You’re thinking about remodeling your home. Word has it that a good design is a crucial part of a successful home remodel. While you recognize that having a plan is important, you’re not sure about hiring a designer to draft remodel plans. How much will remodel plans cost, and who should you hire to design them?
As one of Portland’s leading design-build firms, Lamont Bros. understands the questions that homeowners have about remodel designs. In this article, we’ll discuss the cost of remodel design plans and what to expect when planning your own remodel. By the time you reach the end of this page, you should have a better understanding of how a good design will benefit your remodel and how much it will cost. Topics we’ll cover here include:
- Why remodel design plans are important
- The different options for designing your remodel
- How much remodel design plans cost
Why are remodel design plans important?
Instead of asking “What is the cost of remodel design plans?” ask yourself, “What is the cost of not having them?”
Remodeling your home is usually a long, complicated process. So, while it’s possible to begin construction with a general idea of what you want and work out the details as you go, this can get very messy very quickly. Instead, the most successful remodels are the ones that have extensive planning and design done before construction begins.
The benefit of a remodel design is that it provides multiple levels of clarity, predictability, and accountability to your remodel. When you have a well-crafted design plan, your remodel has a clear scope and purpose. The job cost is also more predictable and overall satisfaction is much higher.
Remodel designs provide a clear vision for your remodel
You do yourself a huge favor when you provide your build team with a set of designs for a remodel. It gives everyone a clear, attainable goal for your project from the onset. By having design plans, your build team can better organize the work on your home. They can manage their construction schedule, order correct materials, and hire any subcontractors necessary to complete the job.
Design plans are also one of the best ways to prevent unwelcome surprises during construction. For remodels that begin without designs, you run the risk of additional costs down the road. A contractor might get halfway through a build and realize that the job will be more complicated than expected. When you take the time to measure, plan, and fully design a remodel, your build team is more likely to understand exactly what to build and how to go about it.
Remodel designs provide a predictable project cost
When you begin a remodel with only a general idea of what it will look like, chances are you’ll only have a general idea of how much it will cost, too. You may have a budget in mind, but if you meet your budget and your project is only halfway complete, you either end with a half-finished remodel or you fork out more cash.
This is another area where remodel designs provide value to your project. When you have a clearly defined scope of work, project design, and material selections, it’s easier to accurately predict the cost. In fact, when you work with a company like Lamont Bros., the designs directly inform the cost. This means that the contract price correlates to the designs. This way, you know exactly how much your remodel will cost before it even begins.
Remodel designs result in higher remodel satisfaction
Working with a professional remodel designer gives you the opportunity to decide exactly what you want before construction begins. You can decide on everything from general remodel layout all the way down to the type of flooring and cabinet doors you want. And, since the designs influence the cost, you can work with your budget while designing the remodel, avoiding any cost surprises.
One of the most valuable assets of a good remodel design is that it gives you the ability to visualize how your remodel will look. This way, you can make adjustments in the design phase rather than during construction. At Lamont Bros., our designers use 3D design renders, so you can see computer-generated designs of your remodeled home.
By the end of your project, the designs can have a tremendous impact on your overall satisfaction. When you have the opportunity to preview and fine-tune your design and know beforehand how much your remodel will cost, you’re likely to be much happier with the end result.
What are the different options for remodel design services?
Once you decide if your remodel needs design plans before construction, the next step is to choose how to get your designs. Be careful! Not all remodel design plans are created equal. It’s important for you to consider your options before hiring a designer, as some are better suited to your project than others.
CAD Drawing Independent Contractor
Computer-aided design, commonly abbreviated as CAD, is a type of software used to create construction drawings. CAD software is relatively inexpensive and anyone can learn how to use it. As a result, anyone can buy a software license and market themselves as “professional CAD designers.”
You’ll typically see these type of designers on projects where the homeowner or contractor prefer to design the project as they work. The good news is that going this route is often very inexpensive, and sometimes even free. The downside is that it’s often difficult to predict the quality of work that comes from these types of designers.
Professional Interior Designer
Believe it or not, there is an entire subfield of architecture design dedicated to residential interiors. Many architectural schools even offer degrees in interior architecture. Professional interior designers don’t always have college degrees in their field, but an increasing number of them do.
What sets interior designers apart from lower-level design contractors is that they undergo some form of training to be able to design residential spaces. A skilled interior designer’s focus is to maximize the livability of a space. For different homeowners, this means different things. That’s why a professional interior designer can provide great benefits to a remodel.
