5 IKEA Hacks from Professional Kitchen Installers

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In this article:

  • Why you should choose an independent IKEA kitchen installer and an independent IKEA kitchen designer.
  • Inspired Kitchen Design makes finding an IKEA kitchen installer near you easy with Install Connect.
  • Five SEKTION cabinet hacks focus on customizing cabinet size and maximizing storage.

Independent IKEA Installers Offer Hacks to Maximize Storage

IKEA offers one-stop shopping, which feels convenient. However, these installers work for IKEA, and the store will recommend them if they’re on the list, whether or not they are the perfect fit for your project.

If you’re renovating your kitchen, bathroom, mudroom, closet, etc., you’ll live with it for a long time. Take the time to find an installer that understands IKEA products and IKEA hacks.

We’ve interviewed several IKEA kitchen installers over the years. This article explores their customer’s most requested hacks.

A List of Experienced, Local IKEA Kitchen Installers

Not sure where to start? Inspired Kitchen Design offers a list of quality-assured IKEA kitchen installers to all their design customers. Once you’ve paid for your design, you’ll receive a password to access Install Connect. From there, email your IKD design to an installation guru in your area, get a quote, and get started.

Many of the independent contractors on our list also offer additional services, like electrical and plumbing.

Why choose a professional kitchen designer?

The IKEA kitchen planner doesn’t allow customers to make hacks, so you’re stuck with whatever IKEA’s software auto-generates what you should do with their products. Professional design companies like Inspired Kitchen Design know IKEA product limitations, how to design around them, and how to make IKEA hacks look beautiful.

“The IKEA Home Planner will not let you do anything custom. So if you need a custom-sized cabinet, say if you’re going to do an IKEA cabinet hack…the new IKEA Home Planner is not going to let you do anything like that.” – Jake from JD Custom Construction

Most-Requested Hacks from IKEA Kitchen Installers

You can perform some of these hacks yourself if you’re a confident DIYer.

Hack #1: Custom SEKTION Microwave Cabinet

The problem: You have a microwave (or other small appliance) of unusual size.

The hack: Cut down a 15″ H SEKTION cabinet to a 10″ H cabinet.

Custom 10

Meris from M&H Carpentry in Chicago has over a decade of experience installing IKEA kitchen cabinets. He knows all the ins and outs of hacking SEKTION cabinets to give customers what they want.

SEKTION Microwave Cabinet with open drawer

He explains that this IKEA hack can create an attractive custom microwave cabinet. Say, for instance, you have a compact microwave, but IKEA doesn’t have a compact microwave cabinet. Converting a 15″ H SEKTION wall cabinet into a 10″ H cabinet looks nicer, keeps it from being too close to the hot stove, and still fits an IKEA 10″ flip-up door.

Custom microwave base cabinet configuration measurements

“So the most popular hack that I think everybody runs into is IKEA stops at 12 inches with the smallest base cabinet…. We can [take] a 12″ to a 10″.”

Hack #2: Open Cabinet Made from Side Panels

The problem: The interior of your open cabinets doesn’t match your closed cabinets’ doors and drawer fronts.

The hack: Use panels to create a custom open cabinet.

Open cabinet made from side panels, front view

We spoke with Jake (not from State Farm), who owns JD Custom Construction and serves San Francisco and Los Angeles. He started doing historic preservation on the East Coast before taking his carpentry skills west. He knows how to hack an IKEA cabinet and other vendors to enhance IKEA products.

Open cabinet made from side panels, side view

He explains that many clients today want open-faced cabinets, but when designing an IKEA kitchen, there’s one small problem: the interior of SEKTION cabinets is always white. Jake and his team can use panels from his client’s cabinet door vendor to ensure the open cabinet matches the closed cabinet doors.

instructions for open custom cabinet made from side panels

Made using fridge panels

“If [the customer is] ordering the walnut from Semihandmade, then we can build them a custom cabinet on-site out of those walnut panels so that it matches all of the doors. We can pull that cabinet forward so it’s flush with the doors rather than flush with the cabinet frame behind it…We’re basically building them a custom cabinet out of panels to match everything else that they have.”

