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Things to Know When Planning Your IKEA Kitchen

April 25, 2019  —  Written by Chris 

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This post is not in any way sponsored by IKEA. We’ve used their cabinetry on several projects and are answering questions we’ve received through all of that. Opinions are 100% ours. 

Do IKEA Kitchen Cabinets Really Hold Up?
This is probably the question we received most. And we totally get it. Straight up, IKEA is known more for design and affordability than they are their quality. But now that we’ve done 5 IKEA kitchens, my sincere opinion is that most worries of durability are unnecessary.

Fullmer Kitchen - CLJ

“What are IKEA kitchen cabinets made out of? Are you worried that it isn’t solid wood?”
IKEA cabinets not being solid wood isn’t a concern at all. The main consideration is the balance between strength and design. If it’s strong enough and fits into your design, then it’s a great choice! IKEA cabinets are made from MDF (medium density fiberboard) that is wrapped in a layer of hard plastic called melamine. The melamine seals against water and MDF is used in a wide variety of cabinetry available through countless retailers. Even most cabinet makers offer an MDF box construction option.

“Are the legs on those boxes plastic? Is that really strong enough to support stone countertops?”
IKEA has metal legs, but the adjustable ones (which are the only ones we’ve personally used) are plastic. In our kitchen, we poured a 2in thick slab of concrete for our countertops. And I’m not talking about the sorta-concrete that also contains a bunch of lightweight materials to reduce bulk. They’re solid, heavy, concrete. Our IKEA cabinets have never so much as creaked. The legs are engineered to hold the cabinets level and steady, while the majority of the weight hangs on the metal mounting bars secured to the wall (more on that later). If you have concerns, you can talk with the IKEA team, but we have been so happy with their strength.

“Why do all the contractors I talk to tell me to never use IKEA?”
That’s almost like asking why your Ford dealer told you to never buy a GMC. There’s a lot that goes into this, but one factor is that contractors have relationships with cabinet makers, and they upcharge you on custom cabinetry to add to their own bottom line. And I don’t say that to demonize contractors – it’s a completely valid and legitimate cost for the work they do. But it’s an incentive to steer homeowners in that one direction which, granted, is higher quality but is also often double the price.

So, is IKEA as sturdy as custom-built plywood cabinetry? Of course not. But to clarify, we’re not talking about the difference between Fort Knox and the first little pig’s house made of straw. IKEA cabinetry is engineered really well and will hold up to normal use the same way custom-built MDF cabinetry would. We have 3 crazy kids who are about as abusive to our cabinetry as kids could be, and ours work like the day we first installed them 4 years ago.

What is the Process for Buying IKEA Kitchen Cabinets?
We were so nervous when we did our first IKEA kitchen, and ended up having to make a couple extra trips to IKEA for things we forgot–4 hours away! But the staff has always been super helpful and there’s no need to be intimidated so long as you have a general idea of what you want.

“How do I have IKEA design my kitchen?”
Honestly, we’ve never done it this way but you can have them come to your home to measure and plan your space if your prefer not to do it yourself. If the footprint of your space will be changing, you need to either have it done ahead of time or have detailed blueprints to provide the planners so they can customize your layout accordingly. But the IKEA planning and installation fees start to add up to a point where, if this is the route you’re looking at, you may also want to look into a bid for custom cabinetry so you can compare the two. Your costs might not be that far off.

“How do I make my own design and get the products for it?” 
Always, always use the IKEA home planner. It’s actually a very detailed, accurate and usable tool. It works directly in your web browser and is free to use. You can construct a floor plan that matches your space and see a real-time 3D visual rendering of the products as you add them. You can do it with very basic computer know-how (though I will say, use a browser like Chrome – steer clear of Safari for this).

Once you’re happy with the design, save it to your account. When you go into the store, the associate will have you log into your account and they will review your design with you. They’ll make suggestions, or remove things you don’t need (if you’re using Semihandmade fronts instead of standard IKEA, for example, they’ll remove the fronts but keep the hinges) and compile your order. They usually have you pay for it right there, and they hand you your receipt, which you’ll need to pick up your order.

When the purchase is complete, the computer system sends the order to the warehouse team and they pull together all the products for you. Depending on the order size and how busy they are, this can take several hours. We’ll usually shop around a little, grab lunch, and come back periodically to check. You don’t have to stay in the store and wait – you can leave and come back.

