Are you thinking about kitchen remodel or interested in IKEA kitchen cabinets? This is an honest review on my own experience with IKEA SEKTION kitchen system after installed it one year ago.
This is the part 1 of the review where I take you behind the scene of why we chose IKEA kitchen cabinets, how much it actually costs, and how it holds up after one year of usage.
In part 2 I will talk specifically about organization ideas and tips for my IKEA kitchen.
The legendary “before” and dramatic “after”
There’s a reason I describe our kitchen before as “legendary”. Apparently our kitchen is famous in the neighborhood. Everybody who visited the open house or has seen the kitchen photos online like to talk to us about it.
At the first glance, it just looks like an ordinary dated kitchen: It is a small kitchen by American standard, around 100 square feet; It had orange-y brown kitchen cabinets, a big floating upper cabinet overhung, wallpapered ceiling, etc.
When you get closer, you’ll see the museum-worthy kitchen appliances: The kitchen appliances are probably all 1940 original – when the house was built. The stove has 2 compartments with 2 burners on each compartment. Both compartments are foldable, meaning you can fold it up to free up counter space! The oven is double mental door, no glasses, and the control looks like aircraft dashboard. It is GM Brande, yes not GE, but the car company General Motors. There was no dishwasher, I guess dishwasher wasn’t invented by then (please correct me if I was wrong).
Whenever there’s a legendary “before”, there will be a dramatic “after” with it. So here’s the after photos. I was so terrified with the “rich” wood tone from the before, so I went for a bright and clean cabinet style.
More kitchen remodel before & after comparisons:
A few more photos of the finished kitchen
Why we chose IKEA kitchen cabinets? How much did we spent
I have been following DIY bloggers for a while before starting the kitchen remodel, so I have heard IKEA kitchen cabinets a lot. It sounded like the quality is pretty good with a pretty low costs. We know it needs to be installed by ourselves, but we had no experience with installing kitchen cabinets hence no fear 😛 Another option we had was through the contractor we hired as he sells that too, but their drawer front design is pretty limited and the total cost is more.
One of the biggest selling point of IKEA kitchen for me is that I am able to take my time to design the layout, rather than relying on a designer to do it and feel bad about asking for changes. As a designer I wanted full control on the kitchen design.
Another big reason is that I know whenever I need to change the kitchen design, I can change the door to drawers, or replace certain unit by simply buying component from IKEA. That actually happened a few month back when I added an inside drawer to add more storage. I will talk each points more in the PRO vs CON part below.
Upgrade we made outside of IKEA
We used IKEA kitchen cabinet box, with Semihandmade fronts for a more customized look. I initially wanted to use IKEA drawer front, but back then there was no light gray shaker fronts to choose from. So I ordered DIY shaker fronts from Semihandmade to match my IKEA kitchen design plan. The process was pretty easy to my surprise. I just submitted my IKEA kitchen plan from IKEA home planner and they were able to give me a quote with a list of drawer and door fronts I need and its costs within a few days.
I painted my cabinet Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore Advanced line in satin sheen. The painting process took quite some time as I need to do priming, sanding, and 3 coats of paint. But the result is so worth it as I love to customize cabinets with the color I love.
Here’s the cost breakdown for my 10′ x 10′ kitchen. I didn’t include countertop cost as it varies a lot depends on material and labor .
IKEA kitchen cabinet(no doors or drawer fronts) : $1364
Semihandmade doors and drawer fronts : $2349
Total Cost without tax : $3713
IKEA kitchen pros and cons
Everyone has different needs and DIY skills, here’s the pros and cons in my personal experience:
PRO #1 Pricing and quality
As I mentioned in the previous section, the l cost for IKEA kitchen is around $1364 excluding the cabinet fronts. Then I got cabinet fronts from Semihandmade for $2349. I got my quartz countertop from a local company.
The cabinet system cost under 4k. If you get cheaper countertop, or install butcher block countertop which allows you to install yourself, you can save a ton on the countertop part and have a whole kitchen done under 5k. That is pretty amazing! The quality is great too! It is super sturdy as I occasionally walk on top of the lower cabinets to paint walls.
