Are flatpack kitchens worth the savings?

Search the net and there’s no shortage of beautifully photographed Ikea kitchens with rave reviews extolling their ease of assembly, installation and longevity. They’re so seductive, with their nonsensical names, their smooth Scandi style and their practically impossible-to-beat price. There’s no denying that Ikea kitchens look fabulous in the warehouse and that their ingenious layouts are as attractive as the price however, having installed a few in his time, JD tells me that those undertaking a kitchen renovation using Ikea (or any other flat pack system) components should be wary.

  1. As it’s a system based on proprietary parts, if you forget to order something (screws, hinges, legs, the plinth etc), you’re pretty much stymied until you can get back to the store and find it.
  2. Another potential cause of delay is if the store is out of a certain component (c’mon, I know you went to purchase a Raskog only to find that they were 3 weeks away. I had to go back twice!) as that will put a stop on not only the assembly and installation of your kitchen, but also potentially other areas of your renovation.
  3. The fixed size of flat pack cupboards means that you may need to use filler panels in order for it to fit your particular kitchen.
  4. Assembly is one thing (relationship counselling not included), installation is another. Even if you choose to assemble the kitchen yourself, consider hiring a carpenter to install it. He’ll know how to deal with floors and walls that aren’t level and plumb and how to locate framework to which you need to attach the cupboards.
  5. You’re going to need a bigger skip. Flat pack kitchens come packed in cardboard and all that cardboard needs to be disposed of, so be prepared for a trip (or two) to the tip. Or, let the kids build an epic cardboard fort in the living room.

We’re not saying don’t buy an Ikea kitchen (and there are a number of other retailers offering flat pack options these days), we’re just saying be aware of the possible pitfalls that come with the savings.

Have you purchased a flat pack kitchen and if so what was your experience? If you were an Ikea product, what would you be called? (I like to think that my Ikea name would be Allyksen.)

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