Why You Need (and Should Want) a Kitchen Designer

A CliqStudios kitchen designer at her desk working on a kitchen floor plan and renderings

A smart remodeling plan starts with a good design—one that’s functional, accurate, and realistic. Design is more than just a floor plan; it’s the bundle of information that turns ideas into kitchens. It tells you where your appliances and lighting goes, the color of each cabinet, and the dimensions of each sink and surface. As a reflection of your personality and budget, design is ultimately about style, taste, and how you use your space.


  • Why do I need a kitchen designer?
  • What is the value of a kitchen designer?
  • What do I get if I sign up for a design?
  • How do I work with a designer?
  • What makes a kitchen layout simple, functional, and efficient?

Why do I need a kitchen designer?

Though there are many online tools that homeowners can use to design their kitchens by themselves, it’s best to have your design and layout created for you by a kitchen designer.

“Designing your own kitchen is like doing your own dentistry,” says Dan Jones, CliqStudios’ kitchen designer trainer. “You definitely want a specialist for the job.”

The point being, a rookie mistake could lead to a long road of headaches and regrets. A kitchen designer is knowledgeable of the common mistakes and pitfalls that remodelers fall into.

Your kitchen is like your teeth. By the time a structural or functional issue shows up, fixing it will be costly, not to mention painful. Work with an expert to acquire a sure-fire plan that will prevent problems down the road.

Lastly, since you can work with a professional designer online and for free, why wouldn’t you?

An example of bad kitchen design - a dishwasher placed in the corner prevents a cabinet drawer from opening.

A small design error can cause big headaches. In this corner, the dishwasher blocks the cabinet drawer from opening.

What’s the value of a kitchen designer?

1. Safety. “The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house,” says the Complete Home Medical Guide of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Falls, cuts, scalds, electrical shocks, and fires can all occur in the kitchen. This is not a call for alarm but realistic caution. Good kitchen design minimizes hazards by anticipating the risks inherent in the kitchen. Designers know to place cooking surfaces away from windows, and put landing spaces by the place where you handle hot cookware — your cooktop, oven, and microwave.

2. Functionality. The primary task of design is to make the environment work. Designers make your kitchen usable and comfortable by organizing core matters of measurement, body movement, space, and light. This means matching your spatial constraints to your personal needs. It might be something as small as knowing whether you’re right- or left-handed to improve your reach to a dishwasher, or creating a work space that enables multiple cooks to pass through the same lanes. It might also mean future-proofing the design to accommodate wheelchairs for a someone planning to age in place. “Kitchen environments are not just counters against walls,” writes architect and designer Johnny Grey. “They need to be humane places that reflect our personalities and respond to future needs.”

3. Aesthetics. A kitchen designer is not an interior designer. But the professions do overlap, and the majority of kitchen designers can advise you about trends, styles, and colors to suit your home. The real strength of a kitchen designer however lies in their in-depth knowledge of specifications and configurations, and their creative ability to see the usefulness of spatial elements that others would not discern. With the layout of a kitchen, for example, a designer can take the weird corners, features, and obstacles in your room and like a puzzle master, envision where each appliance, cabinet, and countertop will go, not just to “fit,” but fully succeed at creating a unique and beautiful space.

What do I get when I sign up for a design?

A kitchen design from CliqStudios comes in an extensive packet which includes:

  • A custom kitchen layout with floorplan and exact measurements
  • Colored 3D renderings of your kitchen
  • An itemized quote with the final cost for each cabinet

Click here to view a sample packet.

Animated GIF showing a progression from hand-drawn kitchen measurements, to kitchen floor plan, to 3D renderings, to the final kitchen

Starting with simple measurements, your design will become the blueprint for your new kitchen.

How do I work with a designer?

We have over 100 designers here to work with you, whatever your pace or place. Your designer will work with you by email, telephone, online screen sharing, or even snail mail!

You start by measuring your kitchen. Then, a designer will call you to discover basic information about your project: your remodeling goals, features of the project, and measurements. They will ask you some questions about your wants and needs.

  • Are you moving any walls?
  • Have you created a budget?
  • What cabinet colors and door styles interest you?
  • Do you know what size appliances are you purchasing?

After the initial call, you will receive a design within 2 to 7 days. You can adjust and tweak your design until you’re perfectly happy with it. Most people complete their kitchen design within 30 days, but others will take longer to tweak and finalize.

What makes a kitchen layout safe, functional, and efficient?

Short answer—a kitchen designer!

Long answer—there are many things to consider when designing a functional kitchen. Since more time is spent in the kitchen than in any other room of the home, and the kitchen accounts for the greatest cost per area, its design requires careful and detailed consideration. Here are just a few of many guidelines for building a functional kitchen.

The kitchen work triangle, consisting of the sink, the stove-top, and the refrigerator.

The kitchen work triangle creates an efficient working space with clear traffic lanes.

  • Work Centers. The main work centers of a kitchen are the sink, the cooktop, and the refrigerator. Together, they form the kitchen work triangle. In an efficient kitchen, the length of each leg of the triangle should be between 4 and 9 feet, and the sum total of the distances between work centers should not exceed 26 feet. This principle also holds for a kitchen whose work centers are arranged in a straight line.
  • Traffic Control. No major traffic patterns should cross through the work triangle. Work aisles should be at least 42 inches for one cook, and at least 48 inches for multiple cooks. Walkway widths should be at least 36 inches. Doors and doorways should be at least 32 in. wide, and shouldn’t interfere with work centers.
  • Clearance. Vertical clearance space for is needed between countertops and cabinets (at least 15 in.), and between cooking surfaces and range hoods (24 in.) In addition, kitchen seating areas should incorporate clearances between the tables/counter and the seats.
  • Landing Areas. The sink, the refrigerator, the microwave, and the oven all require a different amount of nearby or adjacent open countertop space. These landing areas are necessary for placing food items, dishes, or cookware.
  • Space and Storage. Differently sized kitchens require different amounts of countertop space and cabinet storage areas. For countertop spaces, a total of 158 inches of frontage is needed. The recommended shelf/drawer frontage for storage is 1,400 inches for a small kitchen (150 square feet or less); 1,700 inches for a medium kitchen (151 to 350 square feet); and 2,000 inches for a large kitchen (more than 350 square feet).
  • Safety. Do not place the cooking surface under an operable window, or any window with flammable treatments or covers. A fire extinguisher should be located near the exit of the kitchen away from cooking equipment, and commercial cooking appliances should not be installed in residential kitchens.

Learn more about kitchen design: