...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I’ve already shared how we designed our IKEA kitchen and today I’ll pick up where I left off a few days ago with the actual purchase of our kitchen.

Like I mentioned, we waited until IKEA had one of their 20% off kitchen sales. From what I can tell, IKEA usually offers this discount twice a year. There is a caveat. To score 20% off, you must buy three IKEA appliances {actually Whirlpool brand}. If you buy two, you get 15% off. If you buy one, you get 10% off. At least, that was the case when we purchased our kitchen a year ago. We ended up getting our refrigerator, dishwasher, range and hood from IKEA. {You can read more about those here.} We were surprised to learn that the exhaust hood counted as an appliance.

With four IKEA appliances on our list, we were eligible for the 20% discount. The original cost of our kitchen was ~$10,000. With the added savings, we were able to save $2,000 which brought the purchase price to ~$8,000. This price did not include a sink, faucet, microwave, countertops, pulls, lighting or flooring.

Once our design was complete and prices settled upon, we were ready to go through with the actual purchase. The kitchen specialist told us that their computer system would spit out a purchase order based on our design. That sounded pretty easy. And it was. But minutes after our order was printed, we realized that more was involved.

The kitchen specialist went over our printed order while looking at our design. There were little but important details that the computer hadn’t picked up on and the IKEA employee had to add some items to our order. For instance, the computer didn’t itemize plinth for the back of the island or a countertop support piece for in between the dishwasher and range. Luckily, the kitchen specialist we were working with caught these details and saved us a ton of time down the road during installation. Again, if you are thinking of buying an IKEA kitchen, I would highly recommend working closely with a knowledgeable kitchen salesperson to make sure you aren’t forgetting minor {or major!} details. Computers can only do so much.

With our final, FINAL order list in hand, we were now ready to actually shell out some money. We were happy to be able to complete our sales transaction in the kitchen department {we didn’t have to go all the way downstairs to the self-pay registers to make an $8,000 purchase} with the specialist who had helped us the entire time.

But, again, there was a small snafu. A few of the items {namely some plinth pieces and drawer fronts} on our list were out-of-stock and on backorder. Boo. The specialist tried searching other stores and warehouses to see if he would be able to find those items elsewhere…but no dice. Plus, we didn’t really want to drive to another state just for some plinth. Especially since we weren’t even close to the installation stage at that point. We ended up getting the majority of the kitchen {cabinet frames, cabinets, refrigerator, range, etc.} through a local IKEA warehouse and had it shipped directly to our house. Shipping cost us <$200 and we thought it was worth every last penny. Delivery was made within 3-4 weeks of our purchase. We checked the order in and signed for it…but later discovered we were missing one drawer. {More on that in the installation phase.}

{You can see the majority of our IKEA kitchen shipment in boxes under #4 in the pic above. It took up about a third of the two-car garage.}

The other items that weren’t readily available at the local warehouse had to be bought in-store. I actually drove back to the store the day after paying for the kitchen to pick up the dishwasher and hood in-store. {We didn’t have enough room in the car with both kids in tow the day of purchase.} IKEA let us pay for them the night before with the rest of our order and then pick them up within 24 hours. Luckily, we only lived ~15 minutes from our local store so it wasn’t a hassle.

A few other items {some plinth and drawer fronts} were on long-term backorder and there was no date of availability. We were given a printout of these items in shopping list form and were told we would have to call the kitchen department directly with the item numbers to see if they were available at a later date. The shopping list for the backordered items did have some sort of official stamp on it so that we would get the special 20% off discount when the items were in stock. I ended up calling probably five times over the next eight weeks until the items were available. Even then, the store couldn’t hold the items for me, so I had to go pick them up as soon as I found out they were in stock. First come, first serve.

Eventually, we rounded up all the items we needed for our kitchen. It did require a little more leg work on our part…calling frequently to see if the items we still needed were in stock and then making extra trips to go pick them up. Luckily, our IKEA isn’t too far of a drive but I could see this being a bigger problem for people who don’t live closer to their local store. Also, we weren’t in a huge hurry to install our kitchen {heck, our house didn’t even have finished walls when we bought our kitchen!} so the added time it took to get all necessary items in our hands didn’t affect our remodel timeline.

If you’re thinking of buying an IKEA kitchen, here are a few things to keep in mind when you go through with the actual purchase:

*IKEA frequently offers a discount when you buy a specified number of IKEA appliances at the same time. If possible, take advantage of one of these sales. UPDATE: Apparently, IKEA also offers special discounts when you spend a specified amount of money on a kitchen as well. No appliance purchase required!

*Meet with a kitchen specialist to go over your order in detail and check for items that the computer may have missed.

*Expect delays. It may take extra time {and trips to the store!} to acquire everything you need for your IKEA kitchen if some popular items are out-of-stock or on backorder.

*Plan ahead. Don’t set a remodel deadline until you have everything on site as your install may require pieces that aren’t readily available.

