...because home doesn't happen overnight.

It seems the consensus is that you guys would like to continue seeing and reading about Ikea kitchens regardless of which cabinet line – AKURUM (previous) or SEKTION (current) – is featured. For that reason, I will continue to share the best of the bunch that come my way. Thanks for reading!

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!

ohio ikea kitchen before 1

ohio ikea kitchen before 2

ohio ikea kitchen before 3

Mike and Mallory are professional construction managers by day and DIY warriors by night (and on weekends). So it should come as no surprise to hear that they’ve been working magic on their 1920s colonial home over the past several years.

The original kitchen featured dark laminate cabinets, embossed wallpaper and an impractical layout chopped up by numerous windows and doors. During phase 1 of the renovation, Mallory set a $100 budget to brighten the space and make it feel less depressing while the couple saved pennies and waited for a full-on renovation down the road. She painted the cabinets, wallpaper & countertops, updated the cabinet hinges, and moved the knobs to a more pleasing location on the cabinet doors…all for $89!

After living with Phase 1 in the kitchen for several years and tackling other projects around the house, the couple was finally able to focus on a complete kitchen overhaul in 2013. They chose to source their cabinets from Ikea. I asked Mallory several questions about their experience. Find her answers and the jaw-dropping “afters” below!

ohio ikea kitchen after 2

ohio ikea kitchen after 3

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

The cabinets, doors, drawer fronts and dishwasher are from Ikea.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

I really wanted a two-tone look, with white uppers and black or dark lowers. After getting quotes from cabinet makers, I was surprised that this type of design would cost more. I started looking at Ikea as an option after many blogs I follow (including House*Tweaking) used them. I liked the fact that I could mix-n-match and customize without a large hike in price.

ohio ikea kitchen plan 2

ohio ikea kitchen plan 1

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

I designed our kitchen using the Ikea kitchen planner. Our house was built in 1927. We were striving for a slightly modern aesthetic but with traditional elements. We didn’t want it to feel out of place in the house.

ohio ikea kitchen prorgess 2

ohio ikea kitchen progress 3

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

We assembled and installed everything ourselves!

ohio ikea kitchen after 6

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

While removing the wall allowed us to gain space, we had a lot of architectural details to work around: windows, doors, openings. I used the kitchen planner to design the most efficient use of the space. To work within these parameters, I had to use a few filler pieces in a couple of places but it turned out for the best. For example, the filler needed next to the dishwasher added about 4” which is enough space to stand between the open dishwasher and the peninsula when unloading clean dishes.

ohio ikea kitchen after 11

After living in our house for three years, there were also things that I knew I had to incorporate into the new space, like concealed trash storage. Likewise, there was always a shoe “issue” at the back door since it’s our main entry and opens up into the kitchen. I thought about stopping the base cabinets short and building a simple rack next to the door but realized I could use a base cabinet with wire baskets for closed shoe storage!

ohio ikea kitchen after 8

ohio ikea kitchen after 12

For aesthetics, we topped the 39” wall cabinets with custom crown molding and painted it to match for a built-in look. We also added side panels to frame in the counter-depth refrigerator. We used non-Ikea items such as hardware, tile, lighting and countertops to get the modern-meets-traditional look we wanted.

ohio ikea kitchen after 9

ohio ikea kitchen after 10

How long was it from design to the final product?

You could say we’ve been working towards this project for 3+ years since a large component of our design included removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen. The chimney for the old furnace ran through the wall. We removed it in stages over the last couple of years while we remodeled the rest of the house. But from the start of demo (which left us kitchen-less) to utilizing the new space, it took about three months. We are weeknight and weekend warriors who have lived in a state of renovation for years. We tend to jump in before all the details are finalized. We had to do a lot of demo (removing the wall) and remodeling behind the walls (updating electric/plumbing/HVAC) before we even started putting the kitchen back together.

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

We’ve lived with our kitchen for a year and a half now and we haven’t had any issues with the Ikea components. I feel like I babied the lower cabinets for a while after they were installed because I worried any nick or scratch would be very noticeable, but they’ve held up considerably well. We don’t think twice about showing them some abuse!

ohio ikea kitchen after 13

ohio ikea kitchen after 4

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

We almost doubled our working space, so that’s got to be my favorite! I’m also really happy I was able to convince my husband to trust me on the two-tone look. Pairing dark lower cabinets with lighter upper cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling makes the space feel even bigger.

My only issue with the cabinets is that the white AKURUM frames are pretty noticeable behind the lower RAMSJÖ black-brown doors, especially where we had to use filler pieces. We ended up purchasing edge banding to match the doors and used it on the most troublesome areas. I’m happy to see the new SEKTION system has a dark frame option.

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

After living with our kitchen for well over a year, we’ve been very satisfied with the quality of our cabinets and dishwasher. I would definitely recommend Ikea. Actually, I’ve already recommended it to all my friends and family who are thinking of remodeling!

