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The Value of a Kitchen Design Professional

February 16, 2024

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Whether you are a DIYer or someone with no aptitude, a professional kitchen designer can help ensure that the result of your project is safe, efficient, and a joy to use. 

So, you’ve decided that this year’s project should be to (finally!) renovate your kitchen.  Or, perhaps you are going to take the leap and build that dream home you’ve always wanted.  Either way, , you know that you are looking at a significant investment.

Especially in our current economy, it is understandable that you may be wanting to find ways to limit your costs.  And, if you are creative and handy with your tools, the idea of a DIY project may sound like the best way to go.

The simple fact is you may be right.  If “handyman” or “handywoman” describes you, flying solo on a project such as this will certainly save you money, and the results may be exactly what you want them to be.  

Even if you don’t have a lot of construction skills, you may still be able to handle a large part of your project alone.  For instance, if you are satisfied with your kitchen layout as it is, and all you want to do is a basic facelift (changing door styles or cabinet colors, updating your appliances, etc.), much of that can be done relatively cheaply and with minimal outside consultation.

If your project goes beyond the basics, however, you will probably want to get more than just a quick consult.  But even this can go several different ways.  Big box retailers often offer online DIY kitchen planning apps or in-store consultants.  These will be limited in the help they can give you, though.  The online app does not “see” your workspace and will only work with the data you feed into it.  The consultant at the store, who may not be invested in kitchen design but was simply assigned to that “help desk,” will not necessarily know the intricacies or possibilities of kitchen design, and the results will vary depending on the knowledge base and creative juices they are able to muster at the moment. They can get you halfway down the track but not across the finish line.

The other option – and the one that we genuinely argue is better in many cases – is to bring on board the expertise of a true, professional kitchen designer.  A good designer, of course, carefully listens to and incorporates the desires of their client.  But they don’t then just produce disinterested calculations that, somehow, make those desires work.  They are able to look at the project holistically, and create a design that is safe and efficient – AND that their client loves.

Let’s consider a few specific ways that a professional kitchen designer’s expertise would be well worth the investment:


The kitchen is the most active room in your home.  And by “active,” we don’t just mean where you do a lot of your living and working.  We’re talking about the stuff behind-the-scenes:  the electricity, the water, the waste water, perhaps a gas line.  There is a lot going on behind your walls and under your floor.  If not planned well, the results may be more than just inconvenient or annoying; they could be dangerous.

Local governments often establish codes for how your electricity, plumbing and other utilities are brought to or taken from our home’s spaces.  These codes include not just the means of transmission (wire material and gauges, pipe dimensions, etc), but where and how those utilities are accessed by the appliances that use them.  

A professional designer is going to be thoroughly familiar with all of those codes and will ensure that the final design incorporates them so that you can safely and securely enjoy using your kitchen for years to come.


Most kitchens have a defined area into which everything needs to fit.  Sometimes those areas have some interesting complexities:  A corner close to a window or an island or an extra-long primary counter area.  A good designer will be able to figure out the best use of that available space in order to maximize its use.

However, that does not mean that they will just try to cram in as many cabinets as the space may allow.  There are other questions that must also be addressed:  Which type of cabinet should go where?  What will their relationship be to the main appliances?  Will there need to be some customization (higher, lower, deeper, shallower) to make this particular cabinet work well, in this space and for this client? How will each part interact with all the other parts?  

Again, you will be using your kitchen a lot, and it is important that its layout is accessible, convenient and efficient to use.  Otherwise, you won’t enjoy it.

Professional kitchen designers are also going to be up-to-date on different types of hardware that can be employed to help use the available space well.  This does not mean that they will try to upsell you with every potential bell and whistle.  In fact, it may look quite the opposite: that “cool” gadget that was seen in a magazine or in your friend’s kitchen may not really work well in your space.  On the other hand, there may be something else that will work great.  These are the sorts of things that designers are trained to incorporate in their planning.


We are long past the times when we were limited to just a few color and style options of kitchen cabinetry.  On one hand, this is a good thing, as there is an increased potential that we can find something that is truly “our” style.  On the other hand, so many choices can make the selection process a bit daunting.

At a minimum, a professional designer is going to be aware of all of these available options.  They will have access to a wide variety of manufacturers, and will know what types of wood, what colors, and what profiles they provide.  If you want, they can bring samples to you that you can see in the context of your unique space.  After all, everyone knows that what you see in the lights of a showroom or in a warehouse will look very different in the light of your own home.

But a designer can also use their experience to provide guidance for what would look good in your kitchen as a part of your entire home decor.  In other words, they are trained to look at the big picture, and ensure that your kitchen functions well as a part of the whole.

Thinking Ahead

We live in a very mobile society:  Job changes, family needs, or simply internal desires for something new may compel us to completely relocate.  A competent designer, then, is going to find ways to blend your current desires with general trends in the industry.  They will want to ensure that if you have to move in the next few years, your kitchen will be a draw and not a hindrance toward getting a good buyer for your property.

Design Is What We Do

Are you ready to take the next steps in your kitchen project?  Whether you are a hard-core DIYer who just wants a few extra ideas, or someone who wants a professional to manage the job from start to finish, the design team at Carefree Kitchens is here to help.  We have over 200 years of combined experience, designing kitchens all over the mid-Atlantic region.  Give us a call today, and we will make your space reflect you!

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