One is the loneliest cabinet that I've never seen
June 14, 2015 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Can I use a single Ikea kitchen base cabinet without mounting it to the wall/using a ledger board? I am moving into a rental that doesn't have any cabinets on the side of the kitchen with the fridge and stove. There is space at the end/in the corner where I would like to put in additional storage. My first thought was a kitchen cart but now I wonder if I could get a single Ikea base cabinet (36 wide).

I have a couple of questions:

1) I know that the traditional Ikea kitchen advice is to use the planning tool to design your space and choose everything you need before you arrive at the store - I really just need the one cabinet. Is that likely to be a problem?

2) Is it possible to use a base cabinet without mounting it to the wall using a ledger board? Could I sit it flush to the ground or put legs on both sides instead? Is it likely to be steady enough for daily use?

3) Countertop - could I get an Ikea counter top sized for that small of a space?

4) Do you have better suggestions for storage fitting this space?

(I do have landlord permission to use a ledger board if it is required - I would just rather not if it isn't necessary.)
posted by cessair to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Honestly, it sounds like a giant pain. Personally, I wouldn't trust something that narrow in depth without bolting it to the wall. Especially if I were using it as a cutting/prep surface. I had a rental last year that had a similar cabinet on the floor and it wobbled and bobbled and darn near took my finger off.

I was just at IKEA today and admiring the Stenstorp cart. It's pretty much perfect for your dimensions and it has a sturdy cutting board top.
posted by mochapickle at 6:40 PM on June 14, 2015 [4 favorites]

My first thought is that thing is going to fall on its face the first time you open it. Seems like a terrible idea to me.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:49 PM on June 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Since the drawers can be pulled out to 3/4 of its depth, it's going to be tippy once you get stuff in it. It's probably tippy without stuff in it, if it's not correctly installed.

If the rest of the kitchen is the same style, and you're willing to put it in as a permanent fixture, go for it, but otherwise, this seems like an odd way to solve the problem.
posted by sageleaf at 6:51 PM on June 14, 2015

If I were you, I would go with a freestanding cart. You're most likely going to spill/splash down the side of the range, since it won't sit flush with a cabinet. It will be so much easier to clean up if you can roll out a cart instead of trying to clean down inside a narrow opening. And you can always take the cart with you when you move.
posted by killy willy at 7:00 PM on June 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Buy yourself an antique hoosier cabinet, or a pair of wooden file cabinets, then get a piece of marble to span the top. A lot of times places that make counters, have ends they sell, in various sizes. If the marble is heavy enough, you can counter weight with a small bookshelf to hold spices, or plates and glasses.
posted by Oyéah at 9:31 PM on June 14, 2015

P.S. you can discreetly nail a cabinet or bookshelf to a wall in a rental, just like you can hang a picture. You can also look for the unconventional such as a long legged oak table almost like a standing desk, to work on and park some drawers or a little cabinet, under it. It is nice to acquire pieces of furniture that can be used for other things, once you move to another place.
posted by Oyéah at 9:40 PM on June 14, 2015

1. Absolutely not a problem though if you get to the store and it is really busy you will have a wait to get the person to enter your order.

2. No. The front will tip. The IKEA kitchen person will be able to help you more with this question specifically about the minimum required to maintain a stable cabinet especially given a counter weight on top as well.

3. Yes, though other places may be cheaper.

4. If you have 33 inches, why not consider a full depth cabinet of 24" or is there not enough clearance. I think the cart would work well. Otherwise have you asked your LL if they would pay for the cabinet and counter and installation on the wall if you leave it there when you move out?
posted by RoadScholar at 4:36 AM on June 15, 2015

Best answer: I took a very, very long time to complete my ikea kitchen. Meaning: I had base cabinets that were untethered to the wall and not weighted down by a countertop. I did this for months. As long as you don't keep particularly heavy items in the topmost shelves, you should be okay. Yes, that should not be an issue at ikea - you buy all of the cabinet parts individually, anyway. You have to buy legs if you want the cabinets to be the same height as the stove. Plus you will need a countertop piece, as others have mentioned. You also have to buy the wire drawers for the insides unless you just want a plain doored cabinet with shelves. All of that could come close to the cost of the $199 Stensorp cart listed above.

Alternates: I had a friend who used an old 3 drawer dresser that she got at a yard sale as a kitchen island. She tiled the top to make it a tad more hygienic. It looked great and was cheap as hell.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:13 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just saw this the other day and thought it was a great idea. Apparently using tool carts is a Thing. 36" widths are available, and you can even find them in different colors. The one in the pic uses a butcher block top from Ikea. Home Depot and Sears will obviously have the carts, but you can also get them from places online like Northern Tool.

If I didn't already have a rolling cart sideboard in my kitchen, I would've jumped at the chance for a spiffy orange one.
posted by dancinglamb at 6:48 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

--If you buy countertop at IKEA you'll have to buy a full 6' of (25" deep) countertop and get someone to cut it down both lengthwise and depth wise.

--Getting a half-depth base cabinet seems like a strange choice next to a stove--You'd typically place a 24" deep base cabinet there.

--A 15" deep cabinet not anchored to the wall is also going to be much more unstable than a 24" deep cabinet because the base is so much narrower.

--IKEA kitchen cabinets are designed to go on 6" feet so you get a standard 36" counter height. I see that you have a window sill clearance issue that may preclude that. You can't rest a cabinet frame directly on the floor because the doors/drawers need a little clearance to open properly. Depending on how level your floors are, 1" should be sufficient. We have one bank of cabinets raised up that height (I forget if we set it on scrap plywood or scrap 1x4" boards.

In sum, it can be done, but the countertop is going to take some work and altogether the price may make it not a very cost-effective solution. IKEA cabinet frames are the cheap part. But the money adds up for drawers, doors/drawers, etc. For a 36" wide cabinet with drawers, there can be more than $300 price difference between the cheapest finish option and the most expensive. The Ikea Hackers forums used to be a great source for suggestions and support for projects like this, but I'm not sure of its status these days after IKEA threatened to go after the site.
posted by drlith at 9:35 AM on June 15, 2015

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