Our Love/Hate Relationship With Ikea Cabinets

We completed our kitchen remodel about 6 months ago, which means our Ikea kitchen cabinets have gotten some good use, and I wanted to update you on how we feel about them thus far.

The two big reasons we went with Ikea is because the aesthetic I was looking for was flat front cabinets.  I did not want traditional style shaker cabinets–and for some reason, flat front cabinets cost WAY more than the shaker style.  I wanted something that looked like it fit in with the mid century  modern style of our home.  The second reason is obviously cost, we just could not find anything more affordable than Ikea cabinets.

There are some awesome features about Ikea cabinets that I love.  (Please excuse my lack of organization inside the cabinets).  We have a corner cabinet that has shelving that actually swings and pulls out.

This allows you to maximize corner cabinet space.  I LOVE this.  The other corner cabinet has a built a built in lazy Susan on the top and bottom.

The shelves turn all the way around which make grabbing pots and pans a cinch and easy on the back.

Next to the fridge we installed a tall pantry cabinet.  We chose to install pull out shelves (instead of standard shelves) which make it super convenient to see everything you have on a shelf.

Another feature we love is the soft shut drawers and cabinets.  Everything glides and shuts quietly which is just a nice added bonus in my book.  As you can see we didn’t go with upper cabinets; I’ve really liked storing everything in drawers and haven’t missed uppers at all.

One of the things I’m not thrilled about is how easily smudge marks show up on the finish of the cabinets.  I can only speak for the dark espresso color we chose, (I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be an issue on lighter color cabinets).  But these finger prints are just from me putting dishes away (you can only imagine the smudges that a sticky fingered one year old causes). I’m constantly wiping down the cabinets which is a pain in the butt.

Ok, look at the little space between the bottom of the drawer and the top of the cabinet.  Do you see it?  We cannot for the life of us get this particular cabinet to hang straight.  I know it’s only slight, but it drives me insane.  (And yes, I’m aware of the smudges all over my dishwasher).

The same issue is with the cabinets above the fridge.  We cannot get them to hang flush, can you see the left door is hanging slightly lower than the right?  Ugh.  Also, can you see the birch colored base of the cabinet?  You can only choose the base cabinets in white or birch, so it drives me batty that you can see a slight outline around the cabinet door.

The one issue that bothers me the most about Ikea cabinets is the toe kick.  You can adjust the height of your cabinets to your liking, which is nice since Andy and I are tall.  Unfortunately, when the you adjust the height to the tallest setting, it leaves a very obvious gap between the top of the toe kick and the bottom of your cabinets.  You can only see the gap if you are at eye level with it on the floor, its not noticeable when you’re standing, but I absolutely hate that you can see a space between there.

Another thing about the toe kick that drives me nuts is that it is not one solid piece.  We had to cut a couple of pieces to fit the length of our cabinets, so when I mop or sweep I often hit the toe kick out of place and have to re-align it.

All that to say, I really like our Ikea cabinets.  But if I could do it all again, I would get a professional Ikea cabinet installer.  Our contractor did half of it and we did half of it, and people, for the sake of your marriage, I promise it would be worth it to pay someone who knows what their doing to install them.

What do you think?  Do you have Ikea cabinets? Are you considering them?

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19 Responses to “Our Love/Hate Relationship With Ikea Cabinets”

  1. Marysa says:

    The only reason we didn’t go with IKEA is because we couldn’t get the cabinets to fit an any configuration. Basically we went with custom cabinets that were available in sizes like a cookie sheet cabinet (not sure what that is called). We couldn’t move things around in our remodel (like appliances) and just couldn’t make their pre-fab stuff work. Your kitchen looks gorgeous! My husband is like you – those little things that he knows about (uneven spaces, etc) drives him crazy, but to the rest of the world, it looks fantastic :) Nice job – your kitchen looks fabulous :)

  2. I think they look great and they suit the style of your kitchen very well. The finger smudges will disappear as she gets older!

  3. Cece says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m not in the market but I have been interested in the quality of Ikea Cabinets. They definitely look good and I’m sure it saved you a ton of money. I hope the things that drive you nuts is outweighed by what you like.

  4. “for the sake of your marriage” ha! I can only imagine. Hide the knives!

  5. Shannon says:

    We don’t have IKEA cabinets, but I just wanted to say from an appearance perspective, they look amazing in your mid century mod home! :)

  6. I would totally consider them- and my parents have ikea cabinets and love them.

  7. Simply Evani says:

    LOL I love the fact you said “for the sake of your marriage” Haha all these life tips are so handy for those of us who haven’t gone through the home process!

  8. Rose Graham says:

    We are in the processes of picking cabinets and was looking for reviews on them. Love Ikea and was curious to see how they hold up. Thanks for posting!

  9. We re-did our kitchen 2 years ago with Ikea Birch cabinets and we do not get finger prints as they are very light. The doors and drawer fronts have adjustments to line them up, it takes a bit of time but they will line up. I could not be happier with mine. We did both upper and lower and all the lower and the island are drawers, except under the sink, makes it very easy to get to everything and no bending over for us old folks, lol. Also did the soft close and would do it again. I did the assembly and my husband did the install, with just a little help from me. Will do it again when I buy a new house.

