IKEA Cabinets – Purchasing Process

Written by Renovation

I’ve neglected finishing my planned posts about the kitchen for long enough! A lot happened in between that stole my attention away. You remember, we finished the thing, Thanksgiving happened, then of course the holiday season is in full swing, and then the new year along with all the standard “reflecting on the past” and “planning for the future” content that comes with it. Now I can finally start getting back to my regularly scheduled program and finish my brain dump on more kitchen related stuff.

For this week, I have this and one more post planned! THREE posts this week! Wha WHAT! Both will be about our IKEA cabinets. This one (since you can probably read the tile) is about the purchasing process, followed by it’s twin about putting all those IKEA cabinets together. Each is a large enough subject, I felt it would be easier to digest separately. But without further ado… let’s get into it!

To recap, we worked with an interior designer to help us nail down a floor plan. She drew up blueprints for us that I used to create a 3D render of our kitchen in the IKEA Home Planner tool. You can read about all of that here, where I dig into the nitty gritty of the floor plan and our choices more. So there is your starting point. Planning! Even if you don’t use an interior designer to get you started, you will need to layout everything in the tool. It’s a free web based platform, where you can create several layouts, save them, tweak them for weeks or months, get estimates and even ultimately place your order.

The planner tool is A LOT of fun! Enter your room’s measurements, place doors and windows where they exist in the space, and you can go to town. I lost track of time so often playing around in the planner. Overall, I think it’s pretty intuitive and easy to use. But there were some aspects that were a little more difficult. It can be buggy from time to time, so be sure to save often. I would have trouble snapping items to the walls properly and sometimes the rotate function just wouldn’t work the way I wanted it to.

Once you start adding cabinets, there are LOTS of options in the right hand panel you can drop down for customizing each and every cabinet for your needs. Want this cabinet to have four drawers instead of hinged door fronts? You can select that! Want that high cabinet to have a microwave cubby, shelves on the top and 5 drawers on the bottom? You can select that! You can even change up how many “exterior” drawers you want and add “interior” drawers inside. There are soooooooo many ways to easily customize everything and spend hours thinking of things you never put this much thought into before.

If you are having trouble with the planner tool, or just want some pro help along the way, you can always head into your IKEA kitchen department, pull up your account, and have a trained employee help you out. The thing to keep in mind for going to the store, is that their kitchen department functions on a “first come, first serve” basis. So if you are able to go in right when they open, and preferably on a slower weekday, you will be sure to get attention quickly. Otherwise, you might be waiting awhile for help. Every time we went in, there were several people at the computers working away on their home layout projects.

Once I got everything to a point where we felt comfortable with the layout in the planner tool, inspected each and every cabinet layout, and we had a start date for demo from our contractors, we FINALLY pulled the trigger on buying our cabinets. It was surreal to finally go from dreaming and planning for so long, to spending a ton of money in one day and hoping you got it right. Quick tip – Right before you go in, you may want to create a duplicate of your 3D model. Once an employee runs it through their system to produce an estimate, it archives that render and you can no longer make edits to it. I had also read that tip about getting to the store right when they open, so we had our plan in place for our Saturday morning. We were not able to get there on a weekday, so we were slightly on edge going in hoping we beat a crowd. We also went on the first day of their 15% off kitchen sale event, so that put us a little more on edge there would be a swarm of people. Thankfully, we got there right when they opened and got immediate help! Lots of people did spill in quickly after us though that all had to sign in and wait.

We spent the next two hours working directly with one of the employees to finalize our order. As I said before, the Home Planner tool is also used for the purchasing process. When you go in to place your order, the employees that work the kitchen department are trained to go through every detail with you to make sure everything is accounted for. They will double check measurements and best practices for distance away from walls, ceilings and appliances. They will also do the calculations with you on how to best order and cut from large cover panels to cover the spaces you need too, calculate how much toe kick you need, lighting recommendations, etc. We have two different cabinet colors we were ordering, so that was another aspect he went over in great detail to make sure we got everything calculated properly for each color. They also went over the counters with us since we were purchasing that through IKEA as well. We even got our sink ordered through them!

