Ikea Kitchens

Yesterday I was looking at a condo that was in need of some serious redesigning but was a pretty darn good buy… as I started thinking about how I could renovate on a VERY tight budget I got to thinking about Ikea kitchens. I’ve really heard nothing but great things about them but have not actually used one in a client project.  As is the case with most clients, I cannot afford 99% of what I source for them so I have to find a more affordable way to get high end looks and save my splurges for smaller touches.  Here are some IKEA kitchens that pretty much blew my mind.

Look at this kitchen from Sunset– who would ever guess a lot of the components are from IKEA?

Designer and blogger Carol Creed did a post about her love for IKEA kitchens– here are a couple of her installations.

Some more kitchens that look a hell of a lot more expensive than they are! It’s all about picking great tile (again, does NOT have to be expensive) and maybe splurging on a stone counter top!

The stone walls kinda make this one. It’s kind of cheating.

Sarah Richardson even uses them!

So have any of you installed one? Your experience and opinion?

Images via Style at Home, Living Etc, Pinterest, HGTV, Ikea.


  1. I have used the high gloss white cabinets from ikea in my current home and in my previous home. I can’t tell you how much I love them! They are sleek and modern and really have a custom feel when paired with high quality hardware and custom countertops!

  2. I have never installed one myself but have seen them installed by friends and colleagues. I think that as far as a semi-custom kitchen cabinet, the variety is nice and overall, if you are clear that it is not a kitchen for a lifetime, it is a terrific stylish option for people with small to medium budgets.

  3. Too funny! I just had a conversation with my husband yesterday about our kitchen renovation and how we should consider Ikea! So glad to see this post! Thank you!

  4. What a great post!! I would have never guessed that those were IKEA kitchens! Love them! I remember watching the episode were Sarah was doing the kitchen and said she mixed in cabinets from a big box store but still made it all look custom.

  5. We used Ikea in our kitchen and I love it!! I would do it every time. Couldn’t be happier with the way ours turned out and the cost was even better! Do it!

  6. Ikea kitchens are great! The best part is the structures are the same so you can update the fronts/doors after a couple of years with very little cost or effort.

  7. This might seem like common sense but wasn’t to me when I put up my Ikea kitchen. Make sure you have the cabinets set on braces that you attach to the wall. Otherwise they fall apart as you drill through them! Love the kitchen otherwise. There are some great glossy options.

  8. My IKEA kitchen is about 15 years old and just as modern now as it was then – white, high gloss cabinets with a butcher block counter.
    I love the pull-out pantry with mounted baskets where no ant or other critter can find it’s way into. Some of my front cabinets are glass,
    but as someone said, the cabinet doors are exchangeable for a more updated version. The hinges never get loose and are adjustable – so
    are the shelves. After all these years, I still love my kitchen!!

  9. We have an ikea kitchen we just installed a few months ago. We did nice backsplash tile, marble counters, and a farm sink and NO ONE has believed that the cabinets are Ikea. It’s all about mixing the high and low like with everything. We also got nicer hardware too which makes a HUGE difference.

    We have two dogs and two toddlers and not one chip or dent yet. They are solid. We also did the soft close, etc. and it’s AMAZING.

    Happy to share some photos privately if you want.

  10. I actually sell IKEA kitchens for a living, and I must say that people are so surprised by how expensive they can look when executed properly. Our median price for a kitchen is about $4,500 – and if it is installed correctly and enhanced with the right finishes, it can look like you spent $25,000 on it. Also, I’m in love with the kitchen in the fifth picture, but the cabinetry is framed. You can however get a style very similar to that at IKEA called Adel white. Glad to see that our kitchens are getting the props they deserve. Nice post, Erin.

  11. These are gorgeous IKEA kitchens! <3 this as a young professional looking to renovate my condo's kitchen!

    I think that renovations are similar to fashion – if you familiarize yourself with the expensive things that appeal to you and know what elements make them special, you have a keener eye for finding cheaper goods that look like the real thing, and have a better awareness for what items you really can't skimp on.

  12. I have had lots of luck with Ikea kitchens for clients and I’m planning to use ikea for our eventual kitchen renovation (so I can splurge elsewhere!) A couple of things to consider when you are working with a client:
    The cabinets are available in a limited number of sizes. That makes it a bit trickier to make it all work out sometimes – especially if you are used to doing custom work) In the past we’ve managed that by having additional parts and pieces made to match by our local cabinet guy.
    The other thing to consider when budgeting for a client is that even though the cabinets are extremely well priced they need to be assembled which can really add up when budgeting labor. One way around that is to have the client assemble the cabinets themselves if they are on a tight budget or particularly industrious (if I can do it, anyone can!) Can’t wait to see what you might create when you try it out yourself.

  13. Great post! I love seeing what people do with Ikea kitchen cabinets! I remember watching on TV how Sarah Richardson used them and I was blown away at how great she made it look!

  14. I loved the modern design and price…but after not even 1 year it stated to fall apart. You basically get what you paid for. I am planning to buy new cabinets and this time I will pay more for better quality..the ikea’s pressed wood doent cut it when it comes to pieces that need to function and not just sit pretty.

  15. Found this over the weekend:

    The concept is simple: go to IKEA and purchase everything else – cabinet boxes, drawers, specialty hardware – then call us for a one-of-a-kind look that truly defines your room. Older IKEA kitchens work, too – keep your current configuration and just replace the facing to save even more money (and a ton of landfill space)!

