...because home doesn't happen overnight.

As you know, we chose to go with mostly Ikea products for our kitchen remodel. (You can read more about the design, purchase and installation of our kitchen here, here and here.) Before making the decision, we did a ton of research online. What was the price comparison between Ikea and other cabinet sources? Could Ikea cabinets support granite? How would the frames hold up long-term? How easy / difficult was DIY installation? What level of quality should we expect with Ikea cabinets and appliances? Which items should we look to buy from other sources? Soft-close hinges sound nice but are they worth the hype? And so on. We had so many questions and, surprisingly, so few answers. I wish there had been more access to personal stories regarding Ikea kitchens.

In an effort to bring those stories to light, I would love for House*Tweaking to become an unbiased medium for sharing Ikea kitchen experiences. Even though our kitchen remodel is finished, I love a good kitchen renovation and it’s fun to see all the ways others have used Ikea products to meet their needs and style.

ikea cape kitchen before

The first story I want to share hails from a reader who chose to go the Ikea route after reading about our kitchen. Leigh and her family purchased a foreclosed summer home on a street lined with beautiful houses. It was the worst house on the street, she says, which put it well within their budget.

ikea cape kitchen 2

Though outdated and cramped, the kitchen was livable so the homeowners simply gave it a facelift by painting the cabinets, laying peel-and-stick linoleum and purchasing new stainless steel appliances while they focused their attention on other projects and saved for a full-on kitchen renovation. They lived with the kitchen like this for two years taking mental notes of how the space did / did not work for them. Then a little over a year ago, they plunged into a complete remodel. They researched blogs for inspiration and decided it would be best to take down the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room to create a bright, family-friendly kitchen.

ikea cape kitchen 3

I asked Leigh several questions about her kitchen remodel. You can read her answers and find “after” shots below.

ikea cape kitchen after 1

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

Cabinets, doors, drawer fronts, hardware, microwave, hood vent and countertops.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

We were redoing the kitchen in our summer home and looked around at various cabinet makers and determined that Ikea was the best quality for what we were looking to spend. Additionally, there was very little time between placing the order and delivery where some of the other semi-custom lines would have taken up to 18 weeks for delivery.

Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

We designed it ourselves using the Ikea kitchen planning tool. We also got assistance from the kitchen reps at Ikea who were very helpful and informative.

ikea cape kitchen install

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

We assembled the boxes and some of the install by ourselves (or should I say my husband did). It was last winter when we started to assemble it and my husband was a trooper doing all of the demo and assembly in an unheated house with no running water! We did seek help from a local specialist in the area who installs Ikea kitchens for the Cape and islands and his price seemed to wash out the savings we got by buying Ikea cabinets.

My husband was determined to save the money for something he could do himself. He is not a trade specialist by any means but he has a hard time paying people to do things he can to himself. He was very overwhelmed when the boxes arrived and numerous times said there was no way he could do it. Through determination and hard work, he assembled them all himself. He bought some new tools to do the assembly. He did do most of the install as well. Once everything was in place, we hired a finish carpenter to come in and put moldings above the cabinets. We had planned to do this from the beginning to give the cabinets a finished look. We didn’t like the moldings that Ikea offered.

ikea cape kitchen after 3

The finish carpenter was a bit of a perfectionist and he ended up pulling out a lot of what my husband had thought he had leveled out and redid it. All the cabinets that were hung were great but the lower cabinets were apparently a bit off. He told us that when they came to template for the countertops, they may not have signed off on the template because there would have been gaps. We felt very grateful to have worked with the finish carpenter; he was excellent. He built a custom cabinet for the refrigerator that matches the Ikea pantry. Although we had purchased Ikea panels to wrap the island and end cabinets, he suggested we do those custom as well. We agreed and couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out. We feel that it really made the kitchen look more expensive and more custom than it actually is.

ikea cape kitchen 4

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

As mentioned above, we used custom molding at the tops of all the cabinets and also around the island and end fridge cabinet. To paint the custom pieces we first tried Benjamin Moore’s paper maché which was suggested by another blog. It did not match our cabinets so we took a cabinet front to our local paint store and had them color match it. It worked perfectly. The advice on the trash pull-out from Aubrey & Lindsay’s blog worked great for us. The only tweak we made was to fit a top slide out drawer above the trash bins for extra storage.

