How To Identify An
Expert Kitchen Designer

Save Time, Money & Stress

Four Seasons Kitchens   •   Leeds

So, You’ve Decided You Need A New Kitchen… What Next?

Choosing the right Kitchen Designer is not easy, yet it’s so important that you get it right.

A new kitchen can be a substantial investment so ensuring your investment is wisely spent should be at the top of your list of priorities.

It’s more than avoiding inadequate storage space or misaligned cabinets. An investment in a new kitchen should dramatically improve your way of life. Expect no less.

Choosing the wrong kitchen designer can be an expensive, stressful, and highly regrettable mistake.

Finding A Competent Kitchen Designer

With so many different providers out there, how do you ever find a qualified, honest, competent designer, who has only your best interest at heart?

The aim of our guide is to help you find an Expert Kitchen Designer who will help make sure your journey is stress-free and your new kitchen is exactly how you imagined it to be.

Your Dream kitchen awaits…

The Importance Of Good Kitchen Design

DESIGNING A KITCHEN IS MORE THAN JUST STICKING BOXES ON A WALL.

There are 3 key aspects that must be considered when designing a kitchen. It’s about getting a balance of these 3 aspects below whilst making sure it fits within your budget:

  • Appearance – Do you like how it looks?
  • Key features – Does it have your desired elements e.g. seating/storage/design/technology features?
  • Functionality – Does it do what you need it to?

A Kitchen Expert will consider all of these aspects when creating your design. Although most modern kitchen products offer a high degree of functionality as standard, a good kitchen designer will take the time to fully understand your lifestyle, and then work back to align the best possible solutions that will enhance your way of life.

This approach helps make best use of your budget by including features that will really make a difference to your lifestyle, rather than just the “nice to have” features.

When Kitchen Designs Don’t Work

A STORY FROM AN UNHAPPY CLIENT

To give you an idea of the importance of functionality, here is an example of a client who came into our showroom looking for a new kitchen.

She already had a kitchen design, but felt that it didn’t meet her needs, so we discussed further to fully understand the problems.

The client was a keen cook and had a large open-planned kitchen-diner. After looking at her current kitchen design, we could see that there was little worktop space to prepare food, which is of course, essential for a keen cook.

There were tall cabinets on the near wall which obstructed the view of half of the kitchen, blocking natural light from the window. This made the decent-sized room feel really, quite small and had a huge impact on the natural flow of the kitchen.

With an open plan area like this, it’s important to maximise the amount of natural light and make the most of the space available, so this was something that needed to be resolved.

The Client’s Current Design

Note: These images show the kitchen layout before we redesigned the kitchen.

The Client’s Redesigned Kitchen

Note: These images show the kitchen layout after we redesigned the kitchen.

Kitchen Design Revisited

HOW WE SOLVED PROBLEMS AND ADDED VALUE

The first thing we did was to try and gain more insight on how the client lives or would like to live, in their new space.

Understanding the client’s priorities and functional requirements, we redesigned the new kitchen to better cater for her needs and aspirations.

Taking into account being a keen cook, there is now much more space for food preparation that will make cooking much easier to perform.

The room feels big, bright and spacious, and the flow works much better. Opened up further, it’s a much nicer place to spend time and enjoy her cooking hobby.

Function, combined with aesthetics and being in line with available budgets, is the key to producing the best kitchen design. Understanding where priorities lie will help focus the design in the most beneficial areas.

As budgets are never unlimited, an expert kitchen designer will make sure that all aspects of kitchen design are discussed, ensuring that there are no hidden surprises later down the line.

Assessing Your Kitchen Designers’ Knowledge & Credibility

A Kitchen Expert understands more than just units, worktops, and appliances.

There are many sub-factors that must be considered when designing a kitchen, from how your kitchen is going to look in different levels of light throughout the day, to understanding fire safety regulations surrounding ventilation. Did you know, an incorrectly positioned extractor fan could drag smoke from your chimney around the rest of your house, dragging poisonous fumes with it?

A number of categories for discussion should include:

  • Flooring
  • Lighting
  • Heating
  • Seating
  • Safety & Security
  • Ventilation
  • Fitting
  • Colour Matching

Failure to consider these factors may not only affect the outcome of your design, but will also affect your budget too.

As well as these examples, there are a few other important things you should know about your Kitchen Designer.

  • Are they a keen cook themselves?
  • Do they receive frequent training to use the appliances?
  • Do they understand the qualities of different worktops/doors?
  • Rather than stock imagery, can they showcase a portfolio of existing designs?
  • Can the designer explain similar challenges to yours and how they overcame them?

Don’t be afraid of asking your kitchen designer these types of questions. A competent and passionate kitchen designer will love discussing this with you and you’ll gain insight on their competence and expertise.

Understanding Guarantees

BE WARY OF GUARANTEES, THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS AS GREAT AS THEY SEEM

Below are some standard guarantees that are included with many reputable companies.

Appliances: 2 – 5 Year Parts & Labour Warranty
Cabinets: Comprehensive 5 Year Warranty
Worktops: 10-15 Year Warranty

Look out for guarantees that sound too good to be true – they usually are. When you see a long warranty, make sure you look at what that actually covers.

Under the Sale of Goods Act, the retailer must either repair or replace faulty goods ‘within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience’.  It is often more valuable to know this than it is to have a warranty in a lot of cases.

Bigger Is Not Always Better

ENSURING A PERSONAL EXPERT DESIGN SERVICE

We understand that it can be difficult to choose between the big, national providers, and the small independent retailers. There are many benefits to working with a small independent retailer, the most notable one being that they offer a personal service.

This ensures the customer’s needs are their number 1 priority. Having an attentive, dedicated designer who respects you and gives you time, is crucial when it comes to the success of your project, leaving the chance of error and miscommunication very slim. This is something you are unlikely to find at a big, national company.

In addition to this personal service comes quality control. A small company is able to easily control the quality of work being created by its team. This ensures design quality is always going to be as high as possible and this level of cross-designer interaction increases their degree of expertise even further.

Your Expert Kitchen Designer Checklist

A QUICK SUMMARY TO HELP YOU IDENTIFY AN EXPERT KITCHEN DESIGNER

Exploration – Has your designer asked the right questions to fully understand your lifestyle, aspirations, design style preferences, functional requirements and priorities?

Categories – Have the additional categories that may affect your choices and budget been considered? (E.g. Lighting, Flooring, Heating, Seating, Safety & Security, Ventilation, Fitting, Colour Matching etc).

Budgetary Information – An Expert Designer will ask you about your budget so they can ensure that it is best invested inline with your priorities. Why invest in high-end appliances if you don’t cook often?

Knowledge – Does your designer have good experience in kitchen design and all round knowledge on the subjects indirectly related to the design?

Credibility – Can your designer showcase a credible track record of achievement in kitchen design backed up with a portfolio and testimonials?

Service – Can your kitchen designer demonstrate a track record of excellent customer service? Expert Kitchen Designers can resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

Support – What levels of service does your kitchen designer offer after your kitchen is complete? Understand what to do if something goes wrong.

Bespoke Kitchens

Ready to Talk?

DO YOU HAVE A FITTED KITCHEN PROJECT WE CAN HELP WITH? WHATEVER STAGE YOU’RE AT, OUR FRIENDLY TEAM ARE ALWAYS HAPPY TO CHAT AND OFFER IDEAS AND ADVICE. FROM DESIGN AND SUPPLY ONLY TO A FULLY PROJECT MANAGED DESIGN & INSTALLATION, WE CAN HELP.

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