IKEA Kitchen review: Pros, cons, and overall quality

I’ve walked you through our complete kitchen renovation using IKEA kitchen cabinets from design, cabinet installation, to the finishing touches. Now it’s nearly a year later and it’s time to dig into a full review of IKEA kitchens. We have also added some info and tips on this topic with a new blog post all about designing and planning an IKEA kitchen.

So buckle up, hold on, or do whatever you need to do to get comfortable as I discuss all things IKEA kitchen related, including cabinets, design software, pros and cons of the IKEA kitchen system, and what I would do differently the next time.

A quick note before you get started. Be sure to read to the end of this article where I update my feelings toward IKEA kitchen cabinets, and give you a run down of how their cabinetry has held up over the past couple years.

Why an IKEA kitchen?

The decision to get an IKEA kitchen came down to the major factors: price, design, and flexibility. 

  1. Price: IKEA has created a monopoly when it comes to economy of scale for home furnishings. I don’t love everything IKEA creates or designs; however, their size gives IKEA amazing pricing power to create some great products at unbelievable prices. It just so happens that one of these great products is their complete line of SEKTION cabinets.
  2. Design: There are other mass-produced cabinetry systems out there available at places such as Home Depot or Lowes, but they just don’t hold a candle to IKEA cabinets. IKEA cabinets are completely modular and with some creative thinking it is astonishing how adaptable they really are when it comes to design.
  3. Flexibility: As I mentioned above, IKEA cabinets can be installed in many different ways, giving you an incredible level of flexibility for an off-the-shelf cabinet system. This also means that should you get tired of your cabinet doors in 10 years, or one of your drawer fronts gets ruined, it is easy to switch them out for new ones.

The key to these factors is you don’t need to sacrifice on one to get the others. You get flexible designs at fantastic prices.

ikea kitchen design ideas

How is the quality of IKEA kitchen cabinets?

The first thing I hear when I talk to people about IKEA kitchens and IKEA kitchen cabinets is, “But it isn’t real wood!”. They are suspicious of MDF (medium density fiberboard) cabinets.

Almost every off-the-shelf cabinet system I looked into for our project was made with particle board or MDF cabinet boxes. The next step up from this is cabinet grade plywood (sometimes with a real wood veneer), but there is a significant debate over whether this is actually superior. Plus, when I had our project quoted with this type of cabinetry, our price nearly doubled.

Yes, you could go all the way to custom-made, solid wood cabinet boxes and doors. However, for most people (including us) this just wasn’t a feasible option. Yes, you can save some money on custom cabinets by using local builders or smaller companies, but it is still far more expensive than IKEA kitchen cabinets. When I had our project quoted using a local custom cabinet builder, the price came in over $15,000, and that didn’t include installation.

So what is the quality of IKEA cabinets really like?

Simply put, they are incredibly durable. The kitchen at the Beige Bungalow has now gone through over a year of dinner parties, grandchildren playing, and multiple dog wrestling matches without so much as a scratch. I firmly believe kitchens are the heart of the home and a room that is meant to be used..and sometimes used hard.

If that doesn’t convince you of their durability, the complete wet bar area in my own basement is built from IKEA cabinets. It was one of the first renovations at our home and has seen numerous parties, football games (literally), and too many games of mini sticks hockey to count, yet still not a scratch, ding, dent, or mark to be seen.

IKEA uses high-quality hardware

In general, kitchen drawers take the largest amount of abuse in our homes. If anything is going to need to withstand slams, warping, or swelling, it’s drawers. Well, IKEA uses solid metal superb hardware manufactured by Blum AND drawer dampers that allow for soft-closing (a feature that will cost you a bundle in custom cabinets).

IKEA uses a variety of materials

IKEA kitchen cabinets are built with a variety of materials. In short, MDF and particle board are affordable materials that maintain durability and strength.

You may be thinking… “What if it get’s wet?!”

Anything subject to long periods of moisture will get damaged- wood, MDF, or particle board. The difference is MDF will eventually dissolve, particle board will swell and fall apart, and real wood will mold. Plus if this happens, I can guarantee it will be far easier to swap out your IKEA door vs. a custom cabinet door.

What are IKEA cabinets made of?

IKEA cabinet box

The main body of IKEA cabinets, called the cabinet box, are all made with 2 materials:

  • Particle board for the core
  • Laminated veneer for the outer surface

Yes, particle board is a cheaper material. But like anything else, when we compare available options, one must compare like with like. Compared to other off-the-shelf kitchen cabinet systems, IKEA’s kitchen cabinet system is hands down the better buy.

If you prefer the feel and look of solid wood, then you will not be happy with any off-the-shelf kitchen cabinet system. In addition, if don’t mind the extra cost associated with real wood, by all means go that route.

I will leave this section with one final comment. Be weary of ‘custom cabinet’ manufacturers. Many still use laminated particle board for the cabinet boxes themselves in order to keep the product price more affordable. I have been in dozens of high end, custom built homes with expensive kitchens, and their cabinets are constructed from laminated particle board. This is not to argue particle board is better, it is simply to state that just because it isn’t solid wood, doesn’t mean it isn’t a quality product.

IKEA cabinet door and drawer fronts

IKEA cabinet door and drawer fronts are purchased separately from the cabinet boxes (another perk to the flexibility of the system). They are divided into four classes:

  1. Real wood + MDF. As of now, only 4 lines of IKEA cabinet doors contain real wood: EKESTAT, FILIPSTAD, LAXARBY, and BJORKET. Typically they are solid wood for the frames with a wood veneer on particle board for the panel itself.
  2. MDF + foil finish. The majority of IKEA cabinet doors fall into this category- GRIMSLOV, MARSTA, TINGSYRD, HAGGEBY, BROKHLT, JARSTA, and EDSERUM. These typically consist of an MDF base with a thermofoil finish.
  3. MDF + paint. VEDDINGE, FLADIE, BODBYN, AND HITTARP make up this category. These are bright cabinets with a glossy paint applied directly to a fiberboard center.
  4. Glass or metal. On occasion, these contain some particle board; however, the majority of their appearance is glass or metal. This includes GREVSTA and JUTIS lines

IKEA kitchen design

I discussed IKEA kitchen design in Chapter 1 of our Beige Bungalow build, and I also reviewed the in-home IKEA kitchen planning service here, and here. But I would like to try to tie that all together in this article, including a discussion about IKEA’s design software.

Suggested read: How to plan the perfect kitchen layout

IKEA kitchen planning service

IKEA offers an in-home kitchen planning service which can be purchased directly in store. You should be aware that the in-home planner is not an IKEA employee, but an employee of the local company with the contract for IKEA kitchen installs. In my area, it costs $250 for this service.

If you are a fairly good DIYer with a decent understanding of renovations then you can probably skip this service. Originally, when I tried it out (for curiosity sake) I was more than pleased with the service we received. However, when it came to install, I started to realize the massive shortcomings our in-home planner really had. If you are interested in this service, be sure to head over and read our full review of  the IKEA kitchen planning service.

IKEA kitchen design software

Ready for a serious case of Stockholm syndrome? IKEA has a software that lets you design your kitchen from the comfort of your own home. It is an online software used right in your web browser, which makes it a little buggy… Fear not though, a little patience goes a long way.

IKEA kitchen planning software

The IKEA kitchen planning software starts out by having you draw your room/space with the correct proportions. This is one perk I really love about the software, as it allows you to design your space to scale. The software allows you to add and delete cabinets, change door fronts, add countertops, change door hardware, add lighting, and even add appliances. Then when you are ready, flip on the 3D mode to watch your design come to life. This all sounds great, but it is also headache inducing. Something as simple as moving objects around the room can cause crashes, so save often. Even walls have a tendency to move at their own will.

ikea kitchen planning 3D

In the end, the software provides you with a buying list for everything you need to build your kitchen in real life.

IKEA’s kitchen software results in a love-hate relationship. It will let you visualize your kitchen before you purchase anything and give you a purchase list which helps with budgeting. Buuuut…it will also leave you wanting to pull your hair out as your go through the process.

See for yourself: IKEA’s home planners

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Let Homestud Studios help you get the kitchen of your dreams!