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

I love our kitchen and enjoyed the process, so I would consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel. When I asked my husband this question he was less enthusiastic. (I don’t think he wants to think about remodeling another kitchen for a while!) He did say as the memory of assembling the cabinets fades, he really is impressed with the quality and all the customizations available from Ikea.

Resources of note:

cabinets – Ikea (uppers – ADEL off-white, lowers – RAMSJÖ black-brown)
countertops – Corian in rain cloud, Home Depot
wall paint – Sherwin-Williams pediment
floor tile & epoxy grout – Lowe’s
backsplash tile & fusion grout – Home Depot
refrigerator, range, microwave – Frigidaire Gallery, Lowe’s
dishwasher – Ikea
sink, faucet – Kraus from FaucetDirect
cabinet hardware – Lowe’s
lights – LED from Lighting Wholesale
peninsula pendants – etsy
sink pendant – Lowe’s
dining table & chairs – World Market
dining cabinet – Ikea
countertop tray – Target
bamboo blind – Home Depot
curtains – Target
stools – Target
kitchen rug – eBay
dining room rug – Flor tiles, Suit Yourself in linen

ohio ikea kitchen after 7

ohio ikea kitchen after 1

Thank you Mallory and Mike for sharing your kitchen! The transformation is amazing. I can’t believe how much function and storage you squeezed into the space. It’s almost as if you guys do this for a living ;)

Okay readers, pick your jaw up from the floor and tell me what’s your favorite part. You know the tuxedo design had me at hello, and I’m all over the hits of black – especially the painted door and pendants. I’m sorta crazy for that floor tile, too. The oversize scale doesn’t compete with the backsplash tile while the herringbone pattern adds interest. I love how the kitchen opens up to the dining area now. It flows so naturally, like it was always that way. Personal details like the shoe cabinet and humorous chalkboard art show that real (smart and funny) people live here. I would feel right at home sitting at the peninsula or dining table while Mallory whips up drinks. I have to agree with Mike. Building and installing an Ikea kitchen isn’t all that different from giving birth. You forget the pain over time. Haha! Be sure to check out Mallory’s blog, Danks and Honey, for a cost breakdown, more pictures and loads of Ikea kitchen tips. It’s a gold mine!

Want more kitchen inspiration? See more Ikea kitchens right here:

An Ikea Kitchen in Los Angeles

An Ikea Kitchen on Australia’s Gold Coast

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

Do you have a project (big or small; Ikea or non-Ikea) that you would like to share with House*Tweaking readers? Email me at housetweaking (at) gmail (dot) com for consideration. Thanks in advance!

images: Mallory Danks



This is a real goody! I’m loving how those warm-toned wood stools pop with the black cabinets. Well done guys!


This kitchen is so beautiful. It reminds me a lot of yours, which helped us so much when we were planning our IKEA kitchen! A couple things I am stealing from her design is the cute little soap tray by the sink (mine soaps and sponge are all over tackying things up!) and the rug. I want to send you some before and afters of our kitchen soon. We researched every IKEA kitchen possible on the internet before going for it so I love that you’re helping shine light on how great IKEA kitchens are!


Not only is the kitchen lovely, I’m impressed at how well they’ve achieved the traditional-meets-modern style they were going for. It doesn’t look out of place with the style of the house at all! I would love to live there.


I love the sign + note board, flooring and the great idea to create a shoe cabinet. Overall it’s really stunning. Love IKEA kitchens!




Love the dark base cabinets and lighter countertops, black and white is timeless. I love the brown shade (bamboo?) over the sink too, it adds a nice dose of warmth to the space. The shoe cabinet is a great idea for keeping shoe piles at bay!


Thanks for sharing! You’ve got me dreaming of doing my own Ikea kitchen! Love every detail about this one!


What a difference it makes taking out the wall. The new kitchen and dining room looks bright, open and inviting. I appreciate the planning and attention to detail. I want that chalkboard!


Gorgeous! Would love to know where the bamboo shade is from – we’ve been searching for a reasonably-priced one for our kitchen.



on another note, did you see that jen of with heart fame used ikea cabinet boxes and got custom doors made? didn’t even know that was possible. very interesting…


It’s funny you posted this kitchen today. I was about to order the same exact uppers and lowers from IKEA for our black and white kitchen my husband wasn’t exactly thrilled about two toned cabinetry. I showed him these photos and he absolutely loved it! One of my favorite parts is actually the herringbone pattern of the flooring. It adds a personal touch that really tones down the modern elements (I’ll have to steal that idea for my own). Absolutely beautiful!


I love that floor tile! The shade of grey + the herringbone pattern had me from hello! I also like the two tone cabinets. It helps the modern mesh with the classic.

PS- Your IKEA kitchen remodel is the way I found you, and one of the many reasons I stayed! :) I was looking into an IKEA kitchen myself, and was searching the internet for reviews, just like you were. So, thanks for that! Unfortunately, plans changed and I haven’t gotten my kitchen yet, but it is going to happen in the near future. I’m kinda impatiently waiting…


Love the after’s open feel. Is the original kitchen a typical 10 by 10 one?


