Ikea cabinet owners: what do you think?
September 3, 2008 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Ikea cabinet (kitchen and/or bath) owners! Please tell me about your experience with Ikea cabinets. We're talking anything about ordering, installation, wear & tear, how long has it been installed, are you happy with it, would you do it again?

I've read a lot of reviews on forums and watchdoggie type sites like Consumer Reports. I want to hear from the folks who have them and actually use them daily. How are they?
posted by yoga to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Had the Ikea Aneboda armoir in college. It's easy to build and it looks lovely, but be sure to screw the parts together TIGHTLY. Mine had a lot of wobble to it. (They probably have less wobble when they have more interior shelves.)
posted by Doctor Suarez at 10:58 AM on September 3, 2008

I helped a friend install kitchen cabinets a number of years ago. They came with a training video. Be sure to watch the training video.

At first, we had contractors try to do it, but the installation is quite different from traditional cabinets, so we ended up doing it ourselves. They turned out lovely.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:08 AM on September 3, 2008

Best answer: I have a whole set of them (Adel Medium Brown) in my kitchen.

Ordering wasn't too hard--we figured it all out at home and just sat with an employee who advised us on some things we would have missed on our own.

Delivery was...meh. Stuff arrived in dribs and drabs, we got extras of some things and other things were missing, so we spent a lot of time schlepping to Ikea to straighten it out. But we'd started extremely early so I think everything was present by the time we were ready to really start.

Installation was time consuming but not difficult. Once you've figured out the first ones they all go pretty quickly. There are some odd pieces but as long as you remember to check and double check everything, and that if it doesn't fit you've probably got some piece wrong, you'll be fine. By the end of it we were wishing there was some kind of Ikea Assembling Game Show that we could go on, confident we'd win handily.

A couple years on, I'm still very happy with it. The cabinet hardware is sturdy--the door hinges are really nice and beefy, and easy to detach if you need to take the doors off for any reason. None of the doors or drawers are sagging, everything looks pretty much new, other than one place where a drawer rubs against an adjoining wall, but that was our fault for installing it too close. All the Lazy Susans and stuff still work perfectly.

My only complaint is that the front edge of the cabinet bodies is finished in a lighter color than the cabinet fronts, and it shows a little bit when you close the doors. I wish they would sell me a strip of veneer to cover it, but they don't do things like that. But honestly now that I've had it for years, I don't even notice it anymore.
posted by bink at 11:09 AM on September 3, 2008

Best answer: We had an Ikea kitchen installed in our previous house in Toronto. Overall we liked it a lot.

We went down and got a couple of their paper-based "design kits" which basically had cutouts of their cabinets and a piece of graph paper. We enjoyed doing the design but it took us several days to get one that we thought worked the best. It was our first time doing it, so perhaps a professional would have done it faster. No rush though.

We had our own contractor gut and refinish the kitchen to the point of plain drywall. Then we pained everything. We had Ikea contractors install the cabinets. They were not the friendliest guys I ever met, but they did a decent job. We got our countertop somewhere else, plain old laminate. Our Ikea sold countertops too but we went elsewhere. We did not buy Ikea appliances.

We got the TIDAHOLM doors (with 2 glass ones for the dish cabinet) and the standard white-interior cabinets. The quality was quite good - after 7 years they were still all in very good shape. Nothing had broken or come loose. There was no significant color change to the wood - Ikea wood can change color over time, especially in sunlight, but we didn't have any issues. If it changed, it changed uniformly. We got undercounter lighting and the mounding that goes around the top of the cabinets and it all looked quite nice.

if you're on Facebook I have a photo there of the kitchen from our for-sale photos: our Ikea kitchen. In that photo you cannot see the free-standing tall wall cupboard that surrounded the fridge. It was ~ 8 ft tall with 6' cabinets topped by 2' cabinets. We had a pull-out pantry and a broom closet with misc storage above. The Ikea cabinets give you a lot of options and flexibility in designing things for your specific space.

I do not remember the exact details on price but I was quite happy with the price compared to home dept and I like the Ikea style much better. The Ikea design tool and the catalog helps you get a very accurate estimate of how much it will all cost before you go back and make the order. if you like DIY you will like Ikea. If you want or need help with the process you'd probably find it a bit too low-touch. Overall I would absolutely go back to Ikea for my next kicthen reno which will probably happen in a few years.
posted by GuyZero at 11:10 AM on September 3, 2008

Then we pained everything

PAINTED. Pain was ongoing and unrelated to Ikea.
posted by GuyZero at 11:12 AM on September 3, 2008

Best answer: I'm almost finished putting in my second set of Ikea kitchen cabinets. Its a brilliant system, IMHO. Nothing that you can buy at Home Depot or other places or custom comes close for anywhere near the price. That said, it has flaws. Here's some things I'd suggest:

- Assuming you're not going to be taking these apart anytime soon, after you're sure you've got all the pieces in the right place, use wood glue at the seams. You'll get a much stronger and more stable object.