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Buying your IKEA kitchen

First off, wait for IKEA to have their kitchen sale. Usually this happens four times throughout the year, so plan your renovation accordingly. IKEA’s kitchen sale usually works along the premise of the more you spend, the more you save, starting at around 10% off. The catch is the 10% off is most often in the form of IKEA gift cards.

When we ordered our kitchen for the Beige Bungalow, the sale was as follows:

  • 10% back in IKEA gift cards for every $1,000 spent
  • 15% back in IKEA gift cards for every $1,000 spent with the purchase of 1 appliance
  • 20% back in IKEA gift cards for every $1,000 spent with the purchase of 2 or more appliances

IKEA kitchen appliances

At this point, you may be wondering about IKEA’s kitchen appliances. To be honest, I have never used or even considered purchasing my appliances from there. This isn’t to say they are poor, it’s just not something I have ever looked into. If you are interested in a complete review of IKEA’s kitchen appliances, check out this Consumer reports review on IKEA appliances.

In store ordering

Prepare for a long line at IKEA. Although, if you can swing going in the morning on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, it’s not bad. Regardless, the ordering process will take some time. You bring in your IKEA kitchen plan, log into their computers, and show it to one of their employees. THEN, an employee will comb your entire order piece by piece. This is one of the downsides to the flexibility and modular aspect of the IKEA kitchen- you are ordering hundreds of little boxes and bags.

Check everything once it is delivered, or in store if you are picking it up yourself. This is crucial and may take some time. The employees who put together your order are only human, and mistakes can be made. Save yourself a trip back to IKEA if possible and catch any mistakes the first time.

Do you want to get the benefits of the IKEA kitchen sale nearly year round? Then be sure to read our top 5 secrets to the IKEA kitchen event.

IKEA kitchen cabinet installation

The average DIYer or handy person should not be intimidated by the thought of installing IKEA kitchen cabinets. In fact, the basic process of installation is really quite easy. However, if you are not one of these people and are looking for an installer, fear not. Just like IKEA’s in home kitchen planning service, installation can also be hired out. If you go through IKEA’s contractors, expect to pay anywhere between $89-129.00 per cabinet!

Building the cabinet boxes is straight forward as long as you follow the instructions. The hardest part is continuing to pay attention once you are on your 5th…10th or 20th cabinet. Most people will opt to purchase the adjustable cabinet feet with their IKEA kitchen. And really, if you are not comfortable using standard power tools, I would recommend you go this route as well. However, if you consider yourself an avid DIYer, I suggest building your own cabinet kicks. If you are not interested in building your own cabinet kicks, go ahead and skip the next section.

How to build your own cabinet kicks:

I’m sure there are multiple ways to go about this, but here is my preferred method. Start by determining the height of your FINISHED kitchen counters. The average kitchen counter height is 36″ off of finished floors. On average stone and laminate countertops are between 1-1.5″ thick. IKEA kitchen cabinets are 30″ tall. So let’s do the math assuming you are using a stone countertop that is 1.5″ thick.

Cut your kicks to the appropriate height. In our example above, we need to create a kick at 4.5″ tall. My preferred method is to rip down 2×6″ lumber to 4.5″ using a table saw. I then build kick boxes the exact dimension of each set of cabinets. So if you have 3 cabinets in a row, I build one kick that all 3 cabinets can sit on. I find this to be the best for leveling your kitchen cabinets (the floors in most homes I work in aren’t exactly level).

Once you have built all of the kicks for your kitchen, level them perfectly to each other BEFORE you install your cabinets. By leveling all of your kicks, there is no need to level the cabinets during installation. I find the easiest way to make micro adjustments when leveling is by using wood shims.

custom ikea cabinet kicks

There are three main reasons I build my own kicks. First, they are vastly stronger than the cheap IKEA cabinet legs (a definite con of the IKEA kitchen system). Second, I like to finish my floors up the kicks instead of trying to match cabinetry color. And third, the cheap plastic kick plates you need to purchase look terrible (again my opinion!).

IKEA kitchen cabinet rail

This is one of the most ingenious parts of the IKEA kitchen design. There is no need to find a stud at the back of every cabinet to screw to, while simultaneously leveling your cabinets. In the IKEA design, your mount a rail directly to your wall and the desired height. Using the longest level you can fit in your space, level the rail and screw into the wall studs. This way you are guaranteed to hit several studs no matter where your IKEA cabinets start and stop. If you are wondering how to find the studs behind the drywall, pick yourself up a decent stud finder. This is the same process when installing your upper IKEA cabinets.

Once your rail is in place, go ahead and ‘hang’ your cabinets. The upper cabinets will truly hang, while the lower cabinets should have their entire weight supported by the floor, using on the rail system to keep them tight to the wall. If you are using IKEA cabinet legs, go ahead and adjust them snug to the floor at this point. If you built your own kicks, everything should be perfectly level and snug.

Securing your IKEA kitchen cabinets

Before I secure my cabinets to the rail, I screw my cabinets together. This adds additional strength to the system, and hides those annoying skinny cracks that show between each cabinet box. Use a regular trigger clamps (make sure it has soft rubber feet) to secure the two cabinets together, then screw them together. Make sure the screw isn’t longer than the cabinet boxes you are securing together.

QUICK TIP: Do not screw into any of the pre-drilled holes in your cabinet box. Instead screw directly through the cabinet box in between the pre-drilled holes. This prevents you from accidentally placing screws where your hinges or shelves may need to go.

In each cabinet package you will find specific pieces to secure your cabinets to the rail. Once your cabinets are hung and secured together, use these pieces to secure your IKEA kitchen cabinets to the rail.

How to take your IKEA kitchen cabinets to the next level:

This is where you can start taking your overall design to the next level. Use filler pieces to hide the stark white color of the cabinet boxes, and cabinet end gables to finish of the look at the ends of your cabinetry. This is particularly important if you are using wood colored door fronts.

Deco strips

If you are planning on installing under cabinet lighting, be sure your order includes deco strips. These are installed under the cabinets.  In fact, I include this on every IKEA kitchen I install, as it gives a custom finished look.

End gables

QUICK TIP: If you want to run your cabinet end gables to the floor, buy the right size. IKEA’s standard lower end gables are 30″ tall, and are not tall enough to extend right to the floor. However, IKEA sells a 36″ cabinet end gable which can be cut to give that custom finished look. This goes for the pantry cabinet end gables as well. Their standard end panels are 90″ tall (the same as their tall pantry cabinet). An easy work around is to use fridge gables (which are 96″ tall) and cut them to the desired depth.

IKEA kitchen hack

 

Another method to distinguish your IKEA kitchen from the crowd is to add non-IKEA elements. At the Beige Bungalow, we added a custom built-in island with cabinetry. Or consider a less permanent option with a butcher block kitchen island. At Hilltop, we also included a custom wood bookshelf for cookbooks (or anything else you want to display), as well as some floating shelves. Take a look at our guide for designing and laying out your new IKEA kitchen for even more ideas.

Countertop selection

QUICK TIP: If you are planning on any type of stone countertop, I highly suggest adding the FIXA brackets to your IKEA kitchen order. IKEA’s new kitchen cabinet design sits the top rails 1/8″ higher than the cabinet sides. This means the vast majority of the countertop weight is resting on a few places instead of the entire side of the cabinet box. The IKEA FIXA brackets add 1/8″, which allows the stone countertop load to be carried entirely by the cabinet boxes.

IKEA kitchens and stone countertops

IKEA kitchen organization

Have you ever went out looking for a cutlery organizer only to find they are too small or too large for your drawer? Well never again with IKEA’s kitchen organization. This allows for endless creativity and customization of your IKEA kitchen. It maximizes interior drawer space (no more loose cutlery organizers) which is one-of-a-kind when it comes to off-the-shelf modular cabinet systems.

Cabinet organizational systems can skyrocket a bill with most companies, but IKEA offers lots of incredible storage solutions. Be careful though, this part of the design can still add some serious dollars to the overall bill.

QUICK TIP: It is better to sacrifice some space for organization. An organized kitchen is much easier and less stressful than one lacking any organization.