One of the few things we did not get through IKEA was the cabinet hardware. We wanted to get something with a little more “oomph” to elevate the look of the cabinets. That’s part of the beauty of IKEA. They realize everyone will be different in what parts they are ordering and it’s very low pressure. You could put together your ENTIRE kitchen from top to bottom at IKEA, or just order a few cabinets and source everything else from other vendors. The IKEA employees will go through each item with you just to make sure you thought of it, and maybe even offer up some information that will be helpful for your other purchases regardless of where you order them from. Seriously, they deal with kitchen installs on a daily basis and can think of small issues that could pop up that would never even cross our minds.

Ok… back to those counters! This ended up being something we decided on at the store while were placing our order. We originally planned on going with all butcher block to save some dough, and maybe upgrade to quartz a few years down the road if we didn’t like the butcher block if were planning on staying awhile longer. Well… remember how I said we went in on the first day of their 15% off kitchen sale event?! I mentioned to the guy helping us how I loved the marble looking quartz they had in a show kitchen. So just for grins and giggles, he took our counter surface area estimates and calculated a couple costs for us. He told us the grand total of where we were with the entire kitchen, minus counter tops. It was around $8,000 or so!!! (a lot less than the $20,000 we were quoted originally through another company). We had conservatively budgeted $10,000 just for cabinets, so we had some wiggle room for the counters now. See why I asked him about the quartz now!? Wink, wink…


Welllllll! Keep in mind these were estimates he was basing on estimated surface area. We would determine the actual surface area later. If we had done all the counters in the quartz I wanted (of course at the highest price point because that’s always what happens), it would cost somewhere around $5,000. Still a bit rich for my blood even with the 15% discount. So then we asked him how much it would be for butcher block for the dining room wall and sink wall, but have the island and pass through window ledge in quartz. That estimate came in a bit more manageable – $2,300! With the butcher block counters only costing around $300! We looked at each other in silence for a bit with blank stares, and then finally one of us said “we can do that!” We ended up placing our order with that combination of counter tops, paying just over $11,000 for all our cabinets, cabinet lighting, sink AND QUARTZ counters that day so we could tack on that 15% discount on everything! It was October 1. You never forget the day you spent a ton of money… We were then handed our oh so important folder with the receipt and all our paper work and parts lists (which we’ll get into more in the next post). This is the moment we realized we officially reached IKEA “Master Class.” Who the hell spends $11,000 at IKEA!? Apparently we do…

The way the quartz counter purchase worked was a little different. It’s purchased through IKEA, but it’s installed by a third party company. Also, on the day we ordered everything, we were only paying an estimated price. Once the counters are templated in your home, IKEA will either send you a refund if they over estimated, or call and ask to charge your card on file if there ends up being some additional cost. We ended up paying about $100 more since we weren’t sure what size we wanted the island to be at the time of ordering at the store.

Before we left the store that day, we scheduled delivery. Not even a week later, we had a much larger truck pull up than I was expecting, and two guys unloaded 219 flat packages into our house……………………… 219!!!!! We had a large area in the basement where everything could sit, and we already planned on using another part of the basement for building and staging. So we were kind of prepared for it, although I don’t know how prepared I was for seeing that many boxes come into our home. Our poor recycling pick up guys!!!

Every aspect of purchasing our cabinets (and more!) through IKEA was fun, easy, and mildly stress free after finally talking to someone there. Because let’s be honest, spending a ton of money will NEVER be stress free! But it can at least be smooth sailing! From our experience, I would completely feel comfortable going through this process again for another home. Or maybe even for a fancy-shmansy laundry room or under stairway dry bar ;D

Congratulations! You made it this far! I’m leaving this post at the exciting climax of 219 packages being delivered to our home, and will pick up the saga in the “building cabinets” post! I can only handle writing so many words and having so few photos to show for it all. And I’m sure you can only handle so much as well. Tune in next time for the whirlwind conclusion of our IKEA “Master Class” journey!

Last modified: February 2, 2018