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
This was such a useful post. Thanks very much for sharing!
I’ve had Ikea cabinets for 3 years now. Work great for me. No issues or wear whatsoever so far. You just have to install them correctly. Great customer service too. Couldn’t be happier with the choice
We installed ikea cabinets in 2009. 11 years later, they are definitely showing their age. The insides are fine, the hinges are fine, the wear is just very evident on the doors and drawer fronts themselves. We will probably eventually just replace the fronts. They have not held up to normal use.
My husband is an architect with lots of carpentry experience, so installing them was no real problem and I’m confident we did it correctly. We appreciated saving money on them. But I can’t say that I would recommend them. Maybe this is unrealistic, but I expected to build the kitchen just once.
Toro Kitchen Cabinets makes metal powder-coated doors fronts for IKEA cabinets. A great high quality option for replacements. http://www.torokitchencabinets.com
Woah, what?! I’m planning on doing a kitchen in a few years and my biggest wishlist item was metal 1950s-60s cabinets. I was going to go with IKEA because it gives a similar look, but wanted metal so badly… I can’t believe someone does metal fronts for IKEA! You’re amazing, Heather, thank you! You can have my firstborn, 😀
Absolutely agree. I have them for 2 years (same design doors as blog post) No issues, our contarctor installed them.
I’ve had Ikea cabinets for 5 years and they still look and work great! I put them all together myself and didn’t find it very difficult or time consuming.
We’ve had our IKEA kitchen for over 2 years, no issues with chipping paint or wear. We have kids and 3 pets. We also had our contractor customize some of the boxes to fit our space, so we do have a custom kitchen at a lower price and a faster pace – we redid our whole main floor in 5 weeks, so speed was also one of the reasons to use IKEA.
YOU DID YOUR WHOLE MAIN FLOOR IN 5 WEEKS? Please give us the details.
I think you forgot to mention that the cabinets are made in China, like 90% of their furniture sold in the US. Depending on the door style and quality, that is what can raise prices, some are also made in China.
Sorry Jose, IKEA made cabinets all around the world. Check labels before you post something.
Tell me what isn’t made in China
Actually, I was surprised mine were made in Italy! (Kungsbakka)
This may be true for other Ikea products, but the kitchen cabinet components are not made in China. The boxes are made in the U.S. the hardware is manufactured by Blum, a major name in the cabinet industry.
Jose, if you bought IKEA’s kitchen and related parts, you will see they have labels regarding origins of manufacturing (by law.) They are actually produced mainly in Europe and US.
Great post and lovely kitchen! We’re getting ready to deal with several kitchen remodels at rental properties, and are considering IKEA cabinets and Semihandmade fronts, so it’s good to read what you’d do differently.
One question for Emily’s team that’s unrelated to this post: is “no Wednesday post” the new norm? I apologize if I missed an earlier announcement since it’s been going on several weeks, and I realize 6 days of content is still a lot, just want to save myself the time of checking in all day if there are no loner going to be posts on Wednesday. Thanks!
I too am happy with whatever you’re doing / planning but would love to know the new schedule – even if it’s in flux. Thanks!
We all notice what appears to be disarray in the EHD posting and scheduling.
Seems the staff has been downsized significantly recently – perhaps that’s part of the problem?
Where are all the posts of design projects the EHD team is involved in?
Are there any design projects any more? We never see any…no before and after photos, no moto projects, the projects of former staff members which started off with a bang are never revisited and apparently never completed? We are all wondering out here – and missing design content.
Please come back!
I’m curious about the new posting schedule as well. It seems like Emily was just talking about having “afternoon snack” posts, but posts have felt really inconsistent lately.
Yes! Same curiosity! Would love to know the schedule and what happened to the afternoon snack – just for the purposes of planning my own afternoon snack at work 🙂
So glad you loved the post! In terms of our posting schedule, yes we have been playing around with not posting on Wednesdays. We have just been SO busy with prepping the new site (coming soon!), along with a handful of new design projects that just started in the new year. Those should start revealing soon as well, but as anyone who has ever taken on a design project, those take time along with added lead times for any installs or ordering. Another reason we’re testing out a “no post Wednesday” schedule is because we had a fair number of readers saying that they were having a hard time keeping up with us posting 7 days a week. So we’ve decided to try 6 days of new content on SOME weeks, but haven’t decided yet if that will be a permanent schedule. As always, the internet is kind of the wild west of the editorial world, and we’re always trying to adjust and see what works best. In reference to the afternoon snacks, we decided that while we are transitioning to our new site format we were spreading ourselves a bit thin, and risking “only okay” blog posts being published… Read more »
Thanks for the update! Much appreciated. Although curious why a new site is needed, as this one seems great. Looking forward to what’s to come!
Thank you, Jess!
I think you’ve spoiled us with previous transparency and announcements about schedules. I had in mind that if something’s going to change (afternoon snacks coming then going, no Wednesday posts) you’ll let us know. It’s so helpful when you make an announcement about the change so that I don’t keep checking back – even on the end of a Tuesday post, a casual “and we’ll see you Thursday with the blah blah blah!” would be great.
