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IKEA Kitchen Cabinets: We Spill All The Pros + Cons

IKEA Cabinets - we've done multiple flips with these and they are even in our own house. Today we are going to give our honest review; detailing all the good, the bad, and even some of our favorite kitchens by fellow designers, so you can decide whether these cabinets are right for you!
JoshplusLoretta IKEA Kitchen

This post is not in any way sponsored by IKEA.

We’ve used their cabinetry on several projects + are sharing our personal experiences.

Opinions are 100% our own.

 

Overview

First, let's explain the basics. IKEA cabinets all have similar construction, building a cabinet box then adding doors, drawers, and additional pieces. Each box is a particle board frame with a white melamine veneer. Each door face is 3/4" thick MDF wood with a thermofoil smooth coating of your stylistic choice. The doors are a full-overlay style which means the doors + drawers cover the cabinet frame (you don’t see hinges or have big gaps between the doors).

 

The Pros

Here is a mock up of our current flip kitchen using their new + improved kitchen planner!
Auburn Estates Model using IKEA Kitchen Planner
  • First and foremost, the kitchen planner. Come for the planner, stay for the prices. The easy to use planner allows you to take your time, be in control, try multiple options and see actual costs as you plan.

  • It's quite affordable - we recently mapped out a 24 cabinet kitchen (see above) and it came in at about $9,000 (cabinet cost only)

  • Super customizable, Ikea offers drawer organizers, interior lights, under cabinet lights, drawer units, tons of styles, colors and sizes


IKEA Kitchen Accessories

  • To add to list of customization, it works with Semi-handmade making it a great option to get more unique designer custom cabinet fronts.

  • Soft close doors/drawers are standard

  • Cabinets are securely mounted using a rail system. This is very easy to use for newbies and DIYers, also allows you to shift and adjust the position once it is up before locking it on.

  • Legs are adjustable which makes leveling easy. It also allows for a snap-on toe kick.

  • Hinges are designed to adjust the gaps and angles of the door/drawer fronts ensuring no rubbing or extreme gaps

  • Easy to match, affordable, additions like apron sinks, built-in microwaves and hidden hood vents.

  • The thermofoil wrap is smooth, durable and super easy to clean.

  • Finally, You can return what you don’t use, within a year and with a receipt. If you're someone who prefer extra just in case, this is great. Sometimes, it’s better to order more cover panels just in case, and typically we've ended up with too many toekicks, shelves, cover panels and feet at the end of our projects, so we usually return these.

 


The Cons

  • You'll probably need an ikea designer to review your final plans because there are gaps, cover panels, toekicks and extras that need to be included or adjusted. Often, lots of extras are automatically added like interior lights. You may want to remove any non-essentials

  • Cabinetry is assemble yourself and nothing is labeled as a full cabinet set, so you need to keep clear track of your kitchen list and it’s contents.

  • Once you complete one cabinet, the process is pretty much the same and goes quickly, BUT, overall, it does take time.

  • Often you need components or large portions to be delivered while some are available in store; AND some may be out of stock. This varying piece location requires a close inspection + review of parts, you'll need to cross reference what you receive with your order to be sure something is not missing or incorrect


TIP: From check out to install, we keep a folder full of the contents, order slip, visuals and receipt. If anything is out of stock then they give you a slip for that and upon delivery we mark what we received, then label all the cabinets with corresponding numbers to know which goes together during the assembly process. Finally, we organize each cabinet assembly into piles to make it easier to assemble.



  • Delivery time varies, sometimes it's a week and sometimes months. We bought one kitchen during the peak of COVID, when all shipments were delayed and it was 3 months wait. (Not the norm - but it's best to check availability on projects and be sure to expect some time just in case)

  • Another painstaking part of this process is calling Ikea if you are missing an item, sent an incorrect item or have a damaged item. The call wait is often long. Also, the kitchen department is a totally different line/department and they'll probably transfer you.

  • While we don't mind the particle board, especially once it's installed - but it does have drawn backs during installation. Sometimes they can arrive broken and they can be over drilled during assembly.

  • Unlike solid wood, once you drill into the particle board, it’s sorta one and done, if re-drilling the same holes screws are not likely to grab and hold.

STORYTIME: We decided to swap out our cabinet handles for cup pulls that are held with screws drilled into the front of the cabinet. After a year or two, the screws on the heavier drawers had pulled right out. (Probably more of an issue since this was using an existing hole so the screw didn't grab much of anything, but worth noting!)

I did find a great pull to resolve this. As my style evolved, I replaced my handles AGAIN, but chose these gorgeous brass cup pulls which actually drill from the inside and screw into the cup on the front (unlike most which are drilled straight into the cabinet)

  • Moving on, it's worth noting that cover panels are all pretty large sizes and require a table saw for clean cuts - if you are newer to DIY and don't have one, you may need to rent one.

  • Toe kicks are not the most stable construction and may need to be cut down or even made taller in extreme cases depending on the floors

  • Cover panels aren't always always long enough to cover the back of the island and not all styles offer a seam strip to merge two together

  • The rail system is metal and has pre-drilled holes that don't always align to the studs (we worked around this by drilling additional holes when needed). Meanwhile, the screw holders for the rails are really odd, maybe we used them incorrectly, but we found them to slip instead of hold.

  • The screws that come with Ikea are not the best, you may want to use your own screws for mounting purposes.

 

Overall Impression

Here's our hot-take on Ikea cabinets: Ikea really tailors to the person who likes to take the wheel and do-it-themselves; be it design, vision or install. Whatever your thing is, they make it accessible and affordable to do unique options. The main reason we keep going back to them is because it does have one of the easiest and more clear kitchen builders which lets you try before you buy and overall we love the outcome! Once it's installed, we haven't had any issues with upkeep or durability. It's also flexible if we ever want to or need to update the appearance in the future!

So, Is it worth the chaos, organization, or assembly?

Honestly, we think yes. We still recommend that you shop around just to be sure it offers the options and price that you need - but for us, it's a go-to kitchen supplier.


 

Some of our favorite IKEA Kitchen Creations



Shop Our Kitchen


If you have any questions about this or other kitchen installs,

leave a comment - we love to help!


Sincerely,





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