A few years ago, I designed my first IKEA kitchen and then renovated and installed the whole thing. It was a TON of work, but I love how it turned out! I really enjoyed so many parts of doing an IKEA kitchen! Plus, the quality and look were great too.
Well, my sister, who currently lives in England, is moving back to Utah! And she asked me to help makeover the kitchen on her house using IKEA cabinets! Of course, I said yes! This time, as I do it all over again, I thought I would document some tips on how to design an IKEA kitchen and install it so I might help someone else who is trying to DIY the own kitchen design too!
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to measure. And then measure again. Use a notebook and pen to jot down the location (don’t worry about scale, just accuracy) and measurement of doorways, windows, and every detail like outlets and vents you can so you can accurately plan your space.
Make sure to measure the ceiling height, window height, how high the windows are off the ground, door height and width.
If you’re designing a space you’re not living in, make sure to get good pictures of every angle of the room.
When doing my sister’s, we went in with the relator and measured the first time we saw the space. It was a little hectic (we felt rushed, I forgot to bring something to entertain my son, I didn’t have pen and paper, etc.) and we missed some things which made planning hard. Don’t do what I did and measure well the first time :).
P.s. these are before pictures of the kitchen and dining room. It has so much potential!
This is the fun part and also the crucial part. Get inspired! For me, the vision of what is to come is what carries me through the pain of a renovation. Find pictures that light your soul on fire and create a mood board (I have a tutorial for how to make a mood board here).
Here is my sister’s mood board. The Ralph Lauren wallpaper was really the jumping off point for the whole design! She also knew that she wanted blue cabinets. My sister is a bit more traditional than I am. Her taste is impeccable so it’ll be really fun to create a space for her! Of course I’ll add in a bunch of pink flowers and some accessories to put a tiny bit of At Home with Ashley in there ;)!
how to design an IKEA kitchen
Now that the space is measured and you’re inspired, the first thing you need to keep in mind is that IKEA kitchens are the most DIY friendly way to redo a kitchen! But, because you do it yourself, it is cheaper AND more work. You can measure, design, order, pick-up, and install everything. Or you can pay someone to do it too!
IKEA offers measuring services or you can pay to book a 2 hour appointment where their designer helps you design the space. There are a TON of other companies that specialize in designing and installing IKEA cabinets since the quality and customization is so great.
Note, having a professional designer create your plan costs between $300-$600 which might be worth it to verify that you’re getting your dream kitchen. BUT, if you want to design your own kitchen like I did, here’s some tips to get started.
1. go in store and see what you like
Before you’re ready to order anything, go into an IKEA and get inspired. Walk through the kitchen section and open every cabinet, pull out every drawer, and see what you like. They have SO many options! There are SO many ways to customize, you’ll want to take notes of what you fall in love with. Also grab an IKEA kitchen catalog if you see one.
When I walked through my IKEA, I fell in love with the soft close cabinets! And I really like drawers in lower cabinets so that you can see everything that you have. The pantry option became really appealing. All of these things I noted so I could apply them to my room.
2. the IKEA kitchen planner is your BFF
Open up the IKEA kitchen planner and start by simply typing in the overall measurements of the space. For my sister’s kitchen, the arch between the kitchen and dining room will be coming out, so I started with a simple rectangle.
Next, put in doors and windows. After those are plugged in, add the fixtures in. These are the plumbing and gas pipes, electricity, and heating and ventilation. During this step, you can also customize the floor material and wall color to best match your vision.
After these are all done, lock your measurements (there’s a lock next to Your Room Layout). This’ll keep these from changing. If you’re up for moving major things, keep it unlocked.
3. start customizing your floor plan
The first thing I’d suggest adding into the floor plan after your room shell is ready are the non negotiables. Put your stove where the gas line is, choose a sink cabinet that’ll hold the size of sink you want, put the dishwasher next to the sink.
Add the things in at the beginning that you’re most passionate about using/working with. For us, that was the sink, the oven, and fridge.
Hint, under appliances you can put in items that IKEA sells. If you already have a fridge, stove, or dishwasher that you want to work with (or will be buying), select “existing appliances.” Then you can customize the measurement to represent that exact piece.
4. Continue adding in your cabinets
Continue adding in cabinets where you want them. Use your notes from the store visit to add the exact components you want. Here’s a few hints to get things right-
-There are two main ways to view the floor plan. The square on the bottom left side gives you a birds eye view of the floor. The cube next to the square is how you see a 3D rendering of the plan. The floor view is best for changing the layout while the 3D line view is best for envisioning how the layout actually looks.
-Leave 2″ of empty space between any walls and cabinets. Pretty much any house won’t have 100% square walls. Leaving a few inches means that the cabinets will fit. For the open space, you’ll need to add a filler.
-As you’re adding in cabinets, think about how you’re actually going to use the space. Is there a place for dishes and cups by the dishwasher? Do you have drawers for utensils, dish cloths, etc? Where will the microwave go? How about the trash can? Where will the food go? Is there a good spot for cookie sheets? The more you pay attention to details and how you actually live, the better your kitchen design will be.
-If the sides or back of the cabinets are exposed, make sure to add in an end cap. IKEA cabinets aren’t designed to be seen anywhere before the front, so buying end caps is definitely necessary. When you add a cabinet that needs an end cap, click on the cabinet and under “more” select a cover panel where you need it.
-As you’re going, use the open cabinet button (on the bottom right next to the delete button). Open each cabinet to see if you have enough clearance on all the cabinets.
-When you have the cabinets added, you can customize each one (click on the cabinet, click customize). Each upper cabinet will automatically have under cabinet lights added, you can take those off. Or you can customize drawers and the number of shelves.
Ikea has options for laminate countertops online. In store, they also have quartz options that start at $60 per square foot. If you choose to go through Ikea for countertops, you’ll get a quote in store and then pay for them when you order your cabinets. You can choose the edge, if it has an overhang (for an island or peninsula), and how you want your sink mounted.
finalizing the plan
-The cool thing about the IKEA Kitchen Planner is that as you add items into the floor plan, it’s creating a shopping list for you. So you can see the price for your kitchen as you go under “view item list.”
-As you customize your kitchen, it’s great to add items so you can visualize your kitchen. If you don’t actually want those items, take them off before you go in store so you don’t buy them. For example, if you’re getting hardware or countertops from IKEA, take them off the plan. To do this, use the “kitchen change all at once” tool (on the right hand side). Then you can select any item, like the handles, and remove (or add) them all at one time.
-If you’re wanting furniture with your kitchen, you can add it to the floor plan and then order it with the kitchen. We’re going to see some bookcases on their side for banquette seating, so I put them in the plan and they’ll come in with the order.
ordering the cabinets
Ready to order your cabinets? IKEA has their own unique system. I have a whole post on what to expect when ordering IKEA cabinets that gives you an idea of what to expect and how long it’ll take. It’s 100% accurate and reflects what I learned from both times I’ve done an IKEA kitchen.
Fewf! That was a long one! I’m just really hoping that these tips help you get your dream kitchen. We ordered the kitchen cabinets and countertops during IKEA’s kitchen sale and saved 10% off everything. Because we ordered at the end of the sale, everything is out of stock and we have to wait 7 days for it to arrive. That’s fine for our timeline, but I wanted to give a heads up in case it isn’t.
Keep following along and I’ll share updates as we complete this cute kitchen!
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