Interior

How Much Does Hiring for Kitchen Design Cost?

The average kitchen design cost is $16,007, though homeowners may find themselves paying anywhere from $4,260 to $28,366 for the kitchen of their dreams.
Kitchen Design Cost
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Highlights

  • The cost for kitchen design typically falls between $4,260 and $28,366, with a national average cost of $16,007.
  • The exact cost of kitchen design depends on the scope of the project, the type of professional hired, the fee structure, the design complexity, and the professional’s level of involvement.
  • Kitchen design has many benefits, including an optimized kitchen workflow, better use of available space, decreased project costs, and an increased home value.
  • A homeowner may be able to draw up a design for a basic kitchen remodel, but a professional can create a kitchen design that is optimized for functionality, workflow, and workspace utilization.


The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where meals are prepared, family gatherings occur, and daily routines unfold. A thoughtfully designed kitchen offers many benefits, including a cozy ambience that fosters meaningful connections among family members. But over time, kitchens can lose their appeal, becoming outdated, worn, and impractical. Homeowners may reach a point where they face the need for a kitchen design project, addressing issues such as flow, style, and usability to create a refreshed and functional space.

How much does kitchen design cost? It depends on a variety of factors, including kitchen size, material choice, and cost of labor. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $4,260 to $28,366 for a kitchen design, with an average cost of $16,007. This guide will cover information to help homeowners learn about ways to estimate kitchen design costs, the different approaches to kitchen design collaboration, and tips on working high-quality materials into a design without going over budget.

Factors in Calculating the Cost to Hire for Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design Cost
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There are several factors that go into calculating kitchen design cost. When determining a budget, homeowners will want to consider the scope of their remodel and the type of provider they’re working with. Fee structures and design complexity also play a role in estimating costs.

It’s important for homeowners to note that national averages aren’t always aligned with local averages, which is why taking the time to research local labor and material costs can help a design stay on budget. Understanding the following price-influencing factors is crucial for any homeowner attempting a kitchen design project.

Remodel Scope

The scope of a kitchen remodel encompasses the range and extent of changes made to the existing space. Examples of different scope levels include projects that focus on high-end appliances and cabinetry replacement or countertop material upgrades or those that involve more substantial structural modifications such as wall removal or rerouting of pipes.

The scope of the remodel directly influences kitchen remodeling costs. Simpler projects with limited scope tend to have lower expenses than those involving extensive structural interventions or larger square footage. The complexity of the remodel, including the level of customization and materials chosen, can also impact costs. Homeowners will want to consider their specific goals, budget, and priorities when determining the scope of their kitchen remodel.

Provider Type

When it comes to kitchen design, homeowners have three main provider types to consider:

  • Certified independent kitchen designers
  • In-store consultation services
  • Professional design centers

Among these options, a certified independent kitchen designer generally offers the most affordable rates, as their fees are typically based on hourly rates or a percentage of the total redesign cost. In-store consultation services, often provided for free by larger retail outlets, offer a convenient option but may have limitations in terms of scope and product availability.

Professional design centers employ or contract with multiple designers, offering comprehensive and thorough plans. However, their services are usually the most expensive, with hourly rates ranging from $100 to $750. More information on each type of provider and their rates can be found in a section below.

Fee Structure

When homeowners are considering kitchen designers, it’s essential to understand their fee structures. Various approaches exist, with the most common as follows.

  • Hourly rate. Commonly used by independent kitchen designers, an hourly rate covers design time, site visits, meetings, and phone calls.
  • Flat fee. Some designers or firms establish a fixed charge for the entire project or an initial proposal. This fee is often deducted if a homeowner chooses to work with that designer.
  • Cost-plus or markup. Designers affiliated with fixture-selling companies or those sourcing materials directly may include the design fee as a markup or additional cost per item.
  • Milestone fees. Designers may spread fees throughout the project, with payments due at project milestones, such as plan delivery or permit approval.

Regardless of the chosen fee structure, clarifying payment expectations is important. Deposits or retainers, typically ranging from 25 percent to 65 percent of the total cost, are commonly requested at the project’s start. Additionally, a portion of the total sum (usually 30 percent to 50 percent) may be due when cabinets are delivered.

Understanding the fee structure and payment schedule will help homeowners budget effectively for other aspects of the project, such as construction costs and installation labor.

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Design Complexity

Not all kitchen remodels are equal. Some designs are more intricate and sophisticated than others, which can greatly affect the total design cost.