I bought all new white plates, bowls, etc. from Ikea. I have a few of the organization systems but have not found them to be terribly useful. The rubber mat rolls that ikea sells have been helpful and look nice at the bottom of each cabinet.

We splurged on some things to give the kitchen character. I had fallen in love with a few things I saw on other blogs including a glass tile backsplash. I contemplated doing white subway tile but decided on a family trip to the Cayman Islands that the color of the water made me so happy and I wanted to incorporate that into our plan. Of course, it is a beach house so something bright and fun was a good fit. We wanted nice countertops. I like the look of carrara marble but knew I did not want marble due to etching and the high maintenance. I did a ton of online research and visited a few stone yards before landing on Caesarstone.  I learned a few months before that London Fog Casearstone was coming to the U.S. market while visiting one of the stone yards. I saw a sample about three months before it hit the market and knew that I had to have it.

Have you encountered any problems with the Ikea products in your kitchen?

We have not encountered any problems with our cabinets. We are really happy with them. We have more expensive cabinets in our kitchen at our primary residence and the Ikea cabinets are right up there in quality. We love the soft-close hinges – something our other kitchen does not have. I looked into other fronts for the Ikea frames because I originally wanted something that was a brighter white but am very happy with the color. In fact, I think a bright white would be too harsh. I do wish that Ikea had the option of a solid, off-white wood door front in the same style. There is a lot of humidity in the summer here so the laminate material will probably work better for us in the long run. Also, they are super easy to keep clean with kids and entertaining.

ikea cape kitchen after 2

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen?

I love how open and bright it is. I love the design, the ease of cooking in it and cleaning up. I love the aesthetic. I love the island where people can sit and eat while we cook. I love that I don’t have to treat it with gloved hands and that my kids are learning to cook in the space. I love how it opens to the living room and our new porch. I love that it allows us to entertain when in our previous kitchen it was just too tight. I love that it is all of my favorite colors and designs. But most of all, I love that we did it ourselves and can enjoy our sweat equity!

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?  

Of course! I would suggest all the items they sell for a kitchen remodel. We only did a few select appliances because we were able to reuse the appliances that we bought earlier when we did a “band-aid” of the kitchen shortly after buying the house. I really do think that the quality at Ikea is nice and you can’t beat the value.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

Yes, I would. Regardless of budget.

Resources of note:
countertops – London Fog Caesarstone
sink – Julian
faucet – Grohe
microwave – Ikea
hood vent – Ikea
refrigerator – Kenmore Elite, counter-depth
dishwasher- Kenmore Elite
stove – GE gas with electric oven
backsplash tile – Daltile Whisper Green
flooring – hardwood, refinished to match the rest of the house
lighting – can lights in the ceiling, wired above island in case we ever want to put in pendants. (We did not do under-cabinet lighting. We figured this was an area where we could save and we don’t miss them.)
window – Andersen 400 series
paint – molding is a custom color-match; walls are Benjamin Moore cameo white

ikea cape kitchen after 4

Thank you, Leigh, for sharing your Ikea kitchen experience and allowing me to feature it on House*Tweaking. I know it will be helpful and inspirational to many people contemplating a kitchen remodel.

Okay, readers. How do you feel about me featuring real life Ikea kitchens from time-to-time? Of course, I don’t want it to seem like I’m forcing anyone to buy Ikea. I just want to scout out some of the inspiration and information that I wish would have been available when we were getting ready to renovate our kitchen. I think so many times homeowners swear off Ikea because they fear the end result will look “Ikea” but I really believe it’s an affordable, quality source that can be tweaked to meet different needs and styles.