Also, of course, take all this with a grain of salt, because you owe me (and us) nothing! I appreciate all the content over the years, and hope you and Emily do exactly what you need to do to make your work a happy, sustainable operation.
“Also, of course, take all this with a grain of salt, because you owe me (and us) nothing!” I respectfully disagree — this is the work of Team EHD. Given that this blog is the sole driver of business (as the team does not take on design clients), they actually DO owe us, their consumers and customers, content. It’s fine if they want to mix up the schedule of posting to see what works best, but let us know! A quick post saying “Hey, over the next three-four weeks we’re going to be testing new schedules/regularity of posting, please bear with us” is the absolute least they can do. Our visits here help pay their bills, their salaries, so it’s not too much to ask to be shown the respect of being kept in the loop. I’m over these changes happening with no announcement, and finding an explanation buried in the comments of a random post. Quite frankly, it’s not good enough. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the design content that EHD posts (not so much the fashion/lifestyle content…), but I’m starting to feel like the audience is being taken for granted. From other comments on this post and… Read more »
Chelsea I agree with you.
Just announce what the new schedule will be…transparency is much appreciated!
Nothing on the internet is free. The clicks for traffic; clicks on shopping links; comments all are revenue for the blog. We are the reason EHD makes a living.
I agree with Chelsea. I appreciate this blog and all the hard work the team does — truly! But as a reader, it feels very strange for you all to announce some big changes and then not follow through. If plans change, cool! But let us know in the same manner you announced them. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Are you also moving toward a lifestyle blog focus rather than just design? I feel like there have been more posts that have nothing to do with home design.
We used Ikea cabinets and Semihandmade fronts in our last house and I LOVED them. Redid our kitchen in the house we’re in now and used a cabinet company (not custom built, but supposedly an upgrade) and I wish we had gone the Ikea/SH route – I liked the quality so much better. Good luck!
IKEA doors are actually fine.. I recently removed a 20year old IKEA kitchen, painted it and put it in a different space
The issue is the quality of the carcasses. They’re junk. We ended up rebuilding most of them using new materials
In our main kitchen we have a custom wood kitchen. That will last a hundred years. That is the difference.
So the very last thing you should do is buy the carcasses and change the doors.
I mean, I’d love a fully wood kitchen, but where I am that would cost $30k. So it’s what you can afford.
Also, it’s unlikely that anyone will want a hundred year old kitchen. Times change, people change the way they use spaces, tastes and styles change.
Don’t be so sure. While my cabinets aren’t quite 100 years old, they’re 77, I wouldn’t even consider taking them out. They were custom made and look like built in furniture, even on the inside. I’m complimented on them constantly. If I needed a tweak I’d have a custom cabinet maker make whatever pieces I need, matching them exactly. Luckily the layout is perfect so I can’t imagine anyone wanting to get rid of these.,
Thank you….. I’m a Cabinet maker 35 plus years.
The cabinet boxes are pretty consistent with European cabinetry. Europe has more strict environmental standards and furniture board and MDF are standard there. For some reason wood cabinets are still king in the US, but it doesn’t mean they’re better. Most of the time wood means laminated plywood cabinet boxes that are thinner than a European frameless cabinet and not nearly as moisture stable.
3 years after my first Ikea kitchen and it’s still very nice. I went with their install though.
They came and built it very quickly – there was a problem with the countertop (it came without the hole for the sink!) so it took an additional month to arrive but they brought us a stand-in from their ‘as-is section’ in the meantime.
I’d say go for it if you have a tiny budget and no need for custom measurements cabinetry,
We are finishing up our Ikea install. We paid the $250 to have the kitchen measured professionally and get an online designer. The money is refunded upon purchasing items. The designer wasn’t particularly creative (not an issue for us because I knew the design plan I wanted, I just needed someone else to measure accurately and then plan how big the filler panels needed to be), but she made sure we ordered all of the hinges and toe kicks that would have been easily forgotten. The price is excellent. My husband has done the installation, which has been a hassle but we knew that going in. We are very pleased with the axstad cabinet fronts. I disagree with the author’s opinion about customer service. We have made several returns (a few quality issues, a few changes that we made to our plan) and the customer service has been outstanding, no questions asked. I’m very pleased so far. There is a long warranty on cabinet fronts, so the author should consider exchanging her worn cabinet fronts and adding a clear “bumper pad” at the friction point between the dishwasher and drawer front. Ikea will deliver everything for less than $100. There… Read more »
My experience is basically exactly yours. A few changes, super easy returns, we used ekestad fronts, which actually ARE wood, and have held up very nicely. We LOVE our ikea kitchen. Very pleased with it. And it actually does look quite high end 🙂 Had nothing but excellent customer service. We are super handy and did it all ourselves, but I can see how things could go wrong if you weren’t handy, haha. It’s a HUGE job.
3 years after my first Ikea kitchen and it’s still very nice. I went with their install though.
They came and built it very quickly – there was a problem with the countertop (it came without the hole for the sink!) so it took an additional month to arrive but they brought us a stand-in from their ‘as-is section’ in the meantime.
