A Contractor’s Tips for IKEA Kitchen Shopping
Our Model ReModel remodeler shares her pro tips for shopping for IKEA kitchens
Supply chain issues and high consumer demand have created unprecedentedly long lead times and scarcities of available stock across the kitchen cabinet industry. In the interest of time and budget, our Model ReModel 2022 contractor Nicole Tysvaer, CEO of Symbi Homes, has selected IKEA cabinets for their new in-law suite addition.
Tysvaer has a decade of experience designing, purchasing, and installing Ikea kitchens.
“We’ve probably installed hundreds of IKEA cabinets over the years on projects big and small, even multi-million-dollar homes,” she says. “Our clients love the look and the price point, but also the flexibility—cabinet fronts can be easily swapped out over the years to create a fresh new design. The boxes have come a long way, too, in terms of durability and versatility.”
For Model ReModel 2022, Tysvaer selected the flat slab Kungsbacka door and drawer fronts in their jet black anthracite color (see rendering above).
When she placed the order in July 2022, there were five boxes on backorder with lead times of up to six months. However, Tysvaer met an independent IKEA kitchen installer on her way out of the store who had his own stockpile of IKEA parts and pieces.
With the installer’s help, Tysvaer was back on schedule to have the entire kitchen installed in about four weeks.
Tysvaer offers these pro tips for purchasing IKEA kitchens:
Before You Arrive
1. Plan to purchase early. Similar to many cabinet manufacturers, IKEA is having inordinate production and shipping delays on some products including cabinet boxes. To avoid downtime on the job site, plan on purchasing your cabinets at least three to six months before your installation date.
Select your cabinet fronts. IKEA has many designs to choose from, but there are also high-quality third-party suppliers of IKEA door and drawer fronts, such as Semihandmade in California and the Danish-based Reform cabinetry.
2. You may want to order samples online before making your selections. IKEA does not offer samples, but you can visit a showroom to view styles or purchase their least expensive drawer front ($12 to $22) online as a sample.
3. Design online. Complete your cabinet layout using the IKEA online Kitchen Planner design tool and save it to your IKEA account. Print at least the first page to bring with you to the store. The IKEA sales associate will need your project number to call up your order for purchase.
4. Shop early in the day. Tysvaer makes it a goal to shop for cabinets mid-week and always arrives about 15 minutes before doors open. This increases the chances of being first in line to work with an IKEA kitchen sales associate.
Staff can spend an hour or more working with each customer (often DIY homeowners designing their very first kitchens), and arriving at a busy time can trap you in a long line.
5. Devil is in the details. Review every cabinet selection with your IKEA sales associate. Be sure to include extra filler (just in case), side panels, end panels, legs, and toe kicks, as all these parts and pieces come separately.
6. Request delivery ASAP. In pre-pandemic days, the stock was plentiful and you could schedule a delivery for several weeks out according to your construction timeline. However, with product scarcities, IKEA sales associates recommend taking the first available delivery, and thus builders should plan for storage if necessary.