My Ikea Kitchen – Part I

2013 was spent building our new home while we hunkered down in a small rental that my son Jack referred to as “the cozy house.”  The challenge of building a house during a recession is that the home we sold had lost 25 percent of its value yet the cost to build remained static.  So, one of the areas we decided to do ourselves and save some money was the kitchen.


I had been looking at a lot of Ikea kitchens in magazines and on Pinterest.  After reading blog posts from designer Carol Reed and others, I was sold on both the aesthetics and the quality of Ikea cabinets.   With a 25 year guarantee and a semi annual 20% percent off sale, I set out to design the cabinet configuration using the software on the Ikea website.

We waited for the 20% sale and made a trip to the Paramus, New Jersey store early in the morning on a weekday.  Having read others’ experiences dealing with Ikea during their kitchen sale, we knew we needed to get there early to get the best service.

In total, our Ikea cabinets, dishwasher, sink, and solid wood island top came in at just under $6,500.  When it was delivered two weeks later, we had 160 puzzle pieces to put together.  It took awhile to get used to the Ikea pictorial instructions but eventually my husband caught on and the process began to  gain momentum.  We had to make a couple more trips back to Ikea to pick up pieces that were back ordered and return some spare parts.

We were going for a “living kitchen” look and feel – a space that feels more like a room than a kitchen, with rustic elements that carried over from the rest of the house.  To achieve this we mixed cabinet finishes as well as countertop finishes. For the cabinets we used Ramsjo black on the bottom and  Lidingo white for the uppers.


The island was built from six Ramsjo cabinets. – 3 12″ deep cabinets and 3 24″ deep cabinets.  We used  two slabs of solid beachwood from Ikea butted and glued together to form the island top.  We used unfinished staircase newel posts that we painted black to support the  overhang for the  countertop.  My husband stained the wood top with Minwax “dark walnut” and five coats of polyurethane for a really durable finish.


We purchased the Ikea wine shelf to fill in a small space in the lower cabinets that was too narrow for a full cabinet.  The wine shelf only comes in white but nothing that a can of  black satin spray paint couldn’t fix!


We also purchased the farmhouse sink and dishwasher from Ikea.  Ikea appliances are actually made by Whirlpool.  The dishwasher is hidden behind the cabinet door panel to the left of the sink.  To the right of the sink  is the pullout trash bin.


Ikea has a variety of inserts to keep your drawers neatly organized.


Saving on the cabinets allowed us to splurge on the countertops which we purchased from Initially we were thinking marble however the folks at suggested quartzite – a stone similar in look to marble but less porous and less likely to stain.


I purchased the brass euro rail style hardware for the lower cabinets online from The upper cabinet distressed brass knobs were also purchased online from


All in all our Ikea experience was excellent and I would highly recommend Ikea kitchens as a way of getting a high end look on a low end budget.


Stay tuned for Part II of our Ikea kitchen .




  1. Deb, did you do the tile work yourselves? We are in the middle of updating our kitchen and are planning on white subway tiles. We saw some in lowes and are wondering if its an easy project? Or do you have a recommendation of someone?

    • Hi Lynn, Yes this was another DIY project for Tom. Very straightforward. We had planned on doing classic white subway tiles (I like the ones with the beveled edge) but found these gray concrete subway tiles at Lowes and decided they were a better fit for this house. We purchased a tile cutter (because there are more tile projects on the honey-do list!). You are very welcome to borrow it if you like.

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