...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Obligatory preamble rambling: When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

gold coast ikea kitchen before 1

In February of this year, Jess and her partner, Tim, purchased their first house located in Queensland, Australia. The kitchen was closed off from the main living area and faced the back of the house. 90’s cabinets and laminate countertops did not reflect the couple’s impeccable style.





gold coast ikea kitchen before 2

To improve the layout, the couple made plans to remove walls separating the kitchen from the living area and flip the kitchen so the peninsula would separate the kitchen from the living area. They used Ikea cabinetry to achieve a sleek, modern design. I asked Jess several questions about the remodel. Find her answers and the mind-blowing “afters” below.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 1

gold coast ikea kitchen after 2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

We chose to purchase our FAKTUM cabinets, ABSTRAKT gloss white doors, drawers (and fronts), BLANKETT handles, RATIONELL drawer liners and cutlery organizers from Ikea. We also selected a few of our appliances – namely the MW6 combi oven, dishwasher and rangehood (discontinued hidden model).

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

I had a pretty solid Ikea bookcase constructing background as my first house was furnished with many of their inexpensive storage solutions. I knew that we could probably tackle the kitchen cupboard assembly without too many hiccups. Obviously, the price was also a huge deciding factor for us as we are renovating on a budget and committed to completing as much as we can ourselves.

I also spent hours and hours online reading reviews and comparing different kitchen systems. I found ikeafans.com (sadly, it’s no longer) to be an invaluable source of knowledge. If hundreds of other novices had attempted an Ikea kitchen and come out on the other side without a messy divorce, so could we!

gold coast ikea kitchen after 12

Who designed your kitchen?

We designed and redesigned several times using the online kitchen tool which we found to be very useful and, at times, a bit frustrating. It is amazing how much bigger your kitchen looks onscreen versus real life! I definitely suggest taping out the rough dimensions of your new cupboards before making any final decisions.

Once we were fairly set on our design, we made an appointment with an Ikea kitchen specialist who helped us to finalise additional items like cover panels and plinths.

In terms of aesthetic, we managed to combine our individual styles and also take inspiration from my favourite blogs – House*Tweaking, Manhattan Nest and Chezerbey. The end result is a Scandinavian / clean-lined / warm wood tone style that we both absolutely adore. All the pieces fit together better than we could have hoped!

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 1

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 2

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 3

gold coast ikea kitchen progress 4

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

With heaps of over-confidence and a passion for late night arguments, we tried our hand at everything over the course of our renovations. And we didn’t suck at it…especially the bickering, we excelled at that!

We knocked down the old wall between the kitchen and the lounge room, built a new wall to effectively reverse the kitchen, plastered and painted, and generally spent every weekend taking carloads to the tip.

I built all of our kitchen cupboards which took approximately 12-14 hours total. Tim & I installed the cabinets ourselves and we even tiled for the first time when we installed the marble splashback.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 4

gold coast ikea kitchen after 5

Unless you are a licensed electrician, it is illegal to undertake electrical work yourself in Australia. Fortunately, we have a great electrician who installed our new downlights and pendants and wired up our new appliances. We also outsourced the plumbing work and the Caesarstone bench top construction and installation.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 8

gold coast ikea kitchen after 18

gold coast ikea kitchen after 10

gold coast ikea kitchen after 11

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

To suit our style of mixed cold and warm elements, we chose a Caeserstone bench top in sleek concrete, sourced hexagonal carrara marble from ebay and utilised Tasmanian oak as trim on archways and above the cooktop.

We recycled cover panel offcuts to close a 7cm gap between the ceiling and top of the upper cabinets. We cut down a standard FAKTUM cupboard to create a usable storage space above the fridge pod.

gold coast ikea kitchen after 6

gold coast ikea kitchen after 7

Our kitchen features a few unique items that give it that little bit extra in our opinion: a black Franke techtonite sink, a clock purchased on an anniversary trip to Byron Bay and Tim’s dream induction cooktop which we managed to pick up for a song from an online auction house.