Pro’s and Con’s of the IKEA kitchen

I think at this point it is fairly obvious that I am quite fond of the IKEA kitchen setup. So before I get into the con’s, lets recap the pro’s:

  • Affordable/cost-effective
  • Great build quality
  • Decent design choices
  • Incredible flexibility with design (especially for the price point)
  • Built-in design software (can also be a con at times…)
  • Relatively simple installation
  • Can be as simple or as custom as you would like
  • Organizational solutions built for the IKEA kitchen

Cons of the IKEA kitchen system:

  • The design software can be a large headache at times. A little patience goes a long way.
  • Ordering can take a good chunk of time (well worth the potential wait)
  • The cabinet legs. I really can’t stress how little a fan I am of the IKEA cabinet legs.
  • IKEA staff. Unfortunately, not every member of the kitchen department is as knowledgeable as the next. If you feel your questions are not being answered, do not hesitate to ask politely for some more help from another staff member.
  • IKEA’s under cabinet lighting. If you want under cabinet lighting in your design, do yourself a favor and source it elsewhere. I am a fan of RAB under cabinet lighting. As always, please be sure to have your electrical completed by a qualified electrician.
  • Lack of proper microwave cabinet. There are workarounds to this problem, but the IKEA kitchen system lacks a proper microwave cabinet. They are only present in their full cabinet units.

Why shouldn’t you buy an IKEA kitchen:

  • If for some reason your budget is limitless, then I would opt for solid wood custom cabinets.
  • You are not comfortable measuring, assembling, and installing IKEA cabinets (unless you hire out the task). Although IKEA does have easy to follow instructions, there is still some building knowledge required to complete the install. This is even more true if you are customizing any aspect of your kitchen design, such as replacing filler panels with a hidden IKEA cabinet

The final verdict

I recommend IKEA kitchen cabinets to absolutely everyone. Like anything else there are always exceptions, but for the vast majority of people/renovations, they are perfect. The IKEA kitchen system is durable, stylish, and highly functional. I have never had any issues with sagging or warping, drawers not closing, or hinges breaking. As I move onto our next home remodel project, designing the next IKEA kitchen will be the first place I start.

ikea kitchen design ideas

My update on IKEA kitchen cabinets

Since writing this post back in 2018, I have installed 4 more unique IKEA kitchens. In addition, I have designed countless IKEA kitchens for clients through Homestud Studios. I feel as though I have a very good handle on what these cabinets are capable of, and where they may fall short. 

New designs

IKEA has added a few new designs and styles to their collection over the past few years.

AXSTAD: These doors are a modern shaker style in matte white. The center consists of Fiberboard, the front side is Plastic foil, the back side is melamine foil, and the edge is a plastic edging.

We installed these doors at our most recent home renovation project: The Partridge House.

First, these are a true white cabinet. If you want an IKEA kitchen with true white shaker cabinets, this is the best option. Overall, I was quite pleased with their work-ability. The material cut nicely without noticeable tear out at the surface, and installation was just like the rest of their catalogue. VOXTORP and BODARP share the same material makeup as AXSTAD, thus I imagine they would be much the same.

LERHYTTAN and TORHAMN: Frame is solid ash, with a particle board panel on the inside. These are both shaker style panels, with the former available in black stain, and the latter in natural ash.

ASKERSUND: IKEA does not give the breakdown by part, but instead states that these doors consist of particleboard, polypropylene, foil, and melamine foil.

Reliability / wear and tear

So how have my IKEA cabinets help up. The simple answer, incredibly well.

I have installed IKEA cabinets in both my home, as well as those of family members, and no one would hesitate to use them again. Whether it is the kids and dogs running around and smacking them, or a full on house party, the cabinets still look like the day they were installed.

Truth be told, if they had not held up well, I would be the first to tell you. However, at this point the most negative thing I have found is the EDSERUM cabinet doors can be a little tricky to clean around the shaker frame. There is a slight gap between the frame and the inner panel that can catch the odd crumb… or spilled milk. The second being the trickier one to clean.

ikea kitchen cabinets

Customization

This might be what I love most about IKEA kitchen cabinets. The ability to customize the kitchen to your needs and design is nearly endless. We use these cabinets as the basis for all of our home renovations, but in the end, most people have NO CLUE they are walking through an IKEA kitchen.

Unlike some other systems, you are not penalized for using non-IKEA parts. For example, I never purchase IKEA cabinet feet or toe kicks. Instead, we always build our own cabinet kicks. This allows me to finish them in whichever manner I choose.

I encourage you to browse our readers comments below, as well as other reviews out there to get a broad perspective. But the best final statement I can make to tell you how much I trust IKEA cabinetry- I will be installing IKEA cabinets in the next rental house of ours that requires a kitchen renovation.

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85 Comments

  • A. Bucher October 8, 2018 at 6:33 am

    I ordered an Ikea kitchen and Electrolux appliances, also from Ikea. My first dishwasher was repaired 6 times (5 times the heating element died) before they finally replaced it, and then with the 2nd dishwasher, the rubber seal no longer stayed in place. Other problems with the appliances included my stovetop not being flat, and parts of the oven falling apart.
    The kitchen installer (recommended by Ikea and ordered through Ikea) kept on trying to hide damaged components, for example, by putting a spice rack over a damaged drawer, hiding a damaged back wall behind a piece of wood. When I complained to Ikea, they said, but that was the installer, not Ikea. I said, but why should the components become damaged just due to installation? I CANNOT RECOMMEND Ikea kitchens. I have had NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS!!! I have heard many similar stories. I think it is horrible that these sites do not represent real people or real experiences. This is mine, let’s see if it gets published…

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck October 8, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Hi A. Bucher,

      First and foremost, this is absolutely a real person with many real experiences. In addition, I would not stop your comment from being published. My goal is to create a site that helps the community make the most informed decision possible. This means including people who have had bad experiences. I am in no way associated with IKEA, I just think their quality for price is phenomenal compared to the marketplace.

      I’m sorry your had nothing but problems with an IKEA kitchen, I can definitely understand how the situation would have been extremely frustrating. From what I am reading it sounds like your major issues revolved around IKEA appliances and your particular IKEA kitchen installer who tried to cut corners, and not necessarily the actual quality of IKEA’s cabinets.

      Let’s start with appliances. You will notice in my article how I mentioned I have never used IKEA kitchen appliances (or ever really considered it) and therefore have no experience as to their quality… so thank you very much for posting with your review of appliances. You are exactly the type of person I am looking for in our community, who can provide real world feed back to the products actually installed in their home.

      As to the installer. Unfortunately, I think this is where IKEA’s control goes out the window. They use a different installer in every city and I don’t think every one of them produces the same quality (it sounds as though you had a very bad experience with your installer). I have met the local installer in my area and though I can’t speak to their install work, I was slightly disappointed with their in-home kitchen planner. Here is that article: https://www.thehomestud.com/2017/12/06/ikeakitchenplanningserviceupdate/. This leads me to believe their install may have gone down the same path…

      I am curious as to what you think of the quality of IKEA’s cabinets. Are you happy with the functionality and versatility? Has the cabinetry held up so far in your kitchen?

      Finally, I urge you to join our community and continue to comment on articles, I always appreciate another voice with real world experience.

      Reply
      • Sandra Changuion August 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        I had an IKEA kitchen in Germany and I am busy planning my IKEA kitchen in the US. I LOVE IKEAS KITCHENS!! Thank you for an insightful and honest article.

        Reply
  • Gerry February 7, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Wonderful site. Lots of useful info here. I’m sending it to several pals!

    Reply
    • Helga August 22, 2019 at 9:23 am

      We are building an new home and I will be having an IKEA kitchen. I made numerous trips to Ikea to figure out which one I really want. We will go for the Voxtorp. I have an nice amount of cash saved up to get what I want. I was very pleased to read your article. I left myself enough room to get this kitchen installed and have someone to do the measuring for me.
      I do not like the typical American kitchens and therefore IKEA is my best bet. This kitchen will be big and thanks for pointing out the sales. This should give me enough to also buy cabinets for the laundry room and shelves for the closets. Thanks for your post.

