How to work with cabinet designers

Flipping through your favorite architectural and home design magazines is a great way to find kitchen cabinet styles you like. But when it comes to actually executing those styles in your own kitchen … it can be a whole different story.

For most homeowners, this means that finding a professional custom cabinet designer becomes paramount. Custom cabinet designers know all the ins and outs of cabinet materials, styles, finishes, and layouts. They’ve put in loads of studying and training hours, and many of them are even certified by the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association).

If you’ve recently made the decision to update your kitchen, a custom cabinet designer will make a world of difference in the outcome of your project.

Below, we’ve outlined how to get the most out of this relationship and be rewarded with the kitchen of your dreams in the end!


Step 1:

Find the perfect custom cabinet designer

Start by locating a Plain & Fancy designer and showroom. Plain & Fancy has numerous showrooms around the nation, and we’ve made it simple to find the one that’s closest to you. Simply head to our Dealer Locator page and enter your zip code.

Once you have a list of certified dealers and designers in your area, we recommend calling around and visiting a few available designers before making your final decision. Often, once you meet with a designer in person, you’ll know if they’re right for you. They’ll show you their past work, explain their design approach, and possibly even present some preliminary ideas for your kitchen. It's helpful to find someone whom you can connect with to make your dream design come to life.

Step 2:

Be prepared for your first meeting

You can never be too prepared, as they say, and this even counts when designing your kitchen!
While cabinet designers are professionals and extremely knowledgeable, they still need to know what your tastes and desires are. Start by answering a few basic questions. Write the answers on a piece of paper, and bring it with you.

  • Are you changing design, layout, or both?
  • What are your specific goals? Do you need more space? Better areas for prep? Easier-to-use storage?
  • What definitely stays and what definitely goes? You may way to keep some parts of your cabinets/kitchen. It’s best to decide this beforehand.
  • Do you have any must-have details or features in mind?
  • What’s your style? Take our quiz!

This last one is important. We recommend sifting through design magazines and the Internet to find a few examples of kitchen cabinets you love. Take clippings with you, and don’t be afraid to bring things you may think have nothing to do with cabinets. Any finishes, styles, color palettes, or features may inspire something within your designer. Once they get a comprehensive idea of your goals and personal style, they’ll be able to make detailed suggestions and narrow your joint focus.

Finally, keep in mind that the more you plan ahead, the faster your project will go. If you plan on using custom cabinet makers for your final designs, you’ll definitely want to get the ball rolling right away.


Step 3:

Come with an open mind

We just stated how important it is to plan ahead for your first meeting with designers, but here’s one other thing to remember: You’ve got to have an open mind as well.

Your designer has immense experience designing kitchen cabinets. Most homeowners will renovate their kitchen two or three times in their lives. But professional designers design multiple kitchens every few weeks. Furthermore, they’ve been trained in the art of kitchen design. They’re familiar with all the latest trends and understand the optimal materials and designs for various settings and tastes.

If you have a strong idea of what you want, great! But just remember to listen to new ideas too. You never know what a clever custom cabinet designer might come up with to spark your interest.


Step 4:

Know your budget (with some flexibility)

Whether you’re just remodeling your cabinets or you’re renovating your entire kitchen, this is a lifetime investment. As such, you’ll want to choose wisely the first time — with quality designs, finishes, and materials. Moreover, you’ll want to have options that you can grow into, such as useful cabinet accessories and functional storage.

Your cabinet designer is going to want an idea of your budget from the get-go. So, without a doubt, this is something you’ll want to think hard about and nail down. At the same time, just as you should have an open mind about design and structural elements, remember to leave some wiggle room in your spending as well. You’ll want to make sure you're getting the most out of your new dream kitchen because now is truly your chance to dream big.


Step 5:

Remember that patience is key

It would be amazing if we could snap our fingers and have our home projects finished at once! However, quality design takes time. Even if you’ve put in extra prep time on your own, weeks may go by between your first design meeting and the time when your designer’s finished your first draft. It could be even longer before you’re finally “breaking ground” on your new kitchen.

With this in mind, remember to keep yourself mentally prepared for the wait. It could be a long process, but having patience will make the entire experience more pleasant. It will also make your working relationship with your cabinet designer more relaxed and enjoyable.

So, are you ready to get started on your new kitchen cabinet plans? Don’t forget — your first step to working successfully with a custom cabinet designer is locating one! If you’re in the Schaefferstown area, feel free to visit our local Design Center. Otherwise, go here to find a showroom close to you.

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