IKEA Kitchen Renovation

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When we bought our home, we…and by we, I mean I…knew the first thing we had to do before moving in was a kitchen renovation.

It didn’t look terrible, but it was a hodgepodge of random IKEA pieces and old cabinets. The space wasn’t utilized efficiently and didn’t function as well as it could. As a professional organizer, you learn to work with the available space and I was determined to make every inch count. My husband was a bit skeptical but was willing to trust my instincts!

photo of a kitchen with wood cabinets and tile backspace
The Kitchen Before

Planning and Designing

I knew we couldn’t afford a complete overhaul and fortunately we didn’t need to replace the appliances (yay!). The biggest bang for our buck was going to be the cabinets. So I measured the kitchen and used the IKEA space planner app to begin designing. I’d read enough IKEA kitchen blog posts to know the design had to be finalized before walking into the store. I did my research and went in prepared. We had a few months between the acceptance of our offer and the closing, so I spent that time working and re-working the space until I got it just right.

Kitchen cabinets during a renovation
Out with old, in with the new!

In addition to the cabinets, I knew I wanted to add some open shelving for a bit of character and convenience. And also, I wanted to be able to change the styling over time.

My husband, John, trusted my expertise regarding storage. He took the lead on the actual construction plans. We settled on the design together and while there may or may not have been some disagreement about the more expensive, high gloss cabinets, I think it’s safe to say he loves them now 🙂

Installation and Construction

Fortunately, John is incredibly handy. He and his best friend, Mike, were able to do the majority of the work. They assembled and installed the cabinets, and hooked up the waterlines for the freezer and the new dishwasher (because the two-drawer one that was there was not happening). Then they installed lights in the drawers and under the cabinets. Also, USB/plugs were placed under the cabinets which is one of my favorite features!

A man installing subway tile during a kitchen renovation
My handy hubs working on the tile!

Our home is a multi-family and the intention is to rent it out someday. We wanted to make sure the design would be appealing to the biggest audience. For that reason, we chose butcher block countertops knowing they could be swapped out if they got scratched up over time. We also switched out the rectangular table for a circular one because it opened up the space and made more sense for our family.

We got everything done before we moved in, with the exception of the subway tile and the floating shelves (because life and a new baby!). It only took a few more months to get the kitchen completely finished.

a beautiful kitchen with white subway tile
The finished tile and floating shelves with an apron front sink

A Better Design and Upgrade

We’ve been thrilled with how efficient the set-up is and only changed one thing. Originally, we installed a deep drawer that was impossible to keep organized (which, as you might imagine, is a non-starter for me!). We replaced it with two shallower drawers, and that’s made all the difference.

a disorganized utensil drawer
The deep, impossible to organize drawer
two organized utensil drawers
The two shallower drawers…so much better!

The End Result

The biggest take-away for me in doing this renovation was to plan, plan and plan some more. Having all of the designs and measurements done ahead of time saved a ton of money and aggravation! If you have any questions about the renovations or products we used, feel free to leave a comment!

before and after of a kitchen renovation