A complex kitchen design typically involves intricate layouts, customizations, and unique design elements. These designs often require extensive coordination between different aspects, such as cabinetry, appliances, plumbing, and electrical systems.

On the other hand, a simpler kitchen design typically follows a more straightforward layout with standard configurations and readily available fixtures. It may involve replacing existing elements or repainting the kitchen cabinets without major structural modifications or customization.

Complex designs often require more time for planning, sourcing of specialized materials, and skilled craftsmanship, which can result in higher costs.

Involvement Level

The involvement level in kitchen design refers to the extent of a designer’s participation in the decision-making process and the level of detail they address. It can vary from being generally involved in an overall design plan to meticulously selecting every fitting and fixture.

For those on a tight budget, opting for a less involved approach can help manage costs. Designers can propose options requiring fewer hours of work and focus on essential elements while achieving a functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchen for the homeowner.

However, homeowners who prioritize finer details and desire a more hands-on approach may choose a professional who will be more involved in helping to plan and execute extensive customizations or source specific materials.

Additional Costs and Considerations

To accurately calculate kitchen design costs, it’s essential for homeowners to consider various additional factors and components that may influence overall expenses. By familiarizing themselves with these scenarios, homeowners can proactively anticipate and avoid surprises during the design and remodeling phases, ensuring a smoother and more financially manageable kitchen transformation.

Structural Plans

Structural plans in kitchen design involve modifications that impact the home’s overall structure, such as removing walls or changing load-bearing elements. These plans are essential to ensure the structural integrity and stability of the house, but they do increase overall design costs.

Structural modifications, however, require careful consideration and adherence to building codes. Working with professionals ensures the successful execution of the design while maintaining the stability of the home. In this case, homeowners may need to factor in interior designer costs or structural engineer costs to ensure the design will be structurally sound.

When homeowners are planning a dream kitchen remodel, it’s crucial for them to discuss the potential need for structural plans with the designer. This early assessment helps set realistic expectations and allows for proper budgeting and coordination.

Permits

Permits ensure compliance with safety standards and local building codes. In some cases, modifications to the structure or changes to electrical, plumbing, or mechanical elements will require a building permit.

For instance, a permit may be necessary if homeowners are installing natural stone tile due to the structural implications and potential impact on water drainage systems.

Working without the required permits can have serious consequences, including legal complications, fines, or even the need to remove any updates or changes to the space. Additionally, insurance coverage may be compromised if the kitchen design lacks proper permits.

The cost of a permit can vary depending on the scope of the project, ranging from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars.

In-House vs. Collaborative Kitchen Design

Homeowners can choose between an in-house kitchen design team and a collaborative approach for their kitchen design. In-house design teams consist of designers who have all the necessary expertise and resources within their organization, while a collaborative approach involves working with several external professionals, such as architects, builders, or engineers.

Opting for an in-house team can often result in more streamlined communication, efficient coordination, and potentially lower costs. However, a collaborative approach may be necessary for more complex projects that demand specialized knowledge. While the latter approach can increase costs, it ensures that each aspect of the design receives expert attention.

Kitchen Design Cost
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Kitchen Design Cost by Type of Provider

In the realm of kitchen design, homeowners have various options for seeking professional assistance. From individual designers to large retailers with expansive teams, the choice of provider can greatly influence the cost and outcome of the project. Three common options are explored below.

Type of ProviderAverage Cost
Certified independent kitchen designer$65 to $250 per hour
In-store consultation$150 to $450 per meeting
Professional design center$100 to $750 per hour

Certified Independent Kitchen Designer

A certified independent kitchen designer is a skilled professional who operates independently, often holding formal certifications from reputable organizations such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

Collaborating with a certified independent kitchen designer offers several advantages over other approaches, such as in-store consultations. These designers take a comprehensive approach to kitchen design plans, ensuring that the layout aligns with the needs of their client. Additionally, they facilitate communication with architects, suppliers, and builders, saving homeowners significant time and effort.

Homeowners can expect to pay certified independent kitchen designers between $65 and $250 per hour, or up to 20 percent of the total redesign cost.

In-Store Consultation

An in-store consultation refers to a service provided by certain stores, such as home-goods retailers, high-end design firms, or specialty dealers offering cabinetry and budget-friendly countertops.

The benefits of an in-store consultation include the convenience of accessing design expertise directly within the store premises. These consultations are usually free, allowing homeowners to save on their kitchen remodel cost, although the plans provided may be limited in scope and tailored to the products available at the store.

