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IKEA Kitchen Cabinets FAQ

Updated on October 16, 2013

IKEA Kitchen Cabinets Should be on your List if you're Planning a DIY Kitchen Remodel!

IKEA makes the best-known range of RTA (ready-to-assemble) kitchen cabinets ever. Get answers to your questions about IKEA kitchens here - and if you have a question that I haven't answered, check the Links List below for more places to find information, or ask your question in the guestbook and I'll do my best to find the answer for you.

Photo credits: model kitchen pictures by kevinw1

IKEA kitchen wall cabinets with glass doors
IKEA kitchen wall cabinets with glass doors

What's the quality of IKEA kitchen cabinets like?

IKEA cabinets are better quality than most others in their price range, but you're not going to be getting hardwood drawers with dovetail joints. What you will get is 3/4" thick materials, solid bolt connections, metal drawers, full-extension drawer slides with silent closing, and generally good customer service.

One good way to check the quality is to go to IKEA and look carefully at the demonstration kitchens in the showroom. Not only can you check the actual materials used, but you can see how they hold up to abuse from the thousands of visitors who go through opening and closing the drawers, banging the doors, swinging on them and otherwise treating them far worse than you would your kitchen at home!

Finally, try posting a request on one of several forums and get feedback from people who actually own IKEA kitchens. See the list below for links.

IKEA kitchen cabinets with stainless steel deep drawers
IKEA kitchen cabinets with stainless steel deep drawers

How much does installation cost?

This is a bit like asking "how long is a piece of string", but let's give it a try.

Installation can be done for free by you (or a handy family member or friend), or for money by an IKEA-approved installer or by someone local you hire to do it for you.

Free installation is likely to come with a cost in time rather than $$. You may be able to save time and money with a compromise solution where you assemble the cabinets yourself and then have an installer actually install them for you.

If you are going to hire someone, an IKEA-approved installer may cost you less even if the per-hour rate is higher than the local handyman, as IKEA cabinets are slightly non-standard in their installation methods and the experienced installer will be quicker to do the job.

One "rule of thumb" I've seen is that you should expect to pay the same amount for installation as you did for the cabinets.

How hard are they to install myself?

There are two different jobs involved in installing your IKEA cabinets: assembling the cabinets, and then installing them. Assembling is easier than installing.

If you can use simple tools and follow instructions, you can assemble the cabinets yourself. You can also expect that you'll get better at it as you go along, so start with a nice simple wall cabinet and work up to things like pull-out pantries! However, this is not a small time commitment: if you have a fairly small kitchen with 20 or so cabinets and you average 40 minutes per cabinet, that's over 13 hours - and you have to find somewhere to store those cabinets until they are installed, too.

Installation of the cabinets is not rocket science, but it requires attention to detail, planning ahead, and ideally some help. Again, if you are a reasonably experienced handy-person you can do it, but it may take longer than you expect. Just installing and adjusting doors and drawer fronts on 20 cabinets once you have them fixed in place is a long project.

Can I buy doors separately?

Yes, you can. IKEA customer service states that kitchen parts are sold individually, therefore you will be able to purchase the doors and drawer fronts separately.

Glass front IKEA kitchen cabinets
Glass front IKEA kitchen cabinets

Can I buy cabinets without doors?

Yes, the price lists in the kitchen catalog list prices for "frame only" for all the different types of cabinet. The catch here is that the frame only price, as well as excluding doors, drawer fronts and hinges, doesn't include shelves or drawers either so you'd have to buy those separately.

As an example, in the 2008 Canadian catalog a 1 door, 1 drawer 15" wide base cabinet costs $103 for the cheapest door type (Arlig white) but only $40 for the frame only. You'd need to add Rationell drawer(s) and shelves, or other interior fittings such as pull-out racks or shelves. Of course, you can also make your own shelves or buy interior fittings elsewhere as long as the size is correct.

How do I re-create a specific look from the catalog?

The catalog pages often include items which are not stock items for sale. Sometimes they are made from customized stock items, sometimes completely non-IKEA, but there's usually a way to re-create them.

As an example, consider the backsplashes shown in several catalog and IKEA home page pictures (such as the backsplash shown on the cover of the 2008 kitchen catalog and inside on page 10.) These seem to be made with fabric or wallpaper (sometimes IKEA, sometimes not) behind a clear cover. There are several possible ways to create a look like this for more or less cash:

  • Stick the wallpaper or fabric to the wall, and cover with multiple coats of polyurethane to protect it
  • Get glass cut to size at a local glass store, with the edges rounded for safety, mount the paper or fabric on the wall, and mount the glass over the top.
  • Get plastic panels cut, or buy plastic panels and cut them to size yourself, mount the paper or fabric on the wall, and mount the plastic over the top.
  • Get hold of windows or sliding glass cupboard doors (new or recycled) of an appropriate size and make your backsplash to fit them, then mount them over the wallpaper or fabric.
  • Use multiple sliding glass doors and mount the paper or fabric to the back of the doors, so you can move the doors around and have different backsplash arrangements as your mood changes, or change the paper or fabric out completely.

There's no need to restrict yourself to IKEA products when trying to recreate a look. Often you may have to make compromises based on the money, skill or materials you have available, but you may come up with a solution that you like even better than the original catalog picture!

IKEA Kitchen Remodeling Help - downloadable Kindle eBook tells you the secrets you need to know!

Building one IKEA cabinet is simple. Designing, ordering, assembling and installing a whole kitchen full is do-able but there are many more opportunities to make mistakes. It takes more planning - and more knowledge. Knowledge is what this book gives you.

Kitchen Remodeling Help

Here's what Brett says:

"I'll teach you all the tips and tricks I learned building my own kitchen - and show you how to save time, save money and give you step-by-step "plain english" instructions with over 300 detailed pictures to help you build your dream Ikea kitchen project on a shoestring budget."

LOTS of pictures, but you get words too, unlike the basic IKEA instructions that come with your cabinets. How to avoid the traps and gotchas so you save time, money and aggravation.

This is a Kindle ebook so you can download it and view it right away on your computer screen, no waiting for it to arrive in the mail. You don't even need to own a Kindle - you can read it right on your regular computer.

There's a piece missing from the cabinet I ordered! What can I do?

If you bought your cabinets at an IKEA store, you can go back to the store with your receipt and get a replacement for the missing part. Calling ahead to see if they have the part you need is a good idea, especially if you have far to go to visit the store.

If you ordered at a store and your cabinets were delivered, you still need to contact the store where you ordered the cabinets. Call them and describe exactly what's missing (you should be able to get exact part numbers off the instructions).

If you ordered online, you need to call or email IKEA. There should be a contact number or address on your invoice to call with problems. Alternatively, you can try 1-866-866-IKEA or email them (use the form at http://info.ikea-usa.com/IKEAContactUs/Contact.asp... if you're in the US).

Large kitchen island with pendant lights overhead
Large kitchen island with pendant lights overhead

How do I use IKEA cabinets to make an island?

Let me count the ways :)

There are several IKEA products which make great islands just as they are. Take a look at the free-standing kitchen units such as Varde, Bravad or Udden, the Utby island shelf unit, or even the various sizes of kitchen cart. Some of these can accept sinks or cooktops.

If you want your island to match the rest of your cabinets, you can buy several regular cabinets and attach them together. You can use base or wall cabinets to create an island of a specific size, and there are also 12" deep base cabinets if you need a shallow depth but you want drawers.

You may need to go for a custom countertop on top of your cabinets if you need it deeper than the standard 25". If that means it won't match your perimeter counters, don't worry - it's both fashionable and functional to use more than one counter material in your kitchen.

How can I make a plan of my IKEA kitchen?

First, you can do it the old-fashioned way, by hand, using IKEA's own paper planner (built into the back of the 2008 kitchen catalog, but also available separately in stores). This involves measuring your space, drawing it out on the supplied squared paper, and using supplied cardbaord pop-outs of cabinets and appliances to lay out alternative plans.

You can also use your computer. The most direct option for planning a specifically IKEA kitchen if you have a PC is IKEA's own Kitchen Planning software, downloadable from the IKEA website (see the links list). If you have a Mac the IKEA software won't work - many people use Google's free Sketchup software instead.

If you have money to spend there are a variety of kitchen planning software packages which allow to use any kind of cabinets, not just IKEA's, but are a bit more complex to use.

Can I get discontinued doors?

IKEA keeps discontinued door styles available for 2 years after they have been discontinued as part of the after sales service.

If you're trying to find matches for an older door style, there are several places to try: eBay, Craigslist, and the IKEAFans forums.

IKEA model kitchens - All photos (c) kevinw1

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Can I cut down an IKEA cabinet to a different size?

Sure you can, though you'll probably void any warranty by doing so. Easiest to modify is a plain cabinet with shelves, as drawers are more difficult to modify. You'll also need to watch out for changes in door sizes as, depending on the style of the door, this may end up looking very odd!

For plenty of information on modifying and hacking all things IKEA, check the IKEA Hacker link in the links list.

