Tell me about your IKEA Kitchen reno
October 26, 2017 5:53 AM   Subscribe

What it asks on the tin. We're hopefully gearing up for a new kitchen, and I'm pretty sure I want IKEA (it's both my style and my budget). I'm looking for stories, tips, tricks, pitfalls, warnings, accolades, etc....

Deets on my kitchen: House is basic midwest 1950s, kitchen is small by modern standards (110 sq feet, rectangular). We need: new everything (floor, appliances, counters, cabinets, sink), but we aren't planning on moving any plumbing or gas lines or anything. The biggest construction that I'd like to have done is taking the wall between the kitchen and dining room down to a peninsula or pass-through or something of that nature (depending on structural necessity--I'd prefer a peninsula but would settle for a pass-through).

Not planning on DIYing, but I am reasonably handy and can do some things myself (I could assemble the cabinet boxes and do door hardware, for instance).

Emphasis here will be on durability, function, and surviving a very busy household with a young kid and two working parents who home cook a lot but don't clean as much as they would like.

So: tell me everything!
posted by soren_lorensen to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
We’ve an IKEA kitchen. We did it 5 years ago, they’ve since changed their cabinets (not the fronts, the cab8nets themselves.) Mostly things have held up fine.

The one piece of advice I give people over and over is to consider a farm sink, which extends out from the back wall and actually protrudes a couple inches past the counter’s front edge, as an alternative to other types of sinks. Why?

1) We like the sink, and our one-hole porcelain IKEA sink was cheap, like under $200.
2) A farm sink completely replaces all counter material. All other sink types, I think, require one to purchase counter material for the entire width of the sink. Then you pay the counter people to cut a hole in the counter for the sink. If you’re using a pricy material (we installed quartz and love it) this turns out to be a substantial expense.

All told going this route saved us $500+, did I mention we like the sink?
posted by carterk at 6:21 AM on October 26, 2017 [10 favorites]

We did this. IKEA has sales once or twice a year where you can get 20% off on doing a kitchen. We also did the farm sink mentioned above and loved it. (don't live in that house any more). I assembled the cabinets and paid someone else to install them - saved a lot of money and a lot of grief since installing is trickier. We also splurged on granite counters - pretty indestructible and look so much better. Got a high arched faucet - better for filling stockpots.
posted by leslies at 6:25 AM on October 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Their online planner tool is pretty good. If you have an IKEA local to you, I'd advise you to go in and get one of their paper planners as well. Spend some time just looking at options in their displays and photographing things that you like. In your own kitchen, take note of how you are using your existing cabinets/drawers and what works and what doesn't work. Take note of how you store your dry goods and miscellaneous items.

You can also hire a kitchen designer or architect or home remodel designer to do your plan for you and work through the "open the kitchen wall" concept to see if that's a minor or major change to your home's structure.

There are even IKEA-specific designers out there. You could also inquire for an IKEA installer. I had a friend who had a IKEA installer do her kitchen. I think she had to sub out the flooring and tile but they otherwise did a pretty good job.

If you're doing it yourself, you'll need to take some measurements so you can put that into their tool and then work with the modules. You might want to plan two trips to IKEA to finalize your design. One trip to review your plan with an IKEA kitchen specialist at their kiosks (be there on a weekday, before it opens to get a good start) and then, if you're wanting to add a lot of internal drawers, etc., come back a second time to finalize. You can take your printouts and walk around the store, adding more details.
posted by amanda at 6:28 AM on October 26, 2017

There are a bazillion examples on houzz...
posted by windowbr8r at 6:33 AM on October 26, 2017

Our kitchen is an ikea model without the appliances. We rent and have lived here 4 years.

Everything has held up great, no problems. It's been useful, flexible and I wouldn't notice a difference with something more expensive.