The fee structure for an in-store consultation varies by store type. Specialty dealers may employ a cost-plus or markup approach, while high-end storefront design studios typically charge between $150 and $450 per meeting, which often includes a home visit for measurements.

Homeowners will want to keep in mind that in-store consultations may offer valuable insights and ideas, but they may not provide the same level of personalized attention and comprehensive support as other approaches.

Professional Design Center

A professional design center houses a team of designers who are either employed by the center or contracted to work with clients. Working with a professional design center offers homeowners access to a deeper pool of experienced designers who can provide comprehensive support throughout the kitchen design process.

The benefits of collaborating with a professional design center include the assurance of working with skilled designers who possess extensive knowledge and expertise in their field. These centers often deliver highly detailed and thorough design plans, covering various aspects such as materials, fittings, and color schemes.

It’s important for homeowners to be aware that opting for a professional design center can be the most expensive option. The cost typically ranges from $100 to $750 per hour, reflecting the level of expertise and personalized service provided. However, the investment can result in meticulously crafted plans that leave no aspect overlooked.

Benefits of Hiring for Kitchen Design

Beyond aesthetics, a well-designed kitchen enhances functionality, boosts property value, elevates cooking experiences, and fosters a warm and inviting ambience. Below are some of the advantages that await homeowners who invest in thoughtful kitchen design.

Optimized Kitchen Workflow

An optimized kitchen workflow refers to a carefully planned layout that ensures efficient movement and functionality within the cooking space. It involves strategically placing key elements, such as appliances, storage, and workstations, including kitchen islands, to minimize wasted steps and maximize productivity. Kitchen island costs will add to the total cost of the remodel, but an island can provide additional storage and countertop space that make the workspace more functional.

With a well-organized space, homeowners can work more efficiently and enjoy a smoother cooking experience. An optimized kitchen workflow can also enhance safety by minimizing the risk of accidents.

Investing in an optimized workflow as part of the overall cost of a kitchen remodel can significantly improve functionality and contribute to the overall value and enjoyment of the space.

Utilization of Available Space

Many kitchen layouts fail to fully capitalize on their potential, resulting in wasted or underutilized areas. Dead space, such as corners or gaps between appliances, often goes unnoticed.

However, these areas can be transformed into valuable storage solutions or functional spaces with thoughtful kitchen design. Homeowners can effectively optimize every inch of their kitchen by incorporating clever storage solutions like pullout shelves, corner cabinets, or vertical organizers.

Additionally, utilizing vertical space through the installation of overhead cabinets or open shelving can further maximize storage capacity. Using available space efficiently enhances practicality and organization and contributes to a visually appealing and uncluttered kitchen.

Decreased Project Costs

Planning out a kitchen design plays a pivotal role in decreasing project costs, which is a significant benefit for homeowners. Through careful planning and efficient decision-making, homeowners can optimize their budget and reduce unnecessary expenses during remodeling.

By working with design professionals, homeowners can identify cost-effective solutions that align with a desired outcome. This includes selecting durable materials that balance quality and affordability and exploring alternative options to save on kitchen cabinet costs.

Additionally, thoughtful space planning and layout optimization can minimize the need for extensive structural changes and greatly reduce construction costs. Homeowners can also achieve long-term savings on utility bills by incorporating energy-efficient appliances and fixtures.

Increased Home Value

When homeowners invest in a kitchen remodel, incorporating high-quality materials like ceramic tile and creating functional layouts can improve the overall appeal and increase the market value of their property.

An upgraded kitchen appeals to potential buyers and showcases the homeowner’s attention to detail and commitment to maintaining an aesthetically pleasing and functional living space. The increased home value resulting from a kitchen design provides homeowners with a strong return on investment (ROI), making it a wise financial decision. Similarly, investing in outdoor kitchen costs can bring a higher asking price when it comes to selling a home.

However, a home’s value can increase or decrease depending on the local housing market, the home’s condition, and the preferences of the buyer. Consulting with a real estate professional can help a homeowner make sure they’re properly investing in home improvements for maximum return.

Kitchen Design: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

When it comes to kitchen design, should homeowners tackle the job themselves or hire a professional? Each option has its own potential benefits and cost considerations.

Opting for the DIY route allows homeowners to save on design fees and labor costs by handling all aspects of the project independently. However, hiring a professional designer brings several advantages. Experienced kitchen designers bring valuable expertise to the table, helping homeowners navigate complexities that go beyond visual appeal.

Below are some important factors for homeowners to consider when weighing the DIY approach against hiring a professional.

