Learn About the Kitchen Designer Job Description, Salary, and Requirements.
What Does a Kitchen Designer Do?
In this profile, we’ll break down the Kitchen Designer job description, salary, requirements, and more. There is an old adage that goes something like “The party always ends up in the kitchen.” The kitchen has become the hub of activity for most homes. Whether it is the gathering place for the family at the end of a long day or it is where the party ends up, the kitchen is an important fixture in any household.
From a Pro…
Kitchens are no longer utilitarian. Since they are the gathering place for so many activities, the design for the kitchen has become increasingly important. More and more homeowners are becoming aware that the design of their kitchen has an impact on more than just the preparation of meals. It can impact how a family relates.
Kitchen designers are professional interior designers who assist homeowners in designing kitchens that meet the needs and demands of the home’s occupants. They work with the homeowner to design a layout that matches the lifestyle of the homeowners. These designs incorporate important aspects including the overall flow of the kitchen, colors, specific materials and lighting.
Professional kitchen designers meet with clients to discuss and explore ideas on how to meet their goals relating to their kitchens. Clients may be considering remodeling an existing kitchen or they may be looking at building a new home and are looking to address design issues during the initial home design phase. They may also work with a design professional such as an architect to help improve design ideas related to the kitchen.
Kitchen designers may also work with professional remodeling contractors who specialize in kitchen remodels. They may form a collaborative relationship with contractors who can complete the installation of designs for homeowners. The contractor can offer feedback and advise the kitchen designer on whether a specific design can be achieved.
The professional kitchen designer may remain involved throughout the course of the project or may limit their involvement to the initial design. The level of involvement of the designer can change based on the project demands.
Kitchens are predominantly a residential building component. Most homes incorporate a kitchen or kitchenette as part of their overall design. Residences may include different sized kitchens based on available square footage as well as the needs of the homeowner. In addition, the type of home such as apartments, condominiums and single family homes may impact the type of kitchen design.
Since most kitchens are found in residences, the professional kitchen designer works mostly on residential projects. There may be instances where a kitchen designer may be called on to work on a commercial project. These may include the remodeling of a hotel, a workplace kitchen or a institution such as a church that includes a kitchen as part of their building.
The skills and knowledge needed for residential and commercial may be different. Building codes may be more stringent for commercial projects where a larger group of people may congregate. As a result, certain states may require licensing for kitchen designers who consult on commercial projects.
Kitchen designers may work either as independent designers working for themselves or they may work as part of a larger team. They may be employed through an interior design firm or architectural firm. They may also work for a design-build contractor who handles both the project design as well as the installation of the new kitchen.
Depending on the type of employment, a kitchen designer may either be full-time or a part-time position. The demand for kitchen designers may be subject to the ups and downs of the economy. The position may present opportunities for individuals looking to create a small part-time business or side hustle.
- Meeting with clients and working collaboratively to determine the design goals.
- Planning overall appearance and function of kitchen.
- Meeting with suppliers and vendors of products including kitchen cabinets, flooring and lighting.
- Coordinate colors, materials and lighting for kitchen to achieve design goals.
- Working with contractors to oversee installation to achieve client’s goals.
- Maintaining awareness of trends and product development as they relate to interior design.
- Ability to use hand tools including tape measure.
- Ability to scale real site conditions into drawings.
- Ability to draw projects to assist clients in conceptualizing the project.
- Strong communication skills – both written and verbal – in order to communicate with client as well as contractors.
- Ability to connect with and work collaboratively with contractors and receive feedback.
- Strong project management skills with the ability to focus on and deliver projects under budget and ahead of schedule.
- Ability to envision projects including how color and light balance out in projects.
A professional Kitchen Designer is considered an Interior Designer. Individuals interested in this type of career may be required to hold a license from their state depending on the state that they live and work in. In addition, each state may require a minimum level of education depending on the scope of services being offered by the individual. It is strongly recommended that candidates review the requirements of their individual states as part of proceeding forward with becoming a Kitchen Designer.
Depending on the scope of services, a 4 year degree in interior design may enhance the designer’s abilities. Individuals may also work for and mentor under other designers to build experience and learn the skills needed to be a successful kitchen and interior designer.
The qualifications for becoming a professional Kitchen Designer may differ from state to state. For example, in the State of Florida an individual who is interested in offering interior decorating or design for residences is not required to hold a license. However, in order to offer similar services to commercial or multiple unit dwellings a license is necessary.
Kitchen Designer Salary
How Much Does a Kitchen Designer Make?
Kitchen Designer Career Paths
Where Can You Go From Here?
The career path for a kitchen designer has several different starting points. This allows individuals who are interested in exploring this career opportunity to start moving towards this career from different backgrounds.
A traditional route for a professional kitchen designer may begin with a 4 year degree in interior design from a college or university. This qualification may be necessary depending on the type of projects and the state that you are going to be working in. Be certain to check with your local city and state to determine what requirements may be in place for interior design professionals.
A non-traditional route that may include beginning your career as an assistant to a professional designer. An additional opportunity may be for someone to start as a laborer or helper to a carpenter or remodeler who works on kitchen remodels. This will allow that person to gain valuable experience which may help them develop their designs. Experience is one of the most important aspects of design.
When looking at a career as a kitchen designer it helps to remember the three legs of the wisdom stool. They are good judgment, experience and education. Good judgment includes having an eye for design. Education is gathered by learning from manufacturers of products as well as online resources such as Construct-Ed. Experience is gathered as you work on design projects and learn from experience.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Interior Designers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/interior-designers.htm (visited August 23, 2017).
- Payscale, Designer, Kitchen Salary, on the Internet at http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Designer%2C_Kitchen/Hourly_Rate (visited August 22, 2017).
- Florida DBPR, Board of Architecture and Interior Design, on the Internet at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/division/Servicesthatrequirealicense_interiordesigner.html (visited August 22, 2017).