PRO #2 Customizability
This is one of the main reasons I decided to go with IKEA SEKTION kitchen cabinet system.
As a designer, I want to have full control on my kitchen layout. Since my kitchen is so small, I spent a lot of time on optimizing the storage and different zones, such as prepping, cleaning, cooking, etc. Being able to keep iterating on it definitely help me to have a better layout, and that won’t be possible if I hire a kitchen designer to do that.
I was using IKEA home planner to design my kitchen. Being able to see all the options for cabinet sizes and inside layouts is simply amazing! If I were to purchase from a kitchen cabinet store, the in-store designer would just design something quickly or copy other kitchen design and modify it, hence I won’t be able to see all the possibilities to pick one that works best for my scenario.
PRO #3 Highly compatible with IKEA organizers
This is the other main reason I went with IKEA kitchen.
Maximizing storage during a kitchen design is the first step, and having efficient organization is the second. IKEA kitchen organizers fit IKEA kitchen drawers like a glove, plus the price point is very approachable too. After my kitchen became functional, I bought a bunch of drawer organizers from IKEA to keep all the kitchen tools organized.
PRO #4 Modification
Since I got my kitchen cabinets from IKEA, I can come back to IKEA to purchase additional components to modify my kitchen. IKEA is probably not going to convert to a new kitchen system any time soon, so definitely more reliable than most local kitchen design stores. That allows me to modify my kitchen whenever I want.
For example, IKEA kitchen system support small drawers that live inside big drawers. That can make big drawers a lot more space-efficient. When we first built the kitchen, I didn’t have any inside drawers. After using it for several months, I realized that I needed one more drawer for plates. So I ordered an inside drawer from IKEA and installed it in one of my big drawers. By doing that I was able to combine two drawers into one, and freed up a whole new drawer for plates!
CON #1 Limited door front choices
If you like some of those IKEA kitchen door and drawer fronts, it won’t be a problem. The thing is I really wanted light gray kitchen cabinets, and the style had to be “shaker style”. Back when I was building the kitchen, there weren’t any light gray shaker cabinet fronts available. Because of that, I went for Semihandmade fronts instead, called DIY shaker. It is a combination of solid wood and MDF, so I was able to prime and paint them very easily.
The other day when we were walking around IKEA, I spotted light gray cabinet fronts with very clean shaker lines. Not sure if it is a new product or discontinued.
CON #2 Installation can be tricky
This is the real con of IKEA kitchen system. It can be tricky to instal for beginner DIYer, especially when the house is old.
Our house was built in 1940: every single wall is more or less curved. Although we have replaced all the wall from plaster to dry wall, all the studs stayed there. So walls are still curved. That made installation very tricky. As experienced DIYer now, I know I was suppose to shim behind the rail which all the cabinets attach to. Back then I wasn’t very experienced, and couldn’t really find any detailed instruction on installing IKEA kitchen. There was tons of blog posts, and youtube videos, but most of them didn’t have much information on how to install IKEA kitchen step by step. So we have made some mistakes here and there while installing the kitchen cabinets. At the end, those mistakes don’t really affect much on how the kitchen looks, and don’t affecting the sturdiness at all. The trickiest part for us is to keep everything leveled on the top for lower cabinets, as it is essential for adding any type of stone countertop. We ended up having our contractor send a guy to help us adjust the cabinets to make sure the top is ready for our quartz countertop, hence spent some extra money.
Ikea Kitchen Review Summary
That’s all I have for my honest opinions on IKEA kitchen cabinets. It is not sponsored by any means, so I thought I’d share with people who are interested. I hope I covered all the questions you have in mind! If not, feel free to leave a comment, I’d be happy to answer! Next week, I’ll share how I keep my small kitchen organized, and what IKEA organizers I use.
Wall color: Benjamin Moore Simply White
Cabinet paint color: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl
More kitchen ideas and tips
Pin it for later