They can help you as a homeowner identify opportunities for improvement in your space and implement solutions that uniquely meet your needs and your budget. As a result, they tend to be more expensive, charging between $1,000 and $15,000 for a standard set of remodeling plans. However, spending the extra money for a professional designer is often worth the upfront cost, as the thoroughness and clarity of their work can save you thousands of dollars during the build process.
The bottom line is that there are several different levels of design work that your remodel may or may not need. Some remodels are legally required to be designed by a professional engineer or architect. Others might benefit from the expertise, but do not necessarily require it.
For more structurally complicated remodels, such as additions or accessory dwelling units, it’s usually best (and often legally required) to work with an architect. Because their field specializes in the structural design of a building, they are usually the best fit for larger-scale projects. Architects are certified to design elements relating to load-bearing structures, foundations, and other structural issues that might affect the safety of a home.
You may also encounter highly-specialized engineers when working through the design process. For example, if you build an addition near a questionable ground grade or hill, that would require the work of a geotechnical engineer. This type of specialized civil engineer studies soil and ground conditions for construction. Depending on the scope and complexity of your remodel, your designs may be handled by many different professionals along the way. The cost of these specialized design pros is usually around a couple thousand but can reach above $20,000. That is, in addition to the cost of your remodel designer.
Some professional interior designers become so prolific in their field that they attain “celebrity” status. These high-level designers are considered the best in their class and often charge accordingly.
Mick DeGuilio is one of the world’s most renowned kitchen designers. His designs have become akin to the Rolex of kitchens. The price reflects more than great design features and functionality – it’s a status symbol. Clients of these celebrity designers often pay tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for just the design work.
What is the average cost for remodel design plans?
When it comes to estimating the cost of designs, it’s best to look at it as a percentage of the total project cost. Why? Since the designs inform the price of a remodel, more expensive remodels are often the result of more complex designs, which require more design work.
At Lamont Bros., we employ professionally trained designers – many of whom have a blended interior architectiure degree – to handle the bulk of remodel design plans. Depending on the complexity of a remodel, these designs usually cost about 5% of the contract price. In other words, a kitchen remodel that costs $150,000 to build would include about $7,500 for design work.
How can I keep my remodel design cost low?
While a good design provides excellent benefits to the remodeling process, any wise homeowner wants to make sure their design costs are reasonable. Here are a few things to consider when working through the remodel design process.
Hire a professional remodel designer
While it may seem counterintuitive to save money by not going with the least expensive option, there’s a good reason to not work with cheap, uncertified designers: they’ll cost you more money in the long run.
Sure, you may end up with a lower price tag on your design by hiring a self-taught CAD designer. However, a cheap designer rarely has the design experience or expertise to design a remodel correctly, which can cost you big time down the road. Sometimes, cheap designs aren’t even realistically buildable designs.
Value engineering is another benefit of working with a trained designer. While professional design teams understand how to create remodel plans that get you the greatest benefit per dollar spent, an inexperienced designer may not.
It’s important that no matter who you work with, you choose a designer who specializes in remodel design plans. The remodeling industry is vastly different from other forms of construction. Because it requires insight and experience specifically in the field of renovation, you should hire somebody to draft your plans who understands the process of remodeling. Design-build firms like Lamont Bros. often fit in this category, as well as some architecture firms that specialize in remodeling architecture.
Clearly define your design and stick to it
There are two things that can mess up a remodel design more than anything else: unclear instructions and changing plans. When you communicate your expectations with your design team up front, you leave less room for misinterpreting the plans later on.
Change orders can also be expensive. Not only do they require rearranging the remodeling plan, but they also derail the trajectory of the project by changing the document around which it’s built. The more you go back and change design features in your remodel, the more time your designer has to spend re-designing the same thing over and over. It’s a great way to incur more design costs.
Do you want to learn more about remodel design?
Now that you have a better understanding of how a good design plan can benefit your remodel, don’t stop learning! To read more about the remodeling process, check out our Design + Build page. Here, you can learn about how a firm like Lamont Bros. can help you have an easy and fulfilling remodel experience.
Ready to start designing? If so, we’d love the opportunity to work with you. Click the link below to schedule a call with our professional design team. We’ll walk you through the process of remodeling from start to finish.