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dark wood ikea kitchen

Darker tones provide a sophisticated kitchen aesthetic. (image credit: IKEA)

IKEA promises comprehensive interior overhauls at an affordable rate. Its fitted kitchens designs are true to the brand’s Scandinavian roots, with simple styles and clean lines that culminate in a very sleek and modern-looking kitchen.

IKEA’s online kitchen planner lets you play around with styles and colours until you find a design and layout that works for your space, or you can speak to an in-store designer for a professional consultation. 

IKEA’s base designs include:

  • The METOD: IKEA’s flagship product, which offers various possibilities in terms of style and colour.
  • The ENHET: A budget-friendly range with several designs to choose from.
  • The KNOXHULT: A clean, basic design suitable for large kitchens.
  • The SUNNERSTA unit kitchen: The ideal solution for mini-kitchens and small spaces.

Overall, there are about 20 different options to choose from within these kitchen systems, and product designs range from very traditional to modern and minimalistic. You can also order custom designs from a number of companies that specialise in designing fronts that fit IKEA frames. (These don’t come cheap, however.)

While IKEA made its name with DIY products, assembling an entire kitchen isn’t as straightforward as building a simple TV cabinet or bookshelf. If a single cabinet isn’t assembled correctly, you’ll have gaps. It’s also worth bearing in mind that no walls are plumb or flat, which can affect your installation. You will need to know how to level your cabinets correctly.

Even seasoned DIYers will struggle to assemble the hundreds of kitchen components arriving in dozens of boxes, so using a professional installer (available through IKEA or hired independently) to give you a hand is a good idea.

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Technical information

IKEA offers a range of kitchens with simple, sleek designs. Homeowners can select and purchase each individual element online, from cabinets to worktops. The brand offers an easy online kitchen planner where you can experiment by matching different products and colours until you are satisfied with your kitchen’s final design.

You can also order bespoke cabinet fronts from a third party if you want a specific look. IKEA kitchen units arrive flat-packed. Either install them yourself or enlist the help of a professional IKEA installer. 

Alternatively, you can use our Find a Builder tool to search for a local, professional installer, who can manage the rest of the job too: flooring, tiling, re-plastering and painting, and even knocking down a wall if your new kitchen requires it.

  • Kitchen ranges (systems):
  • Number of styles: 20
  • Finance available: Yes
  • Installation service: Yes (via TaskRabbit)

Key features

Highlights: IKEA kitchens can be customised and modified however you like. You can buy each component separately and assemble and install them yourself.

Warranty: IKEA kitchen METOD systems come with 25-year guarantees that cover defects in the workmanship or material.

Cost: £51–200 for individual cabinets, minus accessories.

Payment options: IKEA offers multiple ways for you to pay, including financing plans of up to five years.

Key benefit: IKEA is the most affordable kitchen supplier in the UK – perfect for those on a tight budget.

Pros and cons

Any kitchen – even one from a budget-friendly brand like IKEA – is a significant long-term investment. Always consider the advantages and disadvantages before settling on a kitchen supplier.

Pros of buying your kitchen from IKEA:

  • Affordability: If you want to remodel your kitchen on a budget, you will find the ideal solution with IKEA. You may end up paying much less than you would with other British kitchen suppliers, but you can still enjoy great style and choice.
  • Variety: You can choose a base system and add as many mouldings, drawers, cabinet drawers, frameless cabinets and accessories as you’d like. You can even switch up styles and mix and match cabinets if you prefer. The colours are varied, and you can customise your entire kitchen according to your preferences.
  • Planning: You can use the online planner to redesign your entire kitchen based on your measurements. The online planner features a complete 3D mapping tool, or you can meet with an IKEA designer at a showroom for professional face-to-face guidance.
  • Warranty: IKEA kitchens have a poor reputation when it comes to quality, but their METOD kitchen cabinet systems are backed by a lengthy 25-year warranty that covers fronts, hinges, drawers, most cabinet frames, legs and toe kicks.

