IKEA has transformed from a small shop in the woods of southern Sweden to being a major retail experience in 40 countries/territories around the world – in only six decades.
IKEA kitchen units come with a 25-year guarantee and installation workmanship is guaranteed for three years from the date of completion. (note: read the guarantee to satisfy yourself that it covers what you think it covers)
Market Position: DIYKitchen Unit Quality: Poor-Very GoodPrice Fitted: £3k+Supply Only: Yes
Designer Training: YesDesigner Qualifications: NoDesigner Status: Employed with bonusesCommission rate: N/A
IKEA Kitchens Review – Cabinets
IKEA cabinets come in three different ranges – the most popular Faktum cabinets, the low budget Fyndig units and the freestanding Udden framework.
Faktum Cabinets (19 door styles, further accent doors available)
IKEA’s Faktum cabinets are constructed from 18mm MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard) using industry standard cam and dowel fixings, have a full height back and sit on adjustable plastic legs.
The chipboard is of a good density and strength – watch for variable quality control in terms of edging tape (over and under gluing) and melamine chipping and cracking around the many many peg holes.
Hardware is of a good – very good quality and overall Faktum units offer excellent value for money.
Unlike nearly all other UK kitchen cabinets, IKEA Faktum carcasses don’t have a rear service gap or the means to trim some of the rear depth of the cabinet when fixing to uneven / bowed walls – this can become problematic where water pipes run along a wall behind cabinets and a major headache when a wall is bowed badly. Another factor to consider with IKEA’s extra depth cabinets is that most standard 600mm UK worktops are too narrow to project beyond the door fronts.
The positive side of this unit depth means an extra 50-100mm storage depth per cabinet and deeper drawers, which when factored into a typical kitchen soon multiplies up to some serious extra storage space.
Another oddity in IKEA Faktum cabinets is that there is no 1000mm width cabinet. This is not really a problem until you come to compare another kitchen company’s design and price with an IKEA equivalent (most kitchen designers LOVE using 1000mm units)
Fyndig (2 door styles)
Fyndig cabinets are at the super-low budget end of the market and it shows. In terms of quality and in terms of design, they bring to mind early fitted kitchen cabinets from the 1970s with exposed screws, slab chipboard doors and stand on MFC fins rather than today’s adjustable feet.
Yes they are cheap, with an 800mm base unit coming in at £50 including doors, but with only limited widths available (800mm, 630mm and 400mm) they are hard to design.
It’s hard to think of a circumstance where you’d not be better spending that little more on a lower-end Faktum kitchen – with which you can at least replace the doors at a later date.
Note that the standard IKEA kitchen guarantees do not apply to Fyndig kitchens.
Udden is IKEA’s answer to the freestanding kitchen and consists of a modular painted steel and stainless steel framework, within which you hang, slot and fix open shelving, appliances and MFC framed cabinets.
These provide an attractive semi-industrial unfitted look, although in reality most of the pieces will be fixed to each other or the wall/floor – particluarly the sink!
When installing an Udden kitchen, much care has to be given to services – as it is much harder to hide wiring and pipework, and all wall finishes have to be good because most will be visible behind the furniture.
Not to everyone’s tastes and not quite as practical in terms of hidden storage, Udden is nevertheless a good quality and very good value kitchen particularly in a modern styled property.
IKEA’s Faktum cabinets are the world’s most popular kitchen furniture for good reason. Take advantage of IKEA’s enormous economies of scale that enable them to construct and ship good quality kitchen units and low prices.
Provided you carefully check every cabinet’s edge tape and finish quality before construction you will end up with an excellent kitchen that will more than last – but be prepared for some inevitable damages and returns, due to flimsy packaging and variable factory quality control.
IKEA Kitchens Review – Doors
IKEA Faktum cabinets are available with a choice of 19 main door styles, with further accent doors available, such as glass and stainless steel.
These doors cover every possible taste and style from the ultra-modern to the traditional and country. For 2013 the new Norje Oak door, a slab door with solid oak edges and a textured oak veneer is particularly attractive as well as being exceptionally well made for the price.
Quality across the range is good to very good, although be on the lookout for variable edge finish quality, particularly the plastic edge tape on Abstrakt and Harlig doors – similarly look for uneven spray or damage on painted doors such as Applad.
IKEA’s high gloss doors differ from some other mid-range UK high gloss doors in that they are plastic foil wrapped. Other companies offer harder wearing painted and lacquered piano-finish doors at a similar price.
The Norje Oak slab door has taken over from the more expensive Sofieland walnut effect slab door as our favourite door in the range. Teamed up with a white acrylic worktop, this range will take some beating for impact and value, looking exactly like the kind of Italian or German kitchens that cost three to four times the amount.
At the budget end, a white Applad door with a contrasting wood laminate worktop brings modern chic to any home at a very low price (and just to prove we do like this range, it’s what’s fitted in the “Kitchen Units” staff kitchen!)