      Reply
      • Jeff Havixbeck August 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm

        Good luck with your project!

        Reply
        • Jackie Benson December 28, 2019 at 4:21 pm

          you say in your article that you were quoted 15k for solid wood cabinets that did not include installation. I just had a kitchen done by a local contractor/ solid wood cabinets, dove tail. self close, level 2 granite and all installation for 16k. I would never put MDF in my home, and the reality is you can get better cabinets for just about the same price.

          Reply
          • admin December 28, 2019 at 4:28 pm

            Hi Jackie- Thanks for the comment. That’s a great price and I hope your happy with the kitchen. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be in the realm of possible in many areas, especially in my neck of the woods.

          • Maria January 27, 2020 at 10:17 am

            What brand of cabinets ?

          • Stephen Murdoch February 5, 2020 at 1:36 pm

            You must live in a location where both materials and labour are cheap and plentiful. If I had my kitchen quoted to that level (solid wood/dovetailed drawers/self closing/granite/installation) I would be WELL OVER $25,000. Easily. The same kitchen can be had from Ikea (including custom countertops, but not including installation) for $8,000, so to say “better cabinets for just about the same price” is not true at all, unless “just about” is about equal to half…

          • Valeriya Stretton May 24, 2020 at 10:01 pm

            Can I get a phone number of your contractor please?

          • Brittany Nielsen August 26, 2020 at 10:33 am

            We live in Seattle and there is no way we’d get custom solid wood cabinets for $16k. I guess it depends on the size of your kitchen as well. Maybe a tiny kitchen in a cottage? Here, for an average or slightly above average sized kitchen, I agree with Stephen Murdoch it’d be approx. $25k. We just ordered Ikea interiors and Semi Handmade fronts and it was about $8k for everything.

      • Saba Ghori December 25, 2020 at 6:42 pm

        Hi
        I am considering the same kitchen.
        Did you order this kitchen and how has it been so far with wear and tear?

        Reply
  • Tom Wilder February 7, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I started my kitchen remodel about 3 months ago. I experienced the same issues with the planning software, but didn’t think it was hard to find a work around. It just takes some time to figure it out. Since then, it’s been nothing but a nightmare. Starting with the first visit to Ikea. I had my list in hand and went to the kitchen dept in the store. The wait wasn’t long, only about 20 minutes. The employee went over my list and started entering everything into the computer, or so I thought. We walk over to a second computer and I pay for my order. At this point, he goes over my order with me and explains that I need to go downstairs and pick up everything that is in stock. I said, “What’s not in stock?” He then shows me a second printout of 15 items not in stock and tells me they should be in stock in about a week. I live in Chicago and Ikea is in the burbs, the drive might be 30 minutes, could be 90. I’m not excited about driving out there. I keep checking inventory online. About a week later, some of the parts are in and I decide to wait for all of them to be available at the same time. That didn’t happen the first month of checking. Parts would go in and out of stock every few days. After 5 weeks, I finally drove out there when most of the parts showed “in stock”. Don’t believe the website, it’s wrong. I was able to get about 5 of the parts. Two weeks later, I got a few more. A fourth trip, got me all but two of the items. Now, three months later, those two items are still not in. The first is toe kick. After reading this blog, I think I’m going to follow your advice, thank you! The second item is a drawer. A simple drawer. For three months it hasn’t been in stock at the store, not available online, not available from customer service, nothing. For the past week the store has been telling me “tomorrow, it will be in stock tomorrow”. The website said it was in stock today. Guess what, not true, I drove out again and they said “tomorrow”. The next time I drive to Ikea will be to return everything. This hasn’t been worth the cost savings. My advice, be sure to find out if everything is in stock before you pay for it, don’t let Ikea trick you into buying part of your kitchen and hope you can get the rest later.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck February 9, 2019 at 8:30 am

      Hi Tom- thank you for sharing your experience. You give some great advice here to make sure everything is in stock before you begin the process. I have been told that stock levels on items like the cabinet feet, toe kicks, and cabinet hardware can vary widely from day-to-day, but have no personal experience here. Interestingly, I have never personally had problems with larger ticket items like drawers, but it’s really good to know that this is the case for some people. I want our readers to be as informed as possible when making the decision to go with IKEA kitchen products. They can be a great solution and money (not always time) saver, but in the case of your experience, an incredibly large hassle as well. Thank you again for sharing.

      Reply
  • Garth February 26, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    My brother suggested I read this since I am looking to replace our kitchen. He was entirely right. This post really helped push me toward using IKEA cabinets. I really appreciate you taking the time to write this out with so much detail and honest opinions.

    Reply
  • Janet March 29, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    This is probably the most detailed information I have found online. Thanks for writing this for all those contemplating a new kitchen remodel!

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck March 31, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Hi Janet- No problem at all! I’m happy you found it helpful.

      Reply
  • Cheryl hanstke May 4, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    I have used IKEA kitchens in two renovations, and about to start a 3rd. With a good installer, the cabinets can look amazing and the quality keeps me coming back. I too have found the wear and tear on the cabinet fronts is minimal even after 7 years, they look brand new. I’m about to sell,this home and Reno the next, the look and design will sell this house quickly. Not a scratch, dent or broken anything. Love the advice about the kickboards vs IKEA legs and extra support for the stone counters…..had no idea and it was never mentioned by anyone, employee or installer. I will make sure these two items are a part of my new IKEA kitchen. Going mid century modern this time around as I head into retirement. Now that the kids are done University and on their own, I get to build with only my needs and style in mind. So looking forward to this next adventure with IKEA kitchens. Thanks for your article. It has solidified my decision to use IKEA again despite the negative comments from the contractors I’m vetting for the house renos. They both said IKEA was crap….I disagreed and I’m glad you do too!!

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck May 23, 2019 at 7:09 am

      Hi Cheryl – Glad to hear you are sticking to your guns. Be sure whichever contractor you end up going with is comfortable installing IKEA cabinetry!

      Reply
  • Danielle May 17, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Thank for the great article! We are currently looking at getting an ikea kitchen. I am wondering what the work around is for the microwave cabinet. I am looking to have one beside the fridge like yours is in the picture.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck May 23, 2019 at 7:13 am

      I have used a couple workarounds in the past. The one you see here is done by stacking 2 20″ upper cabinets and only putting a door on the upper one. This leaves the lower one open for the microwave. Just remember to include an outlet in the back of the open lower one for power. The second option is to use a “microwave pantry” or a 24″ deep floor style pantry unit. I typically will use the 90″ tall version and by using one set of 40″ doors, and one set of 30″ doors, you are left with an open shelving area of 20″. Once again, plan to add an outlet for power in this open area.

      Reply
      • Patricia V Douglas September 30, 2019 at 6:16 pm

        I used an over-the-range microwave.

        Reply
  • Brina May 23, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Great article, thanks Jeff! We just bought our 3rd Ikea kitchen. The first two we planned and purchased for two small apartments about a year ago, and they look and feel so beautiful and functional. This third kitchen is a big one, and took more time to plan.
    Here is my 2 cents on the topic:
    All three times we used the online planning software. It was very easy to figure it out, and it helped us very precisely plan all the details in our kitchens. The first time it wasn’t easy to create the complete long list of our online kitchen order, with all the small parts that come into it, plus it is all manual work. Now I am actually happy to do it that way, because this helps me double check if everything is exactly as we want it , with the correct quantities, and whether we are not forgetting something. It is great that on the Ikea web site you can see the quantities on stock, and when is the expected delivery of a missing product, and whenever we had difficulty figuring out, the Ikea staff on the phone was always very helpful.
    I find the building of kitchen cabinets absolutely interesting and not complicated. When neighbours were coming by, and saw all the boxes lying around, everybody gave me the “You are crazy.” look, and then the type of comments like “Oh, it will take you forever to build this.” As for myself, I have a very good system of organising my work, also thanks to the great labelling on the boxes and the detailed list of my order, with pictures. I alone built all the cabinets within a few days time, and am very happy with the result.
    We also bought the dish washer from Ikea, and our new oven, and I hope they won’t disappoint us either.