“Does IKEA deliver directly to my home?”
Most areas of the country do not offer direct-to-home delivery for IKEA cabinetry – it will be in-store pickup only. But sometimes you can work with the store to have things like hinges or other small pieces that may have been forgotten shipped to you.

How do I Measure My Kitchen Accurately for IKEA Cabinets?
When measuring your kitchen, draw as detailed of diagrams as you can. Not only is this helpful to reference as you build your design in the IKEA Home Planner, but creating the diagrams helps you become more familiar with the space as well. But for each wall where cabinetry will be, there are 3 numbers you need to have in mind:

1- Where you would ideally like the cabinets to begin/end
2- The furthest out the cabinets could extend without obstructing other areas
3- The furthest in the cabinets could be without sacrificing form and function

Measuring the island

The truth is, it’s not likely that your IKEA cabinets will fit perfectly on any wall, so there will be compromises. You’ll fudge an inch or two here or there. You’ll need filler pieces and trim. But as long as you’re working within the numbers above, you’ll end up with something you’re happy with.

“How do I get the cabinets to fit tightly without have odd gaps of 7 or 8 inches on the ends?”
IKEA has enough width options in their cabinets where you should rarely if ever end up with gaps too large to cover with a 2-4in filler piece. Here are all the sizes of basic cabinets that IKEA offers in 24 and 15 inch depths (all measurements are in inches):

24 deep
   30 tall base cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 21, 24, 30, 36
80 tall high cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 24, 30
90 tall high cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 24, 30
15 tall wall cabinets come in the following widths:
– 30, 36
20 tall wall cabinets come in the following widths:
– 30, 36

15 deep
   30 tall base cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 24, 30, 36
80 tall high cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 24
90 tall high cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 24
40 tall wall cabinets come in the following widths:
– 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 30, 36
30 tall wall cabinets come in the following widths:
– 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 30, 36
20 tall wall cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 21, 24, 30, 36
15 tall wall cabinets come in the following widths:
– 15, 18, 30, 36

IKEA Kitchen Planner

If you find you’re left with a 6in gap on one side, turn that 15in wide cabinet into an 18in wide cabinet and drop that gap to 3 inches. There’s usually something you can shift around to reduce your gap sizes.

There are also several other unique cabinet options (for corners, sinks, appliances etc.) that can be found in the IKEA Home Planner. But keep in mind that the height dimensions of these cabinets do not factor in legs or a toe kick! That will add 4-5 inches, depending on your countertop thickness (standard height to top of countertop is 36in, adjust the toe kick height to accommodate).

Other things to plan for in your measurements:
• If a cabinet is going to meet up with an adjacent wall, plan at least 2 in of space between the box and the wall. This will allow the drawer to open freely.
• Allow at least 1in of space above high and upper cabinets so doors can open freely.
• IKEA has options that would replace the standard legs when making an island, or you can build a custom base to use instead of the IKEA option.
• Avoid putting filler pieces between cabinet boxes that are next to each other on the same wall. Use filler pieces at the ends of rows of cabinets, near walls and next too appliances when needed.

What Are the Best Practices for Assembling and Installing IKEA Cabinets?

Ikea Cabinets

IKEA gets lumped in with other RTA (ready to assemble) furniture companies, and is branded as being much more difficult than it actually is as a result. IKEA cabinets are super simple to put together, and once you get the hang of it you can finish each one is less than 10 minutes. Here are some of our tips:

• Use the mounting bar on the wall whenever you can, secured directly into every stud available. It makes installation so quick and easy, and keeps the cabinets even. Just use the adjustable front legs to level them out and screw them together with the provided screws.

IKEA Cabinet Mounting Bar

• When using the mounting bar, back legs aren’t necessary, but still use back legs on cabinets that are on the end of the mounting bar, for extra support.
• IKEA instructions say to use a hand screwdriver and not a powered driver. I get why they say that, and I can’t tell you that you should use a driver, but we do. Always have. It makes it go a lot faster, you just have to use a low setting and be sure to stop once the screws are in or they’ll strip the holes.