I’d say go for it if you have a tiny budget and no need for custom measurements cabinetry.
You don’t have to demo your kitchen before ordering custom or semi-custom cabinetry. Existing kitchen stays in place 99.9% of the time…demo happens once cabinets arrive or get close to arriving. Otherwise, great write up!
Yeah I thought that was super weird too. We had semi custom cabinets installed and they didn’t demo until the new cabinets had been delivered.
In Emily’s experience (since she has typically chosen to create a different layout than the original) this was the case. The custom cabinet builders she has worked with didn’t want to take the chance of not getting exact measurements. But it’s nice to know that that’s not always the case!
I loved our Ikea kitchen remodel! $7500 for cabinets, appliances, tiles, lighting, and counter (we did oak butcher block that we made ourselves so $135 in materials for an entire hardwood counter). We took the room down to the studs and built it back out again. While the sizes aren’t custom, I didn’t feel too limited because of the easy way to stack and configure the cabinets. We moved this past summer into a home with a poorly designed kitchen layout (seriously, cabinets run into each other and some you can’t reach because an appliance is in the way). I fully intend on doing another Ikea kitchen here!
That’s so great to hear how much you loved them!
We have an ikea kitchen with doors from Scherrs. We put it in 6 ago and it’s held up well and looks nice. But we installed ourselves and are still not done with trim and side panels etc! It was a process for sure. I’d definitely do it again, but you need to devote lots of time and mental energy to it. And it’s much easier to do wall to wall rather than cabinets that should lots of side panels etc. I think altogether our medium size kitchen cost about $7000 for cabinets (not hardware.)
Ikea cabinets and semihandmade reno last year, over here. Love everything about it. Honestly, if you build supportive frames (as opposed to simply hanging them and using the cheap little legs) underneath the carcasses, as well as a few other things, they seem to hold up a lot better. The prep and planning are the biggest challenge. But, if you are doing open layout (ie: island with a wall of counter/cabinets), it’s super malleable.
I found the YouTube page “Up to Kode” to be super helpful for tips and tricks.
Thanks for the tips! xx
What a beautiful kitchen! I think the big con of ikea cabinets is that the boxes aren’t plywood, so moisture will damage them. Also I don’t think it’s fair to compare IKEA prices to custom cabinets – a more apt comparison would be other prefab lines. There are lots of prefabs with plywood boxes, like RTA cabinets or Kraftmaid Vantage.
I agree — comparing IKEA to custom isn’t a good comparison.
Moisture will undoubtedly damage plywood as well. Ikea box is 3/4. Hard to find at anywhere near that price point.
Great article and gorgeous kitchen! Not sure if the materials IKEA use are different in Europe but my husbands a joiner (carpenter) and has fitted many a kitchen…he really rates the IKEA carcasses (more than many brand which are 6 times the price) but not so much the doors in their cheaper painted ranges…but for £10 a door I think it depends on what you need from them…if you’re on a super low budget they are an amazing option to transform your space and create the home you want and need…If it’s for a rental where you think they might need to be replaced more often due to more use/damage or because you redecorate to keep up with the latest styles, it might be in your interests to have a kitchen where the doors can be replaced more often for less money…I would say the most important place to spend your money on is the install and the carcasses because an expensive kitchen fitted badly with carcasses that sag and move will always give you trouble xx
Same in the US. The carcasses are fantastic (if you put them together soundly, which some DIYers don’t do) and the Blum hinges are great. Fronts are a little cheap, but can always be changed out or custom used instead.
What a great post! I was expecting something a bit longer, or more indepth, but devoured this. We’re considering installing an IKEA kitchen in a modestly sized kitchen. Our house is pushing 100, so it was a boon to check out the styles at IKEA and see that there’s one to look comfortable in our old lady of a house (same as Amanda’s). Friends have done IKEA kitchens and used an IKEA installer who moonlights out of hours. IF we go the IKEA route, we’ll employ him, if he’s still around, because we installed an MFI (UK company) kitchen many moons ago and it was agonising to do! Even with an engineer, roof carpenter and jack of all trades working collaboratively! Nightmare! We live in Australia, so IKEA isn’t quite as cheap here as the USA, partly due to the exchange rate, but frustratingly, mostly due to IKEA’s absurd pricing policy for Australia. An investigation was done into how we’re expected to pay more here just because IKEA says Aussies WILL pay more (and so, we do, because that’s the way it is…gggrrrr). That said, trades and custom anything in Australia cost more!! Why? Because resources mining drives the economy… Read more »
@rusty – I had an ikea kitchen with semi-handmade fronts installed last year in a 100+ year old house. I chose to use Ikea’s recommended planner & installer. The planner was terrible but the installers were great. It took 2 of them 2.5 days to unbox and install my kitchen which is 9′-8″ x 14′-0″. They also have spare parts on hand, so in case a component is missing, they can easily provide it. My advice on installing precision made cabinetry in a house where no wall, floor, or ceiling is straight, is to allow generous gaps between the end cabinets and the walls and a good amount of space between the uppers and the ceilings, and hang the base cabinets at the highest point of the floor. (My floor and ceiling slope a good 3″ across the room!) An expert installer will fill in all the gaps (scribing) with the toe kicks and filler pieces. Because this work requires skill, I wouldn’t DIY scribing in an old house. These guys hung everything plumb and you don’t even notice the wonkiness of the house because of the seamless scribing. The one lesson learned with ordering the fronts from a different… Read more »
Oh, Leanna, thank you so much for responding!
