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How to order ikea kitchen cabinets

Look at your tired old kitchen. Do you need to replace it? Look at all those happy people with new Ikea kitchens on the Internet.

ikea like hell

I think those people are all either lying, or they have Stockholm syndrome. I can’t think of any other reason they look so happy. Could be the Swedish meatballs I guess.

Let me walk you through designing and ordering an Ikea kitchen…

Step 1. Design your new kitchen

You can use the Ikea Home Planner to design your home kitchen in glorious 3d. Simply load the page on your average basic PC (suggested minimum: Quantum computer, 2Tb RAM, triple next gen video cards running in SLI configuration). Once your browser has installed the plugin, you’re going to encounter these issues:

  1. The Kitchen Planner is very slow. It doesn’t seem to matter how fast your pc is.
  2. Placing furniture is frustrating, eventually you discover that if you keep the button down until the box turns green, you can place the item without it snapping onto the wrong wall/cabinet.
  3. Sometimes door handles and rangehoods are placed half inside cupboards. You cannot do anything about it.
  4. You may run into authentication issues if your session expires…. try to log into Home Planner, then you get redirected to the main site, then get an error message, hit refresh and go to the Ikea family login screen, reload, try again… bam, you’re in.

Pictured: note the high degree of accuracy provided by the designer

Design Tips
* Cover panels. You need cover panels. You'll need them for the end of your benches. Calculate how many you need before going to Ikea, then have the staff double check your numbers and sizes. A word of warning, they will not cut them to size. They will give you bigger panels than you need, then wish you luck.
* If you want soft close doors, you need hinge dampeners.
* Ikea hinges come in two varieties 125 and 153 degree. 153 allow you to open doors wider - but you can't use soft close dampers (at least not the Ikea dampers). Also, the 153 degree hinges may cause the door to hit the item next to it (in my case, my fridge).
* Decide if you want "push to open" doors and drawers. Push to Open sounds cool, but in reality, those shiny new door/drawer fronts may not look as great with finger prints all over them. Push to Open looks better, but handles are far more practical.

Step 2. Head In-Store and Order your kitchen

I took the morning off work, thinking I would have my order sorted within 2 hours. No. It ended up taking nearly 7 hours.

I’m not kidding. 7 hours. Here is where the time went:

  • 45 minutes navigating through the Ikea maze to get to the kitchen counter (to be honest I did spend a bit of time checking out the kitchen displays)
  • 2 hours with first staff member, prepping the order
  • 30 minutes waiting for “on the spot” finance approval
  • 2.5 hours for a second staff member, who was fixing up all the first staff members mistakes
  • 30 minutes getting odds and ends that do not go out for delivery (handles, drill templates, etc)

Any time left was spent waiting at registers. I hate to think of how long it would take if I hadn’t already finished my design. I’d probably still be there.

At one point, I had to jog to the cafeteria and grab a snack and drink, then jog back to the kitchen counter. My wife and I were stuck there for hours – and there is nowhere to get food and drink (no vending machines, taps, nothing). Make sure you take a water bottle with you.

Ordering Tips
* Cover panels. Don't forget to have a staff member verify what you need.
* Have you design as close to complete as possible before you go in, and double check your measurements.
* Get the door handle drill template. You'll need it.
* If you buy a sink, get the sink tap hole punch. No one else seems to sell them, and drilling through a sink with a holesaw is not much fun.
* Take a bottle of water and a snack. You will probably be there a while.

Step 3. Receive your Kitchen

24 hours later, 83 boxes of kitchen were delivered. Now the real fun begins.Things to buy/sort before you start assembling

  • Buy a cheap laser level. Bosch do a good one called the Quingo, you can get one for about $50
  • Buy clamps. Irwin quick change clamps are great. Use them to hold cabinets together before attaching them to each other.
  • If you need to replace any plasterboard, or have any power points run – do it now. It is much much easier to do these thngs before installing your kitchen (under .au law, you need a licenced Electrician to do this).
  • Be prepared for unpleasant surprises. I removed the old cabinets, and found a ton of water damaged plaster board (very old water damage). I had to spend some time resheeting the walls.
  • Don’t forget plumbing! Do you need to to buy new pipework? Probably, unless you already have the sink in the right spot, and braided lines.

(to be continued in part 2…)

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