  • Intricate considerations. Kitchen design goes beyond appearances. It involves optimizing functionality, workflow, and space utilization. Professional designers possess the skills to optimize these aspects, creating an efficient and well-designed kitchen.
  • Technical expertise. Full kitchen remodels often require plumbing, electrical, and gas system modifications. Professional advice and oversight are essential to ensure safety and compliance with building codes.
  • Avoidance of costly mistakes. While DIY projects can be fulfilling, a single mistake can lead to significant expenses. Hiring a designer can help homeowners avoid costly pitfalls and ensure a smoother project outcome.
  • Access to reliable contractors. Designers often have a network of trusted contractors. They can recommend skilled professionals, including interior designers, saving homeowners time and effort in finding reliable labor.
  • Material sourcing and savings. Designers possess industry knowledge and connections, allowing them to source materials efficiently and potentially secure better deals.
  • Increased home value. A well-designed kitchen can significantly enhance a home’s resale value. Professional designers understand market trends and buyer preferences, allowing them to make recommendations that increase the kitchen’s appeal.

While simpler cosmetic updates may be suitable for the DIY approach, more complex remodels can benefit from the expertise of professional kitchen designers.

How to Save Money on Kitchen Design Cost

It’s only natural to seek out ways to reduce kitchen renovation costs and kitchen design costs, but it’s important to be mindful of potential consequences that can pop up after cutting financial corners. Consider the following practical and effective tips to reduce expenses without compromising quality.

Kitchen Design Cost
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  • Create a realistic budget. Plan and budget carefully to avoid unnecessary expenses and unforeseen costs.
  • Reuse or recycle. Refurbish or repurpose existing cabinets and fixtures instead of replacing them entirely. The cost to refinish cabinets and the cost to paint cabinets can be much lower than the cost to buy new ones.
  • Look for deals. Shop around, and explore different suppliers to find competitive deals on materials and appliances.
  • Stick to low-cost materials. Consider the cost of materials and the type of materials used throughout the space, as they significantly impact the overall project budget.
  • Make use of what you have. Maximize storage and organization by optimizing cabinet layouts and implementing space-saving solutions.
  • Choose cheaper countertops. The costs for butcher block countertops or laminate countertops is generally much more affordable than for higher-cost options like granite or quartz.
  • Do some of the work. Take on do-it-yourself tasks, like painting or installing backsplashes, to save on labor costs.
  • Shop around. Obtain multiple quotes from contractors or service providers to ensure competitive pricing.
  • Look for sales. Take advantage of seasonal sales or promotions to secure discounts on appliances or materials.
  • Consider long-term costs. Explore energy-efficient lighting and appliance options to save on long-term utility costs.

Questions to Ask About Kitchen Design

When jumping into a kitchen design project, asking the right questions of any professional involved is essential for homeowners to ensure desirable results. Working with an unqualified designer can result in an incomplete, inefficient, or unattractive kitchen. To make informed decisions and find a kitchen designer who meets the job criteria, homeowners may want to consider asking the following inquiries.

  • What is your experience in kitchen design?
  • What do you recommend for my kitchen design?
  • Can you provide examples from your portfolio of recent projects?
  • Can you work within my budget?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Can you provide references from previous clients?
  • Do you offer a comprehensive design service from start to finish?
  • What type of materials and hardware do you typically use?
  • Do you have access to exclusive discounts on materials and appliances?
  • How do you prefer to communicate throughout the process?
  • What services are included in your quote?
  • What can I expect in terms of the project timeline?
  • When can the project start?

FAQs

Understanding the various factors that influence kitchen design costs is essential for homeowners embarking on a remodeling project. Homeowners can make informed decisions by considering elements such as project scope and complexity, provider type, fee structure, and permits when pricing out their dream kitchen. For further clarification, the following FAQ section addresses common questions and concerns about kitchen design costs.

Q. Do you pay for a kitchen design?

Yes, homeowners typically pay for kitchen design services. The payment structure can vary depending on the provider and the agreed-upon fee arrangement. Some designers charge hourly, while others may have a flat fee or cost-plus pricing model. It’s important to discuss the fee structure with the designer up front to understand the costs involved.

Q. What is the average cost of a 10×10 kitchen remodel?

A kitchen remodel for approximately 100 square feet can vary greatly depending on the type of features a homeowner wants. For example, a budget-friendly remodel may cost as little as $10,000 and feature simple hardware and standard cabinets. But a remodel with top-of-the-line appliances and luxury finishes can cost as much as $45,000.

