Dear PoPville – Anyone Ever Install IKEA Kitchen Cabinets?

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

Dear PoPville,

I’m wondering whether anyone has installed IKEA kitchen cabinets and what their experience was like. Also, I’m wondering who people used to install the cabinets – I know you can do it yourself or have IKEA do it, but we’re looking to have some additional remodeling work done (knocking out a wall, replacing some windows with smaller ones), so I’m hoping I can get one person (or team) to design and install the IKEA cabinet layout and do the other renovations. Anyone who can come up with creative solutions for small kitchens would be a plus! (And of course, we’re hoping to keep costs down….) Many thanks in advance to PoPville!

30 Comment

  • I know someone who did a terrific design and installation. I don’t quite know how to give this to you in a public format…suggestions?

  • I redid my kitchen in 2003 and used Ikea cabinets. They are still in great shape. That being said, my contractor HATED using them and vowed never to install Ikea cabinets again. And he’s a good, reliable contractor who has done a lot of work for me.

  • I used Ikea’s preferred installer and they did an amazing job. It wasn’t cheap, but I found they were a lot more comfortable working with the Ikea products than other remodelers we talked to. And the company, Osprey Bay, handled everything, including knowing down walls, electrical, new tile and backsplash, the whole thing.

    • I too used Osprey Bay. Initially i was happy w/ their work as they did a lot more than just put the cabinets up (new vent, eletrical wiring, plumbing). However, we had a hurricane pass through and the new vent job they did was not good, water got in an ruined a whole set of cabinets.

      I called them again to come and fix it (I was going to pay not asking for freebie), they came looked at said they would call me back w/ estimate, I never heard from them again. I called and emailed and NOTHING! Not even a “sorry we are so busy and we can’t do it right now”.

      I ended up having to locate another contractor to come and fix the cabinets and vent.

  • We did a really simple install of 4 cabinets in a laundry room. They were really easy to assemble and then pretty easy to anchor to the wall if you’re handy with a drill and tools. You don’t need to be an expert IMO for this. If you have corners and customization I would leave it to the pros.

  • the hardest thing about installing Ikea cabinets is assembling them. They really are easy to install, I’ve done two kitchen installs by myself. The hardware (door knobs/pulls) is the second most difficult part, but they sell a plastic jig for $2 that makes drilling accurate holes a snap.

    • oh, and what makes assembling them difficult is the tedium of it. the assemblage itself is relatively straightforward.

  • I installed Ikea cabinets in the house of my ex and they were super easy and ended up looking great. The key is installing the metal bar that spans the wall level and securely. Make sure you know what kind of wall you have so you have the appropriate fasteners to do this. Once that is in, the cabinets easily attach to it and get screwed to each other. I was expecting the whole thing to be an ordeal because of the old house, non-level walls, etc but I think mounting on that bar actually made things easier than they would have been with non-Ikea cabinets.

  • animal fix came early today! love this picture 🙂

  • I really like my Ikea cabinets. The hardware is very high quality, and the wood on the visible surfaces is decent looking and easy to replace if needed. The bodies are MDF, but they seem sturdy enough.

    The person who flipped my house did most of them, but I added another counter and some cabinets, and I installed those myself. I didn’t find it difficult. You can use their planning software to figure out what you need. Also, the ikeafans forum is a very helpful resource.

    I think they are much better than the low-end HD or Lowes cabinets. Plus if you save enough on the cabinets you can get higher quality appliances.

  • I did a kitchen demo, redesign and install all on my own and used Ikea cabinets. They were VERY easy to install. The base cabinet legs are all adjustable which is MUCH easier than using shims to get the cabinets level. The only thing you need to take into account are the width of cover panels. Also, make sure to mark level lines so that all of the wall and base cabinets line up evenly. This may take some time, but worth the effort. Also, the wall cabinets hang off of a metal rail. Make sure that the rail is attached to the studs. It’s possible to attach an end of the rail using a drywall anchor but this will make the rail sag a bit under the weight of the cabinet and the entire row of cabinets will be off.

    I actually went to a custom cabinet maker in VA to get a quote. He flat out told me that unless I was looking to get into Architectural Digest, I was crazy not to go with Ikea.

  • I have them – my contractor (as said by others) hated them, but once he got the hang of it (harhar) said they weren’t bad.

    In the end, though, it’s worth shopping around. For the good-looking Ikea cabinets, you can often find comparible ones elsewhere that you don’t have to put together. The problem is for anything that looks nice, you have to pay for all the components (nice handles, glass, etc). Shop around is my recommendation.

