Interior Kitchen & Dining

Thinking of Installing an IKEA Kitchen? Here’s What You Need to Know.

A DIY IKEA kitchen is a hefty project. Before you say sure to the venture, see to it that you understand what it entails.

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Is DIY The Right Solution For You?

Revamping your kitchen is an exciting affair, but it also involves making myriad mystifying decisions. If you don’t want to break the bank, you’ve likely considered DIY alternatives, such as an IKEA kitchen installation. Surely, doing the work yourself would save money and prove a prime learning experience, but is a homemade IKEA kitchen renovation even possible or just a crazy idea? Do you have what it takes? Don’t rush into heedless undertakings; make an informed decision about how to approach your kitchen renovation by answering these questions first.

What Is Your Budget?

IKEA kitchens are remarkably cost-effective. Their cabinets (the costliest item in most kitchen renovations) are affordable without waiving aesthetics or durability. For cost and quality, IKEA cabinets usually beat out big-box store alternatives, with or without installation fees. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a sale.

For a ballpark estimate: DIYers report expenses ranging on average from $7,000 to $14,500 for kitchen renovations, including cabinets and appliances. This does not, however, include the cost of installation or planning services if you choose to hire help.

Related: 6 Types of Cabinets to Consider in Your Kitchen Reno

Does IKEA’s Selection Yield to Your Needs And Wants?

When it comes to your kitchen’s configuration, IKEA offers a flexible range of widths for each item, from cabinets to kitchen islands. If you measure carefully along the way, you should not be left with any jarring gaps in your design.

As for aesthetics, IKEA holds more than 20 styles of cabinet fronts. If you can’t find your perfect match, other companies sell additional designs for IKEA frames, adding to your selection. Just note that buying accessories from another company will represent an additional expense.

Do You Have The Proper Tools?

IKEA kitchen cabinets might be labeled as “ready to assemble,” but the DIY installation is not a turnkey solution. To install an IKEA kitchen yourself, you will likely need safety glasses, screwdrivers (Phillips-head and Pozidriv types), an awl, a hammer, levels (medium and large), a measuring tape, a try square, G clamps, a fine-toothed saw, a hole cutter, a miter box and saw, a jigsaw, a circular saw, a drill, a nail gun, a crowbar, painter’s tape, a stud finder, and wood shims. If you have to buy tools, account for them in your budget.

How Much Planning Are You Inclined to Do?

DIYers claim planning is about 80 percent of the work. You must carefully design your kitchen so you know exactly what to buy for a cohesive look (and accurate dimensions). If you skip IKEA’s planning services, their kitchen planner software remains at your disposal.

You will need to measure, measure, and measure again. Designing and shopping based on incorrect dimensions can cost you greatly. You will also need to assemble and install each piece in the correct order, which requires yet more planning.

Can You Manage And Store Hundreds of Items?

Before you realize it, your home will be overrun with dozens of boxes of flat-packed items awaiting assembly. Make sure you have space for them, as most items must be stored indoors. Attention to detail is key; do inventory at the store, and again at home. You don’t want to realize an important piece is missing at a critical stage of the installation.

Are You Up For The Oft-Forgotten “Hidden Steps”?

There is more to a DIY kitchen renovation than assembling and arranging. Before you even start, clean everything out and set up a temporary kitchen elsewhere. You will need to take care of any patching, painting walls, and redoing flooring before you get to the actual installation of cabinets and appliances.

Be prepared to locate studs, cables, and plumbing, and to consider these elements in your design. At every step of the way, verify that everything is level, and fix the inclination when it isn’t level. Know that you may need to cut utility holes for your microwave, cabinet lighting, and sink plumbing. It is technical and wearying work, to say the least.

Related: 12 Kitchen Trends You Might Regret

Mistakes Happen. Do You Have Capacity For Them?

Fudge one measurement and you’ll have to start over halfway through. Forget to cut a utility hole ahead of time and you’ll be taking it all down. Mistakes cost you in time, and sometimes, they cost you in a more literal sense. For example, although IKEA discourages DIYers from using power tools, foregoing the drill is a laborious process. Power tools must then be used with care, since chipping a surface can mean buying a whole new piece. Mistakes are frustrating and all but guaranteed to happen—so prepare for them.

Do You Have Helpers on Speed Dial?

Even if you are strong and independent, some steps are plainly a two-person job. You may need to seek help when you load boxes into your car, mounting cabinets on rails, and moving appliances. If you live alone, consider whether you have family or friends to help you when you need it. It also helps to know someone with a pickup truck, or to budget for the cost of renting a truck.

Do You Have The Time And Patience to See It Through?

DIYers with full-time jobs say it took them weeks (sometimes months) to carry out an IKEA kitchen installation from start to finish. Assembly is the easy part. As you lay out your timeline, you must consider the planning, installation, and cleaning this project entails. Budget patience, time, and money for any mistakes that delay your work. Consider how much time you can invest per week and whether you have a full-time job or can take some time off to knock it out faster. Also remember to consider how long you can you function without a kitchen.

When Can You (And Should You) Hire Professionals?

Ultimately, you don’t have to shoulder the entire kitchen install yourself. IKEA offers customizable services ranging from planning and designing to full installation. Most customers opt for hiring some help.

You can hire independent contractors for certain stages of the project, but do your research: Not everyone will take on IKEA projects. Or you can compromise, by doing assembling your materials and letting a pro install it for you. Just remember to hire a licensed electrician for all electrical work.

So, Is a DIY Kitchen Your True Calling?

In the end, the decision to opt in for an IKEA kitchen renovation comes down to your personal preferences, budget, and overall interest in DIY. A great deal of time, sweat, and patience go into installing an IKEA kitchen yourself. Yet, some people not only are up for it, they actually love it! It’s a great money-saver and a guaranteed learning experience. The question is: Are you up for the challenge?

Related: 10 Best-Bet Kitchen Buys from Ikea