Are IKEA kitchens any good? This architect, who has completed over 100 kitchens, has the answer

Cheap, modern, and easy to assemble, there's a lot to love about IKEA kitchens, but are they a false economy? An expert weighs in

Kitchen with IKEA base units and custom doors by Plum
(Image credit: Plum)

Should you invest in an IKEA kitchen? If you're looking to renovate your home on a budget, it might seem like a good option. We all know that alongside their reliable furniture staples the Swedish powerhouse offers beautiful fully fitted kitchens but we have to ask, are they worth it?  

The truth is, your kitchen sees a lot. Arguably the most functional room of the home, your kitchen needs to withstand heavy footfall, high heat and humidity, and greasy splatters and food spills. With fully fitted kitchens from just $540, IKEA are lauded for their budget-friendly prices, easily assembled units, and online features like their kitchen planner, but does the low price point mean you sacrifice quality? 

To offer an insight into the world of flat-pack furniture and whether it's really worth your money, we spoke with NYC-based architect Stephen Wanta. Stephen recently went viral on Instagram with a video talking through IKEA kitchens and whether he believes they're worth considering over similar mid-range brands. 'We have realized over 100 kitchens at this point,' Stephen explains, 'and 8 or so of which have had IKEA cabinets.' Who better then to let us know whether they really stand up against the competition when it comes to buying a modern kitchen

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. A personal fan of the Scandi-inspired interior, her job entails keeping up with everything there is to know about the Swedish powerhouse IKEA. Here, she asks an architect and kitchen fitter whether he thinks it's worth investing in an IKEA kitchen. 

How much does an IKEA kitchen cost, on average?

Kitchen with IKEA base units and custom doors by Plum

(Image credit: Plum)

We all know IKEA is one of the cheapest options on the market, but just how cheap are we talking? 'The most recent IKEA kitchen I did was about $5K as delivered from IKEA, but it had lots of bells and whistles included, such a lighting, pull-out cabinet interior fittings and blind corner hardware,' explains Stephen of Wanta Architect. 'At 19 linear feet of cabinetry (including appliance spaces) this kitchen was about average size for a New York apartment; it would be on the small side for a normal size suburban house.' 

That means that you can expect a typical modern kitchen cost of between $5,000 IKEA and $15,000 from IKEA, depending on the size of your kitchen and how many extra fittings you have. 

Are IKEA kitchens are good value?

Neutral Ikea kitchen with bespoke doors

(Image credit: Fronteriors)

While they still remain one of the cheapest options for a brand new kitchen, in recent years IKEA's prices have been increasing, with other budget-friendly brands offering competitive prices, making you question whether they're actually good value after all.

That said, Stephen still thinks that IKEA kitchen cabinets are good value for their price point. 'Their design and hardware have improved significantly over the years,' he explains. 'I first used them in the early ’90s and there has been a steady progression of improvements to the product since.'

You may want to make a few adjustments to the skeleton materials however, if you want your kitchen to be longer-lasting. 'We still tend to modify their “kicks” - the panel boards that keep your cabinets off the floor - as supplied, but generally we are very happy with the quality,' says Stephen. 

How do IKEA kitchens compare to other kitchen makers?

Small blue kitchen with IKEA base units

(Image credit: Plum)

If you have a higher budget, you might think it's worth paying a little bit extra for a mid-line kitchen for the promise of higher quality and better fittings. According to Stephen, though, those aren't necessarily guaranteed. 'We generally consider IKEA kitchens relative to “mid-line” kitchens,' he says. Often, he'll actually suggest an IKEA kitchen over a more expensive mid-range kitchen, as the quality can often be better. 

Really though, the pull factor for many who opt for an IKEA kitchen is convenience. 'When we are considering an IKEA kitchen it is not only the overall value relative to the cost but sometimes how quickly we can get it,' Stephen explain. More often than not, if you live close to an IKEA warehouse you can have a kitchen delivered to you the very next day. Along with their low price point, the modular units and their simple assembly, there's a reason why IKEA cabinets are still so popular for remodeling a kitchen

Another selling point for IKEA is its choice of mechanisms. IKEA kitchens use Blum hardware, sourced from Austria, which is widely considered to be one of the best products in the business for longevity and smooth-opening drawers and cabinet doors. 'It's what these nice Italian kitchen brands use too,' Stephen explains. 

Blum soft close hinges, Amazon

Blum soft close hinges, Amazon

If you need to upgrade your kitchen hardware, you can find Blum hinges and drawer slides to buy online from the likes of Amazon. 

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.