Even though rounding up all of our IKEA kitchen items wasn’t as quick and easy as we were expecting {we were thinking we’d just print out our purchase order, pay for everything, then have it all delivered in one shipment}, it was worth it. Having everything on hand before installation was essential to a smooth install.

Next up, the installation of our IKEA kitchen. You may be surprised to find out that it was the easiest step for us! Stay tuned…

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images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Wow, I’m super impressed with these cabinets. Now I kinda wish we had updated ours! I’m really looking forward to the installation phase post!


Do you have a budget breakdown? We already have appliances and would only be interested in integrated dishwasher and exhaust hood. Curious about real life kitchens and not Ikea idealized pricing estimates in their catalogues.

Right now Ikea’s having a sale of 20% off when you spend $4500+, 10% off $3500, no appliance purchase required.


Thanks so much for sharing all this great info! My husband and I are moving into a house next month with a 1954 kitchen. I thought it would be charming, turns out it’s barely functional. We’re still in the planning stages of the remodel so your posts couldn’t be more timely!


No appliance purchase required?…super!! That would be great for people who are updating but keeping their current appliances.


it’s like i pressed a button on the Way Back machine and went back in time almost a year ago!
just like you we kitted our kitchen remodel out from IKEA. it was a leap of faith for us with so many people telling us we’d regret it & how cheaply made everything was – and yet none of them knew. on our side though were 2 architect friends – 1 builds custom homes for a living & the other lives in what we like to call an IKEA catalog (he’s a great IKEA Hacker). so we dove into with the assurances of those 2 friends that it wasn’t cheaply made & we would love the outcome (we already LOVE our Hacker friend’s kitchen that was 6 years old at the time).
but you hit on soooo many items that we too experienced & i posted on our blog (http://blondemafia.blogspot.com/2011/05/elaboration.html). a year later, we could not be happier! to make things even better, our Custom Home Builder friend does some pretty modern/high end stuff & after working with us on certain pieces of our kitchen, he was more convinced than ever to send his son to IKEA for their kitchen remodel. he even said if he had it to do over again, he would have done his own kitchen in IKEA because his custom cabinets really weren’t that different but probably 3x the cost of what we did!
one extra tip – don’t underestimate customization! you can hack/customize just about anything that you want/need. i’ll be posting our 2 biggest hacks this week & boy were they worth it! so be sure during an IKEA consult, that you talk about what you are wanting to accomplish in your kitchen. our dog feeding station(http://blondemafia.blogspot.com/2011/08/dinner-is-served.html) would have never tuned out as well as it had, if i hadn’t spoken up & our top pantry pull-outs impressed the IKEA kitchen crew!
kudos on your revamp! it looks awesome!

We’ve done 3 Ikea kitchens so far and love them. My husband is an architect, and he frequently recommends ikea kitchens to his clients. In our experience, there is always some mishap (sometimes minor, sometimes big) that happens in the ordering process. We’ve had the kitchen specialist order the wrong cabinets, we’ve received damaged items, and we’ve had items left out of our order. My suggestion to anyone ordering is to go over every item on your list before you pay (all those hinges and weird numbers get confusing), and triple check your receipt vs. your actual items before you leave the store. Their returns dept is the pits!


One more piece of advice: carefully check what you receive against what you ordered. We’ve gotten the wrong parts twice now and we live nearly 3 hours away from our IKEA so it’s important we get it right the first time. I now have no problem checking everything twice, and that includes opening boxes to make sure they contain the right drawer fronts. Retaping up a few boxes is far cheaper than the gas and time to return something.

Kitchen looks great!


Dana- I have been dying to know where you store your food. The reason I ask is that I am thinking of eliminating my pantry in order to have a more streamlined kitchen. I noticed you do not have a pantry. So, where do you store your dry food items?


One more tip – if you can, try to visit IKEA during the week to talk to the kitchen specialist. The kitchen department is a LOT less busy, especially during their kitchen sales. You’ll get a lot more attention and have your questions answered more completely. I went to the IKEA down the street a few nights after work before we got our kitchen, and I got a lot more information from them than I otherwise would have. Also, try to make friends with someone in the kitchen department – if you’re there enough, they’ll start to recognize you and this helps so much when you run into the snafus. You also have someone familiar with what you’re working on, which is helpful.


We live literally across the street from our local Ikea, and I actually used to work for the company, so we consider ourselves experts!

The rule of thumb (I call it Ingvar’s Rule — yes, I am that much of an Ikea nerd!) is that “Every trip to Ikea will require an additional trip to Ikea.” It doesn’t matter what we’re buying, there is always SOMETHING out of stock, or the wrong choice, or damaged, or overlooked….