We didn't install, and it was there when we moved in. But our landlord is no frills and not handy. I'm sure she just had them do their thing. If she can handle it and it turn out well anyone can.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:41 AM on October 26, 2017

The IKEA sale is on now through mid-November, so if you're able to get it together in the next couple of weeks, it's a good time to buy! I've heard fulfillment can be slow if you order towards the end of the sale because of the volume of orders, but I haven't done it myself so can't confirm.
posted by john_snow at 6:50 AM on October 26, 2017

The previous owners of our house installed Ikea cabinets. I don't know the style name or if they were higher or lower models, but they are holding up just fine. They aren't heirloom quality, but they are solid and are sustaining regular household use without any issues. I would definitely lean towards that option if I was redoing the kitchen.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:52 AM on October 26, 2017

I did one in my old apartment years ago. They've changed a lot since then, but one thing to watch out for is the adjustable legs and toe kick panels. I recommend springing for the upgraded ones if you can. I had lots of problems with the plastic ones collapsing and the toe kick panels falling off because they didn't attach properly.
posted by libraryhead at 6:53 AM on October 26, 2017

We can't comment too much on durability, as we just completed a similar reno only a few months ago. But I can comment on process/thoughts.

When we previously had an engineer over to draw plans to fix something the original occupants had done (incorrectly moved a load bearing wall), we had him check out our kitchen/dining room and he confirmed that wall wasn't load bearing (and actually pointed out even the perpendicular wall wasn't load bearing as the entire ceiling of this section was supported by roof trusses). So we fully removed the wall between the kitchen/dining room and had a giant penninsula with drawers on both sides (no eating area/overhang)

We did all the demo and reno ourselfs - tile and lathe is a pain to take up off of the floor; especially when it's been stapled down every 0.5-1.5 inches(!) instead of the recommended every 6. A tip here was it was faster to remove the subfloor that cost of relaying wasn't bothersome. Seriously I spent 6 hours one night and only removed a 1'x4' section of tile/mortor/lathe (I'd copied the techniques recommended on youtube, but the giant mass of staples greatly complicated this), but finished the other ~220 square feet the next day by just removing the subfloor.

If you have bulkheads, check inside to see if you can remove them, and if so, it looks significantly nicer without.

At first we were hesitant going forward with a 4'x6' penninsula, thinking it might be too big. It still leaves 3-4' between the stove/counters as a walk through to the dining room so it's not cramped, and the penninsula we think looks awesome. Sadly, we lose part of the room for the microwave and cook books so if we'd done 4'x4' we'd feel that pain even more.

Because of the extra space from the penninsula, we didn't put in upper cabinets; on one wall we've got a 40" tv (with in ceiling speakers and the hardware for that hidden behind the tv (check my ask history; I updated with what I bought)). On the other wall, it's just open and pretty and window-y. In-ceiling speakers are awesome, and I was initially balking a bit when my wife suggested them (and balked at doing four instead of 2), but like many things she was right.

When the flooring was out, we took time to pull up some ethernet behind the fridge and will eventually be putting another access point here.

We didn't go forward with Ikea flooring ; we got some costco loose lay LVP flooring on sale. We'd been recommended to just glue down the perimeter of the LVP, and that's fine in the dining room section. But in the kitchen section, when standing barefoot in the same place on warm days, the feet sweat a tiny bit which is enough to make the feet stick to the flooring and sometimes pull it up. I needed to take up all of the stuff in front of counters and put down some adhesive for it and now it's great. Also be sure to use adhesive under all of the flooring where an appliance might be moved, especially the fridge. I.E. the flooring needs to be glued down not just where the fridge will sit, but where it rolls forward during the times it's periodically pulled forward for cleaning.

A 24"-30" full height pantry is a must. I wish we had room for a second.

Don't do small drawers behind doors whenver possible; the door hinges take up space where the drawers could go - We have doors in front of the pantry drawers, and because of the height of the pantry the lost space is acceptable. But we had a section where we tried to make the cabinets on opposite sides of the stove look the same, so we had a 20" door in front of three drawers - we ended up buying faces and removed the door to have 2 5" drawers and a 10" drawer and this felt much better - before that, each of the drawers had about 4" of space.

While the hidden small drawer behind a faced drawer seems nice, it will slowly drive you mad with the extra time it takes to open/close both drawers. Again, we did this for symetry in the facing. However, we're not yet in agreement about changing this, so I'm waiting on ms. nobeagle to get as annoyed as me at needing to open two drawers to get a scissors to open the milk, or grab the scale, or a usb charger ...

Consider replacing some of your outlets with outlets that have 2 2.1amp usb chargers. I dislike that the ones we have, have lights to indicate the usb section is powered (not that it's powering, but just that it's live).

