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