The other Ikea rule is to always wait for the sale. They cycle through departments throughout the year, so wait for the “Room Event” of your choosing to buy what you need. The Kitchen Event will get you discounts, as you have learned. The Bedroom Event will do things like discounted mattress when you buy a bed frame (though I would advise against Ikea mattresses, but that is another story), the Living Room Event will get you a discount on home theater storage, or you can buy one sofa get one 50% off…. You get the point. If I’m ever making a large furniture purchase at Ikea, I always wait for the Event.

Also, here in Canada (not sure about the US) they have a 45 day return policy, which you can also use to your advantage on those sales. We bought some furniture a few years ago and wouldn’t you know it, a week later they were on sale. We trooped in with our receipt and got the discount refunded with no issue. We literally would have returned the product and bought it on sale if they hadn’t. :)


Yes, weekdays at Ikea are ALWAYS more manageable than evenings and weekends. Or, try to go during a major sporting event! :D When I worked at Ikea in Calgary, when the Calgary Flames were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs — game nights were a ghost-town!

Great price for what is really the meat and potatoes of your kitchen. In our first home, I ended up buying all my appliances from Sears on black friday for huge savings, but since the kitchen wasn’t ready until May, I just kept pushing the delivery date back. All told, I think I saved a ton of money and was able to delay the delivery for nearly 6 months.


We used IKEA when remodeled out kitchen last year, and I just wanted to add two other things.
First, we were able to get the 20% discount applied to our granite countertops by paying for the countertops through IKEA (they came from a local granite supplier, but we paid at IKEA). We even got to see the slabs in person at the supplier’s yard before making our final decision. Second, our local IKEA holds kitchen planning workshops before the store opens most Saturdays. By going to that, we were able to finalize our design and have a kitchen specialist look over our plans all before the store even opened. We experienced a lot of the same hiccups in the process as you did, but so far we’ve been really happy with how everything is holding up.


Hi Dana! Your kitchen looks beautiful and it is great to read how you did things step-by-step. I am wondering if the kitchen island is also from IKEA?


It’s so fun to read about your process. We ordered our kitchen back in April and we didn’t have walls yet either! We actually drove everything home ourselves. We ordered cabinets incorrectly sized in two spots but had no trouble returning the wrong parts and getting new ones, even though we’d already assembled one cabinet box. I will definitely do an IKEA kitchen again. Though our kitchen is huge, and required about a million boxes, IKEA did not get a single thing wrong. Their kitchen staff are so helpful!


Now that you have had lived with both black and white cabinets, if you had to choose one over the other what would you say? Just in general.


i really enjoy following your blog. i love your ikea kitchen and love the new pic. :)

We wrote an entire blog about you last week. I guess I should say my daughter/blog partner wrote it.


Oh, you two are too sweet!


They both have their pros/cons. White shows nicks, drips and spills…black shows dust in the sunlight. White brightens and lightens while black grounds the area. I wouldn’t say I like one over the other but I’m really liking the black lowers mixed with the white uppers. For me, it’s the perfect mix of light and dark and I get to reap the benefits of both the white and black cabinetry.

I don’t know that I could pick just one. It really depends on the space you are considering. I will say I don’t think I’d ever do all black cabinetry. That would be a little much for me. White is great for small spaces. If the room is a tad bigger with lots of natural light…black lowers can ground a kitchen.


The base cabinets that make up the island are from IKEA. The walnut countertop is not.


They are in the lazy susan to the left of the sink. It’s plenty for us and we even have empty space on bottom shelf!


We did something similar – I had gotten an IKEA Family Card, which allows you returns for up to 90 days. They were still kind of new at the time, and we purchased our kitchen at the end of one sale. Within two months, they had another kitchen sale, and we would have qualified for another 10% off of our kitchen – so we hung out in the customer service department for a good two hours one night until they gave us the discount. We had the entire kitchen installed at this point, but in theory, I would have dismantled it for the extra money (thankfully we didn’t have to do that). I’m not sure if they’ll still do that, since our IKEA didn’t have a firm policy on the Family Card adjustments at that point.


Where the west elm Hammam Stripe Hand Towels in your bath mood board the white/slate?

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[…] with lots of great info on it and I was super happy to see that these guy have just gone through an Ikea kitchen design & fit stage too – so lots to learn from […]


Hi – We too are planning an Ikea kitchen but want to wait to buy during the big sale. I can’t seem to find anything online that tells me when it is. Do you know what time or year, or month they have that big event? Thanks, Denise (LOVE your kitchen!)


I think there’s another sale coming up in May.

[…] House Tweaking: I love her range hood. We checked one out while touring Lowes the other day and Mr. G approved! I love how in housetweaking’s blog she mentions that the fan works as baby soother too. Double score. (Also I love her tastes in decor and how she lays it all out.) […]


Which cabinets did you use on the lower? I was about to purchase Adel off white but have been wresting with it. Kinda leaning towards the dark look on lower.


[…] *https://www.housetweaking.com/2012/07/12/purchasing-our-ikea-kitchen/ […]