This blog post is all about my honest IKEA kitchen reviews. I’m sharing how is IKEA kitchen cabinets holding up after 2 years, and how much this IKEA kitchen remodel cost.
If you are interested in Ikea kitchen organization tips and ideas, be sure to check my post on Ikea Kitchen Organization, as part of the Ikea Kitchen Tour Series.
Table of Content:
Ikea kitchen before and after
Kitchen remodel “before”
So first of all, why did we remodel our kitchen in the first space? I guess you have not seen the “before” yet. Apparently our “before” kitchen was 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, 10′ by 10′ – around 100 square feet. It had a vibrant orange kitchen cabinets, a big upper cabinet overhung above the peninsula, and wallpapered ceiling, etc.
But 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 Brand, yes the car company General Motors.
So to make our kitchen functional for modern needs and also to make it spark joy, we really had to remodel it or … rebuild it from scratch.
Ikea kitchen before and after
Before I dive into Ikea kitchen review and any specifics, I’d like to give you a tour of my Ikea kitchen. Whenever there’s a legendary “before”, there will be a dramatic “after”. So here’s my Ikea kitchen before and after photos.
I was so terrified with the orange wood tone from the before, so I went for a bright and clean cabinet style for my Ikea kitchen. The cabinets were painted in Benjamin Moore Gray Owl in satin finish.
Here are a few more Ikea kitchen remodel “after” photos. I absolutely enjoy our IKEA kitchen cabinets and am so happy with how this kitchen remodel turned out. Keep reading if you would like to learn how this small IKEA kitchen all came together.
Why choosing IKEA kitchen cabinets
So how did Ikea kitchen cabinets even become an option for our kitchen remodel? Well, I have been following DIY bloggers for a while before starting the remodel, so I have heard IKEA kitchen cabinets here and there.
From the online Ikea kitchen cabinets review, it sounded like the quality is pretty solid with a relatively low costs. DIY kitchen installation may not sound easy to most people, but we were new home owners with no experience on DIY so we had no fear 😂
Another kitchen cabinets option back then was through the contractor we had, but their cabinet door front design is pretty limited plus the total cost is more than Ikea kitchen cabinets.
One of the biggest selling point of IKEA Sektion kitchen cabinets is that I am able to take my time to design the layout, rather than relying on a cabinet designer and feel bad about going back and forth with the kitchen layout. As a professional designer (although not in interior field) I wanted full control on my kitchen design and remodel 💪!
Another big reason to choose Ikea kitchen cabinets is the possibilities of future updates. With Ikea kitchen, whenever I need to make modifications to cabinets, I can do it myself easily by getting them from IKEA.
Actually that happened a year in after this Ikea kitchen remodel, when I added a nested drawer to one of the kitchen cabinet to add more storage. I will share more details and Ikea kitchen reviews in the PRO vs CON part below. So keep reading 🙂
Upgrades on top of IKEA kitchen -Semihandmade reviews
We used IKEA kitchen cabinet box, with Semihandmade fronts for a more customized look. I initially wanted to use IKEA Sektion door and drawer front, but there wasn’t any light gray shaker fronts available at Ikea. So I ordered DIY shaker fronts from Semihandmade to match my IKEA kitchen design plan.
The whole process was pretty straight forward to my surprise. Basically I just submitted my IKEA kitchen plan exported from IKEA home planner and Semihandmade were able to give me a quote with a list of drawer and door fronts I need and a list of costs within a few days.
After comparing their quote with Ikea cabinet fronts, I noticed there were no big difference in terms of cost. I think it is because the DIY shaker line need to be painted, so the cost is slightly lower than their other fronts.
Then we decided to order from them and within a few weeks we received our cabinet door and drawer fronts that match exactly to our Ikea kitchen cabinet boxes.
One thing I’d like to mention that there is a lead time from Semihandmade so make sure to order ahead of time, maybe even before your Ikea kitchen pickup (given most of Ikea Kitchen products are available to be picked up immediately)
I painted my cabinet doors 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. The result is so worth the effort as it is always great to customize cabinets with the color you love and make your kitchen stand out!
IKEA Kitchen Remodel Cost Breakdown
Kitchen remodel can cost a ton but luckily with Ikea kitchen cabinets and some DIY, it can be more affordable!
Here’s the cost breakdown for my 10′ x 10′ kitchen. Note I didn’t include countertop cost as it varies a lot depends on material and labor.
Your cost will depends on the size of your kitchen and how many cabinets you want. Also each cabinet layout will alter the cost too: a cabinet unit with drawers tend to be more expensive than doors. But it is important to use drawers because it is so space efficient. You can read more tips on making the most of your kitchen space in my IKEA kitchen organization post.
- IKEA kitchen cabinet boxes (no doors or drawer fronts) : $1364
- Semihandmade doors and drawer fronts : $2349
- Total Cost without tax : $3713
I’d like to mention my whole kitchen remodel costed way more than that, although the kitchen cabinets cost is pretty affordable as you can see from the above numbers. And that’s because for our whole kitchen remodel, we have removed walls, redid some electrical, replaced floorings, etc. For this post, I wanted to keep the focus on kitchen cabinets, since this is a blog post of Ikea kitchen reviews.
