I’m strongly considering putting IKEA kitchen cabinets in my brand new kitchen in my brand new, custom-built house. (I say “I” and “my” because I have the best husband ever who has agreed to do whatever I want in the kitchen as long as I stay within our budget.)
When I tell people that I think I want IKEA cabinets they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. I thought the same thing for a second. Back in December I was minding my own business,wandering around IKEA window shopping for Christmas presents while my kids were in the playland and I found myself drawn to one of their show kitchens. I was shocked at the quality and the options inside of each drawer and cabinet.
But I already have high quality shaker maple cabinets in my budget quote. We are very fortunate to be able to afford “better” cabinets. WHY would I ever consider IKEA? I won’t even buy my children furniture from IKEA. I’m kind of a snob.
Something kept pulling me back though, and I took Eddie to the showroom and he was impressed too.
I started doing more research.
Apparently their kitchen cabinets are much higher quality than most other IKEA products. I was shocked to see how many professional cabinet installers, architects, and designers had chosen IKEA cabinets for their own homes. Even Sarah Richardson.
This photo is from “Sarah’s House.” I LOVE Sarah! And she’s even more particular than I am. Did you see the episode where she made her crew rip out and re-do an entire foundation for a house because it was about 2 inches off? She knows what she wants, and apparently IKEA is good enough for her.
I came across so many designers in my research who said that because of the way IKEA flat-packs their cabinetry, they have to use stronger joints than most other cabinet makers. Their joints and hardware (drawer glides, etc.) are on par with cabinets more than 5X the price. Say what?
Yep. Apparently it’s a well-known trick of the trade for kitchen designers to use IKEA cabinet frames and then just put other doors on them. Why pay three times as much for the same quality?
My friend Satoko has them in her kitchen and she’s happy with them.
They come with a 25 year warranty, which is just about unheard of.
They performed very impressively in a study done by Consumer Reports. The basic IKEA model outperformed ten other brands of higher cabinet grades, including names like Thomasville and KraftMaid. Direct quote from Consumer Reports: “The ready-to-assemble Ikea outperformed much more expensive units, despite its low price. High-quality drawer hardware and doors and a robust mounting strip helped.”
In researching them for the past 3 months, over 99% of the reviews I have found from owners are overwhelmingly positive. The only negative reviews I saw came from a renter who wasn’t even 100% sure that the cabinets in his house were actually from IKEA and one guy who didn’t use the mounting strip and was upset that his cabinet fell off the wall.
Also, I have heard (although I haven’t been able to verify this) that because IKEA cabinets have to pass stricter European guidelines, they do not contain the type of formaldehyde that most other cabinet frames manufactured for the U.S. market do. Formaldehyde in furniture has proven to have a negative impact on air quality and has been linked to serious diseases. If what they say about the IKEA cabinets is true it would be a big plus for me, especially having small children in the home. Who wants dangerous chemicals seeping out of the cabinets where you store your food?
They can be made to look really attractive and custom.
I like their online design tool. I put my own dimensions in and started playing around. This is not my final design, but, even if we do not decide to go with IKEA, it helped me get a better idea of how many cabinets will fit in our space.
We also can’t ignore the fact that they are REALLY affordable. If we do go with IKEA cabinets I should be able to afford better appliances and counter tops and still stay on budget.
So far the cons are:
1. Some of the custom features I would like (but might not necessarily be able to afford anyway if we go with a different brand) such as a built-in, cabinet-front, counter-depth refrigerator, are not available.
2. It is going to be a major pain in the you-know-what for someone (not me) to have to assemble all of those cabinets.
3. The IKEA kitchen sale is happening right now. (This part is actually a plus) I could save 20% off the cost, which is a BIG savings on something like cabinets, but since the house isn’t built yet we would have to find somewhere to store everything or convince the store to hold onto it for an extra month or two. This also means I have to make a decision by April 28, before the sale ends.
Do you have any experience with IKEA kitchens? Do you love them? Hate them? Tell me why.
The kitchen is literally right in the middle of our house and open to all of our living space, so I’m scared to make a bad choice.
UPDATE: We DID go with IKEA. Our real kitchen layout looks like this:
You can click over and see my post about installing our IKEA kitchen and more pictures.