Since we were doing a big thing, we redid the wiring; we put in controls so the dining room lights are now a three way switch, and we added more switches for appropiate task-oriented lighting. We have one switch for 6 recessed potlights over the L of the main kitchen counters. We have a switch for the light over the sink. We have a switch for a central tiffany light in the center of the kitchen. We have a switch for 4 lights over the island that's joined with 1 right in front of the pantry. We have a three way for 6 potlights around the perimeter of the dining room (corners, and middle of the longer length), and we have a final three way for a matching tiffany light in the center of the dining room. Yeah, more work, but *so much* nicer. All of the lights are dimmable so we can perform interrogations/surgery or make just enough light to see. Previously we just had the over-sink light and the center light in the kitchen and dining room areas.

This is a taste thing, but all of our lights are 5k or 6k color temperature depending upon the fixture type. A lot of LED stuff is 2500-3500k which is super yellow. That might be nice for mood lighting in a relaxing room, but inappropriate for a kitchen in my mind.

We removed a set of stairs (we have a side split, so this was only 4 steps) that led to the family room from the kitchen and braced and joisted and layed new floor and that's where the pantry went. I waffled on this (despite I think it being my suggestion), but I'm definitely glad we did this; it allowed more storage (30" full height pantry), while still expanding the available counter space. Despite having lived here for 4 years before removing that stair way, it feels "right."

If you're taking out a wall, and possibly adding more switches or removing bulk heads (or closing up entryways!), you'll be doing some drywall - if you've already got plaster in place, be prepared to have to shim as plaster it often much thicker than the thickest dry wall you can buy.

Staging for construction - we lost most of the family room for the pile of Ikea stuff that we bought during the kitchen sale (we got a ~$550 gift card) while I slowly progressed on the reno, and we lost the living room as it became a temporary kitchen storage. I'm still working on reclaiming/organizing; the temporary counter top we setup in the living room is covered in tools, and the power tools are still in the family room. Expect to go mad. If you're assembling all of the ikea stuff and someone else is hanging them / installing to a base they'll install in the subflor that will make it even harder to get around.

Speaking of assembling; Ikea doesn't actually use phillips screws! They use pozidriv (PZ) screws. They're close enough that you can use a phillips screwdriver, but you'll destroy the screws in the process if you try to make them tight. So if you've always destroyed Ikea screws trying to make them tight enough, now you know why.

Go to amazon in advance and buy a bunch of PZ2 bits and a 1-2 PZ3 bits to fit in your screwdriver/drills. In Canada, I couldn't find a single physical place that sells PZ bits, and I realized this just before I needed them which added some delay.

We didn't use the included ikea screws to attach adjoining counter boxes to each other, nor for securing side base faces; instead I used proper robertson screws (yes, we're Canadian).

When assembling the drawers, the bottom drawer has the exterior face placed differently than middle/top drawers (to cover the bottom of the box). Yes, Ikea makes this explicit in the instructions, but in my haste, because the drawings look mostly the same (bottom drawers use a different 2 of 3 holes to attach the face as middle/top drawers do), I just assembled the first few middle/top drawers the same. However, that results in less usable space, and as I realized that I had to go back and redo.

Countertops - we didn't go with ikea - their prices for quartz were higher than what we found elsewhere, and they didn't have nearly the same wide variety of selection. I didn't even want to consider installing stone on my own (it's the one thing I didn't do). Be aware that your countertop people will not come out to measure until the cabinets are permanently in place. Then it will be between 0.5-1.5 weeks to get the countertops cut and installed. Don't be afraid to use the old laminate (just placed down), or plywood, or even layered cardboard until you get the permanent countertops inplace.

When you're receiving the Ikea order, get the bill of sale, and count/tally everything that's brought into your house. Make a point of grabbing the item number of every box at a door/hall way, and make sure each box is checked; some or different numbers even if they're the same size.

My wife alone was at home when they were dropping the stuff off (random and semi-haphazzardly) in the family room, and with multiple people they were moving fast, and then "sign here that says you have everything." That night when I got home we re-organized the pile a bit better and did a full inventory. It turns out we didn't have the rails for mounting the cabinets (they're thin and unboxed, so they were likely not seen at the time).

It also turns out that the Ikea people at the store seemed disbelieving that we didn't immediately notice something of the ~100+ large boxes wasn't there. It also turns out that as this location was new, that they'd never handled this. Customer service said to go to the store, but the store said to call customer service until they called in to find out that nope, they had to handle it. It took about 60 minutes of trial and error with the manager and employee trying to get their system to deliver 4 sets of rails to me for free; all of which could have been avoided if we'd been prepared for the mad house that Ikea drop off was.

