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 insert drawers

Ikea 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.

Cupboard view I imagined

Ikea Cupboard

The cupboard view I have!!

Booking
The installer will give you a date for your installation.  Do not assume it will be next week.  My installer had a 6 week wait time!  Ikea do have more than one installer contracting to them. Different contractors have different expertise.  Some are cabinet makers – ie they are similar to a carpenter and can cut out wood to fit the kitchen properly  whereas other contractors may literally just put the cabinets together and put them in place.  You will require a plumber to plumb the sink and dishwasher.  Ikea will arrange their plumber and electrician for you or you can use your own plumber and electrician.  You will let them know this at the time of the booking.  We used our own plumber and electrician so unable to comment on whether the Ikea trades are well priced or expensive.

Tip Three
When you call Ikea to book an installer for your pre-site inspection you can request an installer which has the shortest wait time if you require your kitchen installed for a particular occasion.  However, keep in mind that there may be a reason why this particular installer has a short wait time.  If time is not an issue, I would suggest to ask for an installer who is also a cabinet maker.  The installation of the kitchen cabinetry will be the same price whoever  you choose but the cabinet maker will be able to make a ‘bulkhead’  (joinery between the top of the overhead cupboards and ceiling) and other cabinetry you may need.  This is an extra cost but cheaper than having another carpenter or cabinet maker tradie come and make the items.

Delivery
Once the order has been placed and deposit paid to Ikea the deliver of the cabinetry will be made to your front door by Ikea approximately two – three days before the installation will occur.

Plumbing and Electrical
Ikea will co-ordinate for a Plumber and Electrician for you if you do not know/have your own trades to carry out the work for you.  We had our own trades to do the work so I cannot comment on this.  You could get a quote from some local tradesman and then ask for an estimate from the Ikea trades to decide whether you would use the Ikea recommended tradesmen.

Splash-back & Bench top
Ikea can also arrange for your Splash Back and/or Bench top.  They have a range of Glass or Stone Splash-back and Stone/Laminate or Timber bench tops.   We chose Glass Splash-back and Stone Bench top.  These two options are not supplied by Ikea but a contracting company.

This is where (for us) that buying a kitchen from Ikea was less than professional. Although Ikea display the glass and stone in store this is, essentially, all they do other than ensure you sign to approve the colours and (obviously) receive a percentage of the sale.

Things I didn’t realise
Cabinetry
After the cabinetry is installed the ‘plinths’ are installed underneath.  I did not realise that they would be installed so far under the cabinets. Be aware of this if you are staining or polishing your floors that you take this into consideration.

Corner Cupboards
The carousels we had installed in the corner cabinetry are great for accessing items in the back corner.  However,  I think storage wise you, would be able to store about 20% more if you were decided on normal shelving, as, due to the functioning of the carousel a lot of space is wasted.

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.