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  • Neyir Urminsky

Planning an Ikea Kitchen - getting started

There is so much advice about installing an Ikea kitchen, how to even get started planning an ikea kitchen? These are my top 10 tips for getting started in your Ikea Kitchen Planning Process and how to get the most for your money and time.

I am loving participating yet again in the One Room Challenge, the ORC is a wonderful event in which anyone can participate! The challenge of the ORC lies in completing a space within 8 weeks. Be sure to click on the link and learn about all the wonderful projects and participants!! If you want to catch up on this year's project my first post is all about the overall plan and mood board, they second about Freestanding Kitchens. In previous years I have completed A DIY Limestone Patio, A Colour Saturated Vestibule, and a Bedroom for Busy Boys.

We are in the midst of a kitchen refresh, with limited budget and time. We are not doing a full renovation, moving plumbing, walls etc, that is a few years down the line. But for our family of 7 our kitchen wasn’t working so it was time for a refresh. We aren’t planning an entire Ikea Kitchen, In fact our kitchen is a hybrid of antique/thrifted pieces with Ikea kitchen elements. Still these principles apply to any level of ikea kitchen planning. Here are my top 10 tips for Planning an Ikea Kitchen, getting started!

  1. Don’t get lost in the look. Gather lots of ideas and inspiration but don’t focus only on the decorative elements, colour, counter materials etc. Look at everything you can, not only Ikea kitchens. Ikea has lots of versatility so you can likely incorporate their cabinets into any style you want. Also there are many companies specialising in replacement doors and fronts for ikea cabinet boxes so you can get just about any look you want. Overall what style really speaks to you, is it white cabinets, wood, colour? What mix of materials do you like? Farmhouse, modern, transitional, more eclectic?

  2. Stop looking at kitchen inspo! Now you need to focus on what you really need? From a space planning perspective how do you use your kitchen or how do you want to? What do you actually need? Be aware of current elements you hate about your kitchen, there can be an urge to over course correct. Try to think about your current space in as detached a way as possible. What works in your current layout, what doesn’t, do you have any bottlenecks?

  1. Zone it then triangulate! Figure out what zones you need. Which ones do you have now, are they working? What needs to be added or even subtracted (we took our main eating area out of the kitchen). What is and isn’t working zone wise. How many functions is this space going to serve? Is it mainly for cooking? Is it also for eating in, will you have kiddos doing homework during meal prep or helping to cook? How many people are cooking at once?

  2. Are you really going to cook? Seriously, this is an important question! How much do you cook and how complicated/elaborate are your meals? Do you bake, does that need a separate zone? Your kitchen should serve you and how you function, if you are more a fan of reheating and take out and don’t see that changing then maybe don’t plan for a huge range! Conversely if you love to cook and store, maybe your need a separate fridge and freezer or two dishwashers.

  3. Resist trends! No I’m not talking about counter materials or colours. I’m talking about functionally. Do you really need a walk-in pantry? Does that work for your family? Will open shelving make your heart sing or cause you stress because it will always feel messy? Farmhouse sink do you love it or would you like something more sleek? What feeling do you want to have in your kitchen? Relaxed? Invigorating? Inviting? What does that translate to in terms of finishes and colours?

Is country your vibe?

  1. Measure, measure and measure again. Measure everything!!! Get inside your cabinets (look under your kitchen sink!!!) and as well as you can measure where your plumbing is, electrical, gas lines etc. Depending on the renovation you are planning you need to take into account the extra costs of possibly moving plumbing, electrical etc.

  2. Ask your kitchen questions! As you measure you may discover that some cabinets are smaller inside than others, that means there is likely something behind that cabinet that can impact your future kitchen design. There will certainly be surprises and pivots but the more you know the better you can plan.

  3. Save your money, use the online kitchen planner! Before you even think of going for a consultation with Ikea, put everything into the Ikea Kitchen designer. This means your floor dimensions and sizes from wall to wall not cabinet to cabinet, your door openings and windows and the current location of sinks, stoves etc. (be sure to look under that sink cabinet to know where the plumbing is located). Start adding in cabinets, drawers etc. Play and play some more, challenge yourself to think outside the box keeping zones and function in mind. Does it make sense to relocate anything? Moving a gas line or plumbing is going to be more expensive than moving/adding a 240 plug for a stove but the pay off in function may be worth it! Can any walls, doors, windows be moved or eliminated?

  4. Spend your money, go to Ikea! If possible go in person and book a 2 hour consultation with an Ikea kitchen designer, it is a very nominal fee and you get 2 hours with an expert. Not close to a store, don’t despair, online options are also available. If you already have everything in the Kitchen planner you will be able to make great use of your time. The designers also know things no one else does based on the 5+ kitchens they are working on every day so take all their ideas on board. Walk around and look at everything in person, are the cabinet and drawer configurations in person matching what you are thinking? Look at the different styles and colours, anything you love or hate?

  5. With all this info go home and look over your space again, does it all still make sense or are there a few more tweaks? Most people work with the Ikea planners 2 times before making their purchase.

This is the initial plan that I had when I went into Ikea and this is the final layout we landed on in store. The biggest change was moving the garbage and recycling. When I looked in store at the size of the bins that could fit under the sink I knew that it wouldn’t work for our family of 7! So we changed the design, removing the open cabinet on the far right, shifting over the bank of drawers and adding in a pull out garbage & recycling bin right beside the dishwasher. Then we made the sink cabinet narrower and the bank of drawers on the left larger.

The new layout - you'll notice I have a centered sink!!!

But then I discovered that I had neglected an element of step 6 and hadn’t looked under the sink! I came home to discover that we had plumbing running through the cabinet on the left of the sink so we pivoted again to a narrower cabinet and shallower drawers!

Stay tuned for the next steps, in the meantime this is where we have landed for our finishes!

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