IKEA Kitchen Cabinets for New Construction

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We've done many IKEA kitchens for clients who were building a new house. The design process is a bit different than the process when we're designing for a remodel of an existing kitchen.

Typically, with new construction there is more of a blank slate for the designer to work with. Utilities are not yet in place, windows, and often doors, can still be positioned. The primary and key difference however is concept.

A kitchen designer called upon to create a kitchen for new construction has to envision as well as design. They have to come up with a concept and then create a cabinet layout. This is when an expert, professional kitchen designer, well-trained and very experienced, is invaluable.

If you have a new construction kitchen project, make sure you work with a very good kitchen designer. We are happy to help you with concept, design and cabinet layout issues. In fact, our Elite service is about this exactly.

If you'd like to discuss this with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan Wain

Soffits in IKEA Kitchen Projects

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Many of the projects we design have soffit issues. A soffit in a kitchen is long "box" that can run around the periphery of the kitchen, above existing cabinets. Sometimes the soffit is merely an architectural or earlier design feature. Sometimes the soffit holds electrical wires, plumbing, or venting. Sometimes the soffit houses supporting beams.

Homeowners are often perplexed and sometimes hung up on soffit issues. Removal of the soffit is usually wanted, but the cost and complexity of doing so is usually unknown until you break into the soffit at more than one place and see what's in it.

With IKEA kitchen projects, the issue can come down to use of either 30 or 39 inch wall cabinets (and, likewise, 80 or 88 inch tall pantry cabinets). Those are the only two vertical wall cabinet heights IKEA offers. With the soffit in place, only 30s will fit, typically. Without the soffit, 39s can be used.

Sometimes, it's a non-issue, such as when the homeowners are not tall and really don't need the extra storage up high that the 39s give. Other times, when more storage is vital and every inch of real estate has to be used well, removal of a soffit is worthwhile.

Other, similar issues can come into play. For example, a dropped ceiling housing fluorescent fixtures is common in 70s kitchens. Removing the drop ceiling and adding some recessed lights can not only allow for 39s, but can transform the kitchen space into a much nicer, more comfortable one.

The cost to remove a soffit can be a significant percent of your total remodeling budget if it requires rewiring or new plumbing, so get some LINE ITEM bids from contractors so you can see the cost of soffit removal alone. Once the soffit is removed, even if no rewiring or plumbing is needed, the remaining walls have to be patched so there is always some cost in addition to the demo of the soffit.

Sometimes, you just have to move forward and see what's inside the soffit as it's being removed. Set aside a contractor-estimated amount and know that the finished kitchen is going to pay you back in how it looks, it's "airiness", and with additional storage.

Still, it isn't always necessary to remove a soffit to get a beautiful, optimal result. Here's a photo of one way to keep a soffit with beautiful results. You can buy extra 3 x 8 IKEA panels to match your cabinet doors to achieve a custom look like this.

Visit our website for data about our expert IKEA kitchen design services. If you'd like to discuss this with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.


IKEA Kitchen Design Tips

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Although my very best tip is to invest a small part of your kitchen remodeling budget in professional design (you will never regret it, and the difference will be huge), I know some will persist with the online IKEA planner on their own.

With this in mind, I wanted to offer some basic tips that our team of professional IKEA kitchen designers compiled for me.

1) When you set up the file in the planner, you might want to create a space that is bigger than your existing kitchen. In other words, if you are opening a wall, or if your family room or dining room is next to your kitchen, include those rooms in the basic shape you create in the planner.

Even if you won't be putting any IKEA cabinets into those other rooms, the relative position of things and the spaces you have to work with, are easier to view, in that otherwise awkward layout tool, if you include more than just the kitchen walls.

2) Keep in mind that you can use cover panels, the large flat pieces that are the style and color of your cabinet doors, to build shelves, to cover custom built pieces, behind islands or peninsulas and in other ways that the planner might not allow you to do.

3) Visit an IKEA store to see the difference between 30 inch wall cabinets and 39s, the only two wall cabinet heights available. You might have enough ceiling height for 39s (which would also mean 88 inch pantry cabinets, not 80s) but they do take up eye space and the top shelves might be hard to access. Or, you might love the taller look. But this choice is key to the finished look of your kitchen.

4) Although it is possible to fill to the ceiling, it is not easy. There are codes and rules about the distance from countertop to bottom of wall cabinets, typically 17 to 21 inches. If the wall cabinets you choose leave you with 5 or more inches, you could use panels to fill to the ceiling for a built in look, but you need sharp carpentry skills to cut and install the panels. Another inexpensive and easy solution is to throw some rope lighting on top of the wall cabinets. Make sure your contractor provides an outlet for these, if you use them.

5) You can build bench seating with refrigerator cabinets.

6) Avoid using glass door cabinets above or near a cooking surface.

7) Try not to use too many door sizes. In other words, don't use a 15 (15 inch wide) next to a 12 next to a 30 next to an 18, next to a corner cabinet, next to a 36 next to a 9. Aim for balance and an aesthetic arrangement.

8) If no IKEA door style really thrills you, go with white and use backsplash tile and lighting to create the look you want.

There are a half a hundred major kitchen design principles that professional use for every kitchen. Years of experience with IKEA kitchen cabinets and components enables our designers to apply those principles to the IKEA kitchens they design. That's why it's worth it, in every case, to invest in professional design. But if you really can't, I hope these few tips will help you create a lovely kitchen on your own.

If you'd like to discuss this with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.