I am neck deep in renovating my sister’s kitchen. Like, at the worst middle part where there’s so much to do and it doesn’t look that pretty yet. We’re upgrading her dated kitchen with cabinets from IKEA. As I’ve been working on the project I keep getting the same question over and over again- is an IKEA kitchen worth it?
I thought I’d answer that question while sharing our progress with the kitchen. Here’s where we started the weekend. It was in a scary state.
Is an Ikea kitchen worth it?
First of all, that answer will be different for everyone depending on your budget, DIY ability, and threshold for pain (lol). My kitchen in our last house (that I installed) was IKEA and I loved it! I figured that I’d answer if an IKEA kitchen is worth it based on price, durability, customizability, and hassle.
The first thing you should know though, is that this is truly a DIY project. From designing the kitchen to assembling the cabinets that come in a flat box, to hanging them on a rail on the wall- you need to do it yourself (or hire someone to do it for you). IKEA literally does as little for you as possible to keep prices down. That is both good and bad.
the first big project this weekend was getting the rail installed. It took forever to level it.
For my sister’s medium size kitchen, she paid $3,581 for the cabinets, door fronts, and side panels from IKEA. Note that doesn’t include appliances, countertops (which were an additional $2,734), sink or faucet. I went on Home Depot’s website and found in stock items of the exact size cabinets and the total came out to $2,785. So about $800 lower.
BUT that’s for the most basic, Home Depot items. The IKEA cabinets we’re getting for the kitchen are customized with drawers, soft close doors, and extra shelves. Of course, you can get cabinets for less money from IKEA.
Also, something to note, Home Depot has a kitchen designer- so an actual person who will help you design your kitchen (which is an extra charge at IKEA).
In conclusion, I think IKEA can be the cheapest option (especially if you wait until a Kitchen sale to make your purchase), but it’s also really easy to upgrade items and the price quickly goes up.
If you’re wondering the price for your kitchen, one option is to go to IKEA’s kitchen planner and plug in the measurements of your kitchen. Play around with the choices (I have an article here with tips on design an IKEA kitchen). When you have a design you like, you can click on the shopping list which will add up the total for you.
Note, according to this article, a 10’x10′ kitchen will cost $900-$3000 on average (this includes cabinets, doors, and hardware uninstalled). There is a large range since there are so many options. That article also gives the tip to count the number of existing cabinets in your current kitchen, then multiply that number by $246. This method averages the cost of an IKEA cabinet, door, hardware and molding.
after the rail was installed, the cabinets were attached to the rail. This felt like huge progress! Note, I’ll do a full post with instructions on putting together an IKEA kitchen when it’s complete.
In my experience, IKEA cabinets are high quality (much more than their furniture)! Apartment Therapy has a review on IKEA cabinets, and this one read:
My partner used to work as a kitchen designer for a super high-end German cabinet company, and we bought Ikea cabinets for our kitchen remodel. The boxes are built exactly the same way as the $100,000 kitchens he used to work with, and they use the same brand hinges and drawer slides!
In this report by Consumer Reports, they found that “The ready-to-assemble Ikea cabinet outperformed much more expensive units, despite its low price. High-quality drawer hardware and doors and a robust mounting strip helped. They should weather most wear and tear.”
IKEA cabinets are regular tested to ensure that they can withstand the daily use. Here’s an article that talks about how they’re tested and concludes that “the low price is the result of a careful search for compromise between functionality, quality and aesthetics, which results in a choice of quality.”
The beauty of IKEA is that all of the pieces are sold separately, so if one thing does wear out, you can replace that item and it’ll be as good as new.
Before redoing my own kitchen, I read other’s experiences and asked about how my friends and families like their IKEA cabinets. I have a friend who works for a contractor who installs IKEA Kitchens. What I found is that even though IKEA cabinets are less expensive, the quality is good and holds up over time.
the peninsula was next installed with the end caps attached. Those will be painted blue next week!
I touched on this a bit under price, but IKEA Kitchens are super customizable! If you want a hidden drawer, Shaker style door fronts, or a pantry full of slide out shelves, you can have it! There are endless options and it’s so fun and, yes, expensive to add on everything you dream of!
Each upgrade adds more and more money to the total. For not being “custom” cabinets, there are so many choices, it really feels custom!
Another cool thing about the customizability of IKEA cabinets is that if you buy a house with them and you don’t like the look, you can buy new doors and drawer fronts and change up the appearance quickly and on a budget!
while my husband worked on the other section of the kitchen, I choose to focus on the dining nook. First, I cleaned it up.
The last time I was at IKEA, I was walking down the hall to the bathroom. On the walls were all these posters. It had frequently asked questions like “why isn’t my product assembled?” “Why do I have to find my own product in a warehouse?” “Why is IKEA staffed lightly?” And all the answers were the same- they cut out as much labor as they can so they can save you money.
That’s both good and bad. Sure, you pay less, but also you do ALL the work. Just picking up the kitchen cabinets takes at least 4 hours. And if there’s a problem with your order, plan on a few hours to sort everything out and becoming besties with the customer service person. Ask me how I know :).
IKEA is a major hassle. You save money and get a custom (-ish) kitchen, but from pickup to installation, it’s a pain. For the installation, you should know how to use a circular saw, table saw, drill and level really well. If you have an old house or a home that doesn’t have level walls, it will be an involved process to get the kitchen installed correctly.
If that sounds too complicated, you can also hire a contractor to install the kitchen for you. After speaking to a reader (thank you Rachel!), she hired a contractor for $3000 for her kitchen to be installed and was so happy to spend that money so she didn’t have to deal with the hassle. According to this article, professional IKEA kitchen installation costs $2,600 on average.
Custom cabinets are $15,000 with installation for an average kitchen. So you’d save A LOT of money by buying $4000 in IKEA cabinets and paying a contractor $3000 to put them in.
For me, an IKEA kitchen is worth it. This kitchen has been a bigger pain than my last to order and pickup (the kitchen designer made one massive mistake that cost us at least 8 hours by printing the front plan). But because of the quality, customization options, and the fact that I like to do things on my own, I still love an IKEA kitchen.,
Sometimes, when I’m working on a renovation project that seems never ending, I like to concentrate on the aesthetics of one area as a moral boost. The dining nook needed to be painted so that we can wallpaper in a week or so. I took the opportunity to stage that section to give us a taste of how cute it’ll look!
Eventually, we’ll paint the window trim, but how cute is that pop of yellow right now?! Much better than when the whole space was yellow! I threw on a few props and for 20 minutes, this little corner felt like heaven!
I wanted to tell you about the dining chairs we’re using for my sister’s kitchen! They are from HomePop and I love the details on them! The tufted backs, nail head trim, and curved legs are gorgeous. These are stunning! And the price is really good on these chairs– they’re around $220 for a set of 2.
The chairs are a cream color which can be scary in a dining room setting. The fabric is stain resistant though! The fabric is created for heavy use. Spills should bead up on the surface so they’ll be easy to wipe clean. Plus they’re really comfy! I can’t wait to show you more pictures of them when the room is actually finished! It’ll be stunning!
Just picture blue and white wallpaper, a beautiful chandelier, and Roman shades on the window. I’m really excited! Here’s the mood board so you can picture what I’m thinking-
We left the kitchen feeling great about our progress! We’ve been spending weekends working on it and finally feel like we turned a corner this week! On Wednesday, the cabinets get templated for counter tops. Then we’ll begin painting the cabinets! That’ll make SUCH a difference. We’re in the home stretch!
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