Just for fun, let’s do a quick before and after of our kitchen! Here’s how it looked before…
And this is how it looks today! Completely new layout, new cabinets, new EVERYTHING! Click here for the full before/after reveal.
A couple years ago I addressed a bunch of questions we had been receiving about our Ikea kitchen cabinetry and since then I have continued to receive lots of questions! We’ve had our Ikea cabinets for 2 years now and the main questions we get are either technical questions or, “How are they holding up?” So today Chris and I are answering more of your questions and sharing our honest thoughts about Ikea cabinetry.
Chris and I somewhat disagree on this but I’ll let him answer first.
Chris – Yes! Even for a newbie! So the cabinets come unassembled and you have to put them together. Some people are intimidated by this part but truthfully it’s very easy and there are instructions to explain it step by step. The part that can get a little tricky is hanging cabinets because you have to ensure that each cabinet is level to the one next to it. BUT Ikea cabinets use a rail system to help with this. So essentially you screw a metal rail onto the wall and ensure that it’s level. Then the cabinets simply hook onto the rail which dramatically helps keep all your cabinets level.
Danica – Ikea cabinets may be easier to install than traditional cabinetry but I wouldn’t say it’s easy. Like Chris said, you have to ensure the cabinets are lining up properly and keep everything level. The rail system helps with that but it doesn’t account for walls that aren’t perfectly straight or walls that bow in and out. That definitely affects how your cabinets hang and it proved to take a while for us to get it right. Of course “easy” is relative to the person and you probably know better than anyone your level of DIY capabilities! This project can certainly be done…just don’t expect it to be as easy as Chris says it will be! 😉
Yes! So let me explain Ikea cabinets briefly. Ikea cabinets come in two parts: the boxes (i.e. the actual cabinets) and the door/drawer fronts. The boxes come in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate for your storage needs. The best way to discover what storage options are available is by either walking through the kitchen section at an Ikea store or by designing a kitchen yourself using their free online design program. You can literally design your kitchen from start to finish with their free design tools and we utilized this heavily when planning our own kitchen.
So once you pick the layout/storage options of your cabinets you can then pick a cabinet box color. They come in two colors – white and brown. We opted for brown since our cabinet fronts are black.
Now the doors and drawer fronts are purchased separately. Again Ikea has a bunch of door styles to pick from and you can read more about the quality of their doors here. Some people prefer to buy the cabinet boxes from Ikea and the door fronts elsewhere. Companies like Semihandmade make custom doors specifically for Ikea cabinets and I know of a lot of designers who go this route.
You could also purchase Ikea or Semihandmade door fronts for your existing cabinet boxes. However, this would take some additional skill to match sizes and determine the best installation method since Ikea doors are specifically designed for Ikea cabinet boxes.
The boxes are made from particle board. As far as quality, I don’t have anything negative to say about them. Truthfully, a lot of stores like Lowe’s, Menards, and Home Depot also sell particle board cabinet boxes. They’re less expensive and in my opinion, the difference of quality between wood, plywood, or particle board cabinets are not worth the additional $$$ that it may be. Our cabinet boxes are 2 years old and don’t show any signs of wear. Regardless, Ikea cabinet boxes are covered with doors and matching side panels so the exterior of the boxes are never exposed. At that point (and again this is my personal opinion) you have to decide if it’s worth it to you to pay for wood cabinet interiors so that when you open the cabinet doors you see real wood vs fake wood. For us, it wasn’t worth it.
To clarify, Kungsbacka is the name of the cabinet doors we selected. I’ll admit, I was somewhat worried when we initially purchased our cabinet fronts that they would scratch easily. I’m happy to report that we are 2 years into using our kitchen cabinets and we don’t have a single scratch on them! Not one! There have been a plethora of moments where we thought we had left a scratch but we have yet to do that (knock on wood). If down the road we do get a large, noticeable scratch, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to purchase a new door front and replace the old one. The Kungsbacka doors are reasonably priced.
What about finger prints? So our cabinets are a matte black finish and finger prints was another concern of ours. Truthfully, finger prints and water spills do eventually start to show…especially around the handles of frequently used cabinets. Usually finger prints only show if our hands are dirty, but if you have kids with dirty hands who love to get into things, matte black may not be your best option.
According to Ikea, the best cleaning method for the Kungsbacka door fronts is soap and water. We’ve been using dish soap and a wet microfiber rag for the past 2 years and thus far it has done a really good job of cleaning up the prints. We do this maybe once every 2-3 months. On occasion there will be a grease spot that doesn’t disappear after the soap and water cleanup. In this case I have used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe up any remaining spots. I try not to do this often however because I don’t know how the magic eraser effects the finish on the doors long term. (i.e. I don’t know if it will dull the finish or make finger prints show up easier over time…) Again though, I rarely have a need for the magic eraser.
We are both so happy and surprised with the durability of our Ikea kitchen! Like I said, the cabinet boxes still look brand new and the door fronts have yet to get scratched, dinged, or dented! Of course, the quality of Ikea cabinet doors range and we did our due diligence in ensuring that the cabinet fronts we selected were top quality. Because of that, our kitchen has aged incredibly well and we will absolutely install another Ikea kitchen in our next home!
For more Ikea kitchen cabinet FAQ and honest thoughts, read my original blog post here.
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