It’s been three years since we finished our Ikea kitchen renovation and I’m finally sitting down to answer all of your questions. If you sent me some via Instagram, thank you and you’ll find your answer in this post. If you don’t, just leave it in the comment section and I’ll answer. I’m also sharing the complete budget breakdown, what I love and my number one regret.
But first, you need to see what this space looked like when we bought the house. These are from the initial walk though which we did in the evening. Y’all…..that yellow…..it was EVERYWHERE.
The previous owners were running a bottled water company out of the house. There were water bottles and dispensers all over the house and a reverse osmosis system in the garage. It was insane. Peep the water bottles stacked in the family room and 11 year old Elisa.
I took measurements that night so I could begin planning out the new layout. We wanted to create a focal point on that back wall and that meant relocating the fridge and microwave. Open shelving was also on our list so those upper cabinets would have to go. I get asked if we miss the storage and no, we have plenty of storage elsewhere. You can see in the picture below where the fridge was and the gap to the right is where the stove was. The only appliance they left was a dingy dishwasher.
This was a complete gut job that we did prior to moving in and finished not too long after. So nothing was staying. I ended up giving some of the upper cabinets to a friend for his garage. The rest were in rough shape. The recurring theme in this house was a lack of maintenance and cleaning. The grease and grime on the cabinets was extreme.
We did the demo ourselves and hired out the electrical, plumbing and cabinet/island installation. We ended up hiring out the tile backsplash as well because it was a big job and I had only tiled once before that.
You can see in the picture above how we relocated where the fridge went. This meant moving the water line but was fairly easy for our contractor to do since everything was easily accessible from the basement.
Get accurate measurements
My number one advice when planning an Ikea kitchen reno is to do a good job measuring or, have Ikea come and measure it for you. Then they’re on the hook if anything is off. We were supposed to have a built in microwave but I messed up the measurements and when it came it was too big to fit into the space. The problem was, I based my purchase off of a 24″ microwave cabinet when the outside was 24″, not the inside. So, that’s why our microwave is just sitting there in that open space. We ended up adding a filler piece to close up the gap above it.
Also, I planned for a filler panel on either side of the fridge but that never happened. The fridge barely fits into the space. So much so that our drawers on the bottom left scrape against the wall. Keep in mind that Ikea uses frameless cabinets so you need to leave clearance on the sides to avoid this from happening.
When you use the Ikea planner, the system warns you if you haven’t left enough room. I didn’t get a warning because I couldn’t layout the inset of that wall where the fridge is in the planner. So I planned the space against a straight wall. You can see what I mean in the pic below.
Planning the Ikea kitchen layout
Some quick notes about planning. Use the kitchen planner and have your design laid out. Then when you go to order, they can pull it up in store and help you tweak it. They will be able to do much more in the system than you can. Also here’s a hack if you need help, go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and sit with someone in the kitchen section. They can design a plan for you (based off of your measurements) if you’re unsure about how you want everything laid out. Then, take that plan and duplicate it in the Ikea kitchen planner.
The Ikea kitchen planner will really help you visualize the space. It can be a bit clunky to navigate sometimes but it’s how I planned the whole layout. When you’re done, it will give you the price list and you can leave things off like hardware if you know you’re going to get that somewhere else. When you’re done you’ll get a full list of every single component (minus the countertops).
The Cost Breakdown
You can see above that the cabinets were $5,238. This price included another smaller sink that I initially was going to place in the island at $119. We ended up returning it though so total for cabinets was $5119.
Quartz countertops (also from Ikea): $2,300
Butcher Block: $449
Pendant lights: $237
Delta Faucet: $363 (on sale and I have 10% off military discount)
Cabinet hardware: $211.12 (22 bar pulls and 5 T knobs)
Appliances: Just over $5,000. We purchased before we even moved in and the store held them for us until we were ready for delivery. This includes a 10yr warranty on the fridge, 5 year on the range and 3 year on the dishwasher.
Total: $9197 w/o appliances and $14, 200 with.
These do not include labor cost. That was an additional $5150 for us. That included the tile backsplash install, installing shelving, adding recessed lights, installing new lights, moving an outlet box over near the table, updating outlets, moving water line, plumbing for sink and dishwasher, installing faucet, installing the cabinets (we built them, he hung them) and installing the island. The tile portion was $2k and before I really started any DIY. I could do it myself now lol.
Ikea Kitchen Q&A
Do your dishes get dusty on shelves? Do you prefer them over upper cabinets?
On the top shelf, the top plate on the stack of dishes gets dirty. Also the mortar and pestle. Mostly because everything else on the shelves gets consistently used. The other plates/bowls/cups are our everyday dishes so they don’t sit on the shelves long enough to get dusty. I think most people have this misconception that you have to constantly dust your dishes. Just display the ones you use and you won’t have that problem.
Also, in this case yes I prefer the open shelves because it was a major design element in this space to have that tile wall go from counter to ceiling.
Did you have to add more storage space to make up for losing the cabinets?
It evened out. We still have the cabinet over the fridge and where we lost some uppers, we added lowers. We gained a 36″ cabinet where the fridge was and more space with the addition of tall cabinets around the fridge. I also moved our pantry to the utility closet so that gave us a small closet for all the appliances. Also, we don’t have a lot of stuff in here. If you’re worried about losing storage, consider the things you actually need versus what you’re hanging on to just because.
What would you do differently? What do you love? Do you still love the black, white and wood?
I would get a different damn sink and ditch the two bowl for a single sink instead. I love the apron front but I would probably go with a stainless steel or granite like in our last place. We’ve lost many a glass in this sink. Also, I would’ve gotten the black/brown base cabinet color instead of white. This was an oversight on my part. It would’ve made it look a bit more seamless.
I love all of it! My favorite elements are the drawer within a drawer that add more storage, and the fact that I can change the cabinet faces if any of them get damaged.
Neutrals are my love language so yes I still love the black, white and wood. I love the warmth that the dark colors add against the starkness of the tile. I specifically chose that tile because of the texture it added. When I come downstairs every morning, the kitchen still brings me joy.
What color are your cabinets?
I have no clue lol. They came in this black from Ikea. I suggest my favorite black, Tricorn Black if you’re looking for a good contender.
How did you decide on DIY versus installing your own countertops? Also how did you decide on the stone?
The countertop purchased included installation. No way I was installing stone myself. Wood counters are different but honestly when it comes to matching seams and all that I leave it to the pros. As far as deciding on stone, our budget led the way. It was either marble or quartz and since my husband didn’t want counters with any veining, we went with the solid white quartz. I wanted a lightly veined marble. I don’t regret the quartz though, I love it.
Where to put your money when renovating the kitchen and where to be cheap about?
I splurged on the faucet because I wanted that brass color. Put your money towards quality lighting and the workhorses like the appliances. If you go with Ikea you can do that. I really wanted a professional range but we were also installing flooring throughout the whole house and were limited on budget.
I splurged on these outlets though. Highly,highly recommend. They have a USB-A and USB-C port. It’s great to alleviate lost charging blocks. We have two. One at the island and one along the back wall.
What did you do to help you make all the design decisions? So many things to choose!
Making the design decisions was the best part for me. I live for those details but I fully understand it can be daunting for others. First, focus on the functional elements. There are a lot of functions being done in a kitchen Do you want a pot filler? Are you drawn to open shelving? Do you want your appliances to blend in with the cabinets? Do you want to incorporate a pull out trash can? How do you like to store your spices? Those kinds of questions will help you narrow down which elements you’ll include in your design.
Think about how you want your kitchen to feel. Bright and airy or warm and cozy? What colors are you drawn to? Black like mine or more traditional white? Maybe you want different colored uppers and lowers?
Once you decide how you want your kitchen to feel you can choose things that will help bring that feeling to life.
If you have any more questions that I didn’t answer, let me know down below! All of the sources are here by the way.
It looks so great! Thanks for the budget breakdown. I had 2 questions about your pendants (because I don’t like the ones over our island – we also have 3). How often do you have to clean the glass so they don’t look grimy? And how do you like the exposed bulbs? I love the look, but am afraid the light will be too harsh. Maybe this is an unfounded fear though!
Great question. We should probably wipe them down about once a week to keep them looking super clean but it ends up being like twice a month honestly. I still would choose them over fabric shades because it’s much easier to wipe the globes than it is to try and clean lampshades. Also, the bulbs we used are very warm so it’s not bright at all. They’re used more for accent lighting and not task lighting so we turn them on at night after dinner.
Love this breakdown. I’m closing on a house in two weeks and have decided I’ll be going with Ikea for my cabinets. Do you have any tips/advice for all of the interior cabinet/drawer options that are available? Anything you love or wish you had added?
I love the drawer inside a drawer options the most. Not a thing I would change about that. I would say, think about how you store your items and plan the inside around that.Like do you want your plates in a drawer with a drawer for cutlery above it? Or do you want your plates in your upper cabinets? Things like that. The best thing is you can always change your mind later and swap from drawer to shelf and vice versa.
Thanks so much for all of this detailed info. We need to do a major update on our kitchen and i haven’t even known how to start. This was super helpful. And also, your kitchen is really beautiful. So glad I found my way to your account. I really love it. Beautiful content and also appreciate your opinions/humor too.
Such a great article and amazing pictures. We are kitchen renovators and recently came into the business. You have given us such helpful tips for our clients. Thanks again,
[…] When we moved into our house this utility closet was where we stashed our brooms, mops and a bunch of other random things that we hadn’t yet found a permanent home for. The designated pantry was a small closet right in the kitchen and I decided that converting this space and incorporating some smart pantry organization would better utilize the space. We converted this closet right after renovating the kitchen. […]