Yes, sounds like great advice! There’s no way we’d try this one as an install for us to handle. I’ve heard that the Ikea installers have spares and bits n bobs on hand. Thanks for the tips about the wall end cupboards too -makes sense.
In Australia, we don’t have Semi-handmade, so we’re planning on buying the shaker style fronts from Ikea. It’s just us and our aging dawg, and we’re careful, so I think it’ll last.
Funny thing with being so careful….things don’t wear out!! And then it’s tricky to update, because it seems wasteful, even when we find good homes for the stuff we replace. Ha!
Thanks again ☺
Pretty sure AUS has several companies that are the equivalent of Semi-handmade, but their names are escaping me right now.
We have installed 3 Ikea kitchens, including one that serves a very busy event space — there is a wedding almost every weekend of the year, and this is where caterers prep dishes and decorators put together flowers, etc. They are all holding up really well! We did get them installed by some carpenters we know, but since we live in a rural state, I’m not sure if Ikea install was even an option and would surely cost more than our local labor market.
Nearly forgot… Amanda, if you install some simple molding at the top of your upper cabinets, you’ll ‘disappear’ those shadow, creepy crawley hiding places between the cupboards and the ceiling.
We used IKEA cabinets for our first house. One thing I was impressed with was the internal hardware: hinges & drawer closures. At the time, 2014, they were Blom, which is apparently top-of-the-line cabinetry hardware. I noticed the difference immediately… smooth open and closing of every door and drawer. Nearly silent! Our previous cabinets were loud and clackity every time someone was in the kitchen. Loud cabinets are a bummer when one person has to get up earlier for work and the other is trying to sleep in a bit.
We’ve done four Ikea kitchens in houses that we’ve flipped. I always had someone design the layout for me, as I never had the time to devote to it. We also hired a contractor to do the installation so that added to the cost. Installing yourself would be a huge money-saver. We used Semi-handmade door and drawer fronts on one of the kitchens. I’m not sure if I would use them again. I found it to be a huge hassle trying to coordinate the Ikea order with the Semi-handmade order and I was not impressed with the Semi-handmade delivery service. Ikea’s delivery service was much better. I also didn’t like ordering expensive door fronts from a computer screen. I would rather do it from a showroom where I could see the actual product. The door fronts that we chose ended up being a little lighter in color than I had been expecting. (Next time, I think I would look for a local option to make the custom door fronts.) I also found Ikea’s customer service to be great when it came to returning or exchanging things, but not so great when a piece was missing. We were missing the burner… Read more »
Semi-handmade has samples you can order.
I did Ikea boxes and Semi-Handmade fronts in my NYC apartment renovation four years ago and have no complaints on quality. We did have our wonderful architect, project manager, and construction crew design, install the cabinets, and also make finishing pieces to really tie everything together. The kitchen is a tiny open kitchen, and the cost for custom cabinetry here was a whopping 30k even for such a small space!!! It would be even more for a larger kitchen as pictured here. All in our solution cost about 10k. including the custom work described above. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I do think the very professional install we had done likely helps with the “quality” issues, e.g. there are NO issues with cabinets hitting other cabinets and things like that due to very, very precise planning and install. Also, where there is wear and tear it’s actually on the Semi-Handmade fronts. Unfortunately it’s just a reality of painted wood cabinetry that if you, for example, bang a fork into the cabinet door it’s going to ding or chip slightly. Not something that can be avoided with pricier cabinet fronts IMO. The actual internals of the Ikea cabinets… Read more »
We just purchased a home that came with an Ikea kitchen that had been installed about five years ago. It has the tinted glass cabinets, and while I don’t think they are what I would have picked myself, they are AWESOME for keeping clean- way better than the painted wood cabinets I had in my old kitchen. I also like that because they’re glass, basically none of the cabinet boxes are exposed, so there is less chance of damage to the plywood. We also have their dishwasher with a matching front- the hinges on the dishwasher are loud, but it cleans dishes great.
Sorry to say but I like the Before better, I would just change counter top and handles
Disagree with the “not high quality” comment. They aren’t solid wood and custom…no one that is looking at Ikea for a kitchen expects that I hope, but they ARE leaps and bounds better than our crap builder grade “upgraded” cabinets.
Totally agree. MOST cabinets nowadays are not solid wood (and solid wood is $$$$, so a different conversation entirely). Ikea is way better, in our experience, than builder grade options and most of what is stocked at Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. But, the cabinets are only as good as the installation.
Agree. From Europe I am writing – I have had the third ikea kitchen now (previously I had one for 10 years and it was flawless!) and I think they are super good quality. And they look high-end compared with lots of other kitchens from stores. Customer service is also very customer friendly – they immediately replaced the 8-year-old countertop (which was damaged by our fault!) for free.