Q. How do I determine a kitchen remodel budget?

The National Kitchen and Bath Association suggests that homeowners set aside approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the home’s value for a kitchen remodel. For example, if a house is valued at $250,000, it’s recommended to set aside a budget of $37,500 to $50,000. If these numbers seem overwhelmingly high, it’s worth noting that kitchen remodels can bring potential returns of up to 85 percent.

Q. Can I design my own kitchen?

It depends on the scope of the project and the homeowner’s confidence in their own design capabilities. If the homeowner is simply replacing a few appliances or changing the cabinetry, they most likely do not need a designer. However, for a full kitchen renovation, bringing in a professional is advisable.

Q. What is a kitchen design plan?

A kitchen design plan integrates layout, surfaces, appliances, and design elements to create a functional and enjoyable cooking space. It involves combining various design ideas, guides, and expert advice to develop a well-thought-out blueprint for the kitchen. Ultimately, a successful kitchen design plan aims to create a space that is easy to use, promotes efficient cooking, and encourages social interaction.

Q. How long does a kitchen design take?

The duration of a kitchen design process typically ranges from 10 to 20 hours for a professional designer to create a comprehensive plan for a medium-size kitchen. However, the timeframe may extend if a complex or custom design is requested. Homeowners will want to communicate with the designer beforehand to clarify the expected timeline and associated costs to ensure that expectations align.

Q. What is the most expensive part of a new kitchen?

It’s not the high-end appliances or designer tile backsplash that takes up the biggest slice of a kitchen remodel budget. It’s actually the kitchen cabinets, which can absorb as much as 40 percent of the entire remodeling budget. The average cost to install new cabinets is $15,000, though this varies by material and kitchen size.

Q. How can I build a luxury kitchen on a budget?

To create a luxury kitchen on a budget, it’s important for homeowners to consider several cost-saving strategies. Modular kitchen cabinet systems offer a more affordable alternative to custom-made cabinets, with improved quality and warranties. Upgrading cabinet hinges and pulls can provide a fresh look without replacing the entire cabinet. When it comes to the cost of countertops, ceramic tile and laminate are budget-friendly options, and with appliances, less expensive models can offer reliable functionality. Ceramic tile and affordable options such as plastic laminate and vinyl can withstand daily wear and tear.

Q. How can I save money on my kitchen design?

To save money on a kitchen design, homeowners have a variety of options. Upgrading decor, furnishings, and hardware can give the kitchen a fresh feel without major renovations. Changing out light fixtures allows those with a limited budget for lighting to refresh the look of the room without overspending, and purchasing appliances as a bundle can lead to significant rebates. Shopping around for materials helps homeowners find the best prices, and being strategic about splurging on focal points can create an expensive look.

Q. Is IKEA kitchen design free?

IKEA offers a free kitchen planning service, including an in-store or online consultation with a professional kitchen planner. Customers can visualize their ideal kitchen with a 3D layout using the IKEA kitchen planner tool and receive a parts list for convenient ordering. Measurements of the home’s kitchen and a completed Kitchen Planning Checklist are required for the appointment.

Q. Will an architect design a kitchen?

Yes, architects are among the professionals who can design kitchens. If a homeowner is already working with an architect for their home project, they can also have the architect design the kitchen. Just like kitchen design professionals, architects have the expertise to create functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchen designs.

Q. Is it cheaper to build your own kitchen?

Sometimes. Building kitchen cabinets can be a cost-saving option but requires significant time, a well-equipped workshop, and intermediate woodworking skills. While DIY cabinets can save approximately 66 percent of the cost, the expenses associated with tools and the time invested can significantly impact the savings, especially for individuals without extensive woodworking experience.

Q. Why are custom kitchens so expensive?

Due to several key factors, custom kitchens are often more expensive than stock or semi-custom options. Custom cabinets are crafted using higher-quality materials such as fine woods or imported exotic wood, which significantly increases their cost. Unlike stock cabinets produced in bulk, custom cabinets require individualized production, often done by hand, resulting in more time and labor-intensive processes that contribute to their higher price.

Q. What does kitchen design include?

Kitchen design includes various aspects to consider for both full-kitchen renovations and modest updates. Factors such as efficient layout, worktop space, storage needs, seating areas, and appliance placement are important for a complete kitchen overhaul. Alternatively, a budget-friendly update can involve painting, updating worktops and cabinet doors, improving lighting, and replacing flooring for a fresh and impactful transformation.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, Virginia Kitchen & Bath, Lowe’s, USA Cabinet Store, A Butterfly House