we priced two rooms with custom ikea cabinetry and here's what happened
it’s no secret that cabinetry is a massive investment and is exceptionally complex. pricing-wise, if you venture anywhere outside of a standard door/drawer combo with a painted particleboard door, it’s not hard to get into six-figures for cabinetry in just one room.
while ikea is known for their rock-bottom prices, we were curious about the actual numerical value of these cabinets when paired with specialty doors that have become uber popular in the design world. is it really worth your buck to buy flat-packed, rta (ready-to-assemble) cabinetry with the specialty ikea organization options, and opting for a third-party vendor for drawer fronts and doors to circumvent the cost, as opposed to a kcma-rated (kitchen cabinet manufacturers association) boxed order with basic construction?
for our run-down, we created two rooms: a craft studio and a small city kitchen. we priced both rooms out using semihandmade fronts with the components needed to make the rendering feasible.
room one - 18 x 10’ craft studio
this room has a lot of cabinetry in it - probably more cabinetry than in your standard kitchen. not only that, but virtually every cabinet offers specialty storage; 6-tier drawer bases, utility/high cabinets with drawer pull-outs, corner cabinets with lazy-susans, and 15” depths. this setup definitely errs on the “deluxe” offerings of storage optimization, so we knew it was going to cost a few shekels regardless of what vendor we priced.
the ikea components
(2x) 15w x 24d base with 6 low full-extension drawers
(2x) 24w x 24d base with 6 low full-extension drawers
(2x) 38w x 38w corner base with lazy susan with 153 degree hinges
(1x) 24w x 24d base with 2 medium full-extension drawers, 1 low full-extension drawer, and 1 low 3/4 extension drawer with front
(4x) 24w x 15d x 90h utility base with 7 medium full-extension drawers and 4 drawer fronts
(2x) 18w x 15d x 90h utility base with 1 low full-extension drawer, 4 medium full-extension drawers, 1 low drawer front, and 5 medium drawer fronts
(2x) 24w x 15d base with 6 low full-extension drawers
(2x) 15w x 24d base with 2 medium full-extension drawers, 1 low full-extension drawer, and 1 low 3/4 extension drawer with front
- suspension rail segments
- support bracket for freestanding cabinets
(16x) legs (set of 4)
(8x) 125 degree hinges (set of 2)
(8x) hinge dampers (set of 2)
(2x) 153 degree hinge dampers (set of 2)
total: $4906 for ikea components only
for non-ikea/customized components
for these components from semihandmade, we chose the supermatte white beaded collection by sarah samuel sherman (adore). simple and modern, but gives a touch of dimension and era to the room.
(4x) set of 6 24w x 5”h drawer fronts - $302
(2x) lazy susan doors - $220
(1x) set of 3 24w 10”h drawer fronts - $241
(4x) set of (1) 24w x 60h door and (3) 24w x 10h drawer fronts - $620
(2x) set of (1) 18w x 30h door and (1) 18w x 60h door - $459
(2x) set of (3) 15w x 10h drawer fronts - $174
(3x) toekick / filler - $48
(1x) island panel - $211
total: $6159 for non-ikea finishings
room one total for all cabinetry: $11065
when you’re “sacrificing” your boxed cabinet order for a hundreds of flat-packed boxes and diy assembly, $11k isn’t an amount you’d generally have ringing in your head.
for comparison purposes, we got a “quick quote” from the popular online cliqstudios, which is a kcma-rated cabinet company that ships their boxed cabinets directly to you.
the quote we got for their “typical” kitchen tier cabinetry, primarily made up of your door/drawer cabinet configurations with particleboard doors and construction, came out to $29990, or $245/lnft. for their “deluxe” tier, they quoted us at $390/lnft, with our room quote starting out at $46800. cliq’s deluxe tier items includes specialty storage like pull-out organization and drawers. however, since virtually all of the cabinetry used in this plan is a 15” depth as opposed to the standard 24”, or has an atypical configuration, literally every cabinet would need to be “deluxe,” and the cabinetry would easily be at over $60k.
cliqstudios is a direct-to-consumer manufacturer, meaning that the price of cabinetry only goes up from that price. I’ve priced out kitchens in both semi-custom and custom lines, and the customizations in this cabinetry with an mdf-plus door (the type of material sold by semihandmade, denser than particleboard and preferable to hardwood), would run easily into the $80k-100k range.
that $11065 ikea number doesn’t start to look so bad when you’re saving the cost of a few mercedes, huh? cabinetry ain’t cheap, which is why companies like semihandmade, reform and kokeena exist in the first place.