With IKEA’s affordability comes potential disadvantages, including:

  • Quality issues: Most IKEA kitchen cabinets are made from medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and particle board, so the quality isn’t as good as all-wood cabinetry. MDF can become damaged and degrade quickly when exposed to water or by screws turning in the boards. The cabinets also tend to get dented and scratched quickly, which is not covered by the warranty.
  • DIY installation issues: You can install the entire cabinet system yourself, but this could be an overwhelming task. You might receive lots of boxes all at once with complicated installation instructions, and it could take you a considerable amount of time to sort through and install everything. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll need to increase your budget to afford a professional IKEA installer or hire a carpenter.

Standard sizes: While you can play around with IKEA’s designs, their furniture sizes are standardised and can’t be altered according to your kitchen’s dimensions. This means you are at a disadvantage if you have an oddly shaped space or need lower or higher cabinets.

bright and colourful compact ikea kitch

IKEA offers plenty of options for smaller homes (image credit: IKEA)

How IKEA kitchens work

IKEA cabinets arrive in ready-to-assemble, flat-packed boxes. They are frameless and designed to hang on a rail system, with adjustable plastic feet to keep the base off the floor. You can assemble and install the entire system on your own or hire an IKEA installer or independent installer

IKEA kitchen products have various widths, depths, heights and custom offerings. Base cabinets sit on the floor and support your countertops, sinks, cooktops, microwaves and ovens. All base cabinets are 30 inches high, or 34.3 inches when you add legs and the toe kick. Adding a countertop increases the height to 36 inches.

IKEA only offers laminate and butcher block wood countertops in standard dimensions, but you can order marble, granite or stone materials (such as a composite ‘quartz’) elsewhere.

IKEA KNOXHULT kitchen

The IKEA KNOXHULT kitchen is great for compact spaces (image credit: IKEA)

How IKEA kitchens compare to others

IKEA is one of the cheapest kitchen suppliers in the UK, but it still offers many options despite its low price. The quality of IKEA kitchen products is lower than other suppliers, but they do offer long warranty periods for some systems.

If you can stretch your budget a little further, we recommend looking at B&Q for better-quality products. B&Q is very affordable, with a huge variety of designs, colours and finishes to choose from. You can assemble and fit a new B&Q kitchen on your own – the same as IKEA – or work with a trusted local installer to help if DIY isn’t your thing.

Wickes is another great option, with numerous designs and helpful in-house installation that includes both dry and wet fitting. The quality is much better (and the price tag a little higher), but you won’t have to lift a finger to install your new kitchen. An in-house designer can help you through the whole process, giving you peace of mind that you’ll end up with your dream kitchen.

If you’ve made up your mind to use a carpenter, you can also look at Howdens. This trade-only brand offers a huge variety of designs, tones, colours and more at a reasonable price.

How much do IKEA kitchens cost? 

IKEA kitchens are the hardest to price because every component (from cabinet handles to drawer inserts) is individually sold and priced. A base cabinet with shelves will set you back £51, for example, and you’ll need to add £3 for a drawer pull and £6 for a single drawer front.

Here’s how IKEA kitchen cabinets compare to other similar offerings on the market: 

Kitchen supplierCost of an eight-unit ready-fit kitchen (excluding installation)
Wickes£835 to £3,128
B&Q£1,053 to £2,798
IKEA£500 to £700

How to maintain your IKEA kitchen

IKEA kitchen cabinets are very attractive and some of the most affordable on the market. However, many cabinets feature melamine doors which can be easily dented and warped. 

Some DIYers have suggested using frames and base cabinets from IKEA and pairing them with all-wood cabinet doors and drawer fronts bought from a custom supplier. Regardless of whether the doors are MDF or solid wood/ply mix, the carcass is still MDF so it can blow out with moisture. In this case, avoid placing hot or wet pots and pans on the surface or interior of your IKEA cabinets. You should also look out for leaks and places water can escape, like around the sink.

