Cabinets Are Going In!


February 10, 2014 by Sarah

Since writing about the drywall just a couple days ago, we have already had a chance to get some ikea cabinets assembled and installed. Waaaahoo!

ikea cabinets

The cabinets that were once unassembled and in one million boxes taking up my entire living and dining room are now assembled, and taking up even more room.


Uninstalled cabinets also double as a clothing rack.

I have put together my fair share of IKEA furniture in the past, but when I first opened up the directions for these cabinets I was slightly confused.  Whenever I have no idea what I am doing I turn to the good old internet to solve all my problems. IKEA has their own youtube channel that is about as helpful as their word-less instructions—and I abandoned their video on how to assemble a base cabinet about 10sec in.

I watched these 2 (very long) non-ikea videos which helped quite a bit:

When working on a cabinet myself it took about 35-45min to assemble each cabinet, but when Adrian and I worked on them together it took about 25-30min per cabinet.

I would definitely suggest working with another person—not only to speed things up but to have a second pair of eyes to double check that everything is in the right place.  There are a lot of parts and believe it or not they can be installed incorrectly.


We did glue the wood pegs during assembly—not required but I thought it would make for a stronger cabinet.  I will also be caulking all the seams on the sink cabinet just in case there would be any stray water finding its way into any of the particle board crevices. We assembled the cabinets either together or separately over the course of 3 evenings.  Not too shabby.

As soon as the walls were done we started the installation.  We began with the upper cabinets since it would be a lot harder to put the uppers in place if the base cabinets were already in place. IKEA cabinets are installed pretty easily compared to our experience with installing traditional cabinets in the past.

hanging rail

They use a metal rail that is leveled and screwed to the wall, then the cabinets are attached to the rail.  It was really easy to make adjustments on the rail as needed to make sure the cabinets were level and plumb.

ikea hanging rail

If you recall from the post about the design of the kitchen, we decided to go with double stacked cabinets. We did an awful lot of measuring and remeasuring to make sure everything was lined up perfectly and the upper cabinets would sit in the correct places since they also had their own rail.

installing ikea cabinets

The lower of the 2 cabinets is a 39in tall cabinet and the highest cabinet directly above is 15in tall. The space above the cabinets will be covered with a thick crown molding.

attaching ikea cabinets together

I REEEALLY wanted to have rails for a library ladder in here…something like this:

kitchen library ladder

Source: TOH

I went as far as to design a custom ladder for out cabinets, but it just wasn’t practical.  The room is too small and the ladder would take up too much space. Also, for $1k+ price tag was not appealing. AH well.  At 5’4″ I need to get a step ladder to be able to get up into those cabinets…actually Adrian will need a ladder too and he is a normal sized human. Those cabinets are tall!


The doors were delivered a while back, but I haven’t even unwrapped them yet.  The uppers are solid poplar which I will paint some shade of white that is still to be determined. Finding the perfect white has proven to be pretty difficult. I am dealing with 2 different shades of white in the room already (tile, countertops), and I am not sure if I should try to get matchy or go the other direction and pick a completely different shade.  SIGH.

The lowers are quarter-sawn white oak that will be painstakingly dyed, stained to a medium brown color, and sealed. I found a recipe online that is supposed to mimic old arts & crafts furniture.  None of it looks too difficult, but it does involve a lot of steps over several days so it is not a fast process.

The kitchen (and the rest of the house) is still extremely dusty, even amidst many wipe downs so I really want to get everything cleaned up before I start working on the doors.  I would like to minimize the dust floating around and getting in my finish.

We may be able to get the lowers in on the north wall (sink wall), but the rest will have to be installed after the floors are taken care of at the end of the month.

ikea cabinets

Does anyone else out there have experience IKEA cabinets?  I would love to hear your thoughts on the cabinets…do you like them?  How are they holding up?  The internetz are telling me that overall people have been pretty happy with them, especially for the price.  It would be good to hear from actual real people on the matter though.  Ohhhhh how I dream for the day I will be able to slam the cabinet doors shut and watch the soft-close hinges go to town.  It’s the little things in life.

4 thoughts on “Cabinets Are Going In!

  1. Margaret says:

    Check out for real people info.

  2. Tina says:

    I’ve had Ikea kitchens twice, and the only thing I’m sorry about moving to our new house is that there’s a brand-new kitchen so I can’t have an Ikea one for YEARS! Lovely though this new (quite high-end) kitchen is, I will miss so many things about my present Ikea kitchen – the deep drawers, the pantry, the high cupboards – the list goes on. As for durability, I’ve had it for over 6 years, and it still looks almost new.

    If I had to do it all over again, the only things I’d change would be the hob and sink (both Ikea – not very scratch-resistant) and the worktop (not Ikea – not at all scratch-resistant). Everything else I’d redo exactly as it is.

    I’ve also used Ikea cabinets for office furniture – the 37mm (in the UK) deep cabinets are perfect for lever-arch files, which are too deep for ordinary bookcases, and any cupboards with the word ‘office’ in their description seem to be around 5 times the price. Again, they’ve held up brilliantly, even with the cheapest doors on the front.

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Sarah&Adrian @ StPaulHaus

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