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What to bring when you meet with a design consultant

Are you ready for your first meeting with your kitchen consultant? You will get the best results by doing lots of homework before coming to the table. Here’s how to get started.

Save pictures.

Buy kitchen design magazines, attend open houses and really pay attention to what styles and features you are drawn to. Note any trends – are there colors, wood types, design styles that repeatedly catch your eye? Keep a collection of the best ideas in a folder that you can share with your kitchen consultant.

Make a list.

With pencil in hand, sit in your kitchen and write about how you use it and how you’d like to use it including how your family might change in the next few years. How big is the space? What are the features you most want to include? What features do you definitely want to eliminate or avoid? Are there possibilities you’d like to explore such as elimination of a wall or the addition of an island or banquette?

Create a budget.

This is the most critical part of your planning. Many people fear “showing their hand” or question how they can make a budget before having a final plan, but budget drives the selection process. Finding out what things cost will give you realistic expectations for your project. Consider that in addition to cabinetry and installation, kitchen projects may also include expenses for lighting, appliances, flooring, sink, fixtures, wall coverings and window treatments. How long you plan to remain in your home can factor into what you plan to spend as well.

Visit the showrooms.

This will help you with budget preparation and provide a first hand look at what’s available. It’s helpful to know the size of your kitchen when talking to salespeople. Determine the types of appliances you’d like to include; their sizes and even ventilation requirements will be important to your design. You don’t need to make firm selections, but having a clear idea of what you want and what you can afford will keep your planning on track. Also begin gathering information from the professionals you are considering for installation. Understand that the scope of work will be more specific once your design is finalized.

Come to the table.

Bring your wish list, product desires and budget. When a kitchen consultant knows what you are comfortable spending, she can help you focus on product grades, amenities and a scope of work that will fit your budget. She can also help you phase the project so you can get everything you want over time.

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