Always use non-abrasive cloths to clean your IKEA cabinets and avoid harsh chemical cleaning agents.

The IKEA ENHET kitchen

The IKEA ENHET kitchen (image credit: IKEA)

What the professionals say

“IKEA’s kitchen range includes modern, traditional and shaker styles in a range of colours and finishes, including gloss and matt. Most IKEA kitchens are more contemporary than traditional, with many in white or wood effect. IKEA says its METOD kitchen ‘gives you complete freedom to personalise your kitchen layout, style and functionality, whatever your size of room or budget’. The ENHET kitchens offer a ‘more flexible solution’, IKEA says, and is designed to be disassembled and reassembled when you move.”

“Unless you’re super handy, you will probably need to add money to the budget for professional assembly and installation, which can cost a few thousand dollars. . . . You can save money if you’re willing to assemble the cabinets yourself and then just need someone to come and put them into place. Or, yes, you can spend the time and energy assembling and installing them all by yourself. Just know that these cabinets come in lots of pieces and take a while to put together.”

“An IKEA kitchen can look really bad or really good. It is worth your time to hire a designer. There are so many aspects of kitchen design to make sure it functions well.”

What customers say

“The pullouts available for spices and for rubbish/recycling are also amazingly functional, and I would include those in any kitchen I design going forward. Higher-end kitchens likely also have these features, but the fact that you can get such customised organisational features with such an affordable kitchen system is, I believe, the biggest perk of an IKEA kitchen.”

“When we built our home in 2013, we wanted it to be beautiful and functional. We didn’t want to spend a whole lot on the finishes. That’s where an IKEA kitchen came in – it was a great-looking and organised kitchen option for us, but the price was right.”

“Kitchen is fine! The fitter originally provided, though, did awful prework. We sacked them, and now they are taking us to court! The replacement fitter was great, though. So we have an ok kitchen but also a court case to deal with! With a poorly child and death in the family, I wish I went to a local kitchen provider in the first place, so I didn’t have to deal with all the drama that has accompanied the kitchen!”

IKEA traditional kitchen style.

IKEA offers a range of modern and traditional kitchen styles (image credit: IKEA)

Final recommendation

IKEA is a popular and affordable self-assembly furniture brand. There is a range of modern and traditional designs and colour options to choose from.

Buying a kitchen in a box may sound like a great idea, but assembling an entire kitchen (piece by piece) isn’t as easy as it sounds. Fortunately, IKEA does offer installation and design assistance, so you might want to take advantage of it. 

You can buy your new IKEA kitchen online or in store, choosing from several different payment methods and financing options.

The only downside of IKEA kitchens is their quality. A kitchen generally needs to be quite hard-wearing and functional; it’s the centre of your house and is frequently used. Some of the materials IKEA uses in its kitchens are prone to damage, and while the brand does offer some attractive warranty options, wear and tear are not covered.

Despite quality issues, we believe IKEA is a great option for consumers on tight budgets, especially if they have limited space in their homes.

Our methodology

To provide an accurate and unbiased evaluation, we put together this IKEA kitchen review by reading thousands of customer reports filed on blogs, forums and review sites. We also looked at media articles, technical documentation and more.

We then rated IKEA kitchens using a scoring system, totalling 100 points. IKEA’s score consisted of the following ratings:

  • The quality of the units (loading shelves, drawers, runners, hinges and worktops for three points each), for a total of 15 points;
  • The availability of an in-house designer, for a total of five points;
  • The availability of an in-house installer, for a total of five points;
  • The number of ranges, colours and designs, for a maximum of five points each and a total of 15 points;
  • The availability and length of warranty, for a total of 15 points;
  • The cost, for a total of 10 points;
  • Customer reviews and star ratings (Trustpilot, Google and Reviews.io), for a total of 15 points;
  • Payment options, for a total of 10 points; and
  • The number of local showrooms, shops and installers, for a total of 10 points.