Ikea debuted their new kitchen system, SEKTION, earlier this week. Mabrey and I took a field trip to check it out. I brought along my camera to document the things that caught my attention and I thought I would share them with you. There’s one caveat: the pictures aren’t the best quality. I was in a time crunch and chasing a toddler so…yeah…my focus and white balance are all over the place. But, whatever. I have pictures!
The first thing I noticed right off the bat were the drawers – specifically the drawers inside drawers. I like this option because the outside appearance doesn’t dictate the storage inside. You can have several drawers behind one drawer front for a uniform look. And you have the option of drawers that pull out all the way or only ¾ of the way if they’re layered over another pullout. The drawers themselves are available in several widths and depths that weren’t offered in the previous AKURUM line. I saw the widest, most shallow drawers I’ve ever witnessed in a kitchen in that island above. They would be perfect for flatware and servingware. Fortunately, the soft-closing hardware is still available with the SEKTION line.
Drawer lights (seen above) that turn on when the drawer is opened were an oooh-ahhh feature but from what I could tell they only lit the top drawers. I’m not sure how practical they would be for our household. Don’t people usually turn lights on anyway? I hear the new SEKTION line also features USB outlets, electrical outlets and remote-controlled dimming / power but I didn’t see this on display.
Both upper and lower cabinet frames are available in more sizes (width, depth, height) which I see as an improvement over the AKURUM line. When we were designing our kitchen there were a few places in the layout where we didn’t have much of choice when it came to cabinet size. It wasn’t a deal breaker but it would have been nice to have more options. Also, in the AKURUM line a 15″ cabinet wasn’t really 15″ wide. It was something like 14 5/8″ which made things a little confusing.
The new SEKTION line measurements are true measurements. That means a 15″ cabinet is really 15″ wide. This also means the two lines aren’t compatible or interchangeable. I asked an Ikea kitchen specialist about how Ikea was handling customers needing AKURUM parts. She said AKURUM parts would be available until October 2015. After that, only if there was a warranty issue, Ikea would work to get the customer something comparable. I don’t quite know what that means though, seeing as how the new system isn’t compatible. (I’m hoping we never need to replace anything!) I did see where SemiHandmade will continue making doors / drawer fronts for the AKURUM line so AKURUM owners will be able to switch out their fronts if they want to.
The new sizes allow for an array of configurations. The hutch-like setup shown above was a unique feature that felt somewhat custom as far as Ikea goes. (Notice the shallow, short drawers at the bottom of the upper cabinet.) With the new system, the base and upper cabinets can be installed via a wall rail whereas with the old AKURUM line, only the upper cabinetry had the option of a wall rail. I’m guessing this will help DIYers (and professionals alike) who may be installing on their own or in a home with uneven walls or floors. We used the upper rails so Steve could install the wall cabinets on his own (I was preggo at the time) and they worked out really well for us.
The one feature I’m so, so happy to see (and a little jealous of, quite frankly) is the brown wood lookalike color option for the cabinet frames. I was surprised this wasn’t an option when we were designing our kitchen. Slivers of the white cabinet frames are barely noticeable in between a few black drawer fronts / doors on our base cabinets. Guests say they don’t notice, but it’s the one thing I would change about our current setup if I could. I’ve contemplated painting those areas black or applying strips of black veneer. No need to worry about that with the new system though. As seen above, the “wood effect brown” frames work well with darker colored drawer fronts and doors. They look less cheap when opened, too. No white box staring you in the face.
I noticed a few other interesting design elements like open shelf base cabinets and freestanding units made up of cabinets + legs. I think both of these could help lighten a room visually.
One new option I didn’t like was this undersink pullout. It’s made to look like two drawers from the front but it felt flimsy because the front panel is so tall. Plus, I don’t think it’s very practical. What if one person is washing dishes and another person needs to grab something from under the sink? You can’t move to one side like you can with two doors.
As far as aesthetics go, many of the “new” drawer fronts and doors look a lot like the “old” options. There are a few new finishes in the mix including glossy yellow and glossy green if that floats your boat. I really wish Ikea offered an unfinished wood option that would be less expensive than the ready-to-hang designs and could be painted any color of the rainbow for a truly custom look. Ikea, are you listening?!
I totally understand that Ikea caters to the masses but I do wish they would push the envelope a bit more when it comes to their kitchen displays. It was nice to see an island sporting a waterfall edge and a herringbone backsplash.
I didn’t get a chance to scout the countertop and hardware selection but I did see a walnut butcher block! On a fauxdenza no less! Ikea must read blogs. They’re on to us. Update: it appears the walnut butcher block is actually solid wood veneer over particleboard.
Some more drawer-in-drawer action because I couldn’t get enough…
In conclusion, I’m pretty impressed with the new system. I was a little afraid Ikea would veer off course with the SEKTION line but I feel like they made smart improvements upon the old system that was so popular. Here are my take it / leave it suggestions in case you’re interested.
*varied selection of new true cabinet sizes
*dark wood lookalike cabinet frame option for darker fronts
*freestanding units / open base cabinets
*integrated drawer lighting
Have you checked out the new SEKTION line in person? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If not, you should make a day of it and go open & close a bunch of drawers and doors. You know, if that’s your thing. (It’s my thing.)
P.S. – A great write-up on the new SEKTION line.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking