For kitchen designers, entering design contests can be a game-changer, offering numerous advantages and opportunities for professional growth.

Beyond showcasing your talent and expertise, participating in kitchen design contests opens doors to networking, recognition, and valuable industry exposure.

Over my career I have entered (and won) multiple design contests and have always found the effort worth while.

In this VESTA Blog post, we will explore the compelling reasons why kitchen designers should consider entering design contests.

Let’s look at the top reasons for entering kitchen design contests.

Showcase Your Talent & Creativity

Kitchen design contests serve as an unparalleled stage for designers to demonstrate their talent and unleash their creative prowess.

By participating in these competitions, designers can showcase their unique style, innovative ideas, and mastery of design principles.

Design contests often encourage participants to think outside the box, pushing the boundaries of conventional kitchen design.

This process allows designers to explore new concepts, experiment with materials and layouts, and present their vision to a larger audience.

Build a Portfolio

Participating in kitchen design contests helps designers build a robust and impressive portfolio.

Winning or even being recognized in a contest adds valuable credentials and demonstrates professional excellence.

These accolades can bolster a designer’s reputation, attract potential clients, and create new business opportunities.

A well-curated portfolio, showcasing award-winning designs, increases credibility and sets designers apart in a competitive industry.

Boost your Marketing

A win, a recognition, or even an entry into a kitchen design contest will help with your marketing efforts.

To enter a contest you need photography and usually a design description, so you are already set for some great social media posts.

If you win or place, spread the word on all our social media channels. promotional literature and website.

Most contests will provide you with “award badges” for you to use and will feature you in their social platforms.

Take advantage of all of this to boost your marketing efforts.

Network and Build Industry Connections

Design contests provide an excellent platform for networking with industry professionals, potential clients, and fellow designers.

Judges, sponsors, and attendees at these events often include influential figures and experts in the field.

Engaging with them allows designers to establish meaningful connections, exchange ideas, and seek mentorship from established industry veterans.

Networking opportunities can lead to collaborations, referrals, and access to new projects, expanding the designer’s professional network and enhancing career prospects.

Get Industry Exposure and Recognition

Winning or placing in a prominent design contest brings significant exposure and recognition within the industry.

These accolades can garner media attention through press releases, interviews, and features in design publications.

Such exposure helps designers to elevate their brand, increase visibility, and reach a wider audience.

Being associated with a prestigious competition enhances professional credibility and positions designers as authorities in their field.

The recognition gained from design contests can serve as a springboard for future projects and collaborations.

Gain Continuous Learning and Growth

Participating in kitchen design contests fosters continuous learning and personal growth.

Competitions often have specific design challenges or requirements that push designers to research, explore, and stay updated with the latest design trends and technologies.

The feedback received from judges provides valuable insights, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement.

Learning from fellow participants and observing diverse design approaches enriches the designer’s skill set and expands their creative repertoire.

Gain Monetary Prizes and Rewards

Many design contests offer attractive monetary prizes, scholarships, or product sponsorships as rewards for winners.

These incentives provide financial support and resources for designers to further invest in their professional development.

The cash prizes can be used for education, equipment upgrades, attending industry conferences, or expanding their design studio.

Winning a prestigious contest can also result in sponsorships from industry-leading brands, providing access to high-quality products and materials.

Participating in kitchen design contests is a transformative experience for designers, offering a multitude of benefits that accelerate professional growth.

These competitions provide a platform to showcase talent, nurture creativity, and build a reputable portfolio.

The networking opportunities and industry connections foster collaboration, mentorship, and potential client relationships.

The exposure gained from winning or placing in design contests elevates designers’ profiles, increases visibility, and opens doors to new opportunities.

Ultimately, entering kitchen design contests is a catalyst for continuous learning, recognition, and success in the ever-evolving world of kitchen design.

Kitchen Design Contests Options

Here are some kitchen design contests you may want to check out.

Professional Organizations

Many professional organizations will hold design contests to showcase their member’s talent.

Examples include:

  • The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) competitions
  • Home Builders Associations such as NARI and CHBA highlight kitchen design as a category in their annual design competitions
  • American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) organizes the ASID Design Excellence Awards
  • International Interior Design Association (IIDA) hosts design competitions such as the IIDA Interior Design Competition and the IIDA Student Design Competition
  • Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) conducts design competitions to promote and celebrate outstanding interior design in Canada. They organize events like the IDC Design Symposium and the IDC National Design Excellence Awards.
Appliance Manufacturers

Many appliance manufacturers will sponsor kitchen design contests to promote the use of their products in kitchen design.

These contests often provide monetary prizes or trips, making them worth while if you design a kitchen using their products.

A few examples include:

  • The Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove Kitchen Design Contest focuses on exceptional kitchen designs that incorporate their high-end appliances
  • The GE Appliances Kitchen Design Competition has hosted design competitions in the past, showcasing innovative kitchen designs that integrate their appliance products
  • Thermador appliances will often sponsor a design challenge that celebrates outstanding kitchen design featuring their products.
  • Viking Appliances has also run design contests highlighting beautiful and functional kitchen design incorporating their appliances.
Product Manufactures

Along with appliance manufacturers, many kitchen product manufacturers will sponsor kitchen design contests.

It is popular for countertop manufactures to run design contests.

I won the first North American kitchen design contest Silestone ran several years ago with the prize a trip for two to Spain!

Many cabinet manufactures run kitchen design contests featuring their products.

These design contests can be a great opportunity if you are a dealer of the manufacturer.

Additional product manufactures to check out for kitchen design contest include sink & faucet manufacturers, lighting manufactures, flooring manufactures, tile manufactures and cabinet accessory manufactures.

Design Trade Shows

A feature of some interior design shows can be design contests.

Here are a few:

  • The Toronto Interior Design Show (IDS) hosts a kitchen design competition that highlights innovative concepts and cutting-edge trends. The contest serves as a platform for emerging designers to showcase their skills while engaging with industry professionals and potential clients
  • The New York Design Center’s “What’s New, What’s Next” Event organizes the annual “What’s New, What’s Next” event, featuring a kitchen design competition open to designers, architects, and design enthusiasts. The contest focuses on highlighting the latest trends, materials, and technologies in kitchen design. The event draws attention to emerging talents while fostering connections between industry leaders and design enthusiasts.
Design Magazines

Occasionally interior design publications will sponsor kitchen design contests.

The Canadian publication, Western Living, has an annual design contest featuring professional kitchen designers work in Western Canada

Southern Living Magazine hosts an annual showcase home event, which includes a kitchen design contest.

Other reginal and national shelter magazines will often sponsor design contests and so jump at the chance if you come across a kitchen design contest.

Have you ever entered a kitchen design contest? If yes, let me know about it in the comments below.

Jan Rutgers has been designing for over 25 years. Developing functional layouts for every area of the home is her passion. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens in her career, learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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