Do you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) that you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking? If so, please contact me at housetweaking@gmail.com for consideration. Thank you in advance!



I love seeing Ikea kitchens featured. Frankly I love any remodeling features. Especially if they are as well done as your kitchen and the one you featured today.


I love this series. I’ll be remodeling our kitchen one day and will most likely be going to Ikea, so this is great information for me!


What a nice kitchen ! I love the airy feeling and the backsplash. Thanks for sharing ! Take care.


I love the ikea or anything else renovations and I LOVE your kitchen and the one you just featured. Unfortunately I moved into a home with bathrooms, closets, and kitchen redone with ikea and I absolutely hate them. Granted the remodel was done about 10 years ago and the previous owners had 2 large dogs plus 2 teenage boys so I’m sure much of what I hate is due to wear and tear and a difference in tastes style wise. My kitchen cabinets are peeling everywhere, the laminate faces show any drop of water and dust in just the right light and I am counting the days till I can rip everything out and redo it completely. I would still consider ikea in the future after seeing other peoples experience and seeing beautiful kitchens like yours but I’d be cautious just knowing what mine looks like now!


Love this. We’re also planning an ikea remodel and it seems so hard to figure out where to start! Love seeing the success stories.


Love this feature! Keep ’em coming :) Eventually we’ll remodel our kitchen, and I agree, it’s hard to find Ikea kitchen reviews that span the entire process. Also, any helpful hints about customizing Ikea stuff is going to be very helpful. I love the crown molding they added above the cabinets, that makes a huge impact!


As someone that is currently putting a band-aid on our kitchen until we do a full reno (a few years from now), I love these kind of posts. We haven’t ruled out Ikea when we finally do a gut job so hearing about different experiences and the longevity of the products is much appreciated.


I love this idea! We are literally in the middle of our kitchen renovation with Ikea cabinets and we had a hard time finding solutions for some of the more detailed items, (how do you attach the refrigerator panel that doesn’t sit next to a cabinet). I’d love to see everyone’s tricks and tips. When we finish, I’ll definitely send ours over since you were one of the inspirations behind our design!


I would love to see more Ikea kitchen remodels! This kitchen looks great, the moldings really give it a polished look and the glass back splash makes it more playful. Great job!!


i think the tile makes the kitchen… everything is beautiful but the tile pops – just gorgeous for a 2nd home. I live on the cape and wondering who the finish carpenter she is recommeding… any way of getting that info pls. thank you.


I love hearing about IKEA kitchens!


LOVE this idea! I have been looking into an IKEA remodel for my kitchen and would love to hear people’s opinions on what worked and what did not.


This kitchen looks great. I love the backsplash tile and the custom moldings.


I would love to see more about Ikea kitchens. We’re moving in a few months and plan on purchasing a fixer upper. From the few remodels I’ve seen, we will probably use Ikea. More info and different styles would be great. I would love to see Ikea bathrooms too!


Got to say I’m right there with the others requesting more of these because we’ll probably go the Ikea route as well when we finally get to our kitchen remodel. Loved this post!


love this feature! Keep them coming!


Love the idea of reviews of IKEA kitchens! There has not been enough real life reviews of their products for me to consider purchasing. I can’t wait until the rest of your series. And love her kitchen by the way. Great idea of her to share about hiring a finishing carpenter. Thanks for sharing, it’s valuable info!


Love the idea of featuring Ikea kitchens!


I’m so glad you’re doing this series! I found your blog when we were starting to look for interior doors for our new-to-us mid-century modern home and we’re thinking of doing an Ikea kitchen when we remodel in a year or two. This is very helpful!


Yes LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I have been saving for our kitchen reno and need some ikea inspiration! Thanks so much!

So excited for this series Dana! There’s so much about this kitchen that I looooooove. We are likely gonna sell our house to downsize into a fixer and I have my heart set on an Ikea kitchen as well. I love hearing other peoples perspective and seeing their experiences. Im hoping for no upper cabinets at all and lots of lower cab pullout drawers for our kitchen. Thanks so much for sharing.


