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I love my IKEA kitchens, even those in which I never had a chance to cook. And if you have an IKEA kitchen, chances are, I’d love yours, too. Style choices and price points are simply brilliant, so whenever I hear of someone considering a kitchen rehab, I’m all about convincing them that they should look to IKEA first.

Yes, the affordable price tag is a big issue. The fact that they’re made of pressed board and melamine isn’t. They’re as sturdy as the custom-made, high-end, high dollar cabinets I’ve put in a custom home, and the IKEA cabinets are even more functional. Try as you might, you can’t slam the cabinet doors. And the large drawers, which I now swear by instead of bottom cabinets, glide smoothly and effortlessly. They hold a ton of my heavy pots without any groaning or resistance.

For more IKEA specifics, take a look here.

I wanted to post some IKEA kitchens after reading Faith’s Kitchen Renovation. She has a ton of great advice, so there’s not much for me to add, but I do have some personal photos that might inspire you or at least get you to take a look at IKEA.

Just a few points.

* Yes, the IKEA kitchen planner software can be a royal pain, but it’s better than nothing. Just know it’s less than perfect.

* The cabinets are pretty easy to put together, and some people like to include glue, but that’s not necessary. I’ve yet to have a cabinet budge, even the slightest bit. Now, if you’re like me and you didn’t pop out of the womb with the assembly gene, then the difficulty factor just went up. 

* Consider using a couple of glass fronts on cabinets that you know you’ll keep nice and tidy. They open up a kitchen with little effort.

* For the most part, I’m not fond of some of the appliances at IKEA. While the ovens are handsome, they feel a little flimsy when I open and shut the doors. So, cabinets from IKEA, appliances elsewhere.

* If you’ve always wanted one of those cool porcelain farmhouse sinks, then do check out IKEA because they have terrific prices. The catalog photo doesn’t do it justice. I’ve seen the double bowl version installed and it’s good looking at a fraction of the price you’ll find elsewhere.

OK, here’s where I have to tell you that IKEA isn’t for every kitchen. If you’ve got a rental or flip you want to spruce up in a big way, then go IKEA. If you want to transform your own kitchen and make a big splash, then IKEA is worth considering. When isn’t it? I suppose if you have a multi-million dollar manse, then IKEA might not be all that practical if you want uber custom cabinets. Me? I’d probably still opt for IKEA.

par kit before

Here’s my current kitchen many years before I bought it. Believe it or not, it actually looked decent here. By the time I moved in, it had been vacant and was pretty banged up. Kitchen before 1

That white tile above looked like broken teeth. It was an impossibly small, cramped galley kitchen. Those walls needed to come down, which completely transformed the space. I adore my new kitchen.


Note that the cabinet to the left of the fridge isn’t glass. That’s because not all sizes and styles are available with glass fronts, so make sure you know that when you plan. Also, the bottom cabinet to the right of the fridge is a huge lazy Susan that I use as a pantry. It’s holds more than you can imagine and it neatly takes care of those dead corners.

Here are a couple of flips that I picked up for almost nothing a few years ago. IKEA turned them into little dream homes.

glendale before

Not a great before photo because I didn’t realize I’d ever show this kitchen.

Glendale kitchen 2

These photos were from the sales brochure. Note that the dishwasher is elevated slightly. Makes perfect sense to do when you can. Who wants to bend over while emptying the thing? Because of the cabinet height, the dishwasher isn’t as high as I’d like if this were my kitchen. After this set of photos, I’ll show you much better placement.

GLENDALE Kitchen 1

These are sleek white IKEA cabinets with IKEA butcher block counter tops. If you’re looking for an extremely budget friendly counter, these wood versions are terrific.

Glendale Kitchen 3

Below are two photos of the ideal dishwasher height, but ignore the fact that it’s not an IKEA kitchen. It was a pleasure emptying this dishwasher.

east lake 835


Here’s a side view of the dishwasher, giving you a better idea of the height. Boy, this was a much busier kitchen than I now have.

And another flip using the simple white IKEA cabinets:

creekside with fridge

Again, you’ll notice the butcher block counters, and since this was a house I bought for just over 20K, the budget flip received bottom cabinets instead of drawers, which cost a bit more.

creekside 780

Here’s the same kitchen before the fridge was delivered.

creekside 781

These IKEA cabinets aren’t show stoppers but they offer up clean lines that potential buyers appreciate.

Below is a sweet IKEA kitchen a friend put in one of her rental properties, which she never has trouble renting. As a renter, I’d love this kitchen, too.


OK, I know I love white kitchens, but not everyone is on board. IKEA offers a wide range of color options. Take a look.


Here’s another one of my friend’s charming rentals with a warm contemporary IKEA kitchen.


Notice the under counter lights. These are inexpensive and offer a custom touch that looks drop-dead gorgeous in the evening.

Here’s a handsome, contemporary mid-century IKEA kitchen for a friend who wanted to remodel his kitchen but remain true to his modern home’s style.



This kitchen is totally in keeping with the 50s/60s look of this home.



Here’s where the original stove lived.



I have more friends who are putting in new IKEA kitchens, and I’ll update with photos and new tips as the projects move forward. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your kitchen remodels, IKEA or otherwise.