Hello! Amanda Holstein here with an update on how my IKEA Kitchen Cabinets have been holding up since my last post in 2020. To remind you, I’m an interior designer based in Mill Valley, California, and five years ago my husband and I began renovating our first home together. With a tight budget and the expectation of living there for 5-7 years, we chose to save on cabinetry by going with IKEA. Though the process was a bit of a headache, we were generally happy with the results and how our kitchen looked & functioned in the end.
It’s been 5 years since our renovation, including a global pandemic, so we’ve definitely put our kitchen to use with so much time spent at home. Here’s what we’ve experienced:
The Good News
Nobody can tell they are from IKEA
Our friends, family, and guests have always commented on how nice our kitchen looks and are surprised when I tell them our cabinets are from IKEA. To a more discerning eye, like a designer or contractor, you can tell the materials are more cheaply made since the doors feel much lighter than real wood. But generally, I’d say they blend in nicely and our kitchen looks elevated.
We love our layout
The way we laid out our cabinetry, using IKEA’s 3D Kitchen Planner, has proven to be super functional for the way we live our daily life. We love our pantry and trash-pull out, and I wouldn’t change or rearrange anything. So those 3 hours (and 3 hot dogs) at IKEA deciding on every little detail paid off.
They’ve been easy to clean
One thing I wasn’t anticipating is how easy the doors have been to clean. They have a really smooth finish that wipes clean with minimal effort.
The Bad News
Some doors & drawers have become misaligned
Many of the doors have slightly shifted out of alignment and feel flimsy. Our trash pull-out, for example, gets a lot of use and feels a bit unstable. You can easily shake it from side to side. In the above photo, you can see our upper cabinets are clearly out of alignment as well.
There is some chipping paint
Because some doors have come a bit loose/misaligned, they are rubbing against each other, causing the paint to peel in certain areas.
They probably can’t withstand kids
I don’t think they are durable enough for regular use with kids. I can’t imagine the drawers being strong enough to hold the weight of a toddler pulling down on them or the doors making it very long with teenagers slamming them.
Their customer service is very difficult
Unfortunately, dealing with IKEA’s customer service is a huge pain. If a piece breaks or is missing, I wouldn’t waste your time trying to replace it. We experienced so many issues that we ended up giving up, so one of our drawers is missing a side.
So, are they worth the savings?
For us, yes, they were worth the savings. Choosing IKEA cabinetry saved us a ton of money and we definitely don’t regret that (our cabinetry and appliance total came to about $6,500). Because we had a tight budget to renovate our entire 1800 sq foot house, I’d say saving on lower quality cabinets was worth it in our case as it allowed us to spread our budget over more square footage. We aren’t expecting them to last forever and we don’t have kids adding to their wear & tear, so they still look pretty good and function as we need them to.
My Final Recommendation
If you’re planning to use them short term, with no kids, and you’re doing a cheap flip or temporary renovation on a super tight budget, then yes they’re worth it. However, with a few more renovations under my belt, I’m now more likely to recommend something like Granite Expo which is slightly more expensive, and much better quality than IKEA, but nowhere near as expensive as custom cabinets. This kitchen cost $6500 in cabinetry and I would guess it would only be two thousand or so more from Granite Expo.
Just for fun, here is a before and after so you can see how the kitchen looked before the renovation:
Thanks for going on this IKEA Kitchen Cabinet journey with me! If you have any other questions or want to get in touch with me, you can find me at www.amandaholstein.com or on Instagram @amanda_holstein.
*Design and photos by Amanda Holstein
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