When Should You Hire a Designer?

Did you catch the before photos of our kitchen on Tuesday? I am so eager to get started on this space and fix some of those kitchen annoyances I outlined in the post. Since we bought this house over a year ago, I knew I wanted to change the kitchen but I was always uncertain about exactly how I was going to do it. I would stare at our kitchen from every angle and I never seemed to land on a layout that made sense to me. To be honest, I was paralyzed with indecision and I didn’t really know where to start with such a big project.

Kitchen from Centered by Design

Design by Claire from Centered by Design

That’s one of the main reasons I decided to hire a designer to help with the beginning stages of this project.Claire from Centered by Design

I’ve followed Claire from Centered by Design on Instagram for years now and I was always a fan of her work. She is a designer here in Chicago and her spaces are always chic, yet cozy and attainable! When to hire a kitchen designer

Design by Claire from Centered by Design

Because I love her design aesthetic, work ethic, and personality, I knew she would be a great fit to help me with our kitchen.

Help With LayoutWhen should you hire a kitchen designer?

I am all about saving money where I can, but I know that sometimes it’s worth it to hire a trained professional. This was one of those instances. I am not a trained interior designer and therefore, I don’t have the skills or knowledge to draw up technical blueprints or renderings that are vital to a kitchen renovation. Hiring Claire and her team was well worth it for me.

For example…what’s the standard distance between an island and a perimeter cabinet? I have no clue. Is it okay to remove a window and replace it with a gas range? Again, I have no idea. What’s the standard cabinet depth? I’m not quite sure. These are just a few of the small questions I immediately ran into when I first started this process. Having a professional to answer these questions was so beneficial for me and I’m sure it saved me money (and mistakes!) in the long-run. Not to mention, Claire came into my space with fresh eyes and ideas about how to make the most of our space.

Create Blueprints & RenderingsMeasuring for a kitchen renovation

When starting a large-scale renovation, like a kitchen, you will need accurate measurements along with specific locations for the new electrical, gas, and plumbing. Claire actually visited our home while I was in the hospital delivering Rory (true story!) to take the measurements of our kitchen! She then worked on drawing up blueprints while I was in the fog of newborn life.Drawing up blueprints

You’ll want to have blueprints of the original space and the new space when you meet with contractors to price out your renovation. I had my go-to contractor come over, look at the plans, and walk through the project with me. He was easily able to see my vision for the space and give me an accurate estimate for the work because of the detailed drawings. Tips for when to hire a designer

Those blueprints are also super important when it comes time to buy cabinets (which is a lengthy post for another day!). I was able to give the new layout and measurements to the cabinet designer and it saved a ton of time while I was working with him.

Do I think everyone needs to hire a designer for their kitchen remodel? Honestly, no. If you’re just changing up the countertops, backsplash, faucet, etc., then it might not be a worthwhile investment. But if you are changing the layout of your kitchen, having those professional blueprints will be invaluable.

Provide Product & Finish SuggestionsChoosing kitchen cabinet colors

If you just want to hire a designer to help with the layout and blueprints, I think most offer those services. In addition, if you need more of a helping hand when it comes to choosing finishes and products for the space, you could definitely have a designer help with that!

Choosing tile for my new kitchenFor me, the layout and blueprints were my main motivation to hire a designer because I obviously enjoy the other parts of designing a room – managing the project, hiring the contractors, choosing finishes, etc.  But Claire did provide product and finish suggestions for the kitchen that were super helpful and eye-opening. (I’ll be sharing more soon!)  If you’re overwhelmed by cabinet styles or have no clue where to start when it comes to lighting, then you may want to ask for help!

Offer Vendor & Contractor Recommendations


Tips to design a kitchen

Design by Claire from Centered by Design

Finally, you may want to hire a designer if you have no clue where to start when it comes to buying all of the products and hiring the right tradespeople to get the job done. Your designer will have vendor recommendations in terms of cabinets, countertops, and more. Plus, they’ll likely have contractors they’ve used and can suggest for your specific project needs. That, in itself, can be a bit difficult if you have had no experience with contractors in the past.

Insider’s Guide to Kitchen DesignTips to design a kitchen

Design by Claire from Centered by Design

Every designer offers different packages and has different prices based on your project needs. However, I think you could expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 or more for a quality designer for your project. I know that’s not in everyone’s budget, especially if you are opting to DIY some of your kitchen.Designer advice made simple

Claire actually sells a Kitchen Guide PDF on her site for $49 that you can find right here! It’s a handy document called the “Insider’s Guide to Kitchen Design” that walks you through a kitchen renovation from start to finish and includes tips on how to choose tile, cabinet terminology, contractor hiring tips, and more! She even has some sample drawings in the guide and one of them shows my new kitchen layout (if you’re eager to see and can’t wait until next week’s post!). Spending $49 to start your kitchen project off on the right foot might be a worthwhile investment for you! Claire offers lots of PDFs on her site that cover all aspects of design if you want to peruse them here. She is offering a $10 discount for my followers. Use the code “DIYPLAYBOOK10” during checkout. And be sure to follow her on Instagram here, as well as her account Designer Advice Made Simple.

Stay tuned because next Tuesday I’ll be sharing the new layout and blueprints for our kitchen renovation project. Can’t wait to share!


Catch Up On Our Kitchen Renovation

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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