Remodeling
Architects: Architects represent the most highly educated and trained category of designers. The title requires a college degree and state certification. Architects are able to translate your ideas into detailed plans and list material specifications. They also can oversee your project while it is in progress and are an excellent resource for other professionals since they already have established a pool of designers and general contractors they have worked with in the past.

Designers: Designers are skilled in the design and building process but are not licensed or regulated in most states. If you’re planning to work with a designer, be sure to verify his or her experience and professionalism. You’ll want to review the designer’s portfolio and look for design degrees from accredited universities and membership and/or certification from professional organizations, including as the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD), the National Council of Building Design Certification (NCBDC), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) among others. These organizations help ensure professional standards of education, field experience and adherence to a code of ethics.

Residential Designers: Residential designers (space planners) are trained to use space most efficiently and tend to focus on floor-plan design, detailed lifestyle evaluation and design functionality. If you’re considering a floor plan, a family room, bathroom or kitchen, you may wish to consult with a residential or interior specialist. This specialist can give additional time and attention on specific areas of the home that are especially important to you and your family. Often residential designers’ expertise can overlap with interior designers because they both offer advice about the latest trends and products.

Structural Engineers: Structural engineers need to be consulted if your project requires any structural alterations to an existing building. The role complements the work of architects, who are the spatial and aesthetic experts of building design and construction. A structural engineer can provide advice on any strengthening required and the design of new lintels, beams, walls or foundations that may be needed. Structural engineers also can perform a site inspection to establish the nature of the ground and design suitable foundations for the building.

Kitchen and Bathroom Designers: Kitchen and bathroom designers provide expert product knowledge within their specialties, but they may lack construction experience or miss design opportunities associated with additions or movement of walls, according to building experts. If the project involves high-dollar budgets in which expensive cabinets, materials and appliances will be used, consider either of these professionals.

Home Center Staff Designers: Home center staff designers are an easy, immediate and cost-effective way to learn about basic design ideas. You can check your local home center store to learn about classes they offer or simply visit the store and discuss with staff designers what you’re planning to build. You will find that the design skills among the staff vary widely. Be aware that the staff will recommend solutions using their store’s products.

Interior Designers and Home Decorators: Interior designers and home decorators are specialists who offer advice on furniture, wall coverings, colors, styles and the overall physical appearance of your project. While not essential to the process, home decorators and interior decorators can save you both time and money by helping you to narrow down your choices and utilizing professional discounts for materials, such as furniture, home accessories, wallpaper or paint. Communicating your personal style and preferences are important when you meet with an interior designer or home decorator. Be prepared to show examples of styles you like that you’ve found in magazines or books. Based on your input, these professionals will develop ideas that will work for the space and help create a setting that represents your artistic sensibility. Keep in mind that while an interior designer may also do some interior space planning, most usually focus on interior decorating by selecting finishing touches, such as choosing carpets, drapes, paint colors, fabrics and furnishings. You may find that their duties could overlap or be interchangeable with those of both residential designers and interior decorators.

Draftspersons: Draftspersons primarily prepare technical drawings of designs created by others although some can assist with design. These days, most drafters work in Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) programs. You may already have a good idea of a floor plan you like; if that’s the case, it’s not uncommon to hire a draftsperson to draw the blueprints and have them checked by an engineer before speaking with general contractors to bid, apply for permits and build.

   
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