We also took the opportunity to install new flooring throughout our house which originally featured the cheapest bamboo laminate and old cracked tiles hidden under black linoleum. We chose Quickstep classic midnight oak brown which was extremely easy to install and perfectly complemented our kitchen choices.

How long was it from design to the final product?

Design has been happening since day one of viewing the house. We ordered our kitchen components in June and began renovating on weekends in August. The final kitchen reveal happened during the first week of October. I took three weeks holiday in September which allowed me to install new flooring and paint pretty much everything.

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

We have lived with the finished product for two months now and have only adjusted the push-to-open hardware on the top cupboards to ensure they close properly. I am very impressed with the quality of the Ikea cupboards and appliances, particularly the fact that we have a working dishwasher again!

gold coast ikea kitchen after 13

gold coast ikea kitchen after 15

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

This is a hard question! Tim’s favourite is the Electrolux 70cm induction cooktop, whereas mine is the actual layout which has opened up the main living area.

Our least favourite is, unfortunately, the pantry size. We didn’t realize that the 40cm cupboard actually means 30cm drawers so it was a bit of a downsize from our old kitchen. Luckily, we have ample spare cupboards to compensate.

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

Yes, absolutely. We are very happy with the quality of the cupboards and the endless options / configurations.

We would highly recommend the combi oven and love the soft-closing drawers. The gloss finish of the doors and drawer fronts is impeccable and seems to be very durable.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

We would definitely use Ikea again. In fact, we are taking on the study / linen closet as one of our next projects and plan to use a combination of the Ikea FAKTUM cupboards and the PAX wardrobe system. Ikea provides both great service and an awesome result.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Dulux vivid white
flooring – Quickstep classic midnight oak brown
cupboards (cabinets) – FAKTUM, Ikea
handles – BLANKETT, Ikea
bench top (countertop) – Caesarstone sleek concrete (4003), Regency Stone
cooktop – Electrolux 70cm ceramic induction cooktop in black (EHD68210P), GraysOnline
rangehood – Luftig (BF570), Ikea
oven – Fisher & Paykel 60cm oven (OB60SL7DEX1), JB Hi Fi
microwave combi oven – Nutid (MWC6), Ikea
dishwasher – BESPARA integrated dishwasher, Ikea
fridge – Fisher & Paykel, already owned
splashback (backsplash) – 50mm hexagonal carrara marble mosiac, ebay
grout – Ardex magellan grey, Beaumont Tiles
sink – Franke tectonite kitchen sink in carbon black (SID110-50), Masters
tap – stainless steel with vegetable hose, ebay
wood trim – Tasmanian oak, Bunnings
clock – anniversary gift
pendants – Tadao 1 medium point top concrete pendants, Beacon Lighting
stools – Tolix in white, Outlet Homewares
Hahnii snake plant in grey pot – Masters

gold coast ikea kitchen after 19

gold coast ikea kitchen after 20

Jess & Tim, thank you for sharing the story of your kitchen remodel so candidly and so thoroughly! DIY novices? You could have fooled me.

OH MY WOW. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this amazing renovation. I love that they had the forethought to knock down those walls and flip the kitchen’s layout. It completely opened up the space. The kitchen looks as if it’s been this way all along. Jess & Tim make it look easy, but committing to a minimal design and limited palette requires restraint. And the attention to detail is flawless: the DIY cabinet over the fridge, hexagonal backsplash, concrete pendants, concealed hood, fancy electrical outlets / switches, trimmed out space between the upper cabinets and ceiling. One of my favorite parts is the oak trim above the cooktop and in the doorways. They complement each other so nicely and provide the slightest touch of warmth at eye level. Not to mention, the oak-trimmed doorways are practical. Our drywalled corners have taken a beating from the kids!

