Terrible Kitchen Designs with the IKEA Planner

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There are many things about the online IKEA kitchen planner that people complain about. It's slow running, difficult to move cabinets precisely, lacks a "select all" function so that you can change ALL the doors or ALL the handles to another style (a MAJOR software flaw), and is, overall, not a fun or easy tool to use for a creative process.

Working with professional kitchen designers for many years has made me even more antipathetic to that online planner. It's not just it's clumsiness or lack of fine tuning features. It's not just the poor quality visuals it offers. You could say that my basic protest is that it is there at all.

I am a budget-minded person by nature. If I have $10,000 for a project, I am going to research and plan out each material purchase and get competitive bids for labor. I want the best bang for the buck. Thus, when a potential design client calls me, I naturally want the same for them, even though I know not everyone has the same viewpoint I do.

My point is that when someone is going to spend $8,000 or $15,000 or more on a kitchen remodel, basing the entire project on a layout plan they created with the IKEA online planner is, almost always, a sadly wasteful mistake. That planner just isn't a tool you can use to get that best possible result within your budget.

First, the planner will not allow you to do many things that can be done with IKEA kitchen cabinets. There are ways to mix and match cabinet component, for example. There are ways to use certain cabinets to create bench seating, islands and peninsulas of the correct size and position, custom stacked cabinets, or crown solutions, and much more.

Sometimes a simple alteration to a cabinet can save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on labor costs, but how would you know or show this as you create a layout upon which your cabinet order and installation is going to be based?

Just yesterday and nice man called me to ask about an installation issue. He had not yet ordered his cabinets but he was thinking ahead since he planned to install them himself. I can't really answer technical installation issues on the phone, first because I can't see the cabinet or panel or wall or window or pipe in question,  and second because kitchens have safety issues, code issues, different in each home and each city.

Anyway, the man sent me a link to his IKEA plan. He told me the staff at his local IKEA had helped him design it. Honestly, I was shocked to hear this. It's a truly terrible plan. Not just lacking aesthetic, but unworkable and actually dangerous.

Because the man had an accent and we might have had some difficulty understanding one another, I don't know if I'll be able to explain to him the problems with the layout he has. But I will try.

Unless I am successful and this man allows us to design for him, not only will he have a very tough time installing, but whoever is going to be using this kitchen is going to have an equally tough time. There's not nearly enough storage, the work areas are very limited, and it would be impossible to have two people in the kitchen at same time, comfortable doing separate tasks. The fridge door is going to bump into the adjacent pantry cabinet and someone is going to have to walk clear across the kitchen to take dishes and glasses from the dishwasher and put them way. Worse, any child who walks past the counter where he's placed a stove, is endangered.

Worse still, when this home goes on the market someday, the loss of tens of thousands of dollars is highly likely. Great kitchens sell homes.

I really hope you, my readers, understand that the IKEA online planner is to a great degree a disservice. If you were buying a few bookshelves you could use a layout program like this perhaps. But a kitchen remodel is a costly, complex and major project that requires, in almost every case, professional knowledge, experience and skill, to do well.

I hope you don't settle, no matter your budget or size of your kitchen. Base your project on a beautiful and correct design. 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.


Click here to request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook