We just got an IKEA in St Louis – yay!!!!  I’m from Texas and we had an IKEA in Houston so I know how wonderful it is and I’m over the moon excited about this.  There are so many cool organization items there and affordable furniture – I just love it.

We have a tenant moving out end of May and their apartment hasn’t been updated since 1969 so the whole thing needs to be overhauled.  Since we are on a budget, we are going to attempt to do the kitchen ourselves with IKEA cabinets.  I’ve heard they are easy to install with the rails that are leveled on the wall for both the top and bottom cabinets and the adjustable feet so you don’t have to deal with shimming.  I loathe anything that involves shimming.  We shall see.  I’m going to document it here.

First, we designed the kitchen in the IKEA kitchen planner online tool.  This online tool can be glitchy so be prepared for a little frustration but over all I LOVE having access to a design tool online – LOVE diy stuff in general so this is great.

We have already renovated a kitchen in a similar unit so we had a head start on that but the cabinet sizes are slightly different for IKEA so that made it a little tricky.  For example, they don’t have a 33 inch wide cabinet. The upper cabinets are also 3 inches deeper than standard cabinets which I like – more space..  So, here’s our design from the online IKEA 3D planning tool:

3D Line View in IKEA software:



Floor View in IKEA software:


On the left side of this kitchen is a window and a door leading out to the deck and on the right side is the entry from the dining room.  The details of the cabinets from Left to Right, Top to Bottom (spacing may not be perfect in the tool, but that’s ok):

36 inch wide cabinets (top & bottom),  Bottom cabinet has 2 drawers on top and doors on the bottom.  We did this because there is a window sill there and the drawers can’t pull out all the way so we figured if the drawers were smaller in height, they could at least pull out the top drawer all the way.

30 inch wide cabinets (top is 20 inch in height – slightly shorter so you can have breathing room while washing dishes and bottom has a 1 bowl sink),

24 inch wide cabinet on the top and dishwasher on the bottom.  The dishwasher is only going to be 24 inches wide but we need to put a panel between the dishwasher and oven in order to support the counter which would be about a half inch and we’ll add a cover panel on top as well so they are symmetrical. UPDATE: the dishwasher panel is actually more like 5/8 inches.

30 inch wide cabinets on top (15 inches in height so that we can put a built in microwave underneath – because their cabinets are slightly deeper than the regular cabinets they have special tools we can use for the built in microwave to make it level with the cabinets as far as depth goes) and oven on the bottom. The oven is about 30 1/8 inches so we left a space of 30 1/4 inches for the oven. UPDATE: this extra space was unexpected because ovens are normally 30 inches or less so we added a full cover panel to the side of the 12 inch wide wall cabinet mentioned below in order to make up for the extra space in the base cabinets.

12 inch wide cabinet on top and 12 inch wide cabinet with a door on the bottom (they didn’t have one that was 12 inches with drawers. UPDATE: we added a full cover panel to the side of this 12 inch wide cabinet to add 1/2 inch of space to match up with the base cabinets.

Next, is a pantry 24 inch x 80. But there will be a cover panel on the side of the pantry which will add an extra half-inch.

We have about 4 inches of extra space that we are going to put fillers on each end to fill. We’ll probably do 1 inch on one side and 3 inches on the other side because we realized we need to keep the existing venting duct work within the cabinet that is over the microwave (there was an oven range hood that vents outside and we want to reuse this for the over the range microwave) and that is cutting it REALLY close. :-0 UPDATE: we ended up putting 0 inches of filler on one side and 3.5 inches on the other side.

On the other wall from Left to Right is:

15 inch cabinets (top is the extra tall 40 inch height and bottom cabinet has 6 drawers- I love this idea of having several skinny drawers for utensils, hand towels, junk drawer, etc – feels very organized).

36 inch wide cabinets (top cabinet is the extra tall 40 inch height (because there is no soffit on this side of the wall – hopefully this doesn’t look funny to have taller cabinets on one side than the other – we shall see) and the bottom cabinet is 36 inch wide and has two drawers on top and then doors on bottom.

36x24x20 over the fridge cabinets with doors.  We also bought panels to cover the sides of the fridge (not pictured here).  These were the ones we weren’t originally going to get. UPDATE: We decided to return the over-the-fridge cabinets and get a dishwasher instead to stay above the $4,000 mark.

We left 1 inch of space between the cabinets and the walls at the ends and on the one side where the counter will be sticking out we left 3 inches for the overhang of the counter.  We knew to do this b/c this is what we did for the other kitchen we updated and it worked out just fine.  You want to leave some space in case the walls aren’t level, etc and you don’t want anyone bumping themselves on the edge of the counter if it’s sticking out.

The lady that worked at IKEA told us that we don’t need to put the fillers in the picture, fillers are just cover panels which you cut to size so you can order whatever you need in whatever size later.  These cabinets are shaker style in off-white (GRIMSLOV).  I figure you can’t go wrong in white for a rental and shaker style is my favorite.   Another great thing about IKEA is that it’s relatively easy to replace parts when they break because everything comes in pieces that you assemble yourself and you can buy several components individually if you need to.

We did have a hard time getting to the $4,000 mark for the IKEA sale because we got our appliances at Home Depot (for their July 4th sale) and we didn’t want to buy the counter tops at IKEA since they were a little pricier than Home Depot for stone.  You have to reach $4,000 before taxes in order to get the 15% off gift card.  Also, they were out of sinks or in transition on sinks so we couldn’t get a sink there.  We already had a faucet.  I’d heard about people buying kitchen cabinets for the bathroom but we just had our bathrooms renovated and didn’t need it there.  Well, we did need over the toilet cabinets, but 15 inches deep would probably be too deep and look funny.

So, we ended up buying over the fridge cabinets which we weren’t originally going to do – we were just going to have a stand alone fridge, but it’ll look nicer so we’ll see.  UPDATE: we returned these and got a dishwasher instead – we were going to keep the existing dishwasher but it was going to look like an eyesore with everything else being updated.

Definitely make sure you allow enough time for the ordering of the cabinets – it takes a LOOONG time – like several hours.  We decided to pick them up ourselves instead of choosing the delivery option.  The delivery option was only $60 – should’ve done that.  Everything fit in our mini-van with all the seats taken out (except passenger and driver seat, of course), so that worked out (even the pantry – which was VERY close – we got the 80 inch tall pantry), but we were there until 11pm waiting for them to bring down all the furniture pieces.  The building closed at 9pm so we were just sitting around with stir-crazy kids – not good.

One thing we didn’t have in the 3D planning tool b/c we didn’t know about was cover panels for the exposed areas of the cabinets.  You have to add those on so that the gap in the back of the cabinet is covered – adds a little bit more to the price.  Every little bit counts to get to the $4000 mark.  We also added some molding at the top and bottom. UPDATE: we are going to have to return the molding – it is too thick (1.5 inches on the thin side) and reduces the space too much between the upper and lower cabinets – we are already a little bit less than 18 inches – about 17.5.

Read on for the rest of the install:

IKEA Kitchen Install Part Uno – Planning Design

IKEA Kitchen Install Part Dos – Cabinet Assembly

IKEA Kitchen Install Part Tres- Cabinet Install

IKEA Kitchen Install Parto Quatro – Finishing Touches

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