IKEA Kitchen Services: Are They Right for You?

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It's not a bad thing that, in theory, you can walk into IKEA and get at least a start on all aspects of a kitchen remodel, not just cabinets. In most areas, IKEA now offers rudimentary planning and installation services. The question is, are these services right for you? Are they good enough for your project?

First, note that IKEA just began to offer these in-house services. For many years the most any store could offer was a referral to an installer and, in some areas, to a kitchen designer. These installers and designers had to be contracted with IKEA to receive their referrals. They have to follow IKEA rules and procedures and charge IKEA stipulated prices. 
IKEA Kitchen beautifully designed
A professionally designed kitchen. 
For a short time, while I owned a remodeling company in Southern California, we were one of these "certified IKEA kitchen installers." It took a long time to earn this title and it brought us loads of small installation projects. However, our crews were skilled with carpentry, plumbing and electrical, not just cabinet installation, and we found that many small cabinet installation projects were unsatisfying and, ultimately, not good for our clients. 

Here's the key. A kitchen remodel, to get the best result and value for your investment, requires professional design of the kitchen layout, expert cabinet installation, skilled plumbing and electrical work, and often several other skilled professions, to complete. Wall removal or repair, window or door installation, flooring, tile setting, are all professional skills. 

IKEA services are not licensed, insured and bonded general contractors, necessarily. They may not even be skilled professionals. They may do IKEA cabinet installation and then sub-contract the rest of the work needed for your remodel. This is ok, but it is not the best way to go. 

First, you are dealing with employees. Second you are dealing with a new program just being piloted by IKEA in 2013.

My point? It's better to deal with the owner of an established remodeling company that is not tied to IKEA and who can offer you a competitive bid, genuine customer service, and whose company does not subcontract most of your project. (in case you do end up with sub-contractors, before you sign anything, read your state's laws about remodeling contracts and sub-contracts. Did you know that sub-contractors can sue you if the contractor doesn't pay them? Did you know that you might not even realize there ARE subs on your project, although disclosure is required by law everywhere).

Not to go on about this too long, consider that IKEA is a great source for cabinets. It seems like a homey, friendly place. They have good PR and marketing. But it's a warehouse store nonetheless and the services they offer will be bare bones and not necessarily even cheaper than much more professional and reliable services you can get from a good local contractor. 

Finally, no matter how "vested interest" it sounds, I have to tell you this: the caliber of "kitchen planning" services IKEA offers do not come close to what my company provides to our clients. Apples and oranges. You see, IKEA offers kitchen planning, which is not the same as kitchen design. Don't settle here, either. A lot of your remodel depends on beautiful design. 

-Susan