If you’re anything like us, you’ve always been curious about IKEA cabinetry. I mean they look pretty in pictures but how do they hold up? How much do they really cost? Are they worth the savings? How comprehensive is IKEA’s cabinetry customer service? The list of questions goes on but today ALL of them will be answered now. Enter Amanda (a fellow blogger and past EHD contributor). She and her husband decided that they would cash in on the undeniable savings and go the IKEA route for their kitchen cabinetry. Today she is showing us her beautiful kitchen and giving us all the juice. Amanda, take it away…
Hello! I’m so honored to be sharing a post with you today about my experience using IKEA Kitchen Cabinets for our kitchen renovation. But first, let me properly introduce myself. I’m Amanda Holstein, a blogger turned interior designer specializing in Airbnbs and small businesses here in the Bay Area.
Here’s my story: My husband and I bought our little 1960’s cabin in Mill Valley in 2017 and have spent the last few years renovating it from top to bottom. And since this was our first home and our first renovation, a lot of questions came up. Most of them ending with, “WTF are we doing?”. That was especially true when it came to the renovation of our kitchen. With a tight budget (thank you, very high Bay Area real estate prices), deciding where to splurge and where to save was a big part of the discussion. When we saw that IKEA was having a deal on kitchen cabinets (you’d get 30% back in the form of a gift card), we thought what the heck.
Since my husband will choose saving money over time any day, and I don’t quite have the patience for that, this was a fun one for our marriage. 😉 Let me tell you, we learned a lot. About the cabinets, I mean. So I thought I’d share what I learned during this specific part of our reno process for those of you in renovation mode! Let me start with the pros of IKEA cabinetry.
THE PROS OF IKEA CABINETRY
Yup, they really are pretty significantly less expensive than other cabinet options, especially custom cabinets. But this will really depend on the size of your kitchen and the extra fixings you throw in. Our cabinetry and appliance total came up about $6,500 and we have a pretty large space so I’d say that’s not too bad. (Emily here. If she had gone custom, these cabinets would have easily cost $25k and not including any appliances… So a HUGE money saver.)
For the price, I’d say they have a decent selection of finishes and designs. Of course, they’re not super high-end, but I wouldn’t expect that anyway. IKEA does seem to have somewhat of an eye on what’s trending though so we went with the most shaker-looking option they had. While it may seem like a “con” that each design only comes in a limited number of finishes & colors, but that also made our decision-making process much quicker (big pro).
They actually offer a lot more than just cabinets. You can get affordable drawer pulls and cabinet handles, slow close drawers, and panels for your dishwasher or fridge so they blend in with the rest of the cabinetry. They even have decent appliances. We got our fridge from IKEA and it’s great! They also have pantry cabinets which we took advantage of. We went with another countertop company to make sure we chose something durable but they do have a decent selection of countertops (I just can’t vouch for the quality).
3D Layout Planner
IKEA has its own easy-to-use 3D Kitchen Planner on their site that is a must. I highly recommend going in-store and using it with one of their customer service people. There are certain details I didn’t realize I’d need that the customer service rep made sure we included. I wouldn’t say they’re very useful in coming up with layouts for tricky spaces or anything, but for a basic kitchen design, they are knowledgeable for sure. The system then pulls from your design and creates an itemized list of exactly what you need to purchase (and since it’s IKEA, that’s a whole lot of parts).
THE CONS OF IKEA CABINETRY
Logistics Are Complicated
Having a million different boxes show up to your house is probably the worst part. This is if you choose to have your own contractor (or husband, which I do not recommend) install the cabinetry. It felt incredibly disorganized and took forever to keep track of each little item and then build it all (it is IKEA after all). Also, if you are missing an item, which is hard enough to figure out, we all know their customer service isn’t great. For example, we were missing these bars that go on the side of a deep drawer to hold everything in and the process to get them was so difficult that we just gave up.
It Takes Longer
Because of the difficult logistics and the DIY aspect of IKEA, the install takes longer than you might expect. However, I have heard that if you have IKEA install it themselves, it goes a bit more smoothly. Our timeline was June 2018-October 2018. This also includes taking down a huge fireplace and the wall between the kitchen and living room. So it would have been quicker if we didn’t have structural changes. (From Emily: For reference, if you get custom cabinets made then you have, on average, a lead time of 4 -10 weeks. This is after your kitchen is fully demoed and precisely measured. Basically it’s also a lengthy process but probably less of a headache since someone else is building and installing.)
Not High Quality
We’ve only had our kitchen for about a year and you can already see some wear and tear. For example, our dishwasher just barely hits the drawer next to it when you open it and I can see the paint starting to chip off. You can also feel how lightweight the doors are, which sort of gives it away that they aren’t real wood. I’ve never had anyone notice though! I guess that is to be expected when you go the more affordable route.
They’re Not Custom
Because the cabinetry only comes in specific sizes, it can be tricky to configure into your unique space. It took a lot of trial and error with their 3D Planner (we were in-store for at least 3 hours. It was miserable, even after 2 hot dogs.)
So, if you’re trying to figure out if IKEA cabinets are for you, here’s what it comes down to. You’ll save money but probably not time (or headaches). My suggestion and what I wish we had done now is gotten our cabinetry from IKEA, but our cabinet doors from somewhere else (like SemiHandmade). That way they would wear better and we could have gotten a more high-end finish. But overall, I’m super happy with how our kitchen turned out. I think mixing in some more expensive pieces like our Fireclay tile (Moorish Knot) and Caesarstone countertops (countertop total was $4,500) helped elevate the cabinetry. In the end, it was nice to find some savings somewhere in our renovation!
Before I go I thought it would be fun to show you a before and after…
Better right? Well, be sure to comment if you have any other questions about my cabinetry experience or if you have any of your own tips and tricks you learned from going the IKEA route or just want to connect. You can find me at www.amandaholstein.com and @amanda_holstein on Instagram. Come say hi!
Fireclay tile (Moorish Knot)
***After photos by ComePlum