What kind of interior fittings can I use in a corner base cabinet?

IKEA itself provides two corner base cabinets in the main Akurum range, which come with lazy susans as part of the package. These are both "blind corner" rectangular cabinets and come 37" or 49" long.

The freestanding ranges, Varde and Bravad, each contain a corner base cabinet which fits diagonally across the corner and contains shelves or drawers.

If your corner backs onto another room - perhaps as part of a peninsula - you can dispense with an official corner cabinet and use a standard cabinet facing away from the kitchen and accessed from the other side. This solution wastes no space at all and is very convenient if you can fit it into your plans.

Another possibility for a blind corner cabinet is a fold-out shelf fitting from Lee valley Tools: one half of this fitting attaches to the corner cabinet door and when you open the door, folds out with it, bringing along behind it another set of shelves which occupy the blind corner space. This allows you to access all the corner space without wasting as much of it as a lazy susan does.

Lee Valley blind corner unit

IKEA kitchen cabinets with full-height wood doors
IKEA kitchen cabinets with full-height wood doors

Don't see the answer here? Check the resources in the Links List, or ask me and I'll find the answer for you.

Ask your questions about IKEA kitchens

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    • profile image

      Anonymous 6 months ago

      I am actually pretty surprised with the feedback I have seen from Ikea cabinets. We use another RTA cabinet that has more of a custom feal than Ikea (no camlocks or particle board either). they are from www.walcraftcabinetry.com ; I like these because they address the issues of Formaldehyde and voc's as well.

    • MopHolder profile image

      MopHolder 2 years ago

      Even for those kitchens with more than enough packing space, the kitchen organizer simply makes accessibility easier.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 3 years ago

      @Debbiediy: The cabinet tops are like any kind of melamine-coated shelving, so not very decorative but not ugly either. If you used multiple cabinets, you'd get a ridge where they join. It would be easy to put a counter on top, though.

    • profile image

      Debbiediy 3 years ago

      What do the cabinet tops look like? Could I use some base or wall cabinets as a tv stand without a counter top?

    • tok2gman profile image

      tok2gman 4 years ago

      Good lens. Thanks. I used to have an IKEA kitchen a while back, and they came a long way in the last fifteen years. The quality and the design have improved dramatically.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hey David, I suggest you ask this question over at Ikeafans:

      http://www.ikeafans.com/forums/assembly-installati...

      where you have the best chance of getting constructive replies.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hello, I'm installing an IKEA kitchen in my basement and have a 49" corner base cabinet (without the lazy susan). The plan for the corner cabinet is to have a door and drawer (21") combo. I'm trying to install the drawer and having some trouble. The face of the corner cabinet is divided by a "metal post/brace" with pre-drilled holes. The screw(s) do not fit into the pre-drilled holes of the "metal post". Has anyone had any experience with this? If so, how did you install the drawer into the corner cabinet? Do I need different screws?

      Thanks,

      David

    • SCArt LM profile image

      SCArt LM 4 years ago

      Hey what a great resource - definitely one to keep handy when I start remodelling my new home.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, Thanks for this great information! Would standard width laminate counter tops available at Home Depot or Lowes fit on Ikea cabinets?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great post indeed. You had pointed out some of the most important things and features everyone would love about IKEA.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I don't know the answer to that one! I suggest you ask over on the IKEAfans forums at http://www.ikeafans.com/forums/ and someone there will know.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I want the interior of the cabinets to match the doors....can this be done if it isn't white?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi,

      Can I change the runners on the IKEA kitchen drawers so that the auto close function is off? I have a push to open mechanism but it's not strong enough to push against the auto close runner

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: At IKEA...No. The exterior can be completed in the same color and style however, the interiors are ALWAYS birch or white. IKEA has recently added a small range of black cabinets (that are closest in color to the RAMSJO brown-black). However they only come in four wall cabinet sizes: 15x30, 15x39, 18x30, or 18x39...

