These days, IKEA is pretty much the holy grail for affordable, good quality homeware. If you’re planning on refreshing your kitchen but have a strict budget to work to, there’s a good chance you’ll find what you need at the price you want at IKEA.
Choose your Style
Before getting down to the business of measuring, give yourself time to decide on exactly what kind of kitchen you want. Take the time to browse magazines and catalogs to work out what style of kitchen you prefer, and what kind of design will fit best with your lifestyle. Would you prefer a traditional style of kitchen with plenty of decorative details and features, or would a more contemporary style with a slick, streamlined finish suit you best? For inspiration, browse the IKEA website and the digital kitchen brochure – to make things easier for you, the store has taken the trouble to break down each kitchen into its component parts, allowing you to mix different elements together to create your own unique finish. If you want to check out some kitchens in real life, pop into your local IKEA store, where you can take a look at the quality of the fixtures and fittings, as well as draw on the advice of the many on-hand kitchen experts.
As Ikea advises, once you’ve decided on what kind of style you want, the next step is to measure your kitchen. The measurements will form the foundation for all the steps to come, so it’s important to be precise- the last thing you want is to shell out several thousand dollars on your dream kitchen, only to find it doesn’t fit. Measure the ceiling height of the kitchen, followed by the distance between walls and doorframes. Measure the width of each window and door, and their distance for the ceiling, walls, and floor. Measure and mark the position of any pipes, ventilation shafts, radiators, lights switches and power outlets (basically, anything the protrudes into the room). Make sure to also take note of the position of any drains and water supplies.
Plan the Space
As The Spruce notes, it’s important to take a moment to plan out how you want the final kitchen to look. Think about how you use your kitchen at the moment, and whether any changes in the arrangement would make it easier and more practical to use. Most kitchens have three basic work zones: preparing/ cooking, washing, and food storage. How you position these zones in the kitchen can make all the difference in how you work. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all model that works best, but depending on the size of the kitchen and how it’s used, there are a few options you may want to consider. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, you may find a linear kitchen works best, with all three work zones connected in a straight line. If you live in a shared space where several people often cook at the same time, a parallel kitchen with the zones connected by a triangular shape may work best. L-shaped kitchen (where again, the zones are connected by a triangle) are an ideal solution if you want to add a kitchen table or island, while a U-shaped layout works well in a large kitchen.
Tips for Planning
When you’re planning on how to arrange your kitchen, there’s a couple of useful hints and tips to bear in mind:
- Placing a dishwasher next to the sink and close to where you keep your plates and dishes will make loading and unloading a breeze.
- For ease, plan on keeping the cabinet for your pots and pans next to the cooktop.
- A few drawer mats and organizers can make all the difference between a well-organized drawer and a messy one.
- Consider introducing drawer lighting, a great tip if you tend to do most of your cooking at night.
- Use inner drawers strategically to allow you to pack as much into the cabinets as possible.
- An elevated oven makes cooking much easier.
- A cart or workbench can be a great way of increasing workspace and storage options.
- Try to avoid placing a sink next to a wall, as this will limit the available workspace.
- If you have a U-shaped kitchen, avoid positioning the oven or dishwasher in a corner, as this could stop cabinets and drawers opening fully.
- Avoid placing an oven next to a wall: not only is the wall likely to get stained, but it’ll also limit workspace.
Get Some Help
If you’re struggling to get to grips with how best to plan your kitchen, consider using the IKEA 3-D kitchen planning tool. Once you’ve entered your room dimensions, you can move cabinets around your virtual kitchen to check what layout works best. While your imagination is all well and good, being able to see a 3-D representation of your kitchen can make a huge difference and will let you make all those crucial little tweaks and changes that will elevate a kitchen from simply “ok” to “amazing”. As an added benefit, the planner will keep a track of the costs and materials, making your final order that much easier.
The Final Installation
As with all IKEA furniture, kitchens come disassembled. It’ll therefore be up to you to unpack the many, many boxes it comes in and get to grips with figuring out which pieces go where. Unless prevented by budget, it may be worth calling on the help of a professional to assemble the kitchen for you – an especially wise decision if you’re not entirely familiar with DIY or IkEA’s very particular style of instructions. Using a pro will not only save you a lot of hard work and frustration, it’ll also ensure the entire kitchen doesn’t collapse the first time you open a cabinet (which, considering all the hard work that went into the planning, is just about the last thing you want).