Professional Designers Provide Best Results for Kitchen or Bathroom Professional Designers Provide Best Results for Kitchen or Bathroom

Planning a kitchen or bathroom project can be a fun and exciting endeavor to undertake, but it is also a very complex job. There are a number of items to consider, including layout, style, materials and products, safety issues, and building codes. To ensure that the job is done right, seek the assistance of a kitchen or bathroom professional. A professional can help with design, product selection and installation. Also, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the use of quality products combined with the services of a professional can yield an 85 percent to 120 percent return on the initial investment.

Why Choose a Professional?

A professional designer has access to the kitchen and bathroom planning guidelines, as established by the NKBA. The guidelines play a crucial role in making your kitchen or bathroom both functional and safe. They outline the required amounts of counter space, how and where appliances or fixtures should be positioned, how much cabinet space should be allotted, safety considerations, and other significant design elements.

According to NKBA's 2000 President Stephanie Witt, CKD, CBD, professional designers are trained to identify the specific needs of the client and to provide design expertise and creative solutions that will enhance the aesthetic beauty of the room, as well as its function. Their experience has taught them to detect potential problems that might be overlooked by someone who does not specialize in kitchen or bathroom design.

For example, the correct use of the appliances is imperative to the success of a kitchen project. "A kitchen specialist would understand the requirements of the client and the limitations of the structure, preventing any problems with location or function," said Witt.

Finding a Professional

Now that you have decided to enlist the help of a professional, you will need to know where to go. You can find a designer by looking in the Yellow Pages, getting referrals from family and friends who have had similar work done, or contacting the NKBA.

According to Witt, many remodelers, designers and architects work on kitchen and bathroom projects, but you should take into account that they may be involved in many other areas of design, including building design, commercial interior design, deck design, etc. Although they have experience with kitchen and bathroom design, it is not their primary area of expertise.

"Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom will enhance the value of your home. However, a good-looking room that still does not have enough counter space, efficient work flow or sufficient storage components is of little value to the homeowner," explains Witt. "It is beneficial for the homeowner to choose a professional who practices kitchen and bathroom design on a daily basis, someone who is familiar with planning and space requirements and has valuable knowledge about products as well."

What to Expect From a Professional

The first meeting with a professional most likely will be at his or her showroom or office, which offers an opportunity to view displays and observe the operations of the business. At this time, some important items will be discussed, including:

  1. How the kitchen or bathroom will be used by you and your family,
  2. What type of fixtures are appropriate,
  3. What "style" or "look" you are trying to create,
  4. How much you have budgeted for the project, and
  5. If there are any obvious construction constraints.
"It is the designer's responsibility to create a space that is both attractive and functional," Witt says. "To do so, it is important for the designer to be familiar with your lifestyle, to understand your special needs or requirements, and to identify the styles you find comfortable for your home."


You can best accomplish this by creating an idea file with illustrations of different rooms that you find appealing and by openly sharing your ideas with the designer. This will help to give him or her a sense of direction, a sense of definition.

Another important step in the process is for the designer to visit your home to see the space and take precise measurements. Overall, a professional designer will guide you through the remodeling process; answer your design and technical questions; discuss appliances, cabinets and other product options; and help you make informed decisions about what will work best for you.

According to Witt, a professional will undertake as little or as much of a remodeling project as you would like. If you elect a professional to oversee the entire project for you, he or she can provide all the necessary components of the remodeling job, including specifying products, hiring subcontractors, and working with interior designers and architects on material and color selection.

Although the designer is tackling the bulk of the project, Witt mentions that there are several aspects of the remodeling job that the homeowner can undertake to reduce the costs and take an active role. Jobs like tearing out existing cabinets and flooring, removing trash, painting, and wallpapering easily can be completed by the homeowner.

Financing Your Project

When the project is approved and the budget is established, a payment schedule will be arranged with the designer and his or her firm. Most firms will require 50 percent when you sign the contract, 40 percent at installation and 10 percent upon completion of the job. Some firms also require that you pay a design retainer at the start of the job.

According to Witt, working with a professional actually can end up saving you money on your remodeling project. The experience and knowledge a professional possesses allows him or her to detect and eliminate possible problems and obstacles before they transpire. He or she may discover hidden pipes or vents that could cause a variety of installation problems and costs if undetected. Additionally, a professional's knowledge of design, product and installation can help you stay within your budget.

From Start to Finish

"With so much time and effort invested in the project, it is sometimes difficult to remain patient during the installation phase. Keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to complete a project can vary from several weeks to several months," said Witt.

Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom involves careful attention to layout and detail. By enlisting the help of a professional, you can facilitate the process and be on your way to having the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams.

Reprinted with permission by the National Kitchen and Bath Association

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