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Your Guide to Interior Design: Is it Worth it for Your Kitchen or Bath Remodel?


Remodeling main rooms of your home involves a lot of planning, coordinating of contractors, and decision making—especially when you are tackling a kitchen or bath remodel! While demolition and the hard work of construction will be your main focus throughout the renovation process, choosing the fixtures, features, and stylistic elements of the space is one part of remodeling that many homeowners look forward to.

However, just because it can be exciting to start from scratch and redesign your kitchen or bath, doesn’t mean that it is easy. In fact, it can be one of the most overwhelming tasks of the process with the number of choices out there for fixtures, features, accessories, finishes, hardware, and more!

That’s where the help of a professional interior designer can make all the difference in bringing your vision for a home renovation to life. While the services of an interior designer can be invaluable, you need to look at both the pros and cons of spending money on design assistance for your remodel so that you make the right decision for your home, budget, and peace of mind.

What are the Advantages of Hiring an Interior Designer?

Some homeowners scoff at the idea of hiring an interior designer to manage their kitchen or bath renovation, but the services that they provide can take a major weight off your shoulders when navigating the often messy, costly, and stressful process of remodeling. An interior design professional can do more than just help you pick out beautiful features for your space—they offer services that include:

Creation of Design Concepts and Plans

The first step in any successful remodel is taking your ideas for a new bathroom or kitchen and turning them into a solid plan that your contractor can follow—which is often easier said than done! An interior designer will listen to your goals, vision, and requirements to help you combine the perfect features to create the atmosphere you want in your home, while also helping you to narrow down where you are willing to compromise and where the “must-haves” are in your room design.

Establishment of a Realistic Remodeling Budget

We all dream of gorgeous, modern, and high-tech home remodels, particularly in well-used rooms like a kitchen or bathroom. Unfortunately, money often stops homeowners from reaching their vision. With the guidance of your interior designer, you’ll be able to put together a workable budget that doesn’t break the bank—helping to keep your project on-track from the initial stages through final installation.

Material and Product Selection

Do you want eco-friendly flooring and counters in your kitchen? Do you dream of a freestanding tub or a sleek walk-in shower in your bathroom? Each kitchen or bath remodel is as unique as the family that lives in the home, and interior designers utilize their industry knowledge and vast set of resources to ensure that you get the features that you want with design options that complement your aesthetic. Many also handle the purchasing and delivery of your materials, appliances, art, and room accessories!

Coordinating Project Management

Kitchen and bathroom renovations often involve more than just a single general contractor; you may also have plumbers, electricians, and other professionals in and out of your home working on various aspects of your project. From submitting design plans to handling permit procurement and monitoring of contractors throughout the project, your interior designer will act as your sidekick to ensure that the project gets done right—eliminating some of the stress and worry from your life.

Important Considerations before Hiring Help for Interior Design

With all of the advantages of having an interior designer work with you during the kitchen or bath renovation process, you might be wondering why hiring this professional isn’t just a given for every home remodel! The fact is, interior design is a specialty service, and that type of service often comes with a high price tag. There are several important factors that you will need to consider to be sure that the value of the services an interior designer can offer is a worthwhile investment in your remodel.

Cost for Services

There is no single method of payment or “ballpark price” for interior design, and every professional offers different services, payment arrangements, and fee schedules. It is smart to make several appointments with various interior designers when considering hiring one for your project, and when you meet with them, be sure to ask about:

  • Hourly Rates: Some designers charge by the hour, and you can expect a wide range of hourly rates—from $50 per hour to over $500 per hour or more. Remember, you will be billed for more than just the design work. You may also be billed hourly for travel, meetings, communication, site visits, and the shopping involved with bringing your vision to life.
  • Flat-Fee Services: If your interior designer doesn’t charge by the hour, they likely use a flat-fee pay schedule. This fee can start as low as $1000 for your entire project and go up to well over six-figures for intensive design services. It is also a possibility that your designer will charge a flat fee for a specified number of hours worked at a discounted rate, with additional services being billed on an hourly basis.
  • Additional Fees: Your interior designer may charge upfront retainers or deposits, which typically equate to 10-15% of your total project cost. Be sure you understand these fees and know whether or not it is refundable before signing your contract! Additionally, interior designers can charge extra for design and management fees that cover the initial design plan and the purchasing and handling of deliveries for your remodel.

Certification and Licensure

Deciding to hire an interior designer can be much easier than actually choosing the right person for the job. When interviewing your interior design professional, you’ll want to ask questions surrounding their experience, references, and any certifications they may have. Some states have a specific licensing and certification process for the interior design industry that outlines the scope of work that designers can take on, and understanding your state’s requirements is essential to know that you are working with an individual or firm that offers the professionalism you deserve.

Scope of Interior Design Services

The overall cost of having an interior designer manage your bath renovation or kitchen remodel can make some homeowners hesitate about the benefits of the service. The good news is, most designers offer a range of service plans that you can customize to fit the scope of your remodeling needs! Whether you need a start-to-finish service or just an extra pair of eyes to take a look at your design plan, you can choose interior design services that include:

  • Full-Service Interior Design: When you hire an interior designer to offer full-service support, that’s exactly what you can expect to receive—and this is also the most expensive service. With full-service interior design, you’ll have help that includes building your design vision, purchasing and delivery of materials, managing contractors, and handling any issues or concerns that may come up throughout the process.
  • Design Plans: If you struggle with putting your remodeling ideas down on paper, but you don’t need service throughout the renovation, then you can hire an interior designer to work only on your design plan. With this service, your professional designer will complete a plan that includes all of the features, fixtures, design elements, finishes, and layout requirements of your space so that you can move forward with bringing a clear vision to your general contractor.
  • Consultations for Design: Would you like help with a specific aspect of your kitchen or bath remodel? Whether you want assistance with choosing the right colors for the room or reconfiguring the space to fit the needs of your family, this service is often done on an hourly basis and involves a consultation with a designer that can make recommendations and help you narrow down the best options for bringing your space to the next level of design and functionality.

Interior design services may be considered a luxury in the remodeling industry, but they are often a wise investment in ensuring that you love the results of your bathroom or kitchen renovation. By offering a keen eye for how the various elements of your room will work together, as well as assistance with managing the nitty-gritty aspects of remodeling, an interior designer can simplify the process and save you a lot of stress and hassle—making your kitchen and bathroom beautiful and cohesive rooms that your family can enjoy for decades down the road.

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