We installed our first Ikea kitchen 7 (!) years ago when it was still the Akrum line and the fronts were Adele off white shaker style. It was a small galley kitchen in a 1950s ranch. We now rent out the house and the kitchen looks as good as the day we installed it. People knock thermafoil drawer fronts but I’ve been so, so impressed with how easy they are to maintain. No one knows our kitchen is Ikea! We paired the cabs with white subway tile and Carrara marble countertops. We put in a Bertazzoni cooktop + wall oven and other non-Ikea appliances. It’s still, to this day, one of my favorite rooms in that house. The only thing that’s shown its age is the toe kick-+ but it is so easy to replace. While we don’t have kids, this kitchen has survived renters, dogs, and lots of parties! We are getting ready to install another Ikea kitchen in our new house and can’t wait to have soft close drawers and an airy space. I agree with this post that adding in more high end elements makes the kitchen really pop, but the comment about “not quality” related to… Read more »
We have IKEA cabinets with Semi Handmade doors. My husband installed it himself; we had pros do the counters (quartz from a local tile store, which was actually slightly cheaper than IKEA). I think the cabinet boxes are fine. They don’t really look custom, but they are sturdy enough. Installation was also really fast, even DIYing it – they have a pretty easy to use system. Maybe because our kitchen is small, we didn’t have much trouble finding the right pieces. Semihandmade ended up charging us a HUGE surcharge to re-deliver the door fronts inside the lobby of our apartment building (not even inside our apartment or on our floor) rather than leaving them on a pallet on the sidewalk in front of the building, which is what they tried to do the first time their delivery truck came. We were at work, and our super turned them away. We’re still annoyed about this, as bringing something inside a building is pretty standard for delivery; it didn’t occur to us that they would try to leave them outside. They were also really unhelpful and rude when we complained. After two years, the finish on some of the panels right next… Read more »
We installed a HUGE ikea kitchen last spring. My husband did it all which was horrible (I mean the man has a real job so it took forever) but the kitchen itself is insanely beautiful. We’re redoing our house and have contractors coming in and out constantly and they all believe it’s custom. We had our architect layout the kitchen and then went into ikea and the specialist helped pick out boxes that best fit the measurements (you must know all your measurements before going in to a specialist!). We used the cabinet face out of Denver and were able to get trim pieces so that there are no gaps which is what really makes the difference. Custom our kitchen cabinets prob would have run us over $40,000 but ikea kept it around $15,000 (boxes, custom fronts and nice pulls). There are companies in California who specialize in installing ikea cabinets and helping you trim it out so in the end you have a custom look kitchen-it will prob also save your marriage lol. But of course there’s a price tag for that. I’d def do it again! There are so many companies making fronts and trim pieces that you… Read more »
What custom company did you use in Denver for your cabinet fronts? Thanks!
The Cabinet Face. We used them too. Great team and good quality.
I love our IKEA kitchen. Two years in and I don’t see any wear on the cabinets. We chose one of the sturdier door options and I assume the poster did not. We paid for the ikea design service to come to our house to measure and create a layout. It was $250 and we received it back as credit towards our purchase. Using the ikea design service is the best way to go. They made sure to order all the various pieces needed and the design service gives you the cabinet layout. To stay organized I went through and marked each box with the cabinet number on the layout. When it came time to build the cabinets and install them, it was a much smoother process. Hanging the cabinets was fairly easy since it uses a technique similar to a French cleat. Each cabinet has feet to allow you to adjust to the floor height. The cost for ikea to build and install I felt outweighed the benefits of the ikea kitchen, so we opted to install ourselves. The design service and install are two separate options available, so it’s worth utilizing the design service regardless of if you… Read more »
Going on 6 years with an IKEA kitchen. Holding up structurally really well and absolutely no issues with things falling apart. If you are semi-handy and enjoy home reno’s, then I’d say go for it! It is true about the long wait, though. I think we were in the store for ordering about 4.5 hrs.
Shop around people. We looked into Ikea cabinets but it absolutely didn’t make sense financially for us as we live in a pretty expensive area (Baltimore/Washington suburbs). By going with a local business that did everything but the countertops we were able to get real wood semicustom cabinets installed for only a couple thousand more than the Ikea cabinets would have cost. They also worked fast. They didn’t do demo until the cabinets were delivered and the cabinets were installed and ready to be measured for countertops within a week of demo (which included making a half wall and opening up a doorway/installing a beam). They were great and their cost for everything was 33% less than other quotes we’d gotten for just the cabinetry.
Kate – Sounds like a great experience! I’d love to know who you used, if you don’t mind sharing. I live in the DC area and am considering a kitchen renovation.
