Selecting a kitchen color palette

Design Your Room

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Preparing for the First Designer Meeting

Cabinet Consultations: How and What to Prepare

Ensuring your cabinet dealer consultations are productive is easy if you know the right steps. Here are some tips to prepare for your first meeting with a kitchen designer.

Build a Collection of Kitchen Design Images

Stack of magazines

As you dream about your new kitchen, build a collection of kitchen design images that reflect your lifestyle and your vision for the new space. Bring these images to the first meeting to give the designer a better understanding of what you have in mind.

  • Magazine photos - Clip pictures of kitchen design ideas you like from magazine articles and advertisements.
  • Online photos - Collect photos from websites, remodeling blogs and social sites and save them to your laptop, tablet or phone. A great place to start is MasterBrand's Pinterest & Houzz sites.
  • Camera or camera phone - Take photos of kitchen displays that catch your eye at stores or home remodeling shows.

Do Some Homework About Yourself

Detail of a Rainer Maple Terrain kitchen

Assessing your current kitchen over a period of time, both its positives and negatives, can provide valuable information for your cabinet dealer consultations. Likewise, making note of your habits – buying in bulk, number of weekly trips to the grocery, recycling, avid cook – is critical to helping the designer understand how you live in your space.

Imagine Yourself in the New Space

Woman chopping vegetables in a kitchen

How will you use your new kitchen? Is it a social gathering place for family and friends, or a place to prepare quick meals? Do you consider yourself a gourmet in the kitchen or is takeout more your style, and you just need a good-looking space to warm it up? Honest answers to such questions will suggest the functional capacities you require.

Select Your Appliances

Decora kitchen cabinets with a stovetop

Surprisingly, selecting your appliances is a critical first step for your cabinet dealer consultations. An extra-large refrigerator, pro-style range or double ovens can dramatically impact space allocation throughout the room. Having this information at the start ensures that your wants and needs are met, and moves the design process along.

Provide Basic Measurements

Measuring tape

Bring measurements of your space to the first cabinet design meeting. While your kitchen designer will take thorough measurements before offering you a binding quote, you should note dimensions of the room, indicating any doors, windows or hallways that impact the space, to facilitate your initial discussions.

Outline Your Budget

MasterBrand's renovation budget calculator tool

Create an initial budget outline ahead of time. This outline will tell your kitchen designer a lot about your project and the parameters within which he or she will be working.

Consider all of the factors that will contribute to the project. Will you be moving walls and mechanical locations? Replacing the floor? Appliances and cabinetry will impact the budget significantly, as will countertops, depending on the surface selected. Installation fees can also vary greatly. Your dealership may offer installation services and build them into the price, or have a list of suggested installers who can provide an estimate. Our Budget Calculator is a great guide for transforming your vision into tangible numbers.

How the First Meeting Ends

Kitchen designer meeting with client

After your hopes and desires have been noted, and a timeline, budget, styles and finishes discussed, much has been accomplished at the meeting. Depending on the complexity of the project, additional meetings may be needed to get the design just right.

Throughout your cabinet consultations, never be afraid to ask questions or to request that the designer change something that makes you uncomfortable. To ensure all elements are coordinated, ask for door and finish samples (which may need to be ordered for a fee) before you place the cabinet order.