    I am very happy to learn about your positive experience with the Ikea kitchen quality. This is the type of information I am looking for, and to learn how the Ikea kitchen furniture performs over time, so your feed back looks encouraging. I also liked the comments section, it’s good to learn of other people’s experiences and what type of difficulties they’ve had. I am happy that so far my husband and I have had a very positive experience, and I hope that this won’t change over time.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck May 23, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      Hi Brina – Thank you for adding your take on IKEA kitchens. The goal of our community is not only to educate and review products, but to have the input from our readers about their experiences. Best of luck with your current kitchen project!

      Reply
    • MH White July 25, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      I’m in the middle of an IKEA kitchen build right now. I’ve been planning it for a couple of years and expected to do it in another year or two, but our old dishwasher flooded the kitchen floor and began a cascade of demo and repairs. To save on costs, we had to scale back our plans. One thing I like about the IKEA system is that later I *should* be able to add back the things we cut, unless they change the designs again or discontinue our doors.
      My major issue has been the almost complete lack of any customer service if you are not standing in the store. I have had some odd issues that really needed a person to deal with them, and we live 2 hours (at best) from IKEA. It is impossible to call the store near you, and the customer service number gets you to a long chain of recorded messages along the line of “If you need…dial….” After all that, I got the message “We are experiencing heavy call volumes. Call back later. CLICK.” This happened at least 6 times.
      Just don’t ever plan on any help by phone.
      Even their “Click and Collect” plan has weird glitches. I couldn’t order all my things because some were “Out of range.” What does that mean? The person I finally reached at IKEA didn’t know, either. Then it told me I couldn’t order because my (correct) address was “not valid.” I wasn’t asking for delivery, so I don’t know why it would matter anyway.
      Not happy with IKEA today. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

      Reply
      • Jeff Havixbeck July 29, 2019 at 7:42 pm

        I have heard of people having difficulty with IKEA over the phone. However, I personally have never dealt with IKEA over the phone so have no first hand knowledge. I can understand your frustration though, as I wouldn’t be happy either in your situation.

        Reply
  • Lineke June 16, 2019 at 2:29 am

    Hello
    I have a Ikea Faktum Kitchen.

    There promise a 25 year warranty and than there change there basic cabenet sizes.
    I had to change my doors for the 2′ time because the door are peeling and flaking.Very Bad Customers service. I wil never buying Ikea again Waist of al the hassle and your frustration. Australia

    Reply
    • Jeff June 18, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      Sorry to hear you have had such terrible luck, and I appreciate you sharing your experience. However, I will add some context for our other readers who may be on the fence about IKEA kitchen products. IKEA did have the FAKTUM kitchen in production for over 20 years, and will likely have their current lineup for just as long. This shouldn’t leave customers without support due to design changes on a dime. That being said, it may also be worth looking at IKEA’s product cycle when decided whether or not to purchase their kitchen cabinets.

      Reply
      • Allie August 28, 2020 at 8:18 pm

        Where do you find information about IKEA’s product cycle? Jeff, thank you so much for all this information about IKEA kitchens! Loving the comments section, too. Thanks everyone!

        Reply
        • Jeff September 3, 2020 at 11:18 am

          I typically just ask questions when I am in store. Sometimes the employees know more than you think about what will be released!

          Reply
  • mary kate June 22, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    really informative article! all ikea cabinets are actually made of particleboard though, not MDF. the two are substantially different and account for a huge chunk of the price differential.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck June 23, 2019 at 9:05 am

      Thank you. Yes the cabinets are all made from particle board, but not every component of the IKEA kitchen system is as well. Many of the doors, gables, deco strips, etc are all made from MDF. Which is worth noting, because these are often the pieces that could get dinged up, potentially requiring replacement.

      Reply
  • gretchen van sciver July 10, 2019 at 12:24 am

    So far the Ikea kitchen has been a nightmare. We ordered it three months ago – four deliveries later we still have about 15% of the pieces we needed still not there. Things we NEVER ordered have been repeatedly sent. We have spent an enormous amount of time , emailing going back in person and on the phone to no avail. The people in the store are completely friendly but we keep getting crazy items that have nothing to do with our order and in each shipment a small number of things of things we need. I agree that it looks great so far but I would NEVER EVER recommend these kitchens. We now have a garage full of mirrors and an unfinished kitchen.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck July 29, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      This does sound like a rough go around, I can understand your frustration. It seems as though people have far more issues with customer service, than the actual products themselves. Unfortunately, customer service (including subcontracted delivery) is very dependent on the store.

      Reply
  • Lisa B July 29, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    I was also contemplating putting in an Ikea kitchen but was told many times they are made of inferior materials – ie particleboard not MDF. I read through your article and you stated
    “The main body of IKEA cabinets, called the cabinet box, are all made with 2 materials: MDF for the core
    Melamine foil (a laminate that contains no wood) for the veneer covering the MDF core”
    Fortunately, I also read through the reader responses and noted Mary Kate said they are actually made from particle board not MDF- and you agreed !!! Why did you say the cabinets were MDF? – as she says particle board is a vastly inferior product and tends to fall apart over time or if wet… you must amend your article immediately as it is very misleading and may lead people into making a poor decision.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck July 29, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Lisa – yes thank you for pointing this out. I did have the text changed a while back, but it appears as though it didn’t save.. It has been corrected now. That being said, the particle board contains a laminated layer on top thus hopefully preventing the entry of moisture. Im not sure how everyone uses their cabinets, but it would take a serious amount of moisture to ruin a cabinet if the laminated layer is in tack. If the laminated layer has been compromised, then this would be a different issue. I still stand by IKEA’s kitchen cabinets and have used them on numerous occasions, with many years of use, and they still look as the day they went in. Much like anything else we purchase today, how one treats and maintains it has a lot to do with its longevity.

      Reply
  • Ann Soltyk August 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    I am remodeling a bathroom and was thinking of getting the IKEA kitchen cabinets. Have you ever used them in a bathroom? Do you think they would work in a bathroom?

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck August 14, 2019 at 10:33 pm

      Hi Ann,

      Thanks for the question! I have never used them in a bathroom, but I do know several people who have. There is no reason they would not work as long as you remember a few key points. First, they are slightly deeper than a typical bathroom vanity. This means using kitchen countertops or measured stone countertops. Alternatively, you can rip the frames down with a table saw to a depth of ~20″, and use standard vanity countertops. Second, you will need to get creative with height. IKEA’s kitchen cabinets are 30″ tall (the frame, not including legs), and typical bathroom vanities are around the 32″ mark. This would leave you with either a very small kick underneath the cabinet, or a slightly taller vanity.

      Please come back and fill us in if you end up going the kitchen cabinet route!

      Reply
  • Taty August 19, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Wow, how incredibly helpful and insightful this was. I stubbled upon your article as I’m trying to understand the cost of possibly doing a kitchen reno myself. I consider myself an experience DIY’er and if I’m not as advanced, I at least have the drive to take something like this on.
    I’m not sure If I’ve missed this in your article, do you mind sharing how much this kitchen cost to do? I understand the appliances were not bought through Ikea, and I would honestly take the same route as I have some brand loyalty to a few appliance brands. With that said, I’m looking for what a cost on cabinets and countertops would run me on a kitchen, roughly the size of yours.

    Reply
    • admin August 19, 2019 at 11:53 am

      Hi Taty,

      I love seeing people excited to tackle new challenges. Before I get into costs, keep in mind location can have an impact. This kitchen was on the larger side of our remodels, therefore costs increased as well. Cabinets and finishing gables were around $4,000 and the countertops were roughly $5,500 (I have a good relationship with my quartz supplier). When you include the custom island millwork, sink, faucet, hardware, etc., you can bank on another $500-1,500 depending on name/quality. Appliances can obviously vary quite extensively in price as well. To complete a project of this nature and size on your own, I would bank on around $15,000-20,000. That would also cover any electrical/plumbing associated costs. Kitchen remodels are one of the harder DIY projects, but the rewards and personal satisfaction are unparalleled!

      Best of luck and I would love to see pictures and hear about it when you’re done!