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      Adding this to my Home Equity Builders Lens :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      can I buy frosted 15 x 30 glass cupboard doors only

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      how do you remove an Ikea kitchen drawer

    • profile image

      debbies21 5 years ago

      we painted the outside of ikea kitchen cabinets that we've had in our laundry room for along time. They are hung on a track. We re-hung them and now the shlef doesn't fit unless we push out the back of the cabinet. My husband thinks it's a shelf issue, i think we didn't rehang it correctly.

      any suggestions.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 5 years ago

      @totallyclever: I have IKEA stuff from 30 years ago which is still going strong, so I'm quite impressed with the sturdiness :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Can you tell me please how to get the door to my Ikea base kitchen corner cabinet to fit? I've tried adjusting the screws and just made everything worse. The door won't close. The two faces of the folding door butt into one another and into the door frame. I think the problem is that the door itself is out of alignment with the door to the next ikea cabinet. The two cabinet doors are close together at the bottom, but half an inch apart at the top. I think this is why there isnât enough space for everything else to fit together. Can you please tell me how to get everything into adjustment? I have no idea where to go to get advice. Thankyou

    • totallyclever profile image

      totallyclever 6 years ago

      I always worry about IKEA making thigns which fall apart. Or perhaps that is just my putting them together...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fantastic and great lens.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Excellent Lens - I've always loved Ikea's products, never knew how purchasing things like cabinets and such worked, though.

    • profile image

      semihandmade 6 years ago

      Another option, for custom doors for IKEA kitchens, is Semihandmade - hand-picked veneers, laminates, even reclaimed materials, all pre-drilled to IKEA specs.

      http://ahandmadehome.com/semi-handmade/

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes, provided you can get them the exact right size. Scherr's (http://www.scherrs.com/) is a custom door maker who are very experienced with making doors for IKEA boxes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Can I install ikea boxes, but install drawer fronts and drawers from a different manufacturer?

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes, IKEA sells toekicks that go with the cabinets. They clip onto the legs that the base cabinets sit on.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      When installing free-standing cabinets from IKEA, is it possible to cover the bottom perimeter of the base cabinets with a toe-kick? Do they provide toe-kick sets as an option when ordering?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Can I hang an Ikea base cabinet on a wall?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      how do I remove an ikea kitchen drawer front

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 7 years ago

      @anonymous: If you still have the chip, or if you can remove a part with the same finish, most paint stores can mix you a paint to match. Just buy the toughest paint you can get.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Kevin Wilson 2: Hi Kevin.. it's on the corner of the lazy susan that slide out in the blind cabinet. I wish Ikea made paint to match the boxes and cabinet drawers. Last time my husband made a return, he got hassled about some of the boxes that weren't in pristine shape and was told that once a product is installed there is no return.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 7 years ago

      @anonymous: If the chip is on a door or drawer front that you can remove without taking apart the whole cabinet, you still might be able to get it replaced. If not, consider trying iron-on edging, or a really strong epoxy-type paint.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      installed ikea cabinets in rental. the finish on the boxes and panels looks very thin and one of the lazy susan pieces arrived with a chip on it. too late to return as it's installed. Ikea does not make matching paint.. any suggestions on how to fix the chip and prevent damage that tenants will eventually cause? we installed the basic white cabinets and boxes

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @anonymous: yes and they offer lazy susan type inserts that make climbing into the blind cabinet to fetch a lost pan obsolete.

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 8 years ago

      [in reply to ScottG]

      Yes, you can get corner base cabinets of two types, either blind-corner, or "around the corner" with a lazy susan inside. See them on this page (near the bottom):

      http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/depar...

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Does Ikea have any blind cabinets for a corner.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      Very informative and thorough lens, thanks!

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 8 years ago

      [in reply to eric coyle]

      Hi Eric,

      You might try the commercial arm of IKEA, "IKEA Business" at

      http://business.ikea.com/Ikea/siteshell/startup.ht...

      Either they or the IKEA head office might be able to give you a more definitive answer than your local store.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I have a client who wamts to install ikea kitchen and bathroom cabinets in rental units. My local store says that the various warranties are valid for the original purchaser, but my life experience is that most "home-owner" type warranties are simply voided by commercial use, which these rental units would be.

      How could a contractor facilitate provision of any warranties in such a case?

      Eric in Calgary

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 8 years ago

      [in reply to makmack]: Yes, IKEA does sell doors and drawer fronts separately - I emailed them to ask specifically, since I couldn't find the answer anywhere, and they told me yes. If your original cabinets are IKEA then you shouldn't have any trouble getting doors the right size, but if they aren't, you need to do some careful measuring to see if you can fit the IKEA doors to them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I like the layout of my kitchen, but it needs to be up dated. The cabinets are only 6 yrs old but the original owners choose a hideous color. my qeuotion is, does IKEA just sell fronts and doors so I can keep the base of the cabinets, or do I have to start from scratch?

    • Kevin Wilson 2 profile image
      Author

      Kevin Wilson 2 9 years ago

      Depends... what are they made of? Most likely answer is that you use some kind of cover strip to cover the join.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      How do I seam my island cover panels together?