In retrospect we should have moved our fridge out of the demo area - the hinges are squeaky now from plaster/dry wall dust; despite covering it in plastic when I was actively working.

Consider if this is the time to replace windows; we removed two original construction (1960's) windows and replaced with modern vinyl - the one over the sink was much easier without countertops/sink in the way and only worrying about the remaining plumbing. And the first few months of a non-drafty kitchen was *so weird*.

Good luck, have fun, and enjoy your kitchen in the end; we love ours so far.
posted by nobeagle at 7:29 AM on October 26, 2017 [13 favorites]

I installed an IKEA kitchen in out house about 8 years ago in our weirdly-shaped tiny 1950's kitchen. For the most part we love it. Sometimes I find the drawers annoying, as the sides don't go up all the way on deep drawers and stuff can spill out (I'm looking at you, tupperware drawers). Everything has held up very well. I used the IKEA design software, which worked great. I installed one of their pantry cupboards with pull-out shelf drawer things, which I highly recommend.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:32 AM on October 26, 2017

Dive into all the strange items they offer and try them out in the store - for example the corner cabinet with the pull-out carousel is amazingly spacious. I actually have that cabinet as my peninsula (similar situation - we knocked down the wall in my tiny kitchen, then rebuilt around 120 cm of half-height wall with the cabinet on the kitchen side). Check out all the gadgets and organisers and bits.

Don't forget to order all the extra parts, like legs, hinges, drawers, kick panels, masking panels, sink strainers etc. You will forget something anyway. Returns are free, so if you can't make up your mind just order extra items and return them after install. Last time I wasn't sure which sink would fit so I bought 3, then returned 2 of them.

If your Ikea offers assembly services, those people will have put together hundreds of kitchens and they'll know all the tricks. Countertop joins are apparently very complicated things, and there are many details (and parts) to pay attention to. I put together other Ikea furniture on my own, but I wouldn't tackle a kitchen.

Check with your local store, but mine says that if you have an Ikea-sent professional measure your kitchen, one of their in-store assistants check the design and opt for the "put together my order and deliver it" service - it's the installation people who have to run back to the store if anything is missing or doesn't fit. Considering additional or alternate parts were necessary in each of the three Ikea kitchens I've had done, it's worth the price. It takes a surprising amount of time to put it all together - the kitchen similar to yours in size took two experienced installers more than a full day for 9 cabinets plus appliances and counters.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 7:35 AM on October 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I just did one in August/September. I used the in-home measuring, in-store planner, and their installation service (they have one associated with your local store. I imagine you can pay an independent contractor it, too). I also bought during the sale with a delivery/installation data about six months out. Overall, it looks great and the cabinet install took a single day. I can't say how it will hold up, but a friend whose business condo I use all the time also has an Ikea kitchen (about 8 years old at this point) that still looks and works great.

There will be about two weeks between the installation of the cabinets and the counter-tops. After the cabinets are in and leveled, the counter folks come in, re-measure, then it takes a week or so to fabricate your countertops and then a little more time to get them installed. The scheduling was seamless and pretty quick, but be aware that there is a gap.

Problems I encountered:
1. As warned by the sales woman, the delivery guys did not want to wait while I checked the 112 boxes against the manifest and things were missing when the installation team showed up. So the one person on the team had to drive to Ikea, buy the missing parts and be reimbursed on the spot. I had to go back to Ikea to get my money back for the parts (drawer rails, end panels, that sort of thing) which were missing that I had already bought but were not delivered. There were also missing parts which I had not already bought (and extras of some parts)--so something was off in the planning process. The installation team remarked that that's pretty much always how it goes.

2. The cabinet hardware will not be part of the shipped order. You have to purchase those separately in the store or online or from your favorite cabinet hardware shop. In my case, although the store inventory said they were in stock in the store, no-one could find them in the store. I had to pick a new handle on the fly which was annoying and stressful.

3. They do not handle demolition or plumbing. They'll dry fit the sink and cut out around the pipes, but you'll need to hook the sink up yourself. If your range's electrical or gas line passes through a cabinet, they might not notice and might not cut the cabinet around the pipe. You need to make sure you know and tell them.

