Sleek, Modern Kitchen Options

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(The photo was taken of a recent modern kitchen our company did in Pasadena. Cabinets are IKEA Abstrakt)

A significant percentage of our customers want a modern look for their new kitchens. A similar percentage, when they first call, are unsure of the quality of IKEA cabinets. Most really need an estimate, a true idea of what the project will cost.

The issue of quality is best addressed through one’s own research. Don’t be fooled by what only looks similar, that is to say, be careful not to compare apples with organges. We recently planned a new kitchen for a customer who ended up going to Lowes for Martha Stewart brand cabinets when she could not find an IKEA door style she really liked. The price was about 1.5 times the cost of IKEA cabinets for the same layout, so it was not too bad, money-wise. But the quality was shockingly worse. Make sure you really look, really compare specs, materials and warranties of components.

I’ve written earlier that those big box stores are going to offer free planning, free this, free that. It can seem like a good way to go until you get a real idea of costs. In my experience, comparable cabinets, i.e., same thickness of frames, same quality of hardware, same warranty, are going to cost about 3 times the price of cabinets at IKEA. And installation is often much more costly as well. The store will sell you everything, from dishwasher to floor tile, their employees will install your cabinets, your appliances, your tile. it can seem to be almost a turnkey remodel, but you’ll pay for every bit.

Roughly, you can expect to spend $15,000-$20,000 for a nice, medium-size kitchen remodel, including materials and labor, with all but the most costly IKEA cabinets and/or counter top. You can certainly do it for less with lower end door styles, laminate or butcher block counter top, and some do-it-yourself labor. But for a full remodel, with permits, some electrical and plumbing upgrades (which are almost always needed), flooring, tile backsplash, cleanup and demo costs included, this is a realistic estimate.

What would a same-size kitchen cost with other brands? With those lesser quality, more expensive Martha Steward cabinets, the project went to $32,000 and is still not finished. With many of the major brands you’ll find at cabinet warehouses, Costco, etc. you’re likely to be looking at $50,000 and up.

Keep in mind that when dealing with cabinet stores, or big box stores, you are dealing with employees who often work on commission. It is infinitely better to have a final layout, knowing exactly what cabinets you need to order as well as the cost of those cabinets, BEFORE you go to buy them. This is why we offer a kitchen planning service, to provide this very thing to our customers.

Last but not least is the subject of modern kitchen cabinets. For some reason, in the U.S., there are very few sources of such cabinets. If you have $100,000, you can order your cabinets from Italy. There are importers locally, of course. But you’re looking at 5 or 6 times the cost of an IKEA remodel.

There are a few American made modern door styles, KraftMade Venicia for one. We get calls regularly from homeowners who have gotten quotes for a remodel with these cabinets and, on average, the cabinets alone were about $30,000. Certainly these are nice cabinets, high quality, sleek and modern. The only problem is that they cost almost 4 times as much as IKEA cabinets. We’re happy to help any customer interested in a quote for a Venicia (or any brand) of cabinets. We’re not biased, be simply want the real costs right in view for each customer from the start.

For do-it-yourself homeowners, there are a few other options for modern doors. Online you can find anything for sale, from candied eels to human body parts-- modern cabinet doors are no exception. In theory, to do a modern kitchen at the lowest possible cost, you can buy IKEA frames and order custom doors for them. Whether the final cost would justify the inherent risks and problems with mail-order remodeling is something I don’t yet know. From my research, these mail-order doors are not cheap. IKEA doors win hands-down in terms of cost, reliability, speed.

Despite quite of bit of effort to find alternates to IKEA cabinets, for the best price we think you’ll ultimately find that for a modern kitchen, or really any moderate kitchen remodel, IKEA cabinets will be your best bet. We don’t work for IKEA, we wish there were other options to offer that cost the same and have the same quality. We just haven’t found any.

So take a look at photos of two modern kitchen remodels we did recently with IKEA cabinets. You are looking at IKEA’s Abstrakt line of cabinet doors, as well as expert design and very precise and expert installation, both factors that make all the difference in the world when it comes to IKEA cabinets (as compared to custom or semi-custom that cost much, much more).

Feel free to give us a call to discuss your ideas, your thoughts, your dream kitchen. 818-273-4583.

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


Our company, Modern Family Kitchens, offers an IKEA kitchen design service. We can provide this service locally, or remotely. We think you'll spend the least and get the best results when you invest in expert design. Call or write us to discuss your project. 877-550-1753.