Hack #3: Custom Frame instead of Fillers

The problem: You’re losing valuable storage space to mass-produced fillers.

The hack: Customize the cabinet box to fit an extra drawer.

Custom cabinet box to fit an extra drawer

This hack ensures customers have no wasted space. Instead of a six-inch filler, you get five inches of extra drawer space.

Bill Shipley of TGB Contracting in Maryland prefers to create custom frames for his customers. Why add filler when you could use an IKEA hack and get more storage space?

Custom cabinet box IKEA hack to get more storage space

“We won’t give you six inches of filler; instead, we’ll create a custom frame for you…. On the IKEA side, the smallest drawer front is five inches. We’ll customize [the frame] and give them that so it matches on both the wall and the base. Those are the most appreciated hacks that we’ve done.”

Custom cabinet box instructions with dimensions

It’s similar to this hack often used by IKD, in which a Rev-A-Shelf filler pullout organizer can be inserted.

Hack #4: Countertop Cabinets

The problem: IKEA kitchen cabinets aren’t designed for stacking or sitting on countertops.

The hack: Cut the cabinets for a custom fit.

Countertop IKEA Cabinets

Since IKEA doesn’t design their cabinets to fit tall kitchens with stacked cabinets, you have two options: hack the SEKTION cabinets by cutting them to fit or order custom cabinets. An IKEA hack is much more cost-effective and just as—if not more—beautiful.

Terry from The Kitchen Installers in Florida is a professional cabinet installer, and he’s been working with IKEA cabinets since 2012. It started with helping a friend out on an IKEA kitchen installation project, and then he realized that he was good at hacks and installation and people needed the help. Now it’s a primary source of business for him, and one of these IKEA hacks involves stacking cabinets.

IKEA Countertop stacking cabinet hack

“What’s really hot right now is people putting the cabinets on top of the counter. [One project] was a 12′ tall kitchen, and we needed to do one of those library ladders that slides across. It was a really, really cool kitchen, but we needed…to cut down like six or seven cabinets on the uppers and then stack them and make room for the ladder, as well.”

IKEA Countertop stacking cabinet instruction and measurements

Hack #5: Corner Cabinet with Sink

The problem: You had a corner sink in the original design and don’t want to move the plumbing.

The hack: Cut fillers and panels to create a corner kitchen sink cabinet that matches the rest of your kitchen.

Corner Cabinet with Sink

Who wants to pay to move plumbing in an existing kitchen? Not many IKEA kitchen customers. That’s why Virginia Beach installer Neil with Virginia Kitchens often hacks a SEKTION cabinet using fillers to keep a corner sink in its original location.

Hacked SEKTION cabinet using fillers to keep corner sink in its original location

“When they have the sink at a 45-degree angle in the corner, the framing is there and the plumbing, too. Customers don’t want to pay for this to be redesigned. So, we just have to do the sink at an angle. This isn’t easy to execute with fillers. Plus, usually, the dishwasher is right next to it. So we need to create half walls and lots of fillers at angles. This is very hard to do.”

It’s one reason why Neil mentions:

“Any homeowner can probably [install an IKEA kitchen], but it’s going to take a lot longer and not going to be perfect. Sometimes they call a professional to finish it, and it costs them more money.”

IKEA SEKTION corner cabinet with sink instructions and measurements

Professional Designers and IKEA Kitchen Installers can Create Your Dream Kitchen

When it comes to working with a professional kitchen designer, we think Terry said it best:

“It’s hard for me to rely on the designers at IKEA. Not that they’re not good, but they’re just not as detail-oriented as IKD. IKD makes it easier because they literally hand [the design plan and inventory list] to me on a silver platter.”

When experienced IKEA kitchen installers work with professional designers, customers get the kitchen they want.

Get a Professional IKEA Kitchen Design – All Online

Work with our certified kitchen designers to get a personalized kitchen designed around your needs and vision. If you’re interested in learning more about our service, make sure to check out our IKEA Kitchen Design Services.

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