IKEA kitchen review – pros & cons
As part of Ikea kitchen cabinets reviews, I thought it would be helpful to be more analytical and share pros and cons of installing an Ikea kitchen for your home.
Of course everyone has different needs and DIY skills, so the pros and cons are based on my personal skill level and preference. So some might not matter to you but probably most will still resonate with you.
IKEA Kitchen Cabinets PRO #1: Pricing and quality
The biggest selling point of Ikea kitchen cabinets has to be the cost.
As I mentioned in the previous section, the cost of IKEA kitchen is around $1364 excluding the cabinet fronts. Then I got cabinet fronts from Semihandmade for $2349. The whole kitchen cabinet system costed under 4k.
If you get cheaper countertop, or install butcher block countertop which is more DIY-able, you can save a ton on the countertop cost and have the whole kitchen remodel done for under 5k. And how amazing is that!
What’s more, the quality is pretty solid! I have sometimes walked on top of my kitchen counter to install light fixtures or paint walls, and it has been holding well so far.
IKEA Kitchen Cabinets 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. Because my kitchen is so small, I spent a lot of time on optimizing the storage for all the zones, such as prepping, cleaning, cooking. Being able to keep iterating on the cabinet layout definitely helped me to have a better storage system, and that won’t be possible if I have hired a kitchen designer to do that.
I was using IKEA home planner to design my Ikea kitchen. Being able to see all the options of 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 designs and modify it, hence I won’t be able to see all the possibilities to pick one that works best for my kitchen space and cooking needs.
IKEA Kitchen Cabinets PRO #3: Compatible with IKEA organizers
This is another big reason why I went with IKEA kitchen. Maximizing storage when designing a kitchen is the first step, while having efficient organization system is the second.
Most IKEA kitchen organizers fit IKEA kitchen drawers like a glove. If you have looked at organizing products you would know those organizers are not cheap. Luckily Organizers from Ikea are a lot more affordable, so what’s better than getting organizers from Ikea that fit your drawers exactly.
After installing those Ikea kitchen cabinets and my kitchen became functional, I bought a bunch of organizers from IKEA to keep all the kitchen tools organized.
IKEA Kitchen Cabinets PRO #4: Modification
You can further modify your Ikea kitchen even after the kitchen remodel. And believe me, things might need to change a little bit after using any space for a while.
Since I got my kitchen cabinets from IKEA, I can now come back to IKEA to purchase additional compartments to modify my kitchen. IKEA is probably not going to ditch their current kitchen system any time soon, so they are probably more reliable than most local kitchen design stores.
For example, IKEA kitchen system support nested 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 nested drawers. After using it for several months, I realized that I needed one more drawer for plates. So I ordered a nested drawer from IKEA and installed it in one of my big drawers. By doing that, I was able to combine previous two drawers into one drawer with two layers, and freed up a whole new drawer for plates!
IKEA Kitchen Cabinets CON #1: Limited door front choices
First of all, if you like some of those IKEA kitchen door and drawer fronts, this won’t be a problem for you.
The thing is for my kitchen remodel, I really wanted light gray kitchen cabinets and in “shaker style”. Back when I was building the kitchen, there weren’t any light gray shaker cabinet fronts available from Ikea. 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.
Since then, I have spotted light gray cabinet fronts with very clean shaker lines from Ikea Sektion kitchen system, called LERHYTTAN. So that is exciting if you like light gray kitchen cabinets.
IKEA Kitchen Cabinets CON #2: Installation can be tricky
This could be a real problem for some people who are considering Ikea kitchen. Ikea kitchen cabinets can be tricky to instal for beginner DIYer, especially with older homes.
Here’s our experience with installing Ikea kitchen ourselves:
Our house was built in 1940s, meaning every single wall is more or less curved. Although we have hired a contractor to replace all the kitchen wall from plaster to dry wall as part of this remodel, the studs stayed there. So all the walls are still curved with the new drywalls. And that made kitchen cabinets installation very tricky.
As experienced DIYer now, I now know I was suppose to shim behind the rail which all the Ikea cabinets attach. But back then I wasn’t experienced at all, plus I couldn’t really find any detailed instruction on installing IKEA kitchen. Yes there were many 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 ourselves. At the end, those mistakes don’t really affect much on how the kitchen looks, nor how it is holding up.
For us, the trickiest part of our Ikea kitchen remodel was to keep all lower cabinets top leveled, as it is an essential for adding stone countertop later on. 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 we had spent some extra money there.
Ikea Kitchen Review Summary
So those are all of my honest reviews on IKEA kitchen cabinets. This blog post is not sponsored by anyone, and I just want to share my own Ikea kitchen experience with anyone who is interested.
I hope I covered all the questions you have in mind about Ikea kitchen cabinets design, cost, and upgrades! If not, feel free to leave a comment, I’d be happy to answer!
This post is the part 1 of my Ikea kitchen tour. If you are interested in how to your kitchen organized, and what IKEA organizers to use, be sure to check out my kitchen organization tips post, as my Ikea kitchen tour part 2.
Wall color: Benjamin Moore Simply White
Cabinet paint color: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl