IKEA Kitchen Sale: Notes for the Bargain-Minded Among Us

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I'm a bargain hunter. I admit it. I want beautiful things but I love the bargain aspect almost as much as acquiring something wonderful. IKEA kitchens are a case in point. Every day I see really elegant kitchens created by the designers I work with. I want all of them. I totally understand why the homeowners for whom these designs were created are, many of them, awaiting the Spring Sale. You can get a truly wonderful new kitchen at IKEA at a great price generally, but come sale time, it's really unbeatable.

With the bargain-hearted in mind, as part of your group, I put forth one or two caveats in regard to saving dough on a kitchen remodel.

First, don't let the savings of a sale push you to do your project when the timing is poor. Maybe the only really workable time for you to tear your home apart and invite sweaty workmen inside for three weeks is in June. No sale that time of year. Is the $800 savings worth the huge inconvenience of doing it in Spring?

Second, don't go cheap when it comes to design. I had a friend, a really smart guy, who in his 20s built a house on a hill without architectural drawings. In those days, in his community, you could get away with such things legally. Anyway, he ended up with a 4 story house of only 1100 square feet. Think about it. It has 54 windows. My point? Don't use the IKEA online planner because it will allow you to create a kitchen with too little counter space, too much wasted space, and dangerously arranged appliances. Worse yet, it will let you buy $6000 worth of brand new cabinets that won't look elegant when installed. You really want to have a beautiful kitchen at the end. Even if you think you just need a BETTER kitchen, you deserve to have it be elegant, too. That's the sizzle that, someday, a potential home buyer will notice is missing. As a client once told me, do-it-yourself kitchen design is a false economy. There's no real savings at all, not in long run or the short run.

Third, watch out for cheap design. OK, so you listen to me and you find a contractor who will do the design for free if you hire him to install the kitchen. Having been a contractor with 500+ kitchens remodeled, I can tell you with certainty that unless you have the dough for a design-build firm, don't let a contractor do your design. Boy oh boy is there a conflict of interest. Hand any contractor who bids your project a finished design and you'll get a better bid and you'll have much more confidence. YOU tell HIM, "this is what I want, now how much will you charge to make it THIS way." Don't let a contractor or an installation company design your kitchen, free or -$50 or 3 yen, don't do it.

Then there is the bare bones services IKEA offers in some areas and some stores. Why would you pay a store employee a couple hundred bucks for design? They call this "professional design" but I can tell you that it is impossible to do a professional design using the IKEA planner and, of course, that's what all the IKEA design people use. I will upload some sample files that we do for clients and this entire issue will become very obvious to you. Or email me, and I'll send you some samples of what we do.

It is very cathartic to write this down. I hope it is helpful. I hope you hire my designers or other comparable professionals. They deserve your business, they will work hard for you, and you will have an elegant, professionally designed new kitchen to enjoy and be proud of for years to come.

 (Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)