Thanks for a great post. I wanted to add a different perspective to this discussion. In 2005 (!!!) we installed IKEA cabinetry in an elementary school. We installed it in two kitchens and in every classroom. This cabinetry is not painted, so that does impact things. After 15 years of VERY hard use, all of the cabinetry looks amazing and still works. We’ve had to replace a few kick plates and tighten the hinges, but otherwise we have had no problems. In our situation almost everything breaks because of such high use and I find the quality of the IKEA cabinets remarkable. The cabinets are one of the things that we have NOT had to replace. At the time we bought them because it was all we could afford, but it turns out that they were a great investment. I don’t know if they still sell the kind we bought, but if you are wondering if they will hold up, they sure did in our experience. As a comparison, in my home we had custom cabinets that (in retrospect) cost a ridiculous amount. After 8 years we had to have all of the cabinetry repainted (they are painted white). If… Read more »
If installing upper cabinets, make sure to include under cabinet lighting. We did, and I thought it was a luxury but turns out it is a necessity. Ikea upper cabinets are 15 inches deep and cast a big shadow if the under cabinet lights are not on. We are very pleased so far with our Ikea kitchen.
Agreed! I just installed a new IKEA kitchen and the under counter and in drawer lights make it look AMAZING! Worth every penny.
We didn’t do IKEA and I am so happy we did custom. We supported a local business and have a beautiful kitchen that fits our space perfectly and gives off a good feeling. I know that if we ever want to reface the cabinets the boxes will last forever, and very likely outlive us. If you can afford it, go custom! 🙂
I too put in an IKEA kitchen, my brother-in-law, Sister and I. Back in 2018, we removed flooring and cabinets and installed Ikea’s but I have a totally different outcome. We found the cabinet s easy to build, and they still look great, no wear is showing. The IKEA 3D planning was great I paid for the designer to come to my home, he took measurements and completely utilized all the space in my small kitchen. I guess it depends on what you ordered from IKEA. I took pics throughout and was quite pleased with the outcome. We had fun building this kitchen. The only thing I wouldn’t purchase was the faucets again, the water flow is small and the handle and the drain cup broke after 6 months.
I’ve had my Ikea kitchen for 3 years, and I still love it every day. The soft close doors and drawers are excellent. In order to keep it from looking TOO Ikea, we did go with different vendors for counter tops and drawer pulls, and I think this does “elevate” the look. I’ve had multiple contractors walk through the kitchen for other work, and they frequently compliment us on how nice the kitchen is. They don’t even know it’s mostly from Ikea! In terms of wear and tear, it’s holding up well so far (though of course hard to say if it’ll be here 50 years from now like the cabinets found in older homes). The kitchen still basically looks like the day we moved in. All the doors and drawers still work perfectly, nothing is misaligned, shaky, squeaky, or sticky. The only real wear and tear I’ve noticed is right next to the stove where grease has splattered onto the black cabinets and doesn’t seem to come off no matter what cleaner I use. I’m not sure how to fix this since the cabinets aren’t actually painted; they have that sort of Ikea faux finish. However, you don’t really… Read more »
We’ve installed two Ikea kitchens and one custom so far. Maybe I don’t have a very discerning eye or something, but I honestly cannot tell the difference in quality between the custom and Ikea kitchens we’ve had, except that one cost a lot more than the other two. I have come to understand that when Ikea cabinet quality complaints arise, it tends to be more from installation / space planning errors than the actual quality of their product. For example, I may not be understanding the post correctly, but if her dishwasher is “hit[ting] the drawer next to it,” that’s an incorrect space planning or installation issue and would probably cause wear and tear no matter what cabinet company she used. I will also say this — the installation of an Ikea kitchen is expensive if you hire a professional to do it (which I highly recommend). We used a company that markets themselves as expert assemblers of Ikea kitchens, and their assembly and installation cost was literally four times what my contractor had quoted for assembly and installation even if we had we gone custom. This is because Ikea kitchens are indeed very complicated to put together — we… Read more »
I forgot to say — Amanda’s new kitchen looks truly beautiful. I especially love the tile choice for the backsplash. 🙂
I had the same thought, Deepa. We hired a phenomenal installer, and if he heard about a dishwasher hitting the drawer next to it, I know he’d immediately say there was an error in the installation that needed fixing.
I want to also disagree with a couple of the cons here. We DIY our kitchen at 6 months pregnant to replace the builders grade kitchen. First it’s fast. Yes a few hours in store to get the details right but they were delivered in a week or so. Second I don’t think it was disorganized. Pregnant me labeled every box as they came in the door so I knew which cabinet it was and then I assembled them as my husband requested them. Third they are not “low” quality. You can’t compare to custom of course but they were much nicer (thicker presswood boxes) than the builder grade which I’d assume came from a RTA shop or big box store. The hinges are all Blum which is what custom uses. I agree that you need to do a nicer backsplash and counters as well as pulls or knobs. I’d also recommend doing the trim pieces and under cabinet lighting. Get a little creative, lots of blogs out there with ideas on how to fill spaces that aren’t a perfect fit. I’d do it again in our new house as would my husband.
I totally agree with everything you said! My first IKEA kitchen is 15 years old… it still looks great! I did my parent’s open concept kitchen with IKEA cabinets 3 years ago, with a huge island… creativity and YouTube!! I’m currently designing my 4th kitchen with IKEA (I’m the neighborhood IKEA go-to… lol). A professional designer’s blog: carolreeddesign.blogspot.com has great tips also. She LOVES IKEA too!