  • Serious question: Are IKEA cabinets that much cheaper than other alternatives? For instance, Costco has a cabinetry service (tile, too, for that matter), and that product is very reasonably priced. I ultimately didn’t use them, but the samples I got seemed of a fairly high quality — better than or equal to IKEA’s. I understand if it’s a cost consideration, but otherwise I question why a particular brand/type of cabinet would be worth its own additional and unique installation questions.

    That said, the kitchen is such a critical part of the house’s value and the cabinets such a critical part of the kitchen’s value that I wouldn’t attempt a DIY job on them. Particularly if you’ve got a contractor coming in to do other aspects of the project, just pay him to install them and assume all the risk for getting it wrong. But I’m all thumbs and always manage to screw up even the easiest stuff — hopefully OP isn’t as cursed as I am in this regard.

    • We priced out IKEA cabinets and Kraftmaid for our rowhouse kitchen renovation – $2200 for IKEA and $7800 for Kraftmaid (solid wood – very good quaility). We went with Kraftmaid because we could afford them and wanted better resale potential, but I’ve used IKEA cabinets before and liked them a lot. I think the key at IKEA is to buy their higher-end stuff for better durability and hire one of their recommended contractors (you don’t want someone learning this for the first time on your house). I agree with other posters that IKEA is way better quality than the low end cabinets at Home Depot (Mill’s Pride, etc). Plus they have way better style as well.

  • I did my whole kitchen (cabinets, sink and appliances) with Ikea back in 2009, and I’m still very happy with it. I used their online design tool, which was pretty easy. Got some friends (free labor) to help me assemble the cabinets because that part is super easy and then paid my contractor to actually install them. If you have room, definitely go for the pantry cabinet with the pull-out door. My favorite part of the kitchen! I also used their double-bowl corner sink, which is pretty neat. I remember my contractor was kind of annoyed with the Ikea stuff but it didn’t seem too hard.

  • We remodeled our basement and kept the kitchen in the same location in the apartment. We loved the options from Ikea and our contractor installed it with no issues. The best part is you can return items back to Ikea for different doors, handles and or panels. We used Angel Tuesta of Wall to Wall construction, he is on Angie’s List and we like the work he was doing on a neighbor’s home that we hired him. Company website is

  • Oh and I meant to mention: Total cost of materials including cabinets, sink, faucet, dishwasher, microwave, range and refrigerator was less than $6,000. (Labor from installation not included.) So yes, the cabinets really are that much cheaper.

  • We installed our own Ikea cabinets last fall and overall it was moderately easy, helped in large part by my father-in-law who helped deal with the sink and plumbing. Assembling and actually hanging the cabinets was pretty simple. One of the contractors we’d contacted a while ago said that we could definitely save some money by assembling the cabinets ourselves but having him/his crew install them–that might be one thing to ask when you’re getting quotes.

    The Ikea kitchen designers can be really helpful, but they’re limited by the fact that the cabinets come in standard sizes. If you do use a contractor for the installation, they can probably work around some things/odd spaces using cover panels, etc. Definitely listen when they recommend wide lower drawers instead of cabinets–you’ll be supremely grateful when you can simply pull out a drawer to find all of your plastic storage containers and lids, instead of rummaging in the back of the shelf. I didn’t and regret it to the point that we may order new drawers for all our lower cabinets. This is actually an awesome thing about Ikea; since all the frames are standard sizes, you can change things (shelves to drawers, door style, etc.) after the fact without too much trouble. I’ll second the recommendation for a pull-out pantry if you have the space. It’s my favorite thing about the kitchen.

    We found better prices on Silestone counters with CounterIntelligence than with Ikea. The only issue may be that the cabinets all have to be installed before they come measure, then there are another few days before the slab is cut and installed, so you may be without a working sink for a week or so. I’m not sure how it works if you get counters from Ikea, though I imagine they probably have the same system.

  • i did my kitchen in 2004 with ikea cabinets. i did all the work myself. even hanging the wall cabinets. it’s very easy. i designed it all myself, but they have very helpful staff that walk you through each of your choices.
    just design it yourself.

    my recommendations.
    1. don’t get laminate countertops. i did. wish i hadn’t. i did get the butcher block for my “island” ( 2 base cabinets screwed together with wheels.) and i still love it.

    2. i’d avoid their pulls and handles. get nicer stuff somewhere else.

