The IKEA Kitchen Sale Begins! (in the US)

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Unlike with the release of the first iPad or newest iPhone, there probably won't be a line outside IKEA in the early morning hours. But that doesn't mean that many people have not waited for the sale start tomorrow. The savings on a typical kitchen purchase (cabinets, counter top and/or appliances) can be worth waiting for if you plan to remodel your kitchen (or other areas of your house) with IKEA kitchen cabinets.

The one tip I can offer tonight is to get your planning (by which I mean contractor bids and kitchen design) before you go into IKEA. Don't be one of those homeowners sitting wretchedly at the IKEA computer workstations trying to design your dream kitchen, the one you've waited for, worked hard to afford or just need desperately for one reason or another. Get the design and sort out the costs before you go to order.

I have ordered many IKEA kitchens. I have spent entire days at the Burbank store,  in which my first cell phones simply did not work, trying to place an order which was incomplete, where measurements were uncertain, where what and how much of various cabinet components had not been specified in advance. Where I still had to decide between cabinet fittings, door fronts, trim. Where the help of an IKEA salesperson seemed to be least available when I had the most need, the most money on the table, and was the most tired of the whole thing 8pm.

Although my design team works for elegant, optimal design solutions for our clients' IKEA kitchens, we also make sure that these issues are sorted out, optimized, organized, before they go to order. We make sure their plan is correct, will fit, will work, is a beautiful, symmetrical, stylish, warm, contemporary and welcoming space for their lives.

We send them off at the end of the design process with a complete order list. Every cabinet, every panel, every door, drawer front, handle and knob. All neatly listed. And uploaded to the IKEA computer system so that most of it is already typed in when they arrive to the store. Do you know how long it can take a young IKEA co-worker, as they are called, to type in an entire kitchen order?

I am bragging, I am trying to point out an extra benefit of investing in professional design. But if you've been reading my blog, you already know.

Today, one day pre-sale. I looked over three plans that clients had draw up in the IKEA online planner. All three knew they could not move forward with the ambiguous fit, troubling asymmetry, and inelegance of their IKEA planner draft. One told me she felt the IKEA planner was a disservice because it limits and regulates the creativity needed to design a truly wonderful kitchen using IKEA's truly wonderful cabinets

The sale starts tomorrow, it lasts almost 8 weeks. The steps to do an IKEA kitchen are written in this blog, so read the articles that interest you. I wrote them to make it easier. If you want help with your layout or just have questions, I continue to offer all my blog readers a free 30-minute phone consultation for at least the next few weeks.

Check available times for a 30-minute complimentary phone consultation on IKEA kitchen planning



IKEA Kitchen Planning Tips 2014

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This week I reviewed about 15 different IKEA planner design drafts, during consultations (I offer a free, no-obligation, 30-minute phone consultation on IKEA kitchen planning).

One or two were pretty nice. Both were modest, galley kitchens. Neither had wall changes. One was simply replacing existing cabinets, no other real change.

With one of these, I told the homeowner what I really felt, that the plan was fine. I also recommended checking carefully for clearances, in other words making sure that there will be enough room for doors, cabinet and appliances both, to open easily without hitting knobs or handles, etc. It is very easy to place a row of cabinets in the free online planer that seem to fit, but won't.

Also, keep in mind, if you are going to do your own layout, that cover panels take up room. And that you might need a panel on the side of a dishwasher to support the countertop. These panels add to the overall fit, and it can be really messy to notice the problem during installation. It is really a top tip to ensure the cabinets will really fit BEFORE you start the installation. If you are doing the installation yourself, it will just add time, a lot of time. If you don't live near an IKEA store, a huge amount of time, to get replacement cabinets. If a contractor is doing the installation, some will actually leave the job until you figure out the solution. Which leaves you without a kitchen for more days or even weeks.

Thus, checking your plan very carefully is vital. It's one reason we offer a Basic Design service, to plan check, adjust, propose alternate solutions and really ensure you have an optimal plan. Your entire project is based on the layout so, if you are doing it yourself, spending the time to ensure it is correct is absolutely worth it.

