Kitchen buyers should be wary of term Designer Kitchen. It is an overused term that does not necessarily mean what it implies.
Kitchen suppliers use the term to suggest upmarket cachet. Customers like to tell their friends that their kitchen is a Designer one rather than ... What? A kitchen that has not been designed? In the literal sense of the word, of course, every kitchen is designed even if only by the in-house designer or the owner of the company. However, the implication of calling the kitchen Designer is something more.
So what are kitchen suppliers trying to achieve by attaching the word designer to their product? In the marketing sense Designer Kitchen means:
- Exclusivity - one of a kind
- Higher design values
- Higher specifications
- Preferential treatment
For the kitchen supplier it gives several opportunities:
- To dignify an otherwise mundane product
- To charge much more for little more
- To up-sell other related kitchen products
Given the prevalence of standardised kitset systems in the industry, how can you be sure that your kitchen really is an exclusive one-off. Bearing in mind that the 3D drawing programs touted by so many kitchen suppliers work off standardized cabinets and door patterns, how can you be sure that your kitchen is not just one variation of a standard system?
- Ask about background of the designer
- Ask if they use a computerised 3D drawing program
- Ask if you can specify the exact sizes of cabinets and drawers.
- Ask about the choices of fixtures and fittings
- Ask about the choices of door styles and finishes
- Ask if the supplier actually manufactures the product
- Ask the supplier what the design limitations are
Remember that many people employed by kitchen suppliers are not trained kitchen designers and might actually have very little experience.
The computerised drawing programs are easy to learn and can make a ‘designer’ out of a used car salesman
The more limitations that are imposed on cabinet, door and drawer sizes, the less ‘designer’ the kitchen will be.
The more limitations put on door and drawer styles the less ‘designer’ a kitchen will be.
The lack of ability to actually manufacture the product, the less ‘designer’ the kitchen will be.
Most kitchens sold in New Zealand in the 21st Century are variations on standardised kitset kitchens. This ensures that kitchens are affordable to most people. There are a few companies that still design and manufacture from scratch. There are also trained and experienced kitchen designers who can design from scratch and source the required products. How do you recognise them?
- They don’t impose limitations on sizes and shapes other than those that are not possible.
- They don’t tend to use 3D kitchen design computer programs
- They spend a lot of time and effort on you.
- They really try to find out about your lifestyle and how you wish your kitchen to be.
- They will go out of their way to source unique materials to give finishing touches to your kitchen
For most people the standardised kitchen systems produce perfectly adequate kitchens that will delight and serve well. It is wise though, not to be taken in by the Designer lable and pay more than you should for fake exclusivity.
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