Is it essential to use the services of kitchen planners when one is already working with an interior design professional for planning a new home or a renovation? Doubtless, an interior designer can undertake the task of preparing the layout and deciding on the fixtures in the kitchen, but a kitchen planner is a specialist with skills that a regular designer won't have.
The planning or remodelling of a kitchen may seem simple enough, and many homeowners think that it doesn't involve much planning to place counters and cabinets along the wall or to fit appliances into the available space. However, kitchen planning is a complex process. The role of the kitchen planner is to ensure that every element in the kitchen is ergonomically and functionally planned not only to make the kitchen easy to work in but also to eliminate the need for reworking rookie errors that result from not thinking through the layout and placement of various elements.
The specialist's services can cover:
Basic layout: After discussions with the client to find out his needs from the kitchen, and after measuring the area, the kitchen planner will make drawings or computer-generated images, which the homeowner can use to get the plan executed.
End-to-end project management: If the homeowner requests complete project management, the kitchen planning specialist will take care of every aspect of the modelling or renovation, including drawing up plans, sourcing materials and overseeing the installation of the various elements to ensure the project is completed to the homeowner's satisfaction.
Customisation: In some cases, the homeowner may require features or elements that are not available in kitchen retail stores or with dealers. The kitchen planner will help to identify a professional who can fabricate customised aspects for the client.
While one can use design software to design one's kitchen, there are several advantages to hiring a kitchen planning professional.
Safety: Fire, sharp objects and electrical shocks commonly occur in kitchens more than any other rooms in the house. Therefore, safety is a priority when designing the kitchen. As kitchen planners look at various aspects of the layout and design with a trained eye, they can plan the area to minimise safety hazards. Among the points that they consider is the placement of stoves and cooktops away from windows and the inclusion of counters or landing spaces within easy access of stoves and ovens where hot pans or dishes can be placed without the risk of getting scalded.
Functionality: The kitchen planner will try to balance functionality and aesthetics in the design to ensure that the room is comfortable for preparing meals. For instance, they will create the perfect work triangle by placing the stove, refrigerator and sink in an optimised layout where they are easily accessible from one another. Additionally, due importance will be given to lighting, movement and ventilation to ensure the atmosphere in the kitchen is conducive for spending hours in the room.
Efficiency: There can never be too much storage in any kitchen. The advantage of working with a kitchen planner is that he can find storage spaces and a better way of organising every nook and cranny of the room to optimise the available area.
An efficient kitchen is one that is planned to perfection keeping in mind standards for safety and comfort. The easiest way to incorporate these elements is to hire a kitchen planner.
Work triangle: The primary elements, the stove, sink and refrigerator, need to be ideally placed in a triangular layout with each of them between 4 feet to 9 feet away from the other.
Ease of movement: For smooth workflow in the kitchen there should be enough space between the counters for free movement, and the worktops should be comfortably wide. The passage between two rows of counters should be at least 3 feet. In a kitchen that just one person uses, the prescribed counter width is three and a half feet, whereas for multiple cooks, the counter should be broader – 4 feet.
Placement of counters: In areas near the stove, sink, oven and refrigerator, there should be a counter within reach where things can be placed once they are removed. It reduces the chances of spills and accidents caused due to holding hot pans or wet dishes.
Vertical clearance: Since modern kitchens have cabinets over the countertops and chimney hoods over built-in hobs, there should be enough clearance to avoid heads banging into the overhead elements. There should be a gap of at least 15 inches between cabinets and countertops, whereas the clearance between the hob and hood should be at least 2 feet.
Safety: The hob or stove shouldn't be placed near an openable window and should not be close to any materials with a flammable coating or cover.
Storage space: The kitchen should have enough storage so that the worktops are clutter-free. Depending on the available area for storage, the kitchen planner will design a combination of countertop, drawer and cabinets so that there is a place to stow away things when they aren't in use.
The professional's fee will vary depending on his reputation and the scope of the project. If one opts for a branded modular kitchen, the dealer may have a kitchen planner onboard to oversee the design aspects, and the project cost estimate will include the fee payable to the professional. When one hires an interior designer to undertake the planning of the kitchen, then he may calculate his charges as a percentage of the project cost, usually ranging between 10% to 20%.
In some instances, the kitchen planner may charge a flat fee for the drawings and computer-generated images. For customised solutions, such as specially designed cabinets, they may charge on the cost per square feet basis, usually ranging from Rs.40 to Rs.400.
A qualified kitchen planning professional will have a degree or certification in interior design as well as at least five to six years' work experience in designing kitchens. Before hiring a professional designer, we recommend that you verify his qualifications and view his portfolio to get an idea of his design style and the quality of finishes.
On homify, our kitchen planners' directory features a list of qualified professionals along with photographs of kitchens they have designed. After browsing through the images, you can send a request for a free quote by filling the online contact form.