The other person I talked to, who had a nice simple galley kitchen with no major changes, also had a nice IKEA layout done. But as we talked I wondered why she was actually doing the project. She had just bought the home (in Washington, DC), the kitchen was in beautiful condition, and only the appliances really needed to be replaced.

She explained that she just didn't like the style of the existing cabinets and was planning to move the stove to the other side, a simple, easy change.

The longer we talked, the more I wondered why she was doing the remodel. Finally, I told her that, in my opinion, she should either leave the cabinets and just replace appliances, OR, if she wanted to do a remodel, to do it so that she had some real improvement, not just new cabinets.

I had an idea about extending one row into her dining area and creating thereby more workspace AND a small seating area. Suddenly her voice changed on the phone and I could tell she got excited about the project suddenly. She realized my point, that her investment should pay off, the new kitchen should have more workspace, more storage, more usefulness and pleasure for her life.

Be wary of using the IKEA online planner.  It's limitations become the kitchen you will have. Even if it seems to be a way to design a new kitchen, for almost every project, except for a very few simple, galley layouts, it's just not the right tool.

Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel

IKEA Kitchen Sale Spring 2014

Get our FREE ebook, "How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel"

...and visit our website to find out about our expert IKEA Kitchen Design Services

(This post was written in January, re-posted in March, 2013. If you are trying to find out WHEN the NEXT IKEA KITCHEN SALE will be, that data has not yet been made public by IKEA. It's likely to be late Feb, early March. The discount structure could be different but you can usually save 10-20% by ordering during a sale. I recommend doing your research, budgeting and design work now, per the posts on this blog, and being ready to move forward as soon as the sale is announced. 

See my other blog posts to understand when it's worth waiting for a sale, and when it's not. Or write me, I'll help).

The sale dates have been announced! Mark your calendar, it starts March 28on the West Coast of the US (other cities  can have other dates,) and will run for about eight weeks.

Each sale is a little different but the data promoted for this Spring 2013 sale is as follows:

If your total purchase is $3,500.00 (including kitchen cabinets, appliances, counter tops, interior fittings), you can get a 15% discount. If your total purchase is $4,500 you can get a 20% discount.

An average kitchen requires 18 cabinets total, top and bottom. The cost of your cabinets will vary (a lot) with the door style you choose. Countertop is another big variable. You could spend $200 for laminate or butcher block, or $3000+ for solid surface types (like Casearstone) for the same square footage.

Most kitchen purchases will easily top $3,500-$4,500, so by ordering during the sale period you can save $500-$900 or more. 

There are many ways to get the best benefit from the sale. The methods vary with the type of project and purchase. For example, sometimes buying something extra you don't necessarily need can boost your sale discount. You can then sell that item on Craigslist or give it as a gift. We show our clients how to best take advantage of the sale discounts. 

Now is the time to get started on the planning and design phase. First, get our free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel. This will help you know what the real costs are, both labor and materials.

The next step is to plan the layout. That's what we do, so contact us if you would like help (We offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation). An expert and carefully checked layout plan is vital for the next step, which is getting labor bids. A contractor needs to know what the cabinet placement will be in order to give you a comprehensive, and thus accurate, bid. 

The sale, running for eight weeks, really is the best time to order, but only if you can either launch the project during or right after delivery (usually 1-2 weeks after ordering) or if you have a storage place that is dry. Timing is part of the planning.

Keep in mind that during sales, all IKEA kitchen departments and even all IKEA kitchen pros, get very busy. The best time to order is early in the sale, when stocks are high, wait times are minimal, and you can schedule to suit your own preferences, rather than having to wait for a contractor or installer. 

Ready, set.....

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.


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IKEA Kitchen Sale Spring 2014 DATES

Design clients sometimes send me updates from their local US IKEA stores.

Today I received this:

"Thought you might like to know that I just spoke with an IKEA customer service rep who told me that the next sale starts February 28th and is 15% off $3500+ and 20% off $4500+."

So there you go.


1) Read this blog. Read the posts that most interest you, but read it. I've tried to provide key data for avoiding errors and getting the best result for the least cost. 

2) Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel

3) If you are interested in our professional IKEA kitchen design services (and you REALLY want to ensure the success of your project with professional design by SOMEONE expert with IKEA components) use this link to choose a time on my online calendar for a

I look forward to talking with you. I am happy to help you design a fabulous, affordable new kitchen.


Waiting for the IKEA Kitchen Sale?

Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel
(I am neither recommending nor not recommending signing up for IKEA Family membership here. But I am pretty sure it's harmless and might have some real benefits attached to it).

I have heard from several recent clients that if you are an IKEA Family member, you can buy an IKEA kitchen up to 90 days BEFORE a sale starts and, when the sale does start, bring your receipt in and get refunded the discount you would have gotten if you had ordered during the sale.

If you use this tip, make sure to absolutely verify it before you order, in YOUR local IKEA. This might only be true for some areas, only in the US, only in Canada, etc. So VERIFY. Get it in writing from an authorized store representative. Save a copy of whatever written notice of this offer you may find or get.

I don't want to spread false data, or even a rumor, BUT this is too good not to tell you about. I think of all the design clients we have that wait for months, even when it would be more convenient not to wait, to save 20% (which is totally reasonable economically, because 20% of a kitchen purchase is a big chunk of dough, pardon the cooking metaphor).

Example: Sale starts March 1. You go into IKEA (with an elegant, optimal design plus complete order list, which my company has created for you....:))  on January 15. The cabinets plus counter top plus two appliances costs you $6000. Your contractor starts the project January 21 and it's done February 12. Bring the IKEA receipt back to the store March 2 and get refunded $1200.


Here are other ways I am happy to help you:

Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel

IKEA Kitchen Sale 2014: Planning Your Project Now

(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)

It's no secret that IKEA has a sale every spring. Starting early March, ending late April, it's not as predictable as taxes and, well, you know, but it's almost a certainty. During these winter months (forgive me, sun-tanning Aussie clients), planning your project, shopping for appliances, tile, flooring, lighting and, last but not least, contractors, has a sort of quiet hum behind it. Spring will come and suddenly you are heading to IKEA and emptying your cabinets for the demolition.

Some of the most important planning for most projects has to do with budgeting. Working out the real cost of your project will enable you to move forward with confidence. My free eBook will help. I worked on over 500 projects as a co-owner of a remodeling company, and I've since worked with thousands of clients on design of their IKEA kitchens, so I do have a pretty good idea on what things cost. Still, your home, your project, is utterly unique, and no estimate is as good as getting realistic materials costs for the stuff you plan to buy, real and comprehensive bids from more than one contractor, and making sure you have some margin set aside for the unpredictable.

Check available times for a 30-minute complimentary phone consultation on IKEA kitchen planning

The IKEA spring sale is likely to last 7 or 8 weeks so it's not necessary to rush in. That said, the earlier in the sale you order, the less likely you'll run into back ordered items, booked up installers and an overwhelmed IKEA sales staff trying to input dozens of kitchen orders, hundreds of thousands of dollars and nearly as many separate cabinet components, in an afternoon.

Here are some ways to plan head, so you are calmly ready when the first IKEA sale TV commercials, the first sale-announcing emails, arrive with the daffodils.

1) Work out your budget. Know before you go how much your project will cost. If you don't know, you'll worry, and you might try to save on items or services that won't really save you in the long run.

2) Project WHEN you'll do the project. IKEA delivers within two weeks of ordering, so you'll either need to be ready to do the project, or you'll need a place to store a pallet or two of heavy, flat-packed boxes. You will be surprised how huge a pile of boxes an average kitchen is composed of.

3) Design, design, design. Since my company sells professional IKEA kitchen design services, I am totally biased when I say you cannot save money by doing the design yourself. Every display kitchen you've seen at IKEA and other stores was designed by a professional designer. Kitchen design is a skill, a profession. The difference between an expertly designed kitchen and, well, the other kind, is obvious when you see it. You could walk into two kitchens with similar cabinets, that cost about the same, and spot the difference immediately. It's huge.