Make the Kitchen For You
The final point, but probably the most important, is that this is your kitchen. Renovate it for you! We receive hundreds of questions every day about space planning and the questions are often so specific to an individual. Some of these questions might include:

• Can you really use wall cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, or is it just wasted space up there?
• Is open shelving really a good option or will everything just get dusty and dirty?
• Is it worth my time to hire someone/pay IKEA to build and install my IKEA cabinets?
• At what point would I be better off just paying a contractor for custom cabinetry?

These are all real questions we’ve received. They’re all good questions, too. But they’re tricky questions because they can only be answered by the people asking them. We’re fortunate enough that we enjoy the process of planning a kitchen. We love going through every detail and deciding what will go where. Giving the things we use most prime placement, but making sure things we only use sometimes have a place, too.

It’s not a fast process, and it involves a lot of back and forth (especially if planning the space with your spouse or partner) and changing and adjusting. But be patient with yourself and your spouse. Allow the space to change. Don’t get frustrated because you remembered that you have ventilation running through a wall and that now prevents you from moving your plumbing where you wanted it to go. Working through that process is how you create an IKEA kitchen that feels custom and functional and everything you want it to be, and you’ll love every second you spend in it once its done.

Watch our IKEA cabinet assembly and installation:

What do you think?

  1. Johnny espo says:

    I built 3 kitchens this year, one during a lock down. Yes ikea delivers, each kitchen became easier as I designed and built them. This process isn’t for everyone you need to evaluate your ability before you begin. Take your time, if you need help I can help you through your rebuild and save you lots of money along the way

    • Gina says:

      This is incredible!!! How do I reach you? I am thinking of tackling my mom’s kitchen because they want to charge her for the labor 15K (her kitchen is small (total of 8 cabinets). I have never done anything like this but am a quick learner and crafty. Would love to pick your brain before I take on this large project.

  2. Emily S says:

    This was SOOOO helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post!

  3. Aarif says:

    Why Ikea is not in Pakistan?

  4. Bob Thornton says:

    Great post. Currently in the middle of fitting my own.

    I had a question; did you fit all the little back bottom bumpers to all the cabinets? I mean the white plastic things you nail onto the bottom back of the cabinet that sits against the wall. I’m finding that with some fitted, the cabinets are not level, especially where a cabinet meets the corner unit.

  5. Lori says:

    I appreciate the information. However, if you don’t live within 30 minutes of IKEA do not buy their kitchen. I am currently in the middle of what might be the worst experience I’ve ever had with any remodel. IKEA is a disaster, with the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced in my 50 years of living. Forget getting a hold of anybody on the phone if you have a problem, which means driving to their facility. The day I bought my kitchen, I showed up with a U-Haul and waited endlessly for them to push me out the door with about 16 major missing parts. I paid for them, did not get them. I have been calling endlessly- phone calls that will not go through, emails not responded to, no way to contact people. Some of you are laughing. Yup, you’ve been there. After days and days of trying I finally, got a rep. (I spent the first few moments begging her not to hang up on me and begging her to call me back if for some reason we ever got disconnected for some odd reason) She put a claim in but I have no email confirmation or way of knowing it was dealt with. Two weeks later, still no word. I officially have 5 1/2 hours on the phone just trying to get some sort of help because I cannot move forward without my parts. I spent about 4 full days organizing parts, doing inventory to determine how bad the situation was. Labeling stinks. Only numbers to reference. Direction have no words and much of your guessing either needs corrected or adjusted. Currently I have no sink, no cooking ability and no open stores during COVID.I am paying the price. No way to fix their screw up! Recipe for disaster is all I have. I would not ever do a kitchen from them. Ever. My excellent, experienced contractor said he will never ever do another kitchen from them again. Those people on the fence of doing IKEA, run as fast as you can. Consider yourself warned.

  6. Susanna says:

    Can you install a 60x100cm upper cabinet on a tile over hollow brick wall with only two screws? I got the sturdy metal expansion bolts/anchors that normally go in concrete. But I’m not sure they’ll work here. It’s about 2.5cm of wall before it’s empty, plus all the stuff on the cabinet mount brackets.
    Or does it have to use the rail to be able to hold cast iron pots and pans? And is the rail even enough for that? I have no base cabinets and too much space up top, and it’s an apartment. Plus, bonus- our stuff (finally!) arrives to our new home a week from now, and IKEA wants €40 for any delivery. Plus the rail would extend beyond the one cabinet, so I don’t want to use it.

    thanks so much!!!