4, This was the worst part. No part of the in-home measuring, or in-store planning, or installation team considered the electrical needs. So if you want an outlet cut into a counter-top or cabinet panel, you'll need your own electrician to do that which can be hard to coordinate. If an outlet needs to be moved to accommodate the over-range microwave or another appliance, no one will tell you that ahead of time and you'll be stuck with an installation that's delayed or incomplete or not possible.

Overall, I was pleased with the process and it was a little cheaper than the quote from Home Depot and a LOT cheaper than the quote from the place that did the built-in cabinets in my sewing room. It cost a little more, in the end, than the estimate (because of the costs of demolition and the plumber and the missing parts), but I'm happy with it so far. Some not great photos.
posted by crush at 7:41 AM on October 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh they dry-fit appliances too, meaning they don't hook anything up--just shove them into their spaces. With electrical (refrigerator & electric stoves), this is not such a big deal. With gas, be sure you know what you're doing! But that's why I mention the cutting. If you have to pass a gas line under or though a cabinet, they won't necessarily know to cut the hole for the pass through. If you've got a plumber/general contractor coming to do your hook-ups, they'll be able to handle it, but cutting through the cabinetry on your own without really good tools is a major pain in the ass. So be sure you're talking to the installation team about things like that while they are installing.
posted by crush at 7:58 AM on October 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

The only thing I have to add to the experiences above: we installed a complete Ikea kitchen, except we had a custom top made and put in another sink. There are shops around that make those tops according to Ikea measurements. We just ordered it, and was placed without a problem. That was 7 years ago and the kitchen works as advertised.
posted by ouke at 8:01 AM on October 26, 2017

Do get the soft close widgets on all the cupboards and drawers: Not having to even think about closing anything quietly is a genuine timesaver, plus because nothing bangs I’m pretty sure it will all last longer.
posted by pharm at 8:02 AM on October 26, 2017

Ikea kitchens are really good value for what they are (stylish but not high-end). As mentioned, the Farm Sink is great if you like that look.

Do not assemble yourself, unless you thrive on the ultimate puzzle challenge. I know someone who was competent and methodical, who assembled a full kitchen that turned out nice, but it was a very time consuming project.
posted by ovvl at 8:05 AM on October 26, 2017

My parents installed an IKEA kitchen (FAKTUM line) in 1990, when they had their house built. They had new front doors installed in the 2000s, mostly because my mother was sick of the old ones. They tore down the kitchen and kitchen walls completely to renovate them a couple of years ago, at which point I inherited about half the cabinets, which I'm still using to this day. They've held great.

That said, they changed the cabinet models a few years back, so I don't know how good the new models are.
posted by snakeling at 8:06 AM on October 26, 2017

The only bad thing about the soft-close everything is 1) there doesn't appear to be soft-close for the lazy susan corner counter, and 2) I keep slamming the cabinets at work because they don't have it ;)

But yes, soft close doors and drawers are great; get them despite my "negatives."
posted by nobeagle at 8:11 AM on October 26, 2017

I’ve done three IKEA kitchens, two for me and one for my in-laws. Def use their measuring service (though I had measured multiple times I liked someone to check my work) which ends up being free when you purchase the cabinets, and use an installer, either store-sanctioned or an independent contractor. They are so experienced and fast they are like wizards.

The one thing I did that made life easier was that I took the item numbers off of the final purchase order and put them in numerical order on an excel sheet, along with the description and the amount bought. It made it so much faster and easier to cross them off when they were delivered - I had all the 000. In one block, then all the 111. In the next and so on, so I could quickly find the items on my list.

When I did it, I was home for the installation and was responsible for running out and getting what wasn’t delivered, which usually included feet or rails, and sometimes an overlooked or mis-sized cover panel.

I also bought some Pax cabinets for a bedroom closet, and was able to pay the kitchen installer guys in cash to come back on their own time and build and install those, too. I never would have been able to do it myself so I asked nicely and they were lovely and well-compensated and it worked out for all of us.
posted by buzzkillington at 8:47 AM on October 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've done two IKEA kitchens now, and still love them. I have found that if you use the sink a lot and aren't extra careful, water spillage over time will wreck the under-sink cabinet doors (the veneer on the tops will peel off - you can't see it when the doors are shut, but it's ugly and annoying when you can). The only fix for this is to replace them, but they change designs often enough that you can't guarantee that your matching doors will be in stock should you need to replace them - so I'd advise buying a spare or two, just in case.

