitchen every day, so think about what you would like. More storage? Measure the new area as best as you can.
    • Do you have any special requirements? For instance, an extra-large benchtop or room for a little desk.
    • The in-home designer will take the accurate measurements required for the kitchen.
  • The budget:
    • You may not have an idea on pricing of kitchens but put down a general budget allocation.
      • Are you keen on high-end appliances? Make a list.
      • Do you want an expensive feature benchtop?
      • This will help the designer suggest the right options in materials. It will also help with ball park numbers – x for cabinetry, y for appliances and z for accessories.
      • The in-home designer will be able to give you a price once all the requirements are built into the design.
  • The timeline:
    • Put down a date for completion, so the designer can let you know if your requirements can be met within the deadline.
    • It may also restrict some choices if the components have longer delivery times.

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The designer

Now, a kitchen designer is different from an interior designer. The former is a specialist who understands design, material, finish and technology specific to a kitchen.

  • A kitchen is more than just looks. It is about functionality and efficiency. Knowledge of working triangles, material performance and accessories is
  • These days a kitchen is a family hub, making it a high involvement zone. Creating a multipurpose area is best left to the pros.
  • But the big reason for using a kitchen designer is that you can’t move the kitchen around once built, like furniture in a living room. So, it’s important to get it right.

A designer’s role is:

  • To deliver what a client wants, on time and on budget.
  • To offer solutions aimed at addressing problems and enhancing the outcome.
  • To design a quality state-of-the-art kitchen built to last.

With fundamentals out of the way, the collaborative process of detailing the kitchen can begin.

The layout

The most common ones are the L-shaped, galley (or parallel) and U- shaped kitchen. These standard layouts are built around the best possible work triangle (the area between the refrigerator, sink and cooktop). Given the size of the kitchen, the list of appliances and purpose of the kitchen (family hub, entertaining space etc.), the designer will recommend the layout that will work for you.

This stage is the most important intensive interaction between the customer and designer because it’s about putting the customer’s needs into an efficient and compliant design. The more detailed you are, the better the outcome.

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The visual elements

When it comes to style, a picture is worth a thousand words. You don’t need an exhaustive scrapbook –  just save a bunch of images into a file. Choose a colour board. It will guide the designer to the right look. You can provide an outline and the designer will fill it in. For instance, if you’ve decided on a Hampton-style kitchen, the designer can recommend matching hardware – handles and knobs, sink and taps, colour options and finishes.

The designer’s role here is to guide the visual choices and match function to form. The designer will point out if the cabinetry colour is too dark for the space, or if the benchtop won’t flow with the other elements in the kitchen.

Once all the details are ironed out including the power, water and gas points, a final design will be prepared, followed by a final price and a 3-D design. You will be cooking in your new kitchen before you know it!

Designing a kitchen is all about the customer. So be confident of your choices. Use the designer’s knowledge of the latest trends, solutions, materials, and products and translate your vision into reality.

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