Please keep them coming! Hoping to do an IKEA kitchen remodel myself one of these days so any and all ideas are welcome here.


We are planning a kitchen reno now. This was so helpful. Keep them coming!


Thanks for starting to share ikea kitchen renos! My husband and I just bought our house and are currently saving up for our kitchen reno.. will likely be another year before we can finally get to it. I would love to hear what people budgeted for it but more importantly if there were any budget SURPRISES… like what types of things did they not anticipate while renovating their kitchen and how much they went over budget. I know sometimes people don’t like sharing costs, so it’s a touchy subject, but it’s seriously the only reason why we are waiting another year on our own renovation! I just want to make sure we are fully able to afford it before jumping in. :)

Thanks, and I love reading your blog! Keep at it!


After spending $$$$$ on our last reno we are looking to do Ikea this time around. Looking forward to your posts!


Thanks for sharing this post.


YESSS please! I am pinning kitchen ideas (especially yours!) until we can re-do ours and Ikea is definitely the way we will go. Do you think the white will get grubby after time? We have a white laminate pantry from Lowe’s and around the handles gets grungy fairly easily and I really don’t want a whole kitchen like that but I do love the white.


I love the idea of IKEA kitchen posts. I’d love to hear if anyone has used the company semihandmade to go along with their IKEA boxes. We are planning a remodel in the next few years and that concept intrigues me. Thanks!


Yes, would love to see more ikea kitchens. Leigh’s kitchen is beautiful.


Thanks for all the information on the quality and experience with Ikea cabinets. The renovation is beautiful!


My husband and I also remodeled our kitchen using ikea ADELE white cabinets. We designed them ourselves using the online tool and actually changed the layout of half of the kitchen. We did everything ourselves and didn’t find it that difficult. After putting a few cabinets together, the rest became like muscle memory for us. We added quartz countertops and crown molding to make the cabinets appear built in. We even changed how we put the cabinets together to git rid of the lap on the bottom of the upper cabinets. I would be happy to share pictures if you would like to see our kitchen. We are thinking of using ikea cabinets again in our bathroom as well.


Love it!! Yes, please keep these posts coming! My husband and I just bought our first home and a complete kitchen renovation will be in the works in the next year or so. I’ve seen some ikea kitchen reno’s that have used custom doors to make it look nicer. Anything to help make it look custom, such as the molding and refrigerator panel is great. Thanks so much!


Please keep these type of posts coming! I love reading a good “before” and “after” remodel story, especially when it involves Ikea.


great idea! The kitchen looks lovely – I too wish they’d do a simple real white real wood shaker door – why they have all those weird whites I don’t know. I think you might know how I feel about Ikea kitchens!! Ours is coming along nicely – yay! Can’t wait for it to be done though – am tired of washing up in the bathroom… I googled “ikea kitchens” a million times while planning mine and often looked through your posts, so your series here will be invaluable. I plan to do a proper post too when I’m done on the process – pros and cons etc. Maybe in 2016 at this rate :)


Love this kitchen, and love the series idea! Could you tell me the rough square footage of the kitchen? We’re looking to build and it would be great to get an idea of how much space you need for a kitchen like this beautiful one. Thx!


We are getting ready to renovate our kitchen (I’ve been posting details on my blog) and recently found out we’re going to have to nix our cabinets in the reno. We are thinking about going with IKEA cabinets. These features are really amazing for someone considering an IKEA kitchen :)


I’m getting ready to do my 2nd ikea kitchen. Delighted with the first which was a budget reno in the existing footprint. This one is a bit more ambitious. The thing I’m most interested in are the custom details- crown, the trim around the bottom, and particularly the toe kick. I used the ikea toe kick in the other house and hated it. It looked cheap. Also interested in ikea kitchens that are not white.


