Designer vs. No Designer

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There is age long debate of whether to use a designer or not. I think when you are dealing with a newly constructed house or a large renovation there is no question a designer should be used. But what about those smaller projects such as a bathroom or kitchen remodel? Is it worth spending the extra thousands of dollars on a designer? I think so.

Based off my experience, using a good designer is well worth the money. For an upper scale home, it is a no brainer, but not everyone lives in a million dollar plus house. Most people want the remodel, but the budget is the largest potential constraint on getting what they want.  I have probably witnessed almost 100 kitchen remodels and can say a “designed” kitchen stands out from the rest. I have also seen many good-looking kitchens that did not use designer services. I would say some decent arguments to forgo the services is if you are doing a kitchen remodel that requires little to no lay out changes and a general idea is already desired by the homeowner.  Another argument may be the dIYer or experienced homeowner who has experience in the construction and design industry. However, I still see benefits from using a designer in that case as well. Take my own kitchen for example. I have seen many remodeled kitchens and know the construction like the back of my hand. I am very happy with the results, but I would not consider it showstopper or anything to write home about. Look at the two kitchens side by side. One of them was designed by an experienced builder (me) and the other was designed by a professional designer. Both kitchens cost about the same.

Another example is the use of colors. I could tell you that a light grey would go good there, but choosing from the 1000+ different shades of grey would be anyone’s guess which one is the best. Cool tones, warm tones, neutral tones are all the small details that will make your project stick out from the rest. Here is an example of something that everyone can relate to. I had a dresser that needed to be restored. I knew I wanted it grey, but I wasn’t sure which kind of grey. I consulted with a designer and the recommendation was on point.

In conclusion, I think for larger projects designer services are a must. For just a kitchen remodel or smaller it is debatable, but worth looking at the pros and cons. The question should be asked, “If I spend this extra $3,000 on top of the $30,000 that already is for construction, will I make that money back?” I think if you have a kitchen that looks nice compared to one that people talk for the days to come after seeing it, that in itself is worth it. Your house is more sellable, and chances are you could ask for more money when selling for something that looks nicer.

Example of a kitchen with a designer 40-60k range

Example of a kitchen without a designer 40-60k range