- Contrary to Dr.'s advice, I'd say be careful about over-tightening, which can lead to breaking the veneer. Breaking the veneer, even a little tiny hairline crack, is very bad. Those cracks + moisture are what case that unsightly Ikea acne - the little bumps that spread across your shelves. Instead, don't hesitate to throw in an extra screw at the joints -- but only if you're comfortable with a power drill and can get it in without breaking the veneer. I say to you again: breaking the veneer is very bad.

- Water is the great enemy of Ikea and all particle board. Put a thin bead of silicon caulk or sealant wherever two pieces of "wood" come together and there's even the slightest chance of moisture getting between them. I've even put molding in the inside corners of the cabinet under the sink in case water pools from dripping or sweating pipes. I would not use particle board in the bathroom if at all possible. I built a vanity and shelves out of the Ikea oak butcher block kitchen countertop (numerar?) rubbed with tung oil and wood stain.

- Be especially careful nailing in the back panels. They're important for stability and squareness, but its easy to drive a nail a little off target and... you know... crack the veneer. A little wood glue in that groove for the back panel makes a big difference.

- Make sure everything is perfectly square before installing. Especially the wall cabinets. Use a drywall square or something similar to establish squareness before your final tighten and before hanging. The hardest part of the job, for me, especially when I was working alone, was hanging the wall cabinets. I found that in order to get real sturdiness I had to supplement the hanging rail system with a few strategically placed screws into studs.

- I don't like the Ikea countertops (which is why they got recycled), especially not the laminate/veneer ones, and I think granite, especially black, is becoming the avocado green blender of our time (so it'll probably come back into fashion eventually, but you may not want to wait around) and about as environmentally friendly as a fur coat with a V-8 engine. There's some other great options around. Paperstone. Stainless. Soapstone. Etc. This is where you want to put your money: get the cheapest doors you can stand (they can always be upgraded for little time and money) but buy best countertop you can afford.

- Next time I do this, I'll do it in two stages: I'll construct and install all the cabinets - with no drawer fronts or doors - and then test out samples of three or four different door/drawer/knob styles and in different lights and situations for a couple of weeks, and then go out and buy and install the doors and drawers and decorative stuff.

- Check out the ikeahacker and ikeafan websites.

Good luck!
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 11:32 AM on September 3, 2008 [10 favorites]

We did our home office using Ikea kitchen components. I am completely non-handy and I found it relatively easy, and everything has held up very well after more than 3 years of use. The only thing I remember being a pain was that the cabinet doors didn't line up right (i.e., one would hang lower than the one next to it) and it took a lot of adjusting to get them right.
posted by mattholomew at 11:59 AM on September 3, 2008

I installed their kitchen system last year, and my experience was similar to the ones above. The only difficulties I encountered were ones that are universal to cabinetry, and had nothing to do with the Ikea system as a product (eg: mis-measuring, failing to account for the depth of the anchor rail, etc).

I am paranoid, incidentally, so I probably indulged in some excessive waterproofing and unnecessary wall anchorage. The Ikea stuff accommodated those steps with aplomb.

My only specific recommendations are that you take a great deal of care in measuring, and that you organize all of the hardware for each piece in advance (use plastic bins, or something). Hunting for a particular widget when you're holding a cabinet up against the wall because it's halfway anchored kinda sucks.

I'm pleased with the outcome. Note: I am a reasonably careful single occupant, no pets or children. Kitchen is used daily.
posted by aramaic at 12:24 PM on September 3, 2008

My son assembled my Ikea bookshelves when he was @ 16 w/ no trouble. I'm likely to re-do my kitchen soonish, probably with Ikea cabinets, and will scrupulously follow RandlePatrickMcMurphy's instructions.
posted by theora55 at 12:34 PM on September 3, 2008

Best answer: We've had ours up for almost two years (Stat white). Both wall and floor cabinets are wearing well. I was lucky enough to have a retired father who was willing to assemble them and install them, while I only assisted with installation, so I don't have first hand knowledge of every step of that, but I don't think it was particularly onerous.