I agree with you 1000% The quality is actually great, and if you take the time to get the filler pieces right and add the under-cabinet lighting, it will look VERY custom.
I’d add that Ikea’s quartz is Caesarstone…a wonderful product.
We are contractors in Colorado. We did a large wet at in our private basement and decided to give them a try. I can see where would be cheaper for Bay Area but was a lot more expensive than what we, as contractors could buy cabinets here for. A total pain, bad quality and if they get your order wrong like the guy in our Denver store did, cost us tons of time and hundreds more in shipping to get right parts. Paid more in shipping cost then the parts cost. Add to the fact you can not call the stores to let them know of their errors. We will never use again. Now a bathroom vanity is ok( the word is Ok….) Also you might as well add the cost for using their people to put together because no real instructions and nothing like traditional cabinets. Just say NO!
Our painted custom cabinets chip and we spent over $20,000 on them. Because of the all the customization, etc. it was worth it to me, but it did mean that we couldn’t afford to put in cabinets in the laundry or mud room during the renovation. We’ll probably do Ikea cabinets in the laundry room. They seem to have held up well in the kitchen we put in our old, now rental, house at the same time we did the renovation in our new (to us) house. I completely agree about having them delivered to the house, that usually there is one thing missing or on back order, and that having someone professionally install them makes a huge difference. Lastly, I echo those questioning where the Wednesday posts went? For a group that tends to share a lot about their business and business processes, having an entire weekday go missing for a month without comment seems really weird. I’d rather have Wednesday back than the weekend posts (though I enjoy those). I have lots of things I can do on the weekend, but weekdays without a Wednesday post find me grumpy and stuck at my desk trying to eat breakfast… Read more »
I’d like to add that the actual installation process for Ikea cabinets is AMAZING compared to what you would get at a big box store. Ikea uses a wall hanging bracket for upper and lower cabinets which makes the leveling process a breeze. Our concrete floors are basically a wave though, if you have a super level floor then this probably wouldn’t matter.
We’ve got the DIY Shaker SemiHandmade doors in our kitchen, spray painted them ourselves, and have created a fully custom look at a fraction of the cost. Obviously, your handiness level will be a big part of how custom Ikea can look.
Their drawer glides and hardware are also Blum brand, which is great quality. We’d do Ikea boxes again in a heartbeat and recommend them to many.
Also have IKEA cabinets and have had them for 1.5 years. Ours have actually held up really well with only a few chips here and there which I’ve covered up with matching paint. It just me and my husband so the wear and tear from kids and pets may have a different impact. We sat down with an IKEA kitchen specialist, which is free, to help us design our kitchen. I agree with the different doors tip, what a great idea! Also, the slow door closes always fall off.
I loved this post! So helpful. Side note: anyone know where Amanda’s overalls are from?
That’s what I came to the comments to find out! LOL.
We did an IKEA kitchen 4 years ago. I designed my dream kitchen at PoggenPohl. It was going to cost $140K for cabinets. Designed same look at IKEA for $11K. Hired an online IKEA designer for $500. Received completed design in 5 days. Took only 2 hrs of my time. Paid $49 for delivery. Hired IKEA recommended installer. Two guys. Completed whole kitchen in 10 hours and hauled away boxes. $1500. In 4 years, we’ve only had to replace 2 hinges (for free). We considered Semi-Handmade fronts but were getting anxious on the budget knowing when I get tired of the cabinet faces in a few years (and replenish savings), I can easily and quickly upgrade with Semi-Handmade. (Total scope: 30 drawers, 15 cabinets, 3 pantry, 9 trim pieces, + upscale hinges, organizers, liners, handles, auto-open feature). Loved the whole process. Was 100% worth it to spend the $2000 to hire experts to design and install.
I had IKEA upper cabinets put into my kitchen 12 years ago and I am 100% satisfied. No problems whatsoever. Although my contractor did tell me at the time that the labor cost would be higher. I was able to figure out how to fit them exactly to match the existing lower cabinets and keep all appliances in place. If I want to change it up, I may change out the doors in the future, but I will probably keep them as is.
Your kitchen looks very nice!
For a professional designer’s review, please check out carolreeddesign.blogspot.com and you may get a better idea of how to maneuver through an IKEA design/install. I agree they take some time to assemble/install, but I’m designing my 4th IKEA kitchen. My 1st IKEA kitchen is 15 years old, and still looks great! Lots of customization if you’re creative. Overall, no other “off the shelf” cabinets can compare. There is a company that creates IKEA cabinet fronts, if you want more options. My advice… start small – get some practice assembling IKEA products, and utilize YouTube’s countless instructional videos on IKEA products.
I haven’t even gotten to read all the comments yet, but I had to throw in my experience. We JUST finished our Ikea kitchen in December, and could NOT be happier. Here are my big tips: Use Inspired Kitchen Design for the drawings and purchase list! They are incredibly reasonable, fast to turnaround the project, and the purchase list has ever SKU you need, so no spending hours in Ikea placing your order! Could not have been easier (and the Ikea design software was a pain in the a** to use, in my experience). We went with Semihandmade for the fronts, and they are great quality and well worth it, but we did shop them during a sale (which they have many of throughout the year). The kitchen looks totally custom. My biggest recommendation, especially if you’re in the Pacific Northwest (I’m in Seattle), is to hire BRAVE ELEMENT to handle your install (www.braveelementpnw.com and @braveelement on IG, check them out!). Wes is an absolute MASTER, has installed Ikea for YEARS and can customize anything you can dream up. Even hiring out the install on our kitchen, it was overall still significantly more reasonable than going custom. Oh, Ikea’s appliances… Read more »
I should add, we used Inspired Kitchen Design for the stuff mentioned above, but our amazing installers, Brave Element, now do measure, design, purchasing, etc., so they are a one-stop-shop. Anyone in the PNW should def check them out. (not getting anything for recommending them…just a very happy customer!)
We have an Ikea kitchen. I love it. We’ve had the cabinets for 3 years and haven’t had any problems. I would strongly recommend having a consult with an Ikea kitchen designer. As someone else said, the cost is reimbursed if you purchase the cabinets. We mocked everything up ahead of time but the designer caught a few things, made some improvements, and prepared all of our order lists. We also hired the contractors Ikea uses for the installation – they were excellent and made sure everything was level and even which was no small feat in our old uneven house. To elevate the look a bit, we got nice pulls and really nice tile for the back splash. I like knowing that in 5 or so years that if I want to I could get new fronts to change the look without having to change all of the boxes.
Oh wow, your experience was very similar to mine. We weren’t even going to redo our kitchen but decided to at the last minute and, for budget reasons, went with IKEA. I get constant compliments about the kitchen and people are always surprised that it’s IKEA (which is surprising bc, to me, it is so very obvious). I would say the pros are definitely: price, looks, the fact that if something DOES chip (like a drawer front) there is the option to just buy a new one, and a big one: the fact that all of IKEA’s drawer organizers fit perfectly within the drawers leading to some serious organizational magic. The cons are: quality (def. a little flimsy, esp. the trash drawer); I too wish I had gone with Semi-Handmade! Also, the set cabinet sizes make it impossible to customize, so in one area my cabinets couldn’t go all the way to the ceiling which bums me out. In the end, though, I would have had to live with an old, gross kitchen for a long time if we hadn’t gone with IKEA so I’m so pleased it was an option. I should also mention that we paid to have… Read more »
I had such a horrific experience with Semihandmade that I would caution those who are not instagram influencers to really think through using them. I think if you have a platform with thousands of followers, I’m sure their customer service is great and responsive. However, we received the wrong set of doors, defective doors, and absolutely no help from their customer service. It was terrible – and they still owe me around $2k. Nightmare.
As a custom cabinet shop owner for 25 years i will tell you di not waste you’re money on thes particle board vinal coated cabinets. If you see wear and tear after one year what will it look like on 5? I rep a brand of rta cabinets that the quality is amazing! All 5/8 10 ply boxes, solid wood dove tail drawer boxes, soft close drawer guides and hinges. Look for The Cabinet Spot. They are awesome and customer service the best!
Agree I’ll never use Ikea again
Seems your assumptions are contrary to most people’s actual experiences here.
Besides, this being an assemble-yourself product- if something does get chipped or smashed- you can easily repair it.
I recently moved away from Marin (Bay Area) due to the high cost of living. I left my home for Texas. As a kitchen designer there I found that if residents could afford to buy a home, they could not afford to fix it up. This isn’t necessarily the issue here in Austin. Anyway, I have helped friends back home design with European style cabinets, as well as builder grade and custom. The one problem I have heard with many European cabinets is the drawers have very low sides, so things fall out and get pushed into the back of the cabinets. Have you found this to be true?
Things do not fall out or get pushed to the back of our Ikea drawers, and we have ALL drawers for bottom cabinets. In them we store pots, pans, dishes, spices, rags, serving dishes, etc. We added Ikea glass inserts on the sides to close the opening, for a nicer finish – but honestly don’t think it’s necessary.
I have been buying and installing Ikea cabinets for 20 years in over 25 kitchens and bathrooms. The product has mostly stood the test of time in my rentals. Some finished are better than others. The gloss finished crazed over time and the product was changed so no replacement was available through Ikea.
This year, after seeing the elevated prices and considering the extent of the assembly, I tried something else. What a great decision! I purchased Hampton Bay Cambridge white Shaker from Home Depot. This cabinet is fully assembled, all plywood construction and installs in a fraction of the time with little effort. Many sizes are off the shelf and many others quickly available from their catalog. My last kitchen cost $2500 for the cabinetry and $1500 for the stock granite countertops from a small shop. A one day install of white subway tile and it looks wonderful.
Ikea is awful all the paint is peeling off the front cabinet faces. Cracking etc. Completely a waste never again
Hi Amanda! I love your kitchen! Could you please share the exact details of your tile? The colors, the gloss etc? Also is the countertop Cloudburst concrete?