Thus, in planning your project, allow a small percentage for expert design. Don't base your entire project and budget on a mediocre layout. The online IKEA planner is a free, basic layout tool. It won't allow you to customize cabinets or use panels creatively. It is not a good starting point for a an elegant, optimal return on your remodeling investment.

4) Get bids from more than one contractor. I have written before that many, maybe most, remodeling contractors, even good ones, will disparage IKEA cabinets. They'll tell you they are bad, one way or the other. They'll offer to sell you a brand they can get wholesale. About 3 out of ever 4 clients we have tell us this happened to them. Why? 1) there is no wholesale discount for contractors at IKEA so a contractor can't mark them up. 2) Unless his crew is familiar with the IKEA system, a contractor doesn't want to figure out how to assemble and install IKEA cabinets. It's actually rather easy, but it takes time to figure it out. For a contractor, time=wages. Anyway, you get it.

Tip: hire a qualified, legal, trusted contractor with good references. If he doesn't want to install IKEA cabinets, have the local store's installer do it, when the kitchen is ready. It takes only 2 days in most cases for an experienced installation crew to hang your cabinets. The contractor then finishes up with final plumbing, electrical, etc.

In the meantime, late at night, browse kitchen remodeling magazines and websites. Look for what you really love. You can create all kinds of custom, elegant looks with IKEA cabinets. Our designers simply want to know what ideas you have, requirements you have, what vision you have for your new kitchen. So spend the snowy nights creating that vision for yourself. You can have it, it's on it's way now.


(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)

What is Wrong with IKEA Services Design?

(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)

I work with kitchen designers all day, all week. I love kitchen designers. I am awed by their elegant mix of creativity and precision. Most of them are really nice people also, doing work they love. I would not say bad things about anyone in this field.

The problem with IKEA services design is not the people who do it. Some are IKEA sales staff trained to use the IKEA planer tool (most). Some may have actual kitchen design expertise before they start working at IKEA (a few). I have seem some IKEA plans done by IKEA services that were fine. They are better than the dozens homeowners send me every week that they drew up themselves. That IKEA online planner tool is no place for a homeowner with 10 or 20 thousand dollars burning a hole in their kitchen project budget, so to speak.

OK so what IS wrong with IKEA Services design if it's not the designer? It's the PLANNER itself. It's a low end, free, layout tool. It's fun to use. It's like a toy or a cool little iPad app. Go ahead and try it out if it will download and run on your computer. Often it won't, or it hangs up. Have fun with it, get to know your kitchen dimensions and move some cabinets and refrigerators around.

HOT TIP: However, DON'T base your entire project on a layout created with the IKEA planner!

Your layout AND your finished kitchen, are going to as constrained, as limited, as inelegant, as the drawings the planner produces.

Let's look at IKEA planner design, versus ours. Here is a 2D and a 3D view from an IKEA planner plan.

OK, now would you base your project on these OR, would these (below) professionally drawn plan views allow you to PREDICT the finished kitchen and UNDERSTAND the layout, installation requirements and aesthetic.

I try to prevent mediocre kitchen remodels several times a day. I can only show, and try to explain about the difference.  Trying to save a bit on design by using IKEA Services is a false economy. You save nothing, and often the kitchens cost more than the ones we design. And take longer, because the drawings can be ambiguous to a contractor, which adds labor costs. Skip the gold plated microwave and invest in pro design. You will be so glad you did.


(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)


(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)

We won BEST of HOUZZ 2014 in the Customer Satisfaction category!

"Your work won in the Customer Satisfaction category, which is based on reviews your received on Houzz in 2013, as well as other factors...."

They even gave me a Press Release to send out.

After nearly a decade and hundreds and hundreds of projects, not to mention all the homeowners I've talked with, all these blog posts, it is HOUZZ that acknowledges us for the right thing: providing a great service.

Thanks, readers, for letting me brag in this brief post. Now I have to get back to work, I have more data to post about IKEA kitchens and the sale, and my company has many kitchens to design before  and during the sale that starts in one month (here in the US).

I am available for free phone consultations. Check my calendar with this link. I am happy to help you.

Check available times for a 30-minute complimentary phone consultation on IKEA kitchen planning