It has been two years since I took these pictures of Eddie putting together our IKEA kitchen cabinets. I still get quite a few emails asking how we like our kitchen and how our cabinets are holding up to everyday wear and tear, so I thought an update post was in order.
I have hesitated to share the finished pictures of my kitchen on the blog because it certainly isn’t “Pinterest perfect.” We haven’t finished building our range hood and we still haven’t installed a backsplash. But I know those are dumb reasons to keep from sharing our real life with you, so here it is- fingerprints on the refrigerator and all.
We purchased about 70% of our kitchen from IKEA. The cabinets, sink, faucet, and many of the appliances were purchased there. The flooring, counters, hardware and refrigerator were bought from other stores. In this post I will walk you through the pros and cons of our IKEA kitchen.
- When we were building our house I knew I wanted white Shaker style cabinets. IKEA offered the most affordable option with the best warranty in that category by far.
- 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.”
- That’s true. I really do like the drawers. They are metal and they are deep. They are strong and they hold a lot of stuff.
- We were able to get all of the custom features we wanted within our budget. I wanted a pull-out trash can, a panel-front dishwasher, a separate oven and cooktop, and a double bowl farmhouse sink. I also wanted a large island with outlets in either side. And I wanted my microwave to be built-in, but away from the stove, so it wouldn’t be in my face when I was cooking.
- We bought our kitchen during IKEA’s 20% off sale and saved so much money that we were able to afford to get everything on my list, plus additional cabinetry to do a built-in wet bar in another part of our house that hadn’t even originally been in our house plans, and we still stayed within our budget. Plus, we were then able to afford Corian counters instead of the laminate the was originally in our builder’s quote.
- Out of all of the online planning tools that I tried to use throughout our house-building process, I found IKEA’s kitchen planner to be the easiest to use and most accurate.
- I really appreciated their larger options for over-the-refrigerator cabinets. We have very high, vaulted ceilings in our great room (the area that the kitchen opens into), and I wanted tall cabinets anyway. But it is a personal pet peeve of mine when cabinets over the refrigerator are sunken back, impossible to reach, and short. I think it looks dumb and it’s not practical at all.
- We were able to put electricity in the sides of the island by covering the sides with panels of bead board. Normally IKEA islands have a seam that runs vertically down the side if you are butting two sets of cabinets back to back, like we did in our large island. We couldn’t set our cabinets that close together because we had to leave a gap for the plumbing for the dishwasher. The bead board was an easy, inexpensive solution to cover the gap between the front-facing and rear-facing cabinets in our island. We took one of the cabinet doors to Lowe’s and had the paint department color match it. They did a beautiful job. Then we painted the sides of the island to match the rest of the cabinets.
- Another thing I love about the IKEA cabinets is the hinges. The slow-close feature that costs so much extra at all of the other retailers came as a very affordable upgrade on my cabinets.
- I also really love that the garbage can and the dishwasher are hidden. I think I said that already, but it’s worth repeating.
- I LOVE my sink. Love it, love it, love it, love it. I would buy it again and marry it. It’s the DOMSJO double bowl white farmhouse sink. And if you have priced any other double bowl farmhouse sinks, you know there is no way you are finding another one for $300 that comes brand new with a 25 year warranty. My sink is huge. Each side fits a million dishes, huge pots, and I like that it is divided. It’s also deep, but no too deep.
- We also bought our dishwasher, stove, oven, and microwave from IKEA and so far (knock on wood) we haven’t had any issues with any of them.
- There are tons of affordable customization options for inside of the cabinets, under cabinet lighting, etc offered in the store as well.
Ok, let’s move on to the cons. Are you ready?
- I have to be brutally honest. Just because you have successfully put together IKEA furniture does not mean that you are prepared to assemble an entire IKEA kitchen. It is a very complicated and sometimes frustrating undertaking. I felt very fortunate that Eddie is a professional engineer and we had a contractor and crew on-site during this process. Even then, and even working in a brand new, totally level space sometimes we ran into complications we didn’t anticipate, like the kitchen planning software not taking into account that we would need a space for the dishwasher plumbing in the island, which would therefore leave a gap between all of the other cabinets. If I had taken on this project by myself I 100% would have given up and hired someone to do it for me. (I say that as a woman who has confidently designed and built her own furniture and knows how to use power tools.) Know your limits. This probably is not something you can do by yourself in one weekend.
- We had to think about what to do with the cabinets while our house was being built. Since they had to be stored somewhere and we were renting a small, temporary apartment at the time, we rented a storage unit to keep them in. That was an additional expense and kind of a pain. We would put together each cabinet at our rental apartment, then drive it over to our storage unit for safe keeping. We were under a time crunch to get all of the cabinets put together by the time that the construction crew was ready to work on our kitchen so that we wouldn’t slow down the progress on the rest of our house, so that our new house would be finished in time for us to move out of our rental apartment when the that short-term lease was up.
- This is just a matter of personal taste, but I am a little bummed that the new gray IKEA cabinets were not an option when we were building our house. I really like those and I might have chosen them, at least for an accent or in the island.
- There is no white base board option for under the dishwasher. The only way to get the trim flush would have been to take the black trim off of the bottom of our dishwasher and my husband didn’t want to take apart a brand new appliance, so we left it like it was. That means there is a small gap in our trim under our dishwasher. That’s really a very minor complaint. I actually forgot about it until I saw the pictures I took today.
- As much as I love my sink (and I do!) I have 2 complaints about it: The first one is that it is really hard to clean all of those decorative ridges in the top. The second is that I don’t love that there is only one hole and therefore only really one option for a pull-down sprayer if I want a faucet with a sprayer in my kitchen, which I do. I really prefer to have a separate sprayer so that we can attach a water filter to the faucet for our drinking water. IKEA faucets (even the one on my wet bar) don’t seem to be compatible with Brita or similar water filters.
- I really, really like my kitchen. I don’t have a lot of negative things to say about it, other than it’s not quite finished yet. I can’t blame IKEA for us never getting around to installing a backsplash, but I do wish they had some nice wooden decorative range hood options to match the cabinets. I really hate the industrial style metal ones they have in the store. They don’t match the Craftsman style look of the rest of our house at all. I don’t even really love my stainless steel appliances, but I married an engineer who does like that look, and I didn’t want an entirely white kitchen anyway. In regards to the rage hood, right now we are stuck building something custom and we just haven’t gotten to that yet because we are busy parenting three small kids.
I know our kitchen looks like the kitchens in the IKEA showroom, which is a negative if you go by the comments on lot of message boards, but honestly I don’t really care because I like the kitchens in the IKEA showroom.
We did get around to building a wooden range hood. I love the way it turned out!
For more about my sink, check out how I clean it in this post: