IKEA cabinetry is more common than you think. Every time you hear a designer on a HGTV or DIY Network show say something about big box store or prefabricated cabinets, they almost always use the ones from IKEA. Don’t believe me? The boxes they come in and the assembly process is a dead giveaway.
But why would someone who is obsessive about quality like Bryan Baeumler or with as keen of an eye for design as Sarah Richardson use IKEA cabinets in their projects? I bet it’s because they know what I know…
The Truth About IKEA Cabinetry
I don’t know why people get all snobby about IKEA cabinetry just “because it’s IKEA”. If you’re one of those people, please read on and see if I can change your mind.
Myth: IKEA cabinets aren’t super expensive so their quality must be low.
Truth: Cost-effective quality is what you’re getting. Did you know that IKEA’s cabinet boxes are made in the United States?
Myth: IKEA products have no warranty.
Truth: Did you know that almost everything in their cabinetry collection comes with a 25 year warranty? Twenty-five years. Two-Five. Yes, you read that right. If a company is willing to stand by their product for this long, it must be good. You can check out the full warranty for their kitchen products here. IKEA stands by a ton of their other products, too so make sure to read up on all their warranties .
Myth: I can’t get high end finishings or custom designs with IKEA cabinets.
Truth: IKEA cabinet boxes come in a few different interior finishes so you can get that wood interior that custom cabinets offer. Want a pantry or any other cabinet with pull-outs? They offer those, too. Cabinets for appliances? Yep. Soft-close doors and drawers? Yep and yep again. Waste sorting? Got that, too.
How to Plan Your Space
for IKEA Cabinetry
There are a couple of ways to tackle planning your IKEA cabinetry project. If you’re not the frequent store visitor that I am, I recommend grabbing a coffee and heading to their kitchen department to check out the product.
Everything is on display in both designed vignettes for inspo as well as in what I would call a “showcase” where you can see every size, colour and style of cabinet that they offer. This visual and tactile experience is important – see the colours, feel the textures of the finishes and get a sense of the widths, heights and depths of what is offered.
I also recommend picking up their kitchen and cabinetry catalogues (buying guides) while you’re there – they are full of countless planning tips to help you most easily execute your project. These books offer a ton of visual guides that simplify the product selection process. If anything, I highly recommend these for choosing your interior fittings for drawers and pull-outs – they provide diagrams of different configurations!
Once you’ve started thinking about the ‘pretty’ part, it’s time to look at what’s going to work in your space. To start, take your measurements and then take them again (just to be sure). Head to the IKEA website and pull up their Kitchen Planning Tool. Here you can enter the details of your space – you can be as basic as just using the measurements or as detailed as adding things like mouldings, windows, doors, flooring and paint colours. This tool really allows you to get a sense of what the finished space will look like.
A few tips when using the Kitchen Planning Tool:
- The Kitchen Planning Tool does not work on tablets so be sure to use on a computer.
- When switching cabinet door styles within the tool, there is an “apply to all” function so you don’t have to update each selection individually to match. The same works for cabinet hardware choices.
- If the Kitchen Planning Tool feels too tricky for you, or it’s just “a lot”, make an appointment at the store and one of their kitchen specialists and they’ll be happy to help you plan your space! Just be sure to bring your measurements with you.
- Many selections automatically add lighting options, so be sure to review your entire product list when ordering.
- The easiest way to order your cabinetry is to select everything in the Kitchen Planner Tool and provide the project number to a Kitchen Specialist in-store. All they have to do is enter the project number into the computer and it will order everything for you for purchase!
You can get your product delivered, too! Not sure about assembly or installation? These services are offered for an additional fee through TaskRabbit! See IKEA’s list of services here.
The Best Time To Buy
I’d be a terrible friend if I didn’t tell you to wait until a Kitchen Event to purchase your cabinetry and interior fittings. These sale events offer anywhere from 10-20% off the price of these products and come around a few times a year (the deals vary, so read the fine print). My advice? Plan out your space right down to the drawer inserts and additional trim and moulding pieces and have it ready to go in the planner so you can order it up at the next event!
Don’t worry – if you don’t get it right, IKEA has a great return policy (365 days!) so you can swap stuff out if you mis-measured during the planning phase.
How to Make IKEA Cabinetry
You are not limited to what you see in-store. What I mean here is that I always consider what IKEA offers as the building blocks of my project. Their cabinetry is no exception. Anything can be painted or trimmed out to look custom or built in. The beauty of IKEA cabinetry is that this product lineup contains trim pieces, gables and anything else you need to perfectly finish the space.
Look Beyond The In-Store Display
Love a door style but it isn’t quite your colour choice? Anything can be painted and colour that you want. It’s amazing what paint can do to transform something like cabinet doors. If you choose to go down this road, I personally recommend getting them professionally primed and sprayed rather than painting them yourself. This way you’ll get the durable enamelled finish that will last over time.
I’m not the first person who has thought of this either – designer Sarah Richardson used IKEA cabinetry with slab doors that she had painted a custom colour for her Creemore rental property (in HGTV’s Sarah Off The Grid).
Get Something a Little More Custom
There’s also a great company called Kitch that offers a variety of door options (100+ styles that specifically fit IKEA cabinetry. It’s the perfect way to customize your space without the hassle of painting doors or having custom doors made by a carpenter (i.e. $$$$$). This way you can take advantage of the quality cabinet boxes, drawer systems and all of the interior fittings but with a door style that feels more custom built than “big box store”.
Play With Hardware Choices
IKEA offers a great selection of cabinet hardware but they only carry the basics. Like their doors, consider a quick spray paint to customize hardware, too. My personal choice is to shop online (think Anthropologie) or another big box store (Lowes or Target). I seldom use the hardware that comes with IKEA furniture, always swapping out for something a bit more designer and custom (see the IKEA HEMNES dresser in my daughter’s nursery where I swapped in mid-century modern hardware from Target).
IKEA offers prefabricated butcher block counter tops in a variety of wood species and finishes that can be cut to size for your project. Their kitchen department also features stone and laminate samples for custom countertops for your space. Nothing customizes a kitchen like a gorgeous countertop with the right tile backsplash.
Cabinets Aren’t Just For Kitchens
Think beyond the kitchen when it comes to uses for IKEA cabinetry. I’ve used their cabinetry as closed storage in a few places in my home. Because of its cost-effective nature, using cabinetry instead of furniture or traditional shelving is now possible! Here are just a few other ways that you can use IKEA cabinetry in your home:
- Convert your wire shelving pantry into a butler’s pantry with cabinetry and a countertop.
- Use low cabinet boxes with a countertop as a mudroom storage bench.
- Use a shallow pantry cabinet with shelves and pull-out drawers in an office for storing stationary supplies out of sight.
- Pantry cabinets in a garage keep sports equipment tidy, clean and organized.
- Add cabinetry above your washer and dryer for a stylish and storage-filled laundry room.
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