As you can see, Jess & Tim’s stellar style doesn’t stop at the kitchen. I’m all over that sofa. It’s further proof that Aussie’s must have an innate sense of style that puts the rest of the world to shame. (No offense, world.) I’m just glad these two are kind enough to share theirs with us and I hope it’s contagious. You can follow Jess & Tim’s renovating adventures over on Jess’s blog here.

I’m off to practice my Aussie lingo (cupboards, bench top, splashback, lounge room – so adorable!) but if you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:

An Ikea Kitchen in Asheville

A (Mostly) Ikea Kitchen in Denver

An Ikea Kitchen in Rural Australia

An Ikea Kitchen in the SF Bay Area

An Ikea Kitchen in Northfield, Minnesota

An Ikea Kitchen in Brooklyn

An Ikea Kitchen in Orange County

An Ikea Kitchen in Texas Hill Country

An Ikea Kitchen in Chesapeake

An Ikea Kitchen in a Barn (in France!)

An Ikea Kitchen in Cape Cod

images: Agent Thirty Six



wowza! Beautiful job! Seriously drooling over here….


Some other Aussie lingo you might enjoy is “cozzies”. For “swimming costume”, or as you might call it, bathing suit.

It might also entertain you to learn about “budgie smugglers”, which is what we call the small tight Speedos men wear. True story.

Very nice kitchen. Love the series.


I love that you comment on our Aussies word variations! I’m often caught finding myself screwing my face up when Americans are ‘rooting’ for something!!! Haha, makes me laugh like a little kid! :/ x


Winner! “Budgie smugglers” is my new favorite word.


I love the baby deer wall art. Where is it from?


wowwwww, it’s so gorgeous!! I absolutely love the mix of modern white cabinets with oak trim. This whole series is awesome. We painted our oak kitchen cabinets because it seemed like a sin to replace them a few short months after the seller installed them, but man oh man, you can bet my next kitchen will be from Ikea!


Looks great! I’d love some more information about how she installed the trim on top of the cabinets, as I’ve been trying to figure out how to close the gap on top of my ikea cabinets for about 5 years now…


My favorite one yet!!!! Absolutely gorgeous. Love how it’s now one huge, amazing space. Every detail is impeccable. Any chance the owner would be willing to share a ballpark estimate of the budget? If not, I understand! I only ask b/c we’re house hunting and will almost certainly be buying a fixer-upper in need of a huge kitchen overhaul, and I’d love to know a general idea of how much it might cost. Ikea all the way for us!!!


Hi Marie! It was a gift from a friend and comes from the talented etsy seller SlaviART https://www.etsy.com/shop/SlaviART. Her paintings are absolutely gorgeous and it’s one of my favourite items in the house :) :)


Beautiful kitchen! I love everything about it, including how restrained you were (always my biggest challenge).


Hi there,
Just wondering about the flooring. We are planning a very similar reno and have had very different advice regarding laying the flooring. We’ve been told to lay the floors first (and not lay where the cabinets will go) but also been told to lay them after … can you advise if you lay your lovely floors before installing your kitchen? And did you lay the floor to the walls, or just to where the cabinets would be?


And one other question (sorry). How did you customise the cupboard above your fridge – wouldn’t cutting the cupboard front have left exposed edges?
– A future ikea kitchen owner.


Beautiful remodel. I am lusting after that hexagonal tile now.


Great post! I have read so many of your post about Ikea Kitchens that I am determined to do it… one day. Kansas just opened an Ikea only 20 minutes from our home and I got to see the product up close and I agree they are of good quality. I think Jess and Tim did a fantastic job and I was very amused at how she answered the questions in fun and in detail. Clearly, there are frustrations when doing projects such as these BUT you can see the sense of satisfaction when it all comes together. Wonderful job and thanks for sharing!


Love the hexagonal tiles… and how the kitchen is so opened up now!


Love the reno! Fantastic job guys!

Do Americans not call them cupboards or bench tops or splashbacks?? Are we really that weird? Lol!

Kylie from Brisbane, QLD.