room two - 6’ x 8’ kitchen
with this kitchen being significantly smaller than the craft studio and with much simpler cabinet configurations, it’s significantly more along the lines of what a typical kitchen remodel would cost. our expectations for this number were much higher…for it to be lower… than room one :)
for the ikea cabinet bases and inserts
(1x) 15w x 24d base with 1 medium full-extension drawer and 1 shelf
(2x) 30w x 24d base with 1 medium full-extension drawer and 1 shelf
(1x) 18w x 24d base with 1 medium shelf
(1x) 18w x 24d base with 1 medium full-extension drawer and 1 shelf
(1x) 24w x 15d utility base with 3 shelves
(2x) 36w x 15d base with 3 medium full-extension drawers and 3 interior drawer fronts
(2x) 15w x 15d x 30h wall cabinet with shelf
(2x) 30x 15d x 30h wall cabinet with shelf
- suspension rail segments
- support bracket for freestanding cabinet
(8x) legs (set of 2)
(17x) 125 degree hinge (set of 2)
(17x) hinge dampers (set of 2)
total: $1923 for ikea components only
again, there’s really not much cabinetry going on in this space, and all of the the cabinets are fairly straightforward with little customization, but there definitely is some. for example, the 2 36” base cabinets are at 15” depths and have 3 full extension drawers each, which would cost a bundle in custom or semi-custom lines.
for the lower drawer and door fronts, we chose semihandmade’s diy slab door, which is a solid, unfinished 3/4” mdf front that you can paint/finish however you’d like. we chose for it to be painted with behr’s congo green in an eggshell finish, then stuck with shm’s pre-finished supermatte white thermofoil on the uppers.
pricing for non-ikea/customized pieces
(1x) set of 1 10h x 15w drawer face and 1 20h x 15w door - $74
(2x) set of 1 18w x 10h drawer front and 1 18w x 20h door - $88
(2x) set of 2 18w x 20h doors and 1 36w x 10h drawer front - $174
(3x) side/base panel - $72
(2x) tall cabinet side panel - $190
(3x) side panel for wall cabinets - $80
(2x) set of 2 30w x 30h doors - $265
(2x) 18w x 30h door - $133
(1x) set of 1 24w x 60h door and 1 24w x 30h door - $526
(1x) 30w x 10h drawer -$55
(3x) toekick/plinth - $48 (diy)
(1x) toekick - $48 (white)
total: $3003 for non-ikea components
room two total for all cabinetry: $4926
our cliqstudios “quick quote” came out at $9350 for their base line ($275/lnft), and $14926 ($349/sqft) for “deluxe” tier cabinets. keep in mind that these are direct to consumer products and the brand touts an “average savings of 40% off of stock cabinets.” these are also quoted with painted particleboard (they call it furnitureboard - not a thing) doors and particleboard construction.
ikea’s kitchen sales!
ikea frequently runs sales that slice an additional 15-20% off your order. big caveat on this though in that the savings you reap are redeemed in the form of a gift card, and the discount is not applied directly to the order. if you plan correctly, you can break your order up and apply the cards directly towards your subsequent purchases, giving you a flat (albeit “hacked”) discount.
semihandmade, as mentioned throughout this entire post (whom we have no affiliation with), currently has a sale - and may have a few throughout the year, for 20% off your entire order. not too shabby.
considering you plan your purchases correctly and buy when the two sales coincide (they do at least once a year), let’s say you get 15% off your ikea order, and 20% off shm. reassessing our room quotes, that would bring room one down from $11065 to roughly $9100, and room two down from $4926 to roughly $4000.
we probably don’t need to say, but those savings would be enough to cover hardware and custom shelving (left off of the boms) - and then some! professional installation, perhaps? the largest downside to ikea cabinetry is, of course, the flat-packed nature of the products, and the hundreds of boxes, so that’s not a terrible plan.
while many small, urban kitchen remodels call for custom cabinets due to the wonky layouts, need for specialty storage, and thinking that a small space can warrant the (upwards of) $1500/lnft pricetag - no joke - we appreciate that ikea and the companies providing fronts for their cabinets are making near-custom cabinetry attainable for virtually any space and consumer. it takes creativity to pull it off, but that added buck will save you the hundreds of thousands of added bucks in the long run.
overall, we love the designs we’ve seen of ikea kitchens with third-party vendor fronts, and the storage capabilities that the cost savings allow by being an rta (ready-to-assemble) product is extraordinary.
especially when looking at cabinetry like cliqstudios and boxed lines that claim to do the work for you, ikea + fronts truly give you exceptional customized cabinetry at literally unbeatable price. the downside? you have to put a lot of work in. however, there are thousands of people waiting to help you with the task, at prices that won’t break your budget.
ultimately, the product is substantial, intelligently designed and cost effective, allowing nearly anyone to have the (quasi) custom space of their dreams. depending on the area you live in, getting boxed cabinetry into your unit might not even be an option due to narrow stairways, lack of elevators, et al, so rta might be your only option, anyways.
what are your thoughts on pricing and the product in general? have you had any experiences, good or bad, that would get you running towards ikea again? let us know in the comments!
aaaaand just in case you’re not yet convinced about how pretty your kitchen can be, here’s a slew of pretty ikea spaces for inspiration.
x - mk