We got one of their cheapy countertops in a black stone sort of pattern, and while it is attractive, it hasn't worn well (mars easily, and apparently we didn't do a PERFECT job of sealing around the sink because it is buckling from moisture). That being said, it was easy to install and cost all of $100 for the whole small kitchen, so I can live with it for now and replace it without feeling like I threw out a bunch of money.

I think Ikea also has much better countertop material available than what we bought in our excess of cheapness. Be aware that the cabinet bases are slightly deeper than average, so a countertop you buy at home depot or somewhere may not fit properly.
posted by MsElaineous at 12:52 PM on September 3, 2008

Best answer: I remodeled my kitchen over 1 year ago and I went completely with IKEA cabinets. Here are pictures of My Kitchen. The ordering process went pretty smoothly in the store. (Like the poster above, the kitchen person did point out some essential items I would have missed, however, they also had me order some items I didn't need. I was able to return them, but it wasn't perfect).

I priced my complete kitchen layout at IKEA and at Lowes (with Kraftmaid cabinets) and the same layout was double the price at Lowes.

I assembled all of the cabinets myself, but my contractor installed them. Assembly is very easy, just a little time consuming. The advice above is very good.

After owning them and using them for a year I still am very happy with my choice. I will try and give you what I have liked and disliked the most about the whole IKEA kitchen experience.

Things I really like: The style. We wanted a very modern style and IKEA is in my opinion the best place to buy kitchen cabinets if you want modern style at a reasonable price.
All the extra features, for instance the soft close drawers, the pull-out shelves, the drawer dividers. All of these are great.
The quality. Everything has held up great. I especially like the quality of the hinges and drawer glides.
The user base at IKEAfans. They were a help both in planning the kitchen and in installation.
The price. In the money we saved between what we would have paid at Lowes I bought my appliances, my counters (quartz), and my backsplash.

Things that I didn't like.
Waiting on parts. Some of the parts of my kitchen just took a long time to come in. (If I remember correctly it was some end panels). With IKEA they can never tell you precisely how long you will have to wait.
The inability to match their door styles with the cabinet bases. Their cabinet doors completely cover the bases, but if you use a door style other than birch or white, your cabinet doors will not match the interiors of the cabinets. (This is only a minor annoyance for me).
Delivery. My delivery seemed like hundreds of boxes and you are supposed to verify that everything is there, but it is almost impossible to do this.
posted by bove at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: RandlePatrickMcMurphy said, among many other things in his great response, Water is the great enemy of Ikea and all particle board. . . I would not use particle board in the bathroom if at all possible.

Water definitely is the great enemy of all particle board. That said, I put a couple of IKEA bathroom cabinets in my bathroom when we redid it about 18 months ago. So far so good.

The bathroom is very small (5 feet by 8 feet) and the cabinets are about as far as possible from the tub/shower. They don't get wet directly, and they seem to be holding up to the humidity pretty well.

Before the remodel this bathroom was quite the period piece. The previous vanity was probably 70s vintage particleboard with some crappy papery laminate on it. (The gold-flecked "cultured marble" sink was quite a sight to behold as well!) The main structure of the medicine cabinet was also particle board. Both of these pieces were right next to the tub/shower. By the time we came along in 2006 both looked like hell, particularly the surfaces that faced the tub, but they were also structurally sound and fulfilled their intended purposes.

I figure that if my $100 Ikea cabinets hold up for 20 years, or even 10 years, before they become "too worse for wear", then we will still have come out ahead.
posted by Sublimity at 2:56 PM on September 3, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone! No facebook account here, but all answers were very helpful, not just the marked best answers.
posted by yoga at 4:52 PM on September 3, 2008

Best answer: I have 5-year old Ikea cabinets in my kitchen, and I still love them. The contractor put them in, and said it was easier than many he had installed, once he figured out the system. We had to adapt some things to fit our old and not-square kitchen. It's easy to mix and match Ikea parts, so don't feel constrained by the photos in the catalog.

They still look great, and are holding up well. I would definitely get Ikea cabinets again.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:09 PM on September 3, 2008

I put in Ikea cabinets in my tiny NYC kitchen about 8 years ago. I sold the place, so I can't say how they held up over the long term, but I would really recommend having someone experienced install them. We did it ourselves and the some of the doors were always a bit crooked and the toe kick panels kept coming off. The butcher block countertop (not near water) also warped within a few months. Nevertheless, I think they are a good value for the money and would consider getting them again, with pro installation.
posted by libraryhead at 3:42 PM on September 4, 2008

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