Tips on buying an Ikea Kitchen!

Tips on buying an Ikea Kitchen!

If you are considering buying an Ikea kitchen and would like some tips on how to go about it – read on.  It is not as straight forward as you may think!  I would have loved to have heard someone’s thoughts and experiences before I went ahead.  I did search the internet for a blog but was only able to find information on American Ikea.  This is my experience with Ikea Adelaide – Australia.

Sometime last year we decided to replace our kitchen – it really did need it.  This was the first time in our lives that we had the opportunity to do this.  Where on earth do you start?

Get quotes!
Firstly, make sure you get a few quotes from local kitchen suppliers.  We obtained two ‘custom made’ kitchen quotes from local suppliers that were $40,000 and $26,000.  This was for the basic models and did NOT include any appliances, electrical or plumbing costs.  I believe you should get some quotes for a few reasons.
1. Quality – check out the finish on the doors and benchtops.
2. Warranty Criteria – How long and covers what aspects
3. Timelines – to make and install. (don’t forget you will also need to remove your current kitchen – is this included)

Ikea Displays
Ikea do not display all of their kitchen options at the store.  There are numerous colours and finishes on offer so obviously they are unable to display all their options.  You can view some ideas in store and some ideas in their annual Kitchen Brochure.  A point to be aware of is that if you see a handle or accessory that you like do not assume that it will be available when you go ahead with your kitchen as it could be discontinued by the time you have your kitchen installed.

So it is good to have some idea of what sort of kitchen you think you might like.  If you have no idea at all then I would suggest looking on Pinterest.  If you have not heard of Pinterest; it is a free website that you can join/register with and then type in words such as ‘ white kitchen – black benchtop’.  It will then show you as many photos of kitchens with your specifications as it can find.  You can then save these photos to your computer/pinterest board so that you can look at them at your leisure and decide which kitchen really tickles your fancy.

Ikea Process

Ikea Online Design
I tried making my own design on the Ikea online design tool but it was not the easiest piece of software to use.  I am unsure whether it was my computer not having the right graphics or speed to use the app but it kept shutting down and was very slow.  I understand that they provide a service (which you have to pay for) where an Ikea team member will help you design your kitchen on the app – in store.  This would indicate that: – like me – other people had trouble with the design tool so they brought in this option of booking an appointment with an Ikea staff member to help you use the software.

Kitchen Planner
For $99 you can have a Ktichen Planner come to your home.  I assumed that this meant he would help with design ideas, colours and the plan etc.  This is not the case. The Kitchen Planners are contractors who come out and will measure up and send you a computerised kitchen desgin and the estimated price for this design.  If you are looking for him to advise on colours, benchtop types- ie laminate or stone this is not part of this service.  They are not Interior Designers but really just there to measure and generate a 3d image of what the cabinetry will look like.

At this stage you have not signed up for a kitchen with Ikea you have just used their planning service to generate a computer design of your kitchen.  Included in the $99 the planner/designer will change aspects of the kitchen until you are happy with the design.  This is easy to do on the software.  As long as you do not go overboard and change the whole design! You will now have some idea how much your design will cost.

What the planner will do :
Measure and plan the kitchen to your specifications
– this Includes Ikea white goods and electrical appliances that you will replace
Itemises and costs the cabinetry/appliances and accessories
Generates a (black & white) computer design of the kitchen

Tip One
Our planner included/decided on aspects of the kitchen that we had not thought of or asked for.  Such as:  where the drawer inserts would go (see below), corner cupboard carousels etc  Even though this can be changed after the computer design has been created, if you want to save time make sure you have an idea of where you would like your utensil drawer and if you want carousels in your corner cupboards.  Ensure you tell the planner when he is measuring your kitchen.

Ikea Drawer Insert

Drawer Inserts

Ikea Kitchen Carousel

Corner Cupboard Carousel

Kitchen Installer
Once you have decided to go ahead with an Ikea kitchen the next step is to call Ikea and arrange for the ‘Installer’ to come and complete the final measure and quote.  This is a cost of $220 and is called a ‘pre-inspection’.  The Kitchen Installer who measures for the installation will be from the contracting company that installs your kitchen.  You definitely need to be at home when he measures.  Our installer asked a lot of questions with regard to the functionality of the kitchen.  He also made suggestions to minor changes that would enhance the look of the kitchen.

Tip Two
Even though the installer may install kitchens for a living do not assume that he knows more about what you want in a kitchen than you do.  He will be able to give you advice on technicalities but should not try and change your mind with regard to the basic design of the kitchen, the colours and the spacing between the cupboards and benchtops.  One mistake that we made was agreeing with the Installer to raise the cupboards by a few centimetres ‘for aesthetics’.  However, only being 5’4″ now that they are installed all I can see  from my level is the undersides of the cupboard which is not the nicest of views.

Ikea Cupboard

Cupboard view I imagined.

Ikea Cupboard

The cupboard view I have!!

Pros

If the installer does not use all the parts or you change your mind with regard to small items like door openers or if you want handles on your overhead cupboards then you can return them to Ikea for a refund. (they need to be returned within a year of purchase)

If you do go ahead with an Ikea Kitchen the $99 is re-imbursed when you make the final payment for the cabinetry.

Cons

 

 

If you love the item – lets say a cupboard handle – if you were to purchase the handles when you first decide to go ahead with the Ikea kitchen you can always return them within a year of purchase.  If you are unsure of how many you need it would be advisable to buy more than you need as you can always return them.  Ikea has a 1 year returns policy.  Ensure you keep your receipt.

My Aeoniums are tall, lanky and straggily – what should I do?

My Aeoniums are tall, lanky and straggily – what should I do?

Aeonium Aboreum are a great succulent.  They are easy to grow, propagate extremely easily, can survive on just rainfall and ‘can’ look fantastic.

I say ‘can’ because they can also grow tall and lanky and ‘not’ look so fantastic.

Leggy Aeonium Aboreum

So what can you do if your Aeonium Aboreum gets long and lanky and starts to look less than impressive?  As this succulent is so versatile there is a very simple solution to the problem.

Basically, you can just prune the stems. You can either: Prune the stems back and then pull out the rest of the plant and replant the stem in the ground.
See below.

Aeonium Aboreum schwartkof Aeonium pruned

Or alternatively: you can prune the stems back to a lower level.  It’s like giving them a hair cut.  You can make them as tall or low as you like.  The stem will sprout new buds within a few weeks. This will make them bushier and less lanky as each stem will produce more than one new bud. See below.

Aeonium - offsets after pruning Aeonium Aboreum Fire Wise Succulent

The best time to do this is late Autumn or Winter which is when the Aeonium succulent has its growing season.  If you did prune and replant them during Spring or Summer they would not die but it would take a little longer for the plants to start growing again.

If you decide on the second option and feel bad about throwing away the Aeonium stems.  An alternative to putting them in the green waste is to pot them up.  Take all the stems and plant them next to each other in a large pot.  Instantly making an impressive pot for your patio area and making use of the stems.

 Aeonium Aboreum pot

How long does it take for Aeoniums to get leggy?
It took my Aeoniums about one year to grow into long lanky, fairly unattractive succulents.  If I  had pruned them back around the 6 month mark (middle photo) they would have been bushier and less lanky.

Initial Planting

6 months growth

Leggy Aeonium Aboreum

Approximately 1 year later

If you think this is a lot of work on a fairly regular basis you are probably right.  I have found that this particular Aeonium is more likely to grow tall and spindly.  There are other Aeoniums that are less likely to grow as fast and tall.  I have a second Aeonium Aboreum  (see below) species that has much larger rosettes, grows lower to the ground and flowers less.  Therefore, is a lot less work and as it flowers less often is less likely for the stems to die back.  Aeonium’s are monocarpic.  This means that after the parent plant flowers it dies.  (see post: Which succulents die after flowering?)

Aeonium Aboreum

Other Aeoniums do not seem to grow as fast and get as lanky as the Aboruem.  Such as the Aeonium Swortkof, Variagated and Pinwheel.  See below.

Aeoniun Swartkof Aeonium Pinwheel Aeonium Variagated

Some might say that my Aeoniums have grown tall and lanky due to a lack of full sun.  Yes this can be a factor I do have some growing in full sun and they are still quite lanky.  I believe it is just the species of Aeonium.