      Reply
  • Peter Bishop August 22, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    I recently brought a IKEA kitchen, and my experience has been extremely negative. My recommendation is that it is better to stay with the old kitchen, or have no kitchen – that to order a IKEA kitchen.

    IKEA has no kitchen installers.

    IKEA kitchen distribution is outsourced to DPD, which has a outgoing message about people being upset and not to get angry with staff.

    IKEA had the audacity to deliver parts in damaged boxes, and then said phone here. Then started a never ending story of damaged boxes with damaged parts, and undamaged boxes with damaged parts in side. Sometimes the parts were the wrong colour. After 2 months, IKEA said that my back board / splash back panel had not been ordered – and it would any way take 4 weeks to produce in Germany.

    Soon after contacting the IKEA UK CEO, I received a message that he had left his job. My wife is Swedish, and was naturally upset and concerned about these failures. However, she was fobbed off in Sweden and nobody wanted to know.

    As a result of the above, my kitchen installers have been laid off, and the kitchen floor and new carpets have had to be rescheduled.

    IKEA refuses to contact you by phone if you are out of the UK, and will not communicate with your kitchen installers.

    My property is a rental property, and I do not live at the premises. A specialty of IKEA is to send a Email on a Sunday morning, to announce that DPD will make a delivery in 1 hours time.

    My personal opinion is that when the founder of IKEA died, the company has gone into melt down.

    In conclusion, DO NOT CONTEMPLATE BUYING A IKEA KITCHEN – not unless you want your family life ruined, and you want to waste your life and money.

    NEVER AGAIN !!!

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck August 23, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Peter- This does seem to be a recurring theme. Sounds like a lot of the frustration for people is from IKEA’s third party subcontractors and the lack of communication between them, IKEA, and the customer. It really is a shame and something I believe IKEA needs to focus on improving.

      Reply
  • Roxanne August 31, 2019 at 12:49 am

    We are in the midst of an Ikea kitchen remodel, and I would just echo the last few comments about the subcontractors that Ikea uses for design and installation. My husband and I are not handy people. We thought we could take this on ourselves as long as we used the design/installation service recommended by Ikea. I was the one who spent the most time on the phone with the online planner (not someone who actually came out in person), and was most familiar with our plan. I felt after working with the planner a couple of times that he was very familiar with IKEA cabinets, but maybe didn’t have a lot of actual design experience. I made a few changes to the plan after my last call with the online planner, and that’s where things started to go downhill.

    We went to the store and successfully purchased our items with the help of an Ikea employee. We made a few small additional changes in the store. Then our planner went on vacation, and we had a difficult time getting the installation scheduled while he was out. The designer /installation subcontractor told us that they couldn’t see the last plan that was saved on the Ikea planning software in the store. I tried to share it with them, including an email where I outlined all of the changes that were made after my last call with their planner. I thought we had resolved these issues and scheduled the installation. The actual installers were fabulous! They were a pleasure to work with, kept everything as clean and tidy as possible, and asked questions if they thought something seemed amiss. However, what became clear by the end of the installation process was that they had been given an old version of our kitchen plan, and a few of the cabinets were not configured as they should have been. Unfortunately, this all happened during a day when I was at work, and my husband was at home, but didn’t catch the problems because he wasn’t that’s familiar with the details of the plan. They also had us running to Ikea three times in the space of four days to pick up extra items that they said were missing from our order, but in the end it turns out they were only missing because they were using the wrong plan. We live in the Seattle area, and as others have mentioned, making a trip to IKEA can be a very long drive in traffic.

    The cabinets look beautiful, and I’m very happy with the ones that are configured correctly. I sent an email to the installation subcontractor, who seems to be based in Denver, the day after our installers finished their work. This was three days ago, and I still have not heard back from them. I feel that not only was there poor communication between the corporate headquarters of the subcontractor and the actual people doing the installation, but also between Ikea and the subcontractor. The materials are great, but as you stated earlier, the customer service definitely leaves something to be desired.

    I only wish I had read your post and the comments before we started this project!

    Reply
  • SUSAN L CARLSON September 2, 2019 at 2:09 am

    Hello Peter,

    PSA: IKEA Kitchen nightmare. Update by user Aug 21
    I purchased a kitchen at IKEA Centennial, CO, in March 2017, and it’s still uninstalled.

    IKEA and installers, Traemand, have made error upon error for 1.5 years. As a result, I’ve been renting and paying for a storage unit since.

    Timeline:
    1. IKEA deleted my kitchen plan.
    2. The cabinet delivery truck turned around and left without notice. “There was no parking.”
    3. Next delivery had the wrong cabinets.
    4. 1st Installers had wrong plans.
    5. 2nd Installers had correct plan ‘ but it couldn’t be configured in the space.” (IKEA employee drafted the plan)
    6. Kitchen specialist returned to draw-up new plan.
    7. Delivered new floor plan cabinets.
    8. Truck came to pu wrong cabinets.
    9. Installers arrived but appeared impaired high, drunk)?
    10. Cabinets weren’t plumb, assembled wrong, cuts don’t match, wrong shelves, gaps in doors.
    11. Installation company sent out a representative to look at botched installation.

    I filed a complaint w/IKEA Centennial Customer Service and a
    staff member, C.A. was assigned to my case. I requested a meeting (my daughter was also present).
    C.A. apologized and awarded compensation to offset expenses I incurred. She scheduled installation on August 3 and said, ” nothing else is required of you. I’ll call the installers and make all arrangements.” She said to follow-up with her senior managers because she was transferring to another department.

    When the installer’s failed to show on August 3, I called a meeting with her senior managers. My daughter accompanied me.
    They blamed me! “ It was your responsibility to set-up installation, not our’s . We don’t believe you. That’s not our job.
    There’s no compensation. She know’s she’s not authorized to make those decisions.” (They called C.A. who denied everything she had promised me.)
    Even worse, they said, “installation will not be scheduled I “agree” that there will be no compensation.”

    I asked for their supervisor’s contact info.
    They said, “IKEA’s policy doesn’t permit us to release that information.”
    Dimwits! This is IKEA, not the CIA!

    I’ve met IKEA staff who‘ have genuinely tried to help. This cannot be said of Centennial IKEA’s kitchen staff and Customer Service staff. I was lied to, they were rude, adversarial, unethical, lacked empathy, and blamed me rather than accept responsibility for their errors/behavior.
    One of IKEA’s Core Value’s is “ Every individual is taken care of, respected, acknowledged and included.” Centennial Customer Service managers demonstrated they don’t share these values. They’re only motivation was to “save their own skin.”
    To this day, I’m blocked from scheduling installation . DO NOT PURCHASE A KITCHEN AT IKEA CENTENNIAL! Thanks for posting. I don’t want my experience repeated.

    Reply
  • Sylvie September 2, 2019 at 7:10 am

    Hi, I had high hopes after reading your blog, but after talking to my Husband he says we can’t re-do our kitchen using Ikea. I only wanted new doors to spruce up our existing kitchen, but he says are doors are not the standard size listed on the website. Am I really the only one who had hopes to just change out doors and bam get a new kitchen without a total Reno? Is this not possible? Because it, if it isn’t then my kitchen, wouldn’t cost close to 15k,,,,, that doesn’t sound “cheapier” at all! Granted a professional kitchen would cost upwards of 50k… but come one on i just wanted to change the doors lol! So sick of this orange maple!

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck September 10, 2019 at 10:30 am

      Hi Sylvie – One option to completely change the look of the kitchen is to get it professionally painted (the cabinetry that is). In most areas this ranges from $2500-3500. Although it isn’t new doors, it can really improve aesthetics. I know this isn’t what you had in mind, but I thought I would just throw it out there as an option.

      Reply
    • Spencer February 25, 2020 at 10:32 pm

      Great write up! And I’ll likely use your toekick hack but what are you using to finish the front? Are you using flooring as the front of the kick?

      Reply
      • Jeff Havixbeck February 25, 2020 at 11:07 pm

        Hey Spencer, great question! I finish my toe kicks in a few different ways depending on the design. Option 1 is flooring as you mentioned. This looks best in a more rustic or farmhouse style design. I have also used sanded birch plywood, painted to be color matched to the cabinet. This works best in a more modern or contemporary design. Lastly, I have also used solid wood (far more expensive). This is great when you want to stain the wood to match a wood grain cabinet front. All of them are great options and far superior to using IKEA cabinet feet if you are planning on heavy countertops. Good luck!