It isn’t weird, I promise! I think it’s fun. I have heard cupboards used in the states but not too frequently. xx


Awesome – love the modern and open transformation! Thanks for sharing all these awesome Ikea kitchens! I think I’m going to steal the idea of trimming the bottom of the upper cabinets with a small piece of wood – beautiful! After years of drooling I finally pulled the trigger and we’re putting in our own Ikea kitchen right now. Do either of you Ikea kitchen experts have any advice for getting clean cuts on the cover panels? I’m using the abstrakt white doors & cover panels and am more than a bit stressed out about getting the foil covered panels to cut cleanly. Thanks much for all the inspiration and any advice you’ve got. Thanks!


Hi Chloe! Thank you for the kind words!!
The top of the cupboards was certainly a challenge as our ceiling/floors aren’t 100% level. We had a spare cover panel from IKEA which came in handy – we measured each side/part of the gap about 10 times and cut individually strips of the cover panel using a circular saw/jigsaw. We mitre joined them with liquid nails to form the shape of the top of the cupboards. We then installed left over blocks of wood intermittantly across the top between the cupboards and the roof; using liquid nails to attach the constructed piece to the blocks and caulked all of the joins.
I hope this helps! It was EXTREMELY fiddly and took quite a few hours but I am more than happy with how it turned out :)


Hi Jo :)
I encountered the same mixed advice when we looked at installing our floors. In the end we went with placing the cupboards first and then installing the flooring up to just under the edges (so they appeared seamless). We did however run the flooring completely through under the dishwasher – If you need to remove the dishwasher for repairs etc later on & didn’t do this, you wouldn’t be able to lift the appliance up and over the flooring edge as it would be too awkward and heavy. Plus I figure if the dishwasher leaks, I will have far bigger problems than those couple of pieces of flooring!
With the back cupboards against the wall, we simply laid the flooring up to and just under the edge as well. Make sure you test your plinths by positioning them before you decide how much to cut off the end of the boards to avoid surprises. We did also lay flooring under the fridge to the wall.

The cupboard above the fridge was a bit of a challenge however we were very lucky in the fact that IKEA happened to stock two smaller doors that made up the right combination to fit the custom cupboard.
We selected a shallower cupboard as it fit our needs more precisely and resulted in not having to cut the front of the cupboard. We did cut down the vertical height of the cupboard itself, however we did this on the top of the side pieces so it wouldnt be visible. We re-drilled the holes in the new places to allow the cupboard to be screwed to a wooden block against the wall and the pantry on the other side. We used a leftover piece of cover panel and liquid nails to disguise the wood piece on the wall.
We do have a couple of exposed holes/fittings leftover in the interior sides but as it is above the fridge we don’t use that cupboard anywhere near enough to be concerned about people noticing.
Hopefully this helps! If you head over to my blog there may be some more pictures that assist in explaining this :)


Hi Kara :) Tim’s hot tip for cutting cover panels is to leave the plastic wrap on, use a circular saw and have the front side facing UP. We found that the cleanest cut resulted on the top as the blade can chip bits of the gloss off the bottom.
Thank you for the compliments :)

Wow love the transformation – and that splashback!! Looks fabulous. The open plan living is so inviting and flowing. Just love it!!

[…] following post was originally featured on House*Tweaking and was written by blogger Dana Miller, who is part of POPSUGAR Select […]


HOLY SMOKES this is a beautiful transformation! What a wonderful job:) Thanks for sharing this inspiring space Dana.


[…] An Ikea Kitchen on Australia’s Gold Coast […]


wow…I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot finding all these real Ikea kitchens…so beautiful! Thank you for showing all of them. We’ve been planning our new Ikea kitchen and will be ordering when they have the next sale. Also very glad to hear how much people like their kitchens after having lived with them for awhile. I am eager to get started!


So lucky to have found your blog! I have purchased the same beautiful Carrera hex marble tiles. I was looking for grout inspiration and you listed the product you used. I love it and will replicate. Thank you!


Hi there. How is the concrete caesarstone holding up? Would you still recommend it?