Wow! What a difference!
And I LOVE the idea of an Ikea kitchen series! It’s fun to see how people style some of the same basics. And I love the information packed into posts like these.


hi! YES. i’m sure you’ve figured out everyone loves this. i want to ask how they like the micro? was it hard to install?
we too, getting ready to do IKEA kitch! much like the one in this post! House*Tweaking is my total inspiration~!!!!!


I love this idea. Our kitchen is torn apart right now, still deciding on cabinets so this is great timing. I would love to hear from more people that have had ikea for a long period of time to see how they are holding up. Thanks!


In your experience with designing an Ikea kitchen, can you put a sink or cooktop in an Ikea island?


I haven’t personally done it but I’ve seen it done. Belinda at The Happy Home is actually mid-renovation and her new kitchen will feature a sink + dishwasher in the island. She shared her kitchen design here…


Also, there is an Ikea kitchen in the Remodelista book which features a cooktop in the island. Check out page 198. *Dream kitchen!*

[…] 3. Can you believe this is an IKEA kitchen? Check out the Cape Cod kitchen featured at House*Tweaking. […]


I would love to see you start an Ikea remodel series! My husband and I are planning on remodeling our kitchen with Ikea in the future, so not only would I enjoy seeing the wonderful after shots, but hearing their tips and tricks would be great. I hope you go forward with this idea! Thanks for having such a wonderful blog. I hope to run into you one day in the Cincinnati Ikea – I’m in Columbus ;)


Thanks so much! I’ll check out the links you recommended. Your kitchen design is fantastic and very inspiring. There are so many elements I’ve made note of for my dream kitchen.


I love this kitchen! It is the exact same style and layout that I plan on doing for me own kitchen renovation. It is great to see that I can get the look and quality I am looking for at a cheaper price with Ikea. I was wondering how much she really saved by going with them however? Also, I live very close to the cape and would love to know who her finish carpenter was as well!

[…] also found a blog post on the blog House Tweaking that discusses a reader’s experience with Ikea cabinetry in a summer home. Her kitchen came […]


[…] received great feedback from the first Ikea kitchen a reader so kindly agreed to let me share here on House*Tweaking. Since then, more readers have […]


[…] An Ikea Kitchen in Cape Cod […]


I was talking to a friend who just remodeled his kitchen and he said he didn’t go with IKEA cabinets because European measurement make them smaller so you have problems with storing American dishes, pots & pans, etc. have people had that problem?


We don’t have a surplus of dishes, pots and pans but we have no problem with those items fitting into drawers or cabinets. My dad and grandparents also have Ikea kitchens (they jumped after they saw ours in person) and they have way more kitchen paraphernalia than we do but don’t have issues with things fitting into drawers or cabinets. If you’re considering Ikea cabinets, it wouldn’t hurt to measure your items to make sure they will fit!


Just beginning our “planning phase”. Love all the great info here!


Love this gorgeous kitchen! I’m in the planning stages of a remodel and will use Ikea cabinets. The best spot for the microwave seems to be under the counter and I’m looking at the one by Ikea. How do you like yours, and do you like having it under the counter? My husband and I (and our teens) are all 5’8″ to 6’3″ and I’m afraid we might be bending too much with this design…..but I hate to lose countertop space in our small kitchen, and there’s not a place for it in the uppers which will be mostly open. Thanks and great work!


I love the way your kitchen turned out! We are in the middle of processing a Cape Cod home and would love to know your finish carpenter. feel free to email me at photosuzanne@yahoo.com


Love the kitchen. Please tell me which IKEA cabinet fronts you used.

[…] A few to consider are granite, laminate, stainless steel, Corian, wood, glass and tiles. Ideas for 30" deep countertop material ? Ideas for 30" deep countertop material ? Kitchen Counters: Plastic Laminate Offers Options Aplenty. HOUSE*TWEAKING. […]


Any chance you could post the pics of your IKEA kitchen? We are thinking of doing the same thing with th quartz countertops and molding! Thanks!