  10. Hi! I came accross your blog from younghouselove and I love your kitchen! We also have the dark ikea cabinets (we went with the shaker style) and I have the same complaints as you. We have the same gap on our toe kick, we cannot get the doors straight above our fridge (we even bought the same fridge as you haha), and I see all the smudges. Also, I HATE that the cabinet boxes only come in white and birch, you can see our white boxes through the doors. But, I love the quality of the cabinets and I love the features (soft close, organization, etc). We also installed/renovated our whole kitchen without any professionals and actually did not want to kill each other. We are just starting our blog…so it does not have everything, but there are some pictures of our kitchen reno if you want to have a peak. :) poplarridgehouse.com

  11. Kates says:

    Love your kitchen. I have been considering IKEA cabinets but didn’t know what or if they were worth it. I will probably look into them! Thanks for sharing!!!

  12. ALYN says:

    We did white ikea- we made the legs short, and had to rip all our toekicks. And we don’t own a tablesaw. So we hauled them all to a friends house. Our marriage survived just fine, but we are pretty experienced DIY’rs. It did take about 4 months to get it 95% done doing it all ourselves though… http://1957ranch.blogspot.com/2012/10/tada-kitchen-95.html I’m looking to do another kitchen now, and considering Ikea again. We love the quality of the drawers, and the closers on the doors. The price is right.

  13. We did a huge IKEA kitchen last year and just purchased another one from them that we are about to install in a different house. I really loved the process and of course the price, so we actually purchased the same cabinets again. Our black ramsjo cabinet fronts don’t smudge at all. We had paint color matched and did our own toe kicks. But I can definitely agree with you that seeing the birch behind the black doors drives me fricking nuts! I painted a few spots that were really visible with the paint we had color matched to the cabinets, but some areas still bug me, along with the not-perfectly-aligned doors.

    We just had our backsplash put in (YHL may come to mind again LOL!) and you can see the most current pics here if you’re interested! :) http://www.modernmountainlife.com/2013/10/moss-penny-tile-kitchen-backsplash.html

  14. jmlo says:

    Another re-direct from YHL.

    just wanted to say i love, love, love your kitchen! we’re in the early stages of discussion, and Ikea has come up repeatedly. Your kitchen is a good example for my wife and i -style, color,etc.

    AND, we love the organization behind their cabinets so much, about 1 year ago we actually bought that corner shelf pull out for a dead corner in our existing kitchen, and i modified the cabinet to make it work. it is an amazing space saver/doubler in a tiny kitchen.

  15. StephJa007 says:

    Thanks so much for your ‘review’ on the Ikea cabinets! We gutted our kitchen (and entire house) 3 years ago and debated using Ikea cabinets. The closest Ikea was 2 hours away and we had never been so I was simply shopping/pricing online which can be very overwhelming because there are so many pieces and parts. In a time crunch I just decided to go with the flat packed wood & plywood cabinets from some online manufacturer. Shortly after finishing the house we were near an Ikea and boy did I regret my decision to not use Ikea cabinets (mainly for organization features). There are things that bug me about our cabinets we chose and things I like (I also love having the large drawers) but I know the birch or white showing through would drive me mad! Long story short, I’d still consider Ikea for our next kitchen but in the meantime it’s nice being reminded the grass isn’t always greener on the other side (since I’ve been kicking myself for choosing what I did for nearly 3 years!)
    And thanks for sharing your kitchen with YHL, I absolutely love it!

  16. Unknown says:

    hi – just clicked through from YHL — i think your kitchen looks GORGEOUS.

    we did a set of built in IKEA shelves in our basement and ran into similar issues. We also got dark cabinets, and while they don’t smudge, you could see through to the birch/lighter wood – we fixed that by painting the areas that showed through.

    Also – same issue on the toe kick, but we got a piece of trim, painted it a similar color and affixed it to cover the space – totally looks like it belongs!

  17. Denise says:

    In our last house in Texas we purchased our cabinets from IKEA but we had the IKEA experts install them. We would never have attempted to do this by ourselves because the walls were so crooked. I miss our IKEA kitchen so much, it was so bright and cheery and I really miss the soft close cabinets, drawers and pull-out pantry.

  18. Crys says:

    Your kitchen looks great! Is that crooked door next to your dishwasher the blind corner cabinet? Because I have an Ikea kitchen too and we had the same issues with out blind corner cabinet. It’s because the hanging shelves are screwed into a metal upright pole instead of the wood, I think. And ours kind of bent when we were screwing it in, so now the hole is bigger than the screw, which is why it hangs looser and won’t stay up straight. We ended up unscrewing the door hinge and putting a small, thin piece of rubber foam, like craft foam, over the hole, then screwing the hinge back in where it belongs, so that the screw could catch onto the hole better and get a tighter grip to hold up the other side of the door. Maybe that could help you guys? It drove me NUTS! So I definitely get it. :)

  19. Lindsy Brock says:

    Ruthy this is really helpful as we are dreaming about our future home! :) XOXO Lov eyou!

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