I absolutely love this kitchen. We live in a community that is never thrilled about anything from IKEA but we lived in Europe for 6 years and came to love that store! Our house is a real fixer-upper and the kitchen is no exception. Portions of the cabinetry are falling off and the white laminate counters,ugh. We tore out the dysfunctional desk and installed a white IKEA cabinet with shelving up top and 2 drawers down below – best decision ever. Now if we could only tear out everything else. Some day…

I also love the chalkboard sign (have a drink) around the corner from the refrigerator. I’m really hoping that is sourced in the Danks’ blog. I have the perfect spot for that piece. I may have to greet our regular Friday night guests with a drink in hand by that sign :)


I love this kitchen remodel, what a great inspiration! I can’t wait to tackle our own remodel someday. This kitchen gave me an idea of how I can change the layout of mines without taking down the wall into the living room.
Thanks, Lilly


I think it’s time the IKEA kitchen series had it’s own tag/category/tab/whatever, don’t you? Let people click on it and read all of them!


Dream kitchen! That table. The window treatments! Never thought I’d love black cabinets but I’m sold.


This one is gorgeous, and doubly inspiring for me, as I have pretty much the exact kitchen layout of the before. And, our house is also from the 1920’s. Thanks for showing how it can be done, and still true to the style of the house. And helping me visualize what it would look like with the wall gone!


Great idea! I just added an “Ikea kitchen series” tab in the side bar. You can give it a quick click to see all the posts in this series. Thanks for the feedback!


Believe it or not, the chalkboard sign was a DIY! It’s a sheet of metal painted with chalkboard paint.


Yes, I saw Jen’s kitchen reveal! LOVE IT. I’m also a huge fan of Semihandmade’s custom fronts that are compatible with Ikea frames. In fact, I’m using them in the studio and they are amazing. I like that they arrive unfinished so you can paint them any color of the rainbow. Such an awesome idea!


Home Depot!


It’s the best of both worlds, isn’t it?!


I’d love to see your kitchen!


I love your new kitchen! It looks awesome! I was wondering if you would mind sharing where your cool light fixture over the dining room table is from? Thank so much!


I love this! Gorgeous! We are in the process of re-doing out kitchen. Would love to know how she feels about the Corian counter-tops. I’ve heard it is not any cheaper than quartz, so curious why she picked it and how it’s holding up.


oooh, I just love it all. Thank you for sharing it with us!! I so badly want to do a mini kitchen remodel. Maybe this one will get my husband on board!


Thanks for the kind words Tracey! The pendant above our dining table is the “Black Iron Bell Pendant Lamp” from World Market, it’s sold out online, but I found it in my local store, so hopefully you will have some luck at yours!


Thanks Nicole! We love our counter-tops, and we get many compliments on it from people that aren’t as familiar with Corian as they are with granite or quartz. When we received quotes it wasn’t that significantly cheaper than quartz, but enough of a difference that we felt it was worth saving. We installed a solid surface counter top in our upstairs bathroom remodel ourselves, and we’ve been happy with that so we knew we would like them in the kitchen.

At first I thought I wanted the higher sheen of a granite or quartz stone, and the Rain Cloud Corian is the opposite with a velvet feel, but I’ve been very happy with it (and still literally pet it sometimes)! It’s a little warmer than stone to the touch, and has held up to quick spills, and those that aren’t noticed until the next day. Hope this helps, I love both quartz and solid surface so either one you chose will be a great!


Love this post and this kitchen! Does she mind sharing the color of the Bamboo Blinds? Thanks!


I love this! Having recently diy’ed our whole kitchen with IKEA, I referenced the ikea kitchens you featured too many times to count. Having them on the side bar is so helpful.


Sooooo good! Love love love this one.


Thanks Sarah!! The bamboo shade is Home Depot designview brand, “Maple Providence Bamboo Roman Shade”. Hope that helps!


I love love love your kitchen! WOW! And I also love the “Have a Drink” board…so true!


The transformation is indeed amazing, but just something interesting I want to point out – in the first before photo, look how different the kitchen looks just by changing the lighting. The first looks a lot more unappealing with the yellowish lighting, compared to how clean it looks with whiter lighting. It just shows that even changing something small like the type of a light bulb in a room can completely change how it looks!


do you remember the distance between the island and the refrigerator?


This is great inspiration for a very similar project that we are about to embark on in our home! Thanks for sharing so many details. Can you please also share the specific source for those Etsy pendant lights? Thank you!


Where did you find that rug from? Do you have a link or name you searched it under? Thanks!


I love this floor. We have looked everywhere for this color. Would you mind sharing the brand and color?


I also love this floor color. Everything I find at Lowes and Home Depot appear to be darker. Can you let me know what tile this is? Thanks!


I love this kitchen, trying to update my lighting right now. Can you tell me the lighting on etsy you bought, who it was from specifically. I would love those!


We are also in the process of remodeling our kitchen and doing the IKEA sektion system. I have been searching all over for those pendant light that you have over your peninsula. What specifically are they called so that I can find them on Etsy if you don’t mind sharing?