  16. We just moved into a place that had IKEA cabinets installed bout 5-10 years ago. I’d say they held up pretty well for the price – enough that we’re looking at how we can modify them to suit our needs (paint, new hardware, add backsplash) rather than talk about replacing them.

  17. Ikea kitchens are crap. Don’t put your $$$ into a cheesy particle board with a phony exterior that will fall apart. My husband is a contractor and the kitchen & bathroom are the LAST places a homeowner should cut costs & corners. They may look good for a few months… but disappointment will follow, guaranteed.

  18. I’m with Staci and Geli on this side of the debate. Buffy has a point about the particle board but in 15 years we only have had to repair one drawer which had too much heavy flatware in it. We spent a fraction of what freinds and co-workers spent at the time on cabinets ($7K for our BIG kitchen vs. 14K-30K others spent). Plus, we were glad later that we didn’t buy something more pricey the kids and the dog could beat the crap out of. Except for a few scratches that barely show (the dog hated T-storms), the cabinets have held up well. And they don’t look dated at all. We still get tons of compliments from pple who can’t believe they’re IKEA.

  19. Great post! I love to hear positive feedback about Ikea kitchens bc I am a big believer in mixing high and low end into design. I’m totally looking into the construction now. Thanks Erin!

  20. You treat them right…it will treat you right…10 years and counting. What’s not to like??? franki

  21. Stunning! I’ve always said I don’t understand why NYC landlords don’t do more IKEA kitchen and bathroom upgrades seeing that they’re so affordable and could significantly increase their rental income. I’ve seen some wonderful apartments save for outdated kitchens and bathrooms and that’s a dealbreaker for me..

  22. We gutted, redesigned and installed an IKEA kitchen over the winter. My husband approached the IKEA cabinets with a skeptical eye, but agreed based on the savings. After assembling and installing we were SO impressed with the quality, control and precision with which these are made. Plus, I could change my mind; hmmm, thought I wanted a door, but now I want four drawers – presto, chango! Really, I should be their poster child! Oh, did I mention my smile every time a drawer whispers closed. Wheee!

  23. Regarding Buffy’s point about particle board – our IKEA cabinet fronts are solid wood and the “backend” is particle board. Just like the kitchen cabinets (that cost a small fortune) from wood-mode we installed in our last kitchen, where the parts. In fact, we were told that only the highest end custom cabinets are all solid wood and it can make the cabinets much heavier and give you fewer options to go solid wood.

  24. The fifth picture is a custom kitchen – those are not IKEA cabinets! I have been designing kitchens for years and I have used all types of cabinets including IKEA, which are a great value for the money. It’s important you know what you are buying beyond the facade. The kitchen is the hardest working room in the house, so IKEA may not be for everyone – the cabinet box is not as well made, but the hardware is quite good. If you want a great look without spending a fortune, I would definitely recommend IKEA. If you want a gourmet kitchen that is going to work hard, remain timeless and last the lifetime of the house – spend more money and work with a designer. Either way – have fun!!

  25. Thanks for the mention, Rachel – we are the ones that make the custom IKEA doors and ship nationally.

    The fact is, we’ve done custom cabinetry here in LA for ten years and the more we use IKEA, the more we’re sold on it. We don’t work with/for them, but the facts are simple: they use 3/4″ melamine for the boxes, which is the standard in Europe and is used by Bulthaup, Poggenpohl, etc. Hate to burst a few contractors’ bubbles – it’s all particleboard covered in the melamine foil. Most contractors I know haven’t even been to an IKEA in ten years; check Consumer Reports for where IKEA kitchens rank. Plywood boxes are stronger, yes, and we use them for custom jobs, but they also cost more. Installed correctly – plumb, level and square – your IKEA cabinets are not going anywhere. Add to that the fact that IKEA uses Blum hardware – tops in the Industry, used by every custom cabinet shop we know of – and their product is hard to beat. What we do is then add our facing: sequenced veneers, laminates or reclaimed lumber. Because IKEA is modular, we can always make one or two custom boxes if needed, but generally we suggest having someone local do it and then we just make the corresponding doors.

    In the end, what you get is a unique, one-of-a-kind kitchen for significantly less than custom (sorry for the soapbox!!).

  26. We installed an Ikea kitchen about 5 years ago and for the most part things have held up. It was a great way to save about 20k on cabinets. I found putting them together a bummer. But for the money – you just can’t beat it, you earn your savings with the work you put into it!

  27. I love these! I’m just starting a new kitchen design and I’m now motivated to use IKEA…it will fit the budget perfectly!

  28. We are on our 4th home and 4th IKEA kitchen. They offer amazing value and don’t forget a 25 year warranty. The best is the real ability to customize your cabinet interiors to make a truly functional kitchen. Invest in a carpenter to get a perfect install, nice countertops and handles and NO ONE will know you paid a fifth of the price of a high-end euro kitchen. I’m a big fan.

  29. Elizabeth…you are wrong. The kitchen in the 5th picture uses IKEA’s Lidingo doors and drawers. Check out their website and you will see. I’m sure a very skilled carpenter installed, but the core of it is IKEA.

  30. Ron,

    I think Elizabeth is right – the cabinets are inset (with frames around the doors and drawer faces), not full-overlay. Beautiful, either way. As many people have mentioned, it really helps having solid installers putting everything in. If anything, spend the extra money there.

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