How to Plan & Design an IKEA Kitchen.

Since our kitchen isn’t very large I knew I wanted white counters and cabinets, with no uppers and a huge window above the sink to keep the space open and fresh. When I came across these kitchen images I couldn’t believe they were Ikea cabinets and counters. No matter how many white kitchen pics I have looked at over the past year I always come back to these so I know I love it and will continue to love it for years to come, which is saying a lot because I can be very fickle (#libraproblems). Ok, so now all the deets on measuring, planning and designing an Ikea kitchen.

// The Inspo //




Competitors. We priced out custom cabinets as well, but none of them could compete with good ol’ IKEA’s pricing or options. I couldn’t find anyone who would do a glossy finish or all drawers vs. cabinets, so my mind was made up already, but I also read many blog reviews on using Ikea’s kitchens and felt very comfortable using it for our space. Plus they have a 25 year warranty that can’t be beat. I love the idea that you could always swap out the fronts too if you get bored or a new owner doesn’t want glossy white.

Planning. Scour Pinterest and Houzz for ideas and layouts that will work within your space to get some inspo. Then, within your physical kitchen area, plan out (with chalk, tape or on a sketchpad) how you foresee your kitchen layout and island placement (do you want a stand alone island? peninsula?). With this is mind, have your contractor take measurements of your kitchen space accounting for the measurements of your appliances. If you don’t have your appliances yet you could use general specs and buy your appliances to fit the kitchen but we did it the other way around. Since we knew all of our appliance measurements because we bought them a year ago we could ensure we accounted for those in the planning stage. The GC then went into the Ikea planner and dropped everything in, which had to really be cleaned up at Ikea so we went more than once to the kitchen planning before ordering to make sure it was all planned right. For instance the cabinets were hard to put in the glossy version vs the paneled version so you need their assistance dropping everything in. Trust me, they know their stuff and are much quicker. When we were at Ikea we also spent a lot of time in their kitchen showrooms just getting ideas on where we would place certain things and whether we wanted mainly drawers vs standard cabinets. I really love the ideas of drawers for everything so we went with that. How amazing are these?


fixer-upper-home-renovationHere is a basic pic of our kitchen space when standing in the living room looking into the kitchen. The island will come off the column to the left and go under the concrete beam, this will house the dishwasher and oven. Under the window will be the sink. Along the back wall will be the cooktop and then fridge to the right (not pictured).

ikea-kitchen-planning// Bird’s eye view in Ikea Kitchen Planner //planning-ikea-kitchen // 3D Rendering of Cabinets in the space. Random floating panel covers the back of island //

Purchasing. You can’t show up at the Ikea kitchen planning area without having used their online planning tool. If you don’t get it (It can be wonky, especially on a Mac) or have trouble that’s ok, they will do it for you when you are there but they want you to start it at least in the planner before coming in. You also can’t schedule an appointment so you should: 1. Get there first thing in the morning and RUN to the kitchen department or 2. come during lunch time which is what we did and got right in. Once you get in, you will sit down with an Ikea kitchen expert and they will fix any of your mistakes in the tool and go through every single thing with you. You will then get a final print out with every piece you need and a final price. You pay right with your kitchen expert. We ordered our kitchen this weekend during the annual kitchen sale, which means you have to spend $4,000 to get 15% back of your purchase price on an Ikea gift card to use at any time or online. We actually came in a little under $4k, but added some inside cabinet lighting to get it over the amount. We then used our gift card to buy our closet so technically we got the closet for free.


// Example of the inside drawer lighting //

Delivery. Pieces can deliver within 24 – 48 hours, but we still have a few weeks for cabinet installation so we scheduled 3 weeks away. You can’t push it further than a month out, if so you have to come back in store to purchase the kitchen. Once delivered you have 48 hours to review the boxes against the list and ensure all boxes are there (you don’t need to open them). If they missed something in the shipment, they will FedEx it to you but only within that 48 hour period of time.

Installation. My GC quoted for cabinet installation but he assumed they would be delivered as put together boxes, not in pieces and I would bet money his laborers don’t know how to assemble an Ikea kitchen. So instead we went with the third-party installers through Ikea who do this all day long and for half the price my GC would charge me. You have to make the appointment for the installers while you are at Ikea, because you can’t call about it, so then  you would have to come back into the store to schedule them. I really didn’t feel like coming back so we just scheduled them to come for measurements before the cabinets deliver which then we can set up install with them directly at that time. The price for installation is about $130 – 178 per cabinet based on your location so worst-case scenario install may cost us $2,000 on the high end. Which is less than what our GC would cost to install them so it’s a great deal because they know Ikea kitchens inside and out so I assume their timeframe will be much quicker. Note: Install cost us $1,931. They also have it done in two days, which I am sure is much faster than if we had attempted it ourselves!

Overall I would say the Ikea kitchen planning process is a fun and easy one as they really know their stuff, but you need to come prepared. Make sure you have an idea on what you want and I highly recommend walking the kitchen showrooms at Ikea to think through how you will use your space. For us, we don’t have a ton of stuff and its just the two of us so it may be different for a family. We did add a cabinet above the fridge for more storage and so it would look more built in, they have so many great options so you can really go crazy there. You also can’t beat the price, selection and warranty. Our entire kitchen is costing about $8,400: Ikea cabinets were only $4,000, installation will be $2,000 or less and quartz counters are around $2,400 (post on this later). Let me know if you have any other questions on planning and designing an Ikea kitchen below. xx, Beth


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