  7. Amanda says:

    We have just installed an Ikea kitchen with some cabinets that face opposite directions. Now we realize that the legs don’t match up to install the kick plates. Any ideas?

  8. Danielle G says:

    Just a couple of questions for you- I want to imitate this look and create a similarly designed kitchen for my home. Would it be possible for you to show specifically what you ordered to achieve this look and the color of front cabinets for the wood from semihandmade. What flooring is used in this home, material and color? and, lastly- where are the appliances from? Doing a home renovation and looking forward to customizing my kitchen, considering it is where I spend most of my time :’)

    Love everything you guys do! You are amazing. Thanks for all the tips.

  9. Traci Turchin says:

    My wall is 111.25″ wide. I want to do 3 36″ cabinets, but it leaves me with 1 5/8″ on either side instead of 2″. When you say allow 2″ for things to open, how firm is that 2″? Thanks!

  10. Jennifer Foster Cooper says:

    Love this, so much useful info in this post. I am currently planning my Ikea kitchen in a new build, with very similar layout. I have been struggling with the corner, not wanting to waste the space by using the wall cabinet on top of the corner unit, which is what I assume you did there. I like the aesthetic of that cabinet with drawer combo, though and really love the toast station idea! Thank you for helping me actually see the idea I have played around with in the Ikea software.

  11. Carol says:

    Thank you for the tips and the video! Double thank you for not editing out the missing measurements. It’s real life and appreciated that install while it seems simple enough can and most likely will have obstacles. The hubs and I have had many obstacles in our DIY life and you just have to go with the flow. We are embarking on our first Ikea kitchen very soon. The first kitchen sale for 2020 is coming in February. We are super excited and feel we can tackle this big project with the help of blogs like yours. Good job!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Why do you recommend not using filler between two cabinets on the same wall? We’re beginning our Ikea kitchen on Monday and had planned to put a 3” filler between a base cabinet and the double oven cabinet. Is that a bad idea?

  13. Paul Stehle says:

    Ikea’s kitchen cabinets are NOT made of MDF, rather particleboard. MDF is used in many of Ikea’s other furniture. There is nothing at all wrong with either, used in the appropriate manner. Keep both as dry as possible to avoid returning to their original state of sawdust, in the case of particleboard, or pulp, if it’s MDF. I’ve installed 4 Ikea kitchens, and have basically been satisfied with the quality and longevity of each.

  14. Heidi Betts says:

    Hi there- Love it all! Can you tell me about bathroom vanities? I don’t see a standard 21″ vanity height in the mix. And I’ve looked for any blogs on bathroom semihandmade vanities with your line but can’t seem to find any. Help?

  15. Kristin says:

    This is so helpful. I’ve read it twice.
    Question: we don’t feel very confident that we’re taking extremely accurate measurements. Is it possible to hire a pro just to take accurate measurements.
    Another question: we’re 6 hours from our ikea store. I e read that delivery costs range from $79 to $99 to $250 to not an option. Do you know the answer?

  16. Micah says:

    Do you have a post on how you did the floors after the cabinets went in? We are going through this exact scenario right now and are wishing we could do our floors after our cabinets.

  17. Vicki Williams says:

    trying to make a comment

  18. Viktorija says:

    I am helping my family with their Ikea kitchen and I was wondering which drawer system do you use? I have see a lot of negative reviews about the cheaper Forvara and everybody says to go with Maximera.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I have a 4 year old ikea kitchen and it’s also held up fabulously. I know people with solid oak cabinets that are having to replace hinges often so I think the hardware is a huge part of what makes good cabinetry. Ikeas is definitely better than what I’ve seen some custom cabinet makers use.

  20. Steve says:

    Locally most of the custom cabinet builders use mdf or fiberboard for the carcasses but they are stapled and screwed (quick and dirty). Ikea definitely makes a better carcass than what I’ve seen locally. Plywood carcasses might seem nice in theory, but mdf is more dimensionally stable. I’d argue it’s a better material for the carcass (as do many).

    I met with an in-store kitchen rep to order and they were able to do a lot of cool things quickly. They saved me from buying too much toe kick, too many legs and too much rail. They were able to do full height gables (which would be tedious in the designer) and in hindsight I would have had them change the hinges from the default 125 degree hinges to the 110 degree (which can be limited to 89 degrees with a little plastic clip made by Blum). I ended up having to order a couple extra hinge sets once I figured out the swing limiting clips I needed for the galley kitchen end cabinets wouldn’t work on the 125 degree hinges (doh).

    Next kitchen reno (this summer) will be Ikea again but with custom doors from MyKitch (we’re in Canada). Love the Ikea kitchen system, but their door choices are limited.

  21. Kiera says:

    We finished our IKEA kitchen last August/September and LOVE it.
    We live in far northern California so are in between two IKEA’s, one 3+ hours south and one 6 hours north. Neither offered delivery to our home, and it would seem like the 3 hour IKEA was the best option, but the one 6 hours north is in Oregon, which is a state that doesn’t have sales tax, so the extra drive time/gas we spent was well worth the $600 we saved on tax!
    Two other suggestions I would make for purchasing an IKEA kitchen, join the IKEA family and get the card (free), this helps for any returns you might need to make. And if IKEA has a kitchen event within 30 days of your purchase (and you used your family card) you can get the discount difference on an IKEA card.
    If you are in the middle of your renovation you may already be aware of this or have done many reno’s in the past, but check with your bank the day you plan to purchase your kitchen, they may put a stop on any purchase over a price point. We had to wait 5 hours for our bank to release the funds for our purchase even though we had more than enough in the account, and then had to wait 3 hours for IKEA to “pull our kitchen” from the warehouse, this was after spending almost 2 hours purchasing the kitchen…it was a VERY long day, but more due to our bank NOT Ikea. It was actually the IKEA employee who suggested we call our bank as soon as we started the order process.
    My husband is not the DIY’er in our relationship but he enjoyed the process of building and creating our IKEA kitchen together and is very proud of the finished product.

  22. Kayla says:

    What do the “base”, “high”, “wall” descriptors in your post mean?

  23. Allison says:

    The 24” deep base cabinets also come in 12”. They have two options, a plain 30” door or a 30” pull-out door with two shelves. For some reason you have to click into something special in the planning tool to find them. The person at Ikea had to show me how. We just installed our kitchen yesterday!

  24. Lauren says:

    I find it hard to use IKEA cabinets on projects with a GC because the GC and/or their crew are assembling the cabinets at an hourly rate that might add enough costs to warrant going a custom or semi-custom route. And some GCs are hesitant to work with the homeowners to DIY the cabinets in case there’s any coordination issues (who does what) or warranty issues (something broke, was it the contractor or the homeowner’s fault). That said, we used them on our own house and love the product for the value.

  25. Tarynkay says:

    We installed Ikea cabinets ourselves in our kitchen 10 years ago. The boxes themselves are holding up great, including the sink cabinet. However, the doors, which are frameless, are not. They aren’t hanging off or anything, but they are not longer perfectly flush either. Also the door pulls are integrated into the tops of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and they are showing a lot of wear. We do have two kids but they have never been allowed to swing on the cabinet doors or anything, so this is just the result of normal wear and tear over the last decade. The kitchen is fine and functional and we have no plans to renovate it, but if we suddenly had to for some reason, I would probably just replace the doors and leave the cabinet boxes.

    The hinges and door hardware all continues to work smoothly.

    We have standard granite counter tops and the weight of these has never been a problem at all.

    I’m not sure if I would recommend them or not. I would definitely suggest a different style door.

    • Just saw this comment – you can actually adjust the door placement using the screws on the hinges! We just installed our third Ikea kitchen and I had one door that didn’t even close properly until I adjusted the hinges. One screw changes the height/up-down, one the left and right and the other screw changes the distance from the box. (You can probably download the hinge instructions from the Ikea website to see which one does which!).

  26. Sarah says:

    This is such a helpful post! I used to work for a GS that used traditional framed wood cabinets, and now I’m a designer for a luxury European cabinet company and Ikea is definitely a great product for the money. For some reason Plywood cabinets are king in the US, but that does not make them superior product (of course there is a range in terms of quality in both types of products). The MDF used in European style cabinet boxes is not the particle board that you see on the Billy bookcase. It is MUCH heavier, just as solid if not more so than a plywood box, and tends to be far more environmentally friendly because the Europeans environmental requirements are more strict than those in the US. A lot of GCs don’t like them because they don’t want to be assembling cabinet boxes (understandable) and they like predictability, so they use what they know works for them. American GCs are also just far less experienced installing frameless cabinetry, especially on the east coast, and they tend to be intimidated by it–silly since Ikea kitchens are built to DIY! While Ikea might not be built for the high end market, European-style cabinets are totally where the market is headed you really can’t be the quality at that price point!

  27. Melissa McAllister says:

    Not specifically asking about IKEA cabinets, but do you recommend shelf liners for kitchen cabinets? I’ve read that it is now “old school” to do so and not needed for new cabinets because interiors are much easier to clean. Thoughts?

    • Julia says:

      We don’t use shelf liners, but I think it’s a great idea! We mostly have drawers and all of our drawers have some sort of organizer or tray in it that makes it easier to clean, too!

  28. K Davidson says:

    We installed our ikea kitchen 14 years ago and it is still going strong, despite it getting very heavy use from our family of 8!

  29. Vicki Williams says:

    What/why, if the doors are the same design, i.e. Shaker, would I want to use Semihandmade?

  30. Chance says:

    This is the best ikea kitchen ordering breakdown I’ve ever see . Good job guys ????????

  31. Jeana says:

    Hi there! I recently installed ikea cabinets in our kitchen. I am loving them, but what can I do to make them look more ‘finished’? What is the best way to hide/cover the space where cabinet meets wall? Also, to catch the stud I had to cut the metal mounting bar a bit wider than the cabinets. Any advice on how to hide this? Thanks!

    • Chris says:

      IKEA (and Semihandmade) sells cover panels that match their cabinet fronts. You would just need to buy enough of those that you could cut them down and mount them in the gaps (using 2x4s or some kind of blocking behind them to mount on).

      As far as the mounting bar, if it’s for a base cabinet I usually suggest cutting it at the end of the cabinet and using back legs for the cabinet to stabilize. If it’s for an upper cabinet I’ll sometimes drive a screw through the top into a joist in the ceiling for support so I don’t have to carry the rail beyond it. If you can get at least one good-sized screw into a ceiling joist toward the end of the cabinet where the rail isn’t secured into a stud, and then attach the wall cabinets together that will be plenty of stable.

  32. Laura Reynolds says:

    Very helpful. You answered many questions I had. Thank you.

  33. Megan CC says:

    We are in the middle (hopefully more towards the end) of a complete kitchen remodel. Flooring is going in tomorrow and then we’ll be putting in an Ikea kitchen. I have been putting the cabinets together, and while I agree building the actual box only takes about 10 minutes, adding the drawer hardware has taken me significantly longer. Since there are so many variations on how you can have the drawers laid out, and you just have pictures to go by, getting the placement right has been a multiple-try process for me. But I’m almost done, and I’m so excited to have a beautiful kitchen in the very near future!

  34. Lori says:

    Man, this was such a useful post. Thank you!

  35. Christina says:

    Hi Julia and Chris – thanks so much for putting this together! My question is about toe kicks. Our cabinets were installed by the previous owner (a flipper) and we always have the toe kicks getting a little loose or disjointed. What can I do to fix this? Any ideas to prevent it? Maybe you don’t have the issue because you’re better at installing cabinets than he was? :)

  36. Ashley says:

    Redoing our kitchen is on our to-do list – it’s original to our 70s house with custom cabinetry that has been repainted (and new counters) but it’s starting to break down. It seems like such a big project! I think we’ll go the ikea route just because I like to DIY (and save some money) so this was helpful and I’m sure I’ll revisit it in 10 years once we finally save the cash!

  37. ellen says:

    We installed our Ikea kitchen 18 years ago and it’s still perfect!! No problems with the quality of the base at all (and it gets used A LOT). I think Ikea doesn’t get enough credit for their quality. We’re in the proces of switching the fronts to just something different but we’re still using the same base.

  38. Amy says:

    I just wrapped a pretty extensive renovation and used Ikea cabinetry with Semihandmade fronts in my kitchen, mudroom, laundry room, and master bathroom. It all looks built in and beautiful, and functions SO well. The interior organizers are so well thought out, and the functionality of everything has, no lie, changed my life for the better. I always tell people I’m here to preach the Ikea cabinet gospel – ha!

    I planned everything in the Ikea planner tool myself, and had everything sent to my house (all for only $39 shipping!). The best advice I can add here, is once you have your plan set in the planning tool, you can simply call Ikea, and they can access your design from the planner, and order everything from your plan for you in like 2 seconds, instead of trying to add everything to your cart by yourself. I spent a LONG TIME adding everything to my cart, checking, re-checking, hit a snag, called Ikea, and they were basically like “we can do all of this for you, duh.” So if you can master the planning tool (use the arrow keys to move things in tiny intervals, not just your mouse!) I think this is a great option for people who don’t live near an Ikea, or don’t have like an entire weekend to devote to going to Ikea.

  39. Bonnie says:

    I installed an IKEA kitchen about 2 years and will never look back – I love it! I’m actually using their online planner right now to design one for my mom so she can use it to get quotes from other cabinet sources, too, and decide who she wants to go with. Our IKEA delivered our kitchen but we are only 40 minutes away so that may be a limited offering.

    We also went with their integrated/panel ready dishwasher and it works beautifully. The only gripe I have is the toe kicks – they are plastic and flimsy and I’m planning to replace them with sturdier baseboard. C’est la vie.

    If you get frustrated easily with the regular IKEA assembly this may not be a project for you. I found it quite meditative when I got into the groove, but I’m a weirdo who actually enjoys IKEA assembly so your mileage may vary. ;) As far as quality and price go, you can’t beat an IKEA kitchen.

  40. Stacy says:

    “Most areas of the country do not offer direct-to-home delivery for IKEA cabinetry”

    This isn’t exactly true. Maybe because your nearest IKEA is four hours away this isn’t an option, but my local store has a very clear delivery map with a pretty large delivery radius (50 miles, if I remember correctly). Especially if you live in a larger metro area this should absolutely be something they offer.

    As for the assembly, I’ve used an electric screwdriver to assemble every piece of IKEA furniture I own, including an entire kitchen. Not as aggressive as a power drill if you’re worried about stripping screws, but still WAY better than doing everything manually.

    • Julia says:

      That’s good to know! We’ll update that.

    • Jennifer Ambord says:

      Yes! When we installed our IKEA kitchen a year and a half ago the closest store was two hours away. Not only did they deliver, but they did so free of charge because of a special they were running at the time. We love our kitchen!

    • Chris says:

      I think this agrees with the phrasing above. Most areas of the country aren’t within 50 miles of an IKEA, so they don’t have access to direct-to-home delivery. But for the lucky ones who are within the delivery zone, it’s a great thing!

  41. Allison says:

    I was dead set on using IKEA cabinets in my kitchen reno as a way to keep costs down. That said, I am not a DIY-er (yet!) so I was planning to use IKEA’s 3rd party partner to install the cabinets. I had them come out and measure and the installation was actually the same cost as the cabinets themselves. I ended up going with a custom cabinet maker and their cabinets + labor were actually cheaper than IKEA’s when the entire business case was considered!

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for sharing! The real benefit of IKEA is in doing it yourself. That’s where the money is saved. So I agree, anyone who will just be paying IKEA or someone else to put it in, you should also get a bid for custom cabinetry just to see the difference.

  42. Mary says:

    I’m soooo excited to see how this kitchen turns out. Personally, I think at this point in my life I’d go IKEA, but if I could afford it I’d want to do a kitchen like Amber Interiors or Jean Stoffer!! Do you think in your next home you’ll use Ikea kitchen cabinets or do you think you’d upgrade to something like inset cabinetry?

    • Chris says:

      It’s hard to say. We like the hands-on aspect of IKEA, and Semihandmade has amazing front options for it, but conceptualizing something custom and having it built exactly how we want sounds nice as well. We’ll have to see where we’re at when that comes, I suppose.

  43. Peggy says:

    I was already sold on the idea of using Ikea cabinets in our cabin, but still did a lot of research before I pulled the trigger. One thing that I don’t see mentioned here or in many other places is the difference in the screws that Ikea uses. They’re called pozidriv, and they really are different from Phillips. You can get the pozidriv drivers at Ikea; I think I got mine on amazon. They hold much better in the screw head, whether you’re using a power driver or hand driver.

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