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How Well Do IKEA Kitchen Cabinets Actually Hold Up? A Candid Review 5 Years Later

CEO Khai Intela
Hello everyone! Amanda Holstein here, and today I want to share an honest update on how my IKEA Kitchen Cabinets have been holding up since my last post in 2020. As an interior designer based...

Hello everyone! Amanda Holstein here, and today I want to share an honest update on how my IKEA Kitchen Cabinets have been holding up since my last post in 2020. As an interior designer based in Mill Valley, California, my husband and I embarked on renovating our first home together five years ago. With a tight budget and plans to live there for 5-7 years, we made the decision to save money by choosing IKEA for our cabinetry. While the process had its challenges, the end result was satisfactory and our kitchen looked and functioned beautifully.

Fast forward to today, with 5 years and a global pandemic in between, our kitchen has been put to the test with countless hours spent at home. So, let's dive into our experience:

The Good News

Kitchen Cabinets

Nobody can tell they are from IKEA

Our friends, family, and guests have always complimented how great our kitchen looks, and they are often surprised when I reveal that our cabinets are from IKEA. While a more discerning eye, such as that of a designer or contractor, might notice that the materials are not as high-end as real wood, the cabinets blend in nicely and give our kitchen an elevated appearance.

We love our layout

Using IKEA's 3D Kitchen Planner, we carefully designed our cabinetry layout to suit our daily life, and it has proven to be extremely functional. We are particularly pleased with our pantry and trash-pull out. Looking back at the three-hour IKEA trip filled with decision-making (and hot dogs), it was definitely worth it.

They've been easy to clean

One pleasant surprise was how easy it has been to clean the cabinet doors. The smooth finish makes wiping them down a breeze, requiring minimal effort.

The Bad News

Misaligned Doors Chipping Paint

Some doors & drawers have become misaligned

Over time, we've noticed that several doors have slightly shifted out of alignment, and they feel a bit flimsy. The trash pull-out, in particular, feels somewhat unstable and can be easily shaken from side to side. Additionally, as shown in the photos, our upper cabinets are clearly out of alignment.

There is some chipping paint

Due to the misaligned doors, some of them rub against each other and have caused the paint to peel in certain areas.

They probably can't withstand kids

Based on our experience, we don't believe these cabinets are durable enough for regular use with kids. The drawers might not withstand the weight of a toddler pulling down on them, and slamming doors by teenagers could cause damage.

Their customer service is challenging

Unfortunately, dealing with IKEA's customer service can be a frustrating experience. If a piece breaks or goes missing, it's best not to waste your time trying to replace it. We encountered numerous issues and eventually gave up, resulting in one of our drawers missing a side.

So, are they worth the savings?

Kitchen Before and After For us, the answer is yes. Choosing IKEA cabinetry allowed us to save a significant amount of money, and we have no regrets about that decision. In total, our cabinetry and appliances cost around $6,500. Given our tight renovation budget for our 1800 sq ft house, opting for lower quality cabinets allowed us to allocate our funds to other areas. While we don't expect the cabinets to last forever, they still look good and meet our functional needs, especially since we don't have kids adding to their wear and tear.

My Final Recommendation

Kitchen Transformation If you're planning a short-term use, have no kids, and are working on a tight budget for a quick flip or temporary renovation, then IKEA cabinets are worth considering. However, based on my growing experience with multiple renovations, I now lean towards recommending something like Granite Expo. While slightly more expensive than IKEA, Granite Expo offers much better quality without the hefty price tag of custom cabinets. For instance, a kitchen similar to ours would only cost around $2,000 more at Granite Expo.

And just for fun, here's a before and after photo of our kitchen transformation:

Before and After

Thank you for joining me on this IKEA Kitchen Cabinet journey! If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, you can find me at www.amandaholstein.com or on Instagram @amanda_holstein.

*Design and photos by Amanda Holstein