Working with a cabinet designer can offer you a variety of benefits, although it sometimes seems like a pretty daunting challenge, especially when you have never worked with one. But remember that a cabinet’s designer first priority is to give you a space that will perfectly suit your taste and needs. With that in mind, you should just relax and enjoy the cooperation between you and your professional.
Sometimes using a cabinet designer is not necessary, especially when you have a space that can be easily arranged with the use of stock cabinets. Usually, though, calling a professional is the best option – granted, it brings the costs up but guarantees that you will be able to enjoy a highly functional and stylish space. Hiring a pro is the only way to proceed if you are dreaming of custom or semi-custom solutions.
Prepare for the first meeting
To ensure that the first meeting with your professional will be productive, make sure that you have some kind of vision of what you want in your mind. Do you care more about the style or the function? Every kitchen must join these two in it, so usually it requires a little of compromising. But if you pick an experienced and creative cabinets designer you shouldn’t feel the compromise too much. Before your first meeting with the professional, you should also analyse your current kitchen space and think about what do you like about it and what could be improved. Think about your habits – for example, buying in bulk, which will mean that you may need some extra storage space. Are you a lazy cook or an aspiring chef? This will help the designer with planning your workspace. Do you recycle? That’s another factor that determines the size and the purpose of the cabinet with the bin or bins. Do you want to use your kitchen for social gatherings and cooking with your friends or partner or maybe you prefer to use your kitchen as space where you can heat up your favourite take-out dish?
Go through interior design magazines and websites and try to find some inspiration. Look at different styles and don’t overlook the details such as particular hues, the look of the hardware, the placement of the kitchen appliances and so on. Don’t stress about creating a coherent and precise vision, many details will be worked out during a consultation with your cabinet designer. Sometimes words are not enough and you just need to express your vision by other means. The best way to give your designer an idea of your expectations is to use clippings from the mags or you just make a folder with your favorite images from around the web. Be flexible, as a designer may point out some holes in your concept or tell you that some of the solutions or materials that you totally love won’t work well in your space.
Select your kitchen appliances
Selection of the kitchen appliances is one of the first things that you need to do before the designer will work on your project. They all have different sizes and colors and their placement is crucial for the entire design. Plus you’ll know how much money you have left to spend on the cabinets. You should also provide some basic measurements of your kitchen space along with the placement of the doors and windows to give your designer a good grasp of the interior. It will be helpful in initial discussions and your designer will take the meticulous measurements later anyways before he or she will talk with you about the specific price of the design.
Coordinate the timelines
Your designer, constructor, and the installers will work at different timelines so it’s important to keep things synced. Be sure though that each of them has enough time to do his or her job well and that they have around 10-14 days as a cushion.
Take some photos
Be sure that you take some photos of all the kitchen appliances and smaller stuff like the faucet that you pick to show them to your cabinet designer. It will give him or her a better grasp of the interior design style that you prefer. Plus it’s always a good idea to take some before and after pictures so you can compare and enjoy the changes in your kitchen.
How to pick your perfect cabinet designer?
When it comes to cabinet design, there is a wide range of professionals who can do the job. Builders, interior designers, specialty cabinet designers, architects, and cabinetmakers are all capable of designing your cabinets. But how to pick the one to do the job? The most important thing is the experience that a professional has. Check out the portfolio of his or her past work and think if those projects are in tune with what you have in mind. Try to contact their past clients and ask about their satisfaction with the final effect and its functionality as well as the sole process of working with this particular professional. And when you talk with your potential designer, ask him or her about their style of work. Try to get a grasp of the person’s character and assess if you feel like communicating with them is easy.
Know your budget
Be specific about how much money you can spend on the project. Be upfront with your designer about it to let him know from the start about what kind of materials he or she can incorporate into the project. Don’t expect the impossible to happen, but if you pick a creative designer he or she will be able to stretch your budget a bit and make sure that your kitchen will be worth every penny that you invested in it.
Establish how many drafts you want to see and settle on a timeline
Working with a cabinet designer is a process and it will require some meetings to perfect your vision. You should be clear about how many drafts of the design you will see before you sign a contract and pay anything. Plus establish some deadlines for the realization of the project. Of course, they must be reasonable and you should always remember that some unpredictable things can happen that will throw you off the schedule. That’s why if you are planning to remodel your kitchen for a big event, you should make sure that you will have at least a couple of weeks in advance to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Also, you should keep changes to the minimum while the project will be already in the realization phase as they will slow the entire process down and most likely cost you some extra cash. Even though it’s always better to change something at that time than to regret not acting and dealing with such construction or design flaw for years to come.
Ask for advice
When a designer will flood you with a variety of ideas, don’t get lost and feel free to ask for an advice. The expertise of a professional is priceless when it comes to helping you with finding what solutions work best for you. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions to gain more clarity, as they say that there are no stupid questions. But asking questions is not enough, be sure you listen carefully and think the designer’s suggestions through. Usually, the designer will guide you through the process and ask all the questions he or she needs to craft a project that will suit you. If you notice some unexpected and creative solutions in the project, you can be sure that the designer truly gave your case the time and consideration that it requires.
Take your time
You shouldn’t pick your professional too quickly and you shouldn’t also rush with accepting the final design. Be sure that you analyse it well and think about if it truly suits your needs. This is the right time for tweaks and changes as later on they will cost you some serious money. Even better if your designer has the tools to create a 3D project which will help you easily imagine the space. Consult with your designer if you find any solutions that you talked about missing – it can be for a reason or it may be just an overlook. A good cabinet designer will try to match your expectations as much as possible so don’t be afraid to express your concerns.
It’s also a good idea to ask for some door and finish samples before you accept the final project so you can see if they really fulfill your expectations. And remember, when the works will be in the construction phase, don’t rush the cabinetmaker as the last thing you want is having your cabinets done in a hurry which may result in some flaws. Custom cabinets can take around two or more months to construct and about a week to install, sometimes a bit more. It takes this much time for a reason and you should stop fretting over if you have made all the best choices that you possibly could have. If you carefully analysed the project and communicated your needs clearly with an experienced professional, you can relax and know that you’ve done all that you could to achieve the best possible effect.
Get two offers from two different constructors
Every designer has some trusted cabinetmakers that he or she likes to work with. You should ask about some recommendations and pick two constructors and ask them for bids. Maybe the price is the determining factor for you and you have a really tight budget, but if it’s not the case, pay attention to the other factors to pick the best offer. Recommendations from past clients, the expected time needed to finish the project and years of experience are all things worth considering. Take your time and pick the offer which works for you. If your cabinet designer is a trustworthy person and a true professional, you can rest assured that he or she works only with the best and whichever contractor that he advises you decide to pick, you can expect a job to be well done.
Do you have any experience with working with cabinet designers? What do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when trying to bring your dream kitchen to life?