IKEA Kitchen 1 Year Later: Has It Stood the Test of Time?

Bai-Xu
by Bai-Xu

Are IKEA kitchens good quality? Do they hold up after a year of daily use? I’ll share the realities of my IKEA kitchen design–from its durability and costs to honest insights on what worked, and what didn’t, and key takeaways that can help you in your kitchen renovation journey.


Last year we installed a second kitchen in our apartment because our first kitchen was just a little bit too crammed. Let’s get to it.

Sloped kitchen

Installation and costs

Our kitchen (above) was a little too small and it was placed under a slope.

Building a secondary kitchen
So, we decided to build a secondary kitchen on the other side of the main kitchen to house our tea and coffee and more storage for pantry items. We did all the assembly and installation ourselves.


Drawer storage
We wanted drawers everywhere for easy access.


Small sink aligned with the center of a drawer
Shelf above the kitchen
We chose the smallest sink available and aligned it in the center of one drawer for a neat and aligned look.


We opted for a simple shelf and no upper cabinets.


EKBACKEN countertop from IKEA
We wanted a real stone or marble countertop but prices were astronomical and we went for a full marble pattern countertop from IKEA.


Installing the countertop backsplash
We ordered a second countertop in the same material and used that as the backsplash. That was a great workaround to avoid the hassle of tiling and dealing with grout work.


IKEA online kitchen planning tool

We planned the kitchen using IKEA’s online kitchen planner tool. It lets you visualize exactly what you need and as you go along, it provides a cost breakdown so you can budget accordingly. If something gets too costly, you simply swap the items and update it.


After factoring in the price of custom sockets, hardware, and shelves, the kitchen came to around 2,600 euros (about $2,800 U.S. dollars).


The Good

IKEA sink
Sloped sink

Sink

I love the sloped sink. My other sink has a flat bottom.


I love the brass tap. It’s more forgiving with smudges, watermarks, and fingerprints than my stainless steel tap in the other kitchen. Brass does develop a patina and when I see a mark on this tap, it doesn’t bother me.

Kitchen with storage drawers

Drawers

The drawers are a huge win. In all of my previous homes, I have had bottom cabinets with shelves but I will never go back to that after having drawers.


Everything in the drawers is so easy to access. You can even see what’s in the very back of the drawer.


These drawers hold a lot of weight. I put in heavy glasses, cups, pots, pans, and bottles. It feels frictionless when I open and close the drawers even though they hold a lot of heavy items.

Cozy task light

Task light

We added a task light under the shelf above the countertop. A light like this is supposed to eliminate shadows and turn your countertop into a well-lit workspace. It’s a cozy look, too, in this area that’s far from the window.

Using a countertop as a backsplash

Backsplash

As I mentioned, we used a countertop for the backsplash. Now that we have done this, and it was so easy, I don’t know why it’s not done more often in comparison to tiling. It looks neat, clean, and expensive, but it was very cost-effective.


The Bad

Exposed task light

Task light

This light could be better integrated into the design. Currently, it’s left exposed underneath the shelf. It’s also white, so it doesn’t blend in well.

White marble counter with coffee grounds

Counter color

We chose a white full marble finish for the counter which looks beautiful and elegant. It’s really easy to clean. It looks great. But because it’s white, it shows all the spilled coffee grounds and beans. A more forgiving finish would be a brown wood countertop. But I do love it.

Bin without a foot tap

Foot tap

Our other kitchen has an automatic foot tap (above) to open the bin which is a lifesaver when my hands are full. To save money on this kitchen, we did not add this feature. In hindsight, I think we should have added it in.


When you are holding garbage in your hand and you want to get rid of it, you don’t want to touch the handle with your dirty hands. It makes life easier.

Joined countertops

Joined countertops

The countertop we wanted was not available as a single piece so we opted to join two pieces together. It was a budget-friendly choice.


However, the joining process was challenging. It’s not exactly a DIY project. We joined a couple of pieces and they do not look as seamless as the ones a professional carpenter did for us.

IKEA kitchen one year later
IKEA kitchen

In conclusion, I am very happy with this IKEA kitchen. There are no maintenance issues and the aesthetics of the kitchen are lovely. The value of this kitchen is undeniable.


If you have doubts about having an IKEA kitchen installed, I would say the quality is absolutely fine.


Let me know in the comments if you installed an IKEA kitchen, how it worked out, and if you have a list of pros and cons about the design, materials, and costs.

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