        Reply
  • Deborah September 13, 2019 at 3:24 am

    My contractor didn’t like the Ikea legs, so he built a base for the cabinets.
    I have one upper cabinet door which doesn’t close all the way. Can hinge be adjusted?
    Which is the best way to clean the cabinets. Especially over the stove.
    Is there a touch up paint?

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck September 21, 2019 at 6:54 am

      Hi Deborah- the hinges can be adjusted by the set screws with a phillips screwdriver. This will move the door up/down and left/right depending on which of the two screws you adjust. These are the only 2 screws not involved in mounting the hinges to the cabinet frame. I find the best way to clean is just with soap and water. As for touch up paint, a few third party companies sell options depending on finish.

      Reply
  • heather September 22, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Awesome article and super informative. Question…. when you made your custom kicks, you noted 36″ off finished floors but it doesnt look like you installed your cabinets on your flooring so did you account for that height?

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck September 22, 2019 at 9:09 am

      Hi Heather,
      Yes, you are correct. I found when I was explaining that to people, it became more confusing. The 36″ counter height is not a number set in stone- 1/4″ to 1/2″ on either side is typically not noticed by someone working at the counter. If you happen to be doing natural hardwood floors which at times can be 1″ in thickness, then be sure to account for that. Further, just to clarify why I don’t install my flooring under the cabinets is for future ease when changing/replacing the floor.

      Reply
  • Valerie Mantz September 22, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    What is your opinion on using IKEA kitchen cabinets in the bathroom? I understand it voids the warranty. However their bathroom line is very limited and not spacious. I have plenty of empty space in my bathroom and need more storage. They talk about the foil on the bathroom being vertical to increase its durability in the bathroom but there is no information on the foil process for the kitchen. Despite this special feature the bathroom cabinets only have a 10 year warranty to the kitchens 25. The bathroom cabinetry is also cheaper but just not the storage capacity I need. Or the color selection.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck October 2, 2019 at 9:57 am

      Hi Valerie,
      My apologies for the delay in replying- our summer season is coming to close here and it’s been busy! I personally have never used kitchen cabinetry in the bathroom, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. I do know of others who have and they have not had any issues thus far. Like anything else, it will all come down to how it is treated and cared for. Good luck!

      Reply
  • C. Morris October 10, 2019 at 7:57 am

    This is one of the best blogs I’ve read about IKEA kitchens and DIY kitchens in general. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference as I’ve recently purchased a condo in Hawaii and I really want to put in an IKEA kitchen. I know it means shopping on the mainland and shipping it in a container but I’m excited for the challenge. I do plan to have a friend sign up for the task of shipping me any parts that are missing or damaged but I also plan to triple check my order. I’ll probably be at IKEA all day. :).

    If you’re interested in hearing how it goes, I’ll post an update. Thank you for the post!

    Reply
  • Elizabeth December 10, 2019 at 2:57 am

    Im interested in getting high gloss ikea cabinets, do you happen to know what’s the warranty on them? I was looking into getting acrylic cabinets in Home Depot but total cost was $23,000 with a promo $17,000.

    Reply
    • Jeff Havixbeck December 11, 2019 at 11:53 pm

      Hi Elizabeth- I believe it would be the same as the rest of their cabinet warranty which is 25 years.

      Reply
  • Lisa Van Dusen December 18, 2019 at 11:55 am

    We have just sustained water damage in our kitchen from an upstairs washing machine failure. We are thinking of gutting the entire kitchen and thinking about IKEA. Thanks so much for your in-depth article.

    Reply
  • Jonas Wegelius January 22, 2020 at 6:50 am

    A huge pro for IKEA applicances: They come with 5 years limited warranty. No other company AFAIK comes with that to no extra cost. I’ve had 3 different IKEA kitchens over the years and in later years their more expensive range of appliances are great!

    Reply
  • Chris Michaels March 7, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    We installed IKEA cabinets and IKEA appliances (refrigerator, range hood, and dishwasher) in our kitchen remodel 8 years ago. While the IKEA mounting system seems fine, our contractor used his own method to mount the cabinets to the walls. Aside from one side panel under our kitchen island that got a lot of kicks from kids sitting there, everything is still in terrific shape with little wear showing. The appliances were made by Whirlpool I think. We had the Abstrakt white finish, which is no longer made but there is likely a similar alternative. We bought when IKEA had their kitchen sale, saved a boatload on the renovation and couldn’t be happier with the result.

    Reply
  • G A Hofman May 1, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    Have you ever had an Ikea base cabinet box that was not square and if so how did you fix it? Covid 19 pandemic has made it incredibly difficult to reach IKEA and ask questions. 11 1/2 hours clocked so far in the 2 weeks its taken to built our IKEA kitchen.

    Reply
    • admin May 1, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Good question! I actually had to solve this exact problem for a friend of mine. Although it may not be the exact situation, their cabinet box went out of whack after they nailed in the back. Basically, when the back was nailed, it held the cabinet off square. When the back was removed, we could square up the box and reattach. I always do a quick measure corner to corner before attaching the back to make sure everything is a-ok. That being said, I have never encountered a cabinet box with different sized pieces causing it to be not square.

      Reply
      • G A Hofman May 2, 2020 at 9:36 am

        Thankyou- this was helpful.taking out the staples was more than unpleasant but this in deed was the issue.

        Reply
        • admin May 2, 2020 at 9:42 am

          Glad it’s solved! Good luck with the rest of your project.

          Reply
  • Johanna M. May 9, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Hi- thanks for your great articles on Ikea kitchens–we have decided to go for it! The issue is that due to the pandemic Ikea is closed and anything I’ve tried to order online is way far out delivery–or delivery date unknown (yikes–we have a deadline). I tried to order a cabinet door–so I could se the color and at least select the rest of my finishes, but at best it says delivery is months away. I’m wondering if you have a paint color that you have matched to the white Axstad cabinet doors that way I could at least reference that paint sample. I’d also be interested in any paint colors you have for any of the other white or off-white cabinets (just incase the Axstad is way different than expected. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for all the good tips and ideas!

    Reply
    • Jeff May 10, 2020 at 9:27 am

      Hi Johanna,

      The axstad doors are a bright white, so I typically don’t go with a perfect match when using white paint. It often looks kind of cold and sterile. One of my favourite whites to use is called Frost from Home Depot. It has a slight blue undertone but still has a warmer tone to it. As for a perfect paint match for a custom cabinet or anything like that, I don’t have one because I typically go with 2nd colour instead. For example in The Partridge House kitchen we used axstad cabinetry paired with custom built cabinetry that was painted blue: https://youtu.be/MkTYnpyFewo

      For the off-white cabinetry like grimslov, I have an exact match paint that has worked well for me. If you send me an email, I can reply with the photo of the pigment breakdowns.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  • Linda Hoffman May 28, 2020 at 9:55 am

    I am an interior designer and have used IKEA cabinets several times in projects – sometimes with their standard doors and drawers and other times with custom doors and drawers made by Semihandmade or Kokeena. Both of these companies ship nationwide. Semihandmade is older and their website is more developed. However, Kokeena has really beautiful standard cabinet door options….and better standard colors for their painted cabinetry. They will also do custom paint colors for an up charge.

    I am now building a new home for myself and I have decided to use the IKEA boxes not to save money… but because there’s just nobody that offers the internal organization options that IKEA does…and when you want to change something…its very simple. Their door and drawer hardware is high end. You won’t find better hardware even with high end companies. If you use one of the custom door companies then you can get a very high end look. If you want either shaker style or modern cabinetry I would highly recommend IKEA, however, there are lots of potential pitfalls and here’s my advice….

    Kitchens are complicated and there are many, many small parts and details that go into putting them together. I would highly recommend you use a 3rd party to help with the design. Experienced IKEA kitchen designers really know how to make the most of the cabinetry and know all the tricks for getting the most custom look. The stores have 3rd party designers you can engage, but there are also IKEA kitchen designers you can hire in most larger metro communities that are better and more experienced…and will charge a bit more…but it will be well worth it to avoid a lot of headaches later.

