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.

-Susan