We've also found that IKEA hardware, while sturdy and pretty, don't have the same heft or polished look as higher-end fixtures, and you can make the whole kitchen seem a lot fancier by splurging on non-IKEA knobs or pulls you really love.
posted by Mchelly at 10:35 AM on October 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Related to the remark above, but different: Seal the ever-loving-SHIT out of all exposed particleboard that’s anywhere near the sink or dishwasher. Use silicone caulk, and smear some on every single exposed piece of particleboard or other wood-like material that they use. You’ll thank yourself after the inevitable plumbing leak.
posted by aramaic at 10:51 AM on October 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

We love our Ikea kitchen! was easy to put together etc. We did have a professional cabinet shop do the countertop. Eight years in & it's still top notch!
posted by patnok at 1:25 PM on October 26, 2017

I really love ours that is going on five years now.

Definitely recommend getting a carpenter/installer to do measuring, and even have a quick glance at your finished plan. Ours did and caught a few minor things that could have been really annoying down the road.

I assembled cabinets and paid a carpenter (who was doing some other work for us) to install - our house is only little younger than yours, and basically nothing is actually square in a house that age. Experienced installers see this all the time and know how to deal, unless you're quite handy it's a real pain to deal with yourself.

He was also able to reinforce some things where he felt the Ikea braces weren't strong enough etc. It was well worth the cost, and it was still cheaper than virtually any other kind of kitchen remodel.

Be aware that if you want stone benchtops, the turnaround time can be quite lengthy for them to cut and install, eg 6 weeks or more. We ended up with laminex as we just couldn't wait that long.

We also bought all Ikea appliances. The rangehoods are way way cheaper than the competition, and so was the induction stove top which I love. The oven has been good (most of their appliances are rebranded Whirlpool), but the dishwasher - the most expensive model, too - has been pretty shit, it had to get replaced once, and does a not-great job cleaning or drying. I would definitely buy a different model like a Bosch or something next time. I don't like the dishwasher at all!
posted by smoke at 3:29 PM on October 26, 2017

Ours is closing in our 6 years old and we love it - everything looks brand new. We did a big peninsula and used some old wooden flooring to cover the backside instead of an Ikea cover panel. It looks awesome and it's the first thing people comment on when they come over.

It was so worth it, money wise. Although it involved driving 6 hours each direction and puzzling a full kitchen into a compact car (one of my best engineering feats to date), I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was cheaper by thousands of dollars than even in-stock stuff at Lowe's or Home Deport, and it looks much nicer.

I third or fourth the farmhouse sink, by the way. Love the deep, wide single bowl for hiding dishes, washing baking sheets, and filling stockpots.

We just got cabinets, sink, and a stove hood from Ikea and got appliances elsewhere and DIYed countertops. We meant to get hardware elsewhere too but 5.5 years later... we just don't have hardware still. Whoops.
posted by raspberrE at 7:27 PM on October 26, 2017

We have an ikea kitchen in our rental and mostly really love it!
The drawers that roll out like shelving are awesome.
I hate the ceramic induction stove; it is also dangerous as our cats walk across it and turn it off and on (even with the child lock - they turn that off and on too!).
The high-gloss surface cabinets are super easy to wipe down.
Please leave access to the dishwasher in case it ever needs fixed. Ours is completely "built in" to the cabinets and they are going to have to rip out some of the cabinetry in order to replace the flow meter.
posted by jrobin276 at 8:00 PM on October 26, 2017

Just fyi, ceramic stovetops are not induction; induction can only heat up ferro-magnetic substances.

Nthing the cabinets clean up really easy if you get high gloss.
posted by smoke at 8:37 PM on October 26, 2017

I haven't done an IKEA kitchen yet, although it's in my plans (just bought a house with an awful, tiny kitchen).

The House Tweaking blog has a whole section about IKEA kitchen remodels. Most of them are long posts with lots of photos, and often details about the decision-making process, what non-IKEA stuff the homeowners used, what they did themselves vs. had IKEA do vs. hired a contractor for, and other things like that.

The things like "we got countertops elsewhere because [reason]" or "we used all the stock cabinets but had a carpenter [do some customization] because [reason]" are great food for thought. And while IKEA's designers try to show a bunch of different styles in all their photos/mockups, I think these real-life examples do a much better job of showing the versatility of the stock cabinets -- not to mention what you can do if you paint them different colors, use custom fronts, etc.
posted by katieinshoes at 6:44 PM on October 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

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