The key to a nice result from a kitchen remodeling (or new build for that matter) is not the cabinets, the lighting, the flooring, or even high end appliances. It isn’t even the skill of your contractor although having a professional installer dies make a difference.
But the real key and, surprisingly, the least costly part of a kitchen project, is the quality of the design.
You might be a good artist, good at planning or able to use online or purchased design software and come up with a layout you like. You can try Sketch Up or other online programs. They work and they are fun to use.
But mastering some software is not the same as design expertise.
You can go to a big box store and have them draw up a design for you.
On the other hand, you can hire an interior designer, many are skilled in kitchen design although that is not their real expertise.
You can hire an architect also. They can surely create a layout for you. Whether this will enable you to purchase the cabinets you want is unlikely. Architectural drawings are, for kitchens, general layouts usually. The downside is that you could pay $5000 for architectural drawings when you can get truly expert design for a few hundred.
Why is the design so important? Why aren’t your self-drawn layouts enough? Why do you have to pay for design?
If you want professional kitchen design you will WANT to pay the designer. You will WANT to be sure your project is BASED on a layout you love, that your chosen appliances will fit, that you purchase all the materials you need for the design you want, without having to pay for shipping several times. Yikes!
It is called a false economy to skimp on kitchen design. Maybe you save $200 upfront but the cost is much higher to do without professionally rendered drawings.
One thing we know is that if you let your contractor design for you, or if you let him design on the fly (this doesn’t fit so we’ll put it over there…) your new cabinets will not look the way they should look when you are done.
It’s sad but true that even high priced remodels suffer from poor planning. It’s not just how the kitchen finally looks, but even more important, it’s how it feels, how it functions, for anyone who uses it as a work space or just hangs out at a party. Does it have adequate storage for YOUR needs? Do the appliances go where YOU need them to be? Is there a special spot for each which is determined by how you use them (for example, an under counter microwave might be terrific for some, not so great for others.)
Enough said. Spend a tiny percentage on your project on design service. Always use a pro. Do not use a contractor. Work closely with a patient professional and end up with a fabulous kitchen.