    3. get their drawer liners, but skip all the plastic organizational crap. ie.. when you go through the showroom and a draw has a label that says “look inside” , dont look inside.

    4. the glass doors are pretty nice.

    5. the decorative side panels? skip them.

    6. skip the wall mounted racks that hold stuff. keep you eyes on the cabinets, not all the accessories.

    7. don’t buy their faucets or even sinks.

  • I installed an entire set of Ikea kitchen cabinets in my rowhouse two years ago. As others have said, it’s not too awfully difficult– but the devil is in the details. There are a bunch of little tricks that you learn about the hard way that will make the difference between an obviously crappy install and one that looks professional. People ask me if I would ever do it again, and my answer is yes, now that I’ve done it once. Would I do it again for the first time? Probably not.

    The worst thing for me, frankly, was that Ikea completely screwed up my order and I was missing all kinds of stuff. It took about 15 trips to college park over the course of the installation to get everything corrected, which was pure hell.

    One other thing, go for the higher quality doors. They are expensive but they are the best value there, and if you’re going to do it you might as well put in good stuff. Throw in the nice extras like under- and in-cabinet lighting to really make ’em pop.

  • I put Ikea cabinets in my rental apt. and they have held up beautifully for 7 years. My contractor installed them – so can’t speak for that. I second the advice to NOT use Ikea plumbing fixtures. Both my kitchen & bath faucets failed at about 5 years and you can’t get replacement parts.

  • Thanks very much, everyone!

  • Could also look at this company:

  • As a former renovation contractor, I can definitely recommend Ikea cabinets. The cabinets look great and have a lot of options that you won’t find at HD or Lowe’s. I’ve seen them in very nice kitchens and they do not look cheap among the expensive appliances and tile. A custom cabinetmaker once remarked to me that he doesn’t know how they sell high-end hinges and closers at the prices they do.

    That said, their kitchen design software is the pits, IMO. If you try to get help from the store, they often just point you to a kiosk and tell you to go for it. Save the trip and download it at home OR have your contractor do it. Not that I would ever suggest taking advantage of HD or Lowe’s, but you might end up sitting for a free appointment with one of their kitchen designers, talking through all your options, learning important layout tips and lessons from them, ending up with a cabinet design that you love, and then ultimately deciding to purchase from Ikea. You might even innocently ask them for a printed copy of the layout schematics that they’re not supposed to give you until you place an order. If this were to happen, you’d probably find that you have less work to do in Ikea’s design software.

    As for a contractor, I recommend Impact Construction & Consulting to do the items on your list (see google). They do such kitchen renovations all the time. I also recommend that you let them source the countertops. Their stone and composite (Silestone/Caesarstone/etc) prices will beat most retailers and then they handle all the coordination with the installers and provide warranty support. I suggest going with quartz composite counters if you want a solid surface that is healthier and more environmentally sustainable than granite. And yes, the Ikea cabinets will support the countertop slabs just fine.

    Next, I recommend ebay for drawer and cabinet pulls. Seriously. The ebay seller, The-Celeste-Designs, for example, has solid stainless pulls for a fraction of the price at Ikea or HD. There’s no reason to pay $400 just for cabinet pulls.

    Lastly, Impact can recommend a good designer or architect so that you don’t have to figure out everything yourself. They will work with an engineer to do the structural analysis of the wall and can custom order windows to meet your new size requirements, as well.

  • We renovated our kitchen using Ikea and have been very happy. We also did all the work ourselves — it’s not difficult at all. For an older row house like ours in Petworth, your real challenge will be the fact that your walls won’t be perfectly square and there will probably be some weird geometry that forces you to modify one or two of the cabinet frames — their planning tool doesn’t always accommodate the weirdness of old homes. But with a circular saw, that’s easy. Affordable, doable yourself, and much cheaper than the alternatives.

  • Why do contractors complain about installing Ikea cabinets? Are they that tricky or annoying? I would think a contractor would come across other things that would be far more annoying to deal with. Was surprised to hear this.

    • i have yet to come across any contractor that hasn’t had a handful of things to complain about.

  • I don’t know about the Ikea cabinets but I love those gorgeous cats in Philliefan99’s photo!

  • We remodeled our kitchen last year with IKEA cabinets and I love them. Zeljko Damjankovic (Zee Dee Touch- did the remodel and installation and he did a great job. Zeljko helped us with the design (after we played around the IKEA design planner) and we chose the appliances from both IKEA and elsewhere. Renovating a kitchen is never fun, but I’m very happy with the result.

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