    I never use IKEA appliances, countertops, sinks, faucets or cabinet hardware. I had an IKEA kitchen including all the above in my apartment in Budapest…and the appliances, with the exception of the dishwasher, were terrible. The sink and faucet were cheap looking as was the cabinet hardware. So, I would avoid.

    Ordering can be a pain and there will always be parts of the order that are out of stock. So, you need to plan ahead and order early so you have time for backordered items to come in. Go ahead and place the order and get everything available delivered. Usually the back ordered items are available within a couple of weeks…and then you can order those. For internal fittings like cutlery holders, dividers, etc..I would highly recommend you go to the store and buy them…as opposed to trying to order them online.

    If you do try to DIY the design, as per all the info above, the IKEA kitchen planner tool is hinky and can be very frustrating to use, however, if you stick with it you can get through it. You need to use the staff at IKEA to double check and finalize your design to avoid rooky mistakes and they have the ability to do some things with the order in the store you can’t do with the kitchen planner. However, these people are not all the same…some are really good and some are not….don’t be afraid to ask for a different person to help you if get someone that doesn’t have the experience level you need. The IKEA kitchen staff are NOT kitchen designers, so if you have a bad design they will likely not steer you clear of a mistake…but they will make sure you end up with all the bits and parts you need for the design you have made. You also have to accept when you go this route you will make mistakes…as is the case anytime you do something you have never done before.

    Reply
    • Jeff June 1, 2020 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks for the detailed comment Linda. We do agree that a kitchen designer can make a world of difference when it comes to both the design and functionality of the new space. This is exactly why we started Homestud Studios. We wanted to help out as many people as possible while remaining very affordable.

      Reply
  • Lorraine Walters June 28, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    I have built 2 previous kitchens in the past and have convinced the builder renovating our office to put in 2 Ikea kitchens. I prepared the plans for him and created the orders, all he had to do was pay. I must say it was the worse decision I have made for the following reasons 1. When they are out of stock of a product it just drops of the order, there is no back ordering system in place and as I was not paying for the kitchen, I did not know we were missing 8 doors. 2. When you call customer service, I was waiting 45minutes to speak to someone to explain the issue. Many phone calls and 2 weeks later still waiting on the doors. 4 of the doors where to be picked from a store and ‘mailed’ to us. Discovered today this did not happen. The other 4 doors have now been discontinued and I am waiting for stock to arrive in a different state and am told to check myself and to organise collection/shipment at my cost from the interstate store. Embarassed to say the least, I have raved about Ikea kitchens to this builder only to be proved wrong. When things go wrong it is way tooooo hard to get solutions.

    Reply
  • Jenn M July 6, 2020 at 11:44 am

    We are looking to redo our kitchen and the info and comments have been very helpful! Part of our kitchen design is ‘dead space’ where there is no lower cabinet but looks to be – it’s actually clearance for the staircase leading to our basement. It’s hard to built this into the design of the Ikea kitchen as it’s not a cabinet but we do need panels to put back up. Question – have you run into this with an Ikea build? I can’t seem to find if Ikea sells just panels. What recommendation (either Ikea or work around) would you recommend? We want to keep the same feel for this space – it’s not big, but is noticeable.

    Reply
    • Jeff July 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm

      My suggestion would be to frame up around the stair area and next to the new cabinets. Then just buy IKEA door fronts in whatever the rest of your design is to make it look as though a cabinet is there.

      Reply
  • Michele A. July 27, 2020 at 5:24 am

    I had my Ikea kitchen made in the Summer of 2016. I love how it has come out. I used all their services and did not have one problem. Everyone was on time and also completed much more quickly than I thought. Since I got the kitchen I have switched out some doors and drawers to make it more functional for me and I love i can do that by just going to the store. I also like that if I get tired of this look I can just go to Ikea and get new doors. I am now in the process if a laundry room make over and I am using Ikea for the cabinets.

    Reply
  • Carol Harrison August 1, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    IKEA have now introduced a new kitchen model called METOD. The doors are very long, which means you cannot fit the door panel onto any non-IKEA dishwasher. IKEA dishwashers are very poor (spend 5 minutes on TripAdvisor to confirm this). This is to force customers to buy IKEA/whirlpool dishwashers – which are inferior to most other brands on the market in my opinion. You might also want to spend 5 minutes looking at the plethora of 1* reviews on IKEA online delivery service – doesn’t matter which country you choose they are all equally bad. I am British living in France and the customer service in both countries is appalling – I was told I could use a BEKO dishwasher with my new kitchen but not Bosch (my first choice) – turns out I can use neither. So, I am still waiting patiently for the doors to arrive, if they don’t I will cancel the order and will have to get them custom made – due to 80cm non-standard doors (another IKEA trick to make you buzziest their doors) meaning I should have not bought IKEA because it will be just as expensive as any other brand.

    Reply
    • admin August 2, 2020 at 10:31 pm

      I understand your frustration, but in no way does a crappy delivery service make their kitchen cabinets poor. Further, every company has ways to try and get you to purchase their products over a competitors, including IKEA. Even if I had to order one custom door to cover a dishwasher, it would still be vastly cheaper than a complete custom set of kitchen cabinets where I live.

      The system is not without its limitations, but once you understand how to work within these limitations, or around them, IKEA still makes a far superior off-the-shelf kitchen system than anyone else I am aware of at this point in time.

      Reply
    • James McCormack November 3, 2020 at 2:20 am

      Yep, our house came with a 2 year old METOD shaker style kitchen with IKEA/Whirlpool dishwasher. No receipts for any of it so I couldn’t claim on the warranty when the dishwasher broke down 3 times in the first 2 years of us being here. Terrible dishwashers and I thought we were stuck with IKEA appliances due to the long METOD door fronts.

      In anger I threw out the IKEA dishwasher, installed a BOSCH and just cut 3 inches off the bottom of the METOD door front to fit it. Amazingly, it doesn’t look too bad – people say they only notice it’s shorter when I point it out, and finally I have a reliable dishwasher.

      I also want to say the foil on these METOD doors is terribly thin and any moisture on the shaker moulding corners can get into the particleboard underneath and make it swell. Can NOT recommend this stuff.

      Reply
  • Carol H August 1, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    I meant Trust Pilot not Trip Advisor

    Reply
  • Agnieszka August 26, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Hello,
    I am in the process of remodeling my kitchen with IKEA Axstad cabinets but I have a problem how figure out the side panels for this cabinets line. I have 2 cabinets 24x15x90 and my ceiling is 108′. what panels or maybe if they will look betetr front doors use for sides? I want the cabinets to be connected with ceiling so I know I will also need a crown molding. Do you have any idea how i can do it? Thank you
    Aga

    Reply
    • Jeff September 3, 2020 at 11:21 am

      Ikea’s largest panel is 36″x96″. In order to have a panel that goes from floor to ceiling, it would need to be custom work. Personally, I would do some form of wood shaker side panel and custom paint it to match the cabinet fronts.

      Reply
  • Shelley September 10, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    Excellent article. I wish you were here..lol.. I am remodeling a small house on the beach. If you are looking for projects… it is in New England. I need a kitchen cabinet that is really durable and easy to clean. There is always a layer of dust, sand, etc. that gets on them. We also have lots of visitors including kids in and out of the cabinets allday. The cabinets I have now are 40 years old but are laminate and I can actually use fantastik to clean them. They are amazing but of course outdated. We close the house up for the winter so things can get a bit musty. What do you think?

    Reply
    • Jeff September 13, 2020 at 11:44 pm

      I don’t see why you couldn’t go with IKEA cabinets. That being said, I would look for either a real wood cabinet front, or a thermofoil based front. From my experience, both of these would be the easiest to clean come spring time.

      Reply
  • Stephanie December 29, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Hi! Love everything about this kitchen and your invaluable article and experience! Could you tell me the source of the flooring in this kitchen? It’s exactly the look I’m trying to find to match the IKEA Axstad kitchen we are planning. Thank you in advance.

    Reply

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