One of the biggest advantages of purchasing cabinets from Ikea is the customization. I knew I wanted things like large base drawers, but that wouldn’t have been in the budget had we gone with higher-end cabinets. Some of the features we added were at the top of my must have list, some were added along the way. Not all of these are Ikea specific, they’re just the features we used to make our kitchen personal and more efficient to what we wanted. I’ll share the Ikea features in this post and another with non-Ikea specific items later.
Like I said, one of the important features I wanted was base drawers. I actually was only able to include two sets of these due to spatial restraints. Although the kitchen is much bigger than it was before, it’s still not that big.
My favorite are the large drawers in the peninsula. The drawers are deep and all around awesome. I was able to put the things that I use often, but were always a pain to get out of the cabinets in the bottom. Like the juicer, steamer, and little crockpot. The middle has all our pots and pans. I pared down when we moved our old stuff into the new kitchen and only kept what we use on a regular basis. The top holds the knives and silverware.
The top of my must have list actually wasn’t a very expensive feature, but to me it was priceless.
Behold hidden trash cans.
I knew that a lot of people were doing this with their Ikea cabinets, but when it came down to it, no one was very descriptive. I designed an 18” base cabinet then we had to verbally tell the associate we were working with to only include a full 18” cabinet door, and an 18” deep drawer base. No extra drawers, no hinges, no shelves, nothing else. She didn’t understand and we actually received extra drawers and a set of hinges for this cabinet. Just because everyone’s doing it on the internet, don’t assume the store associates will understand what you are talking about.
I couldn’t find any explanation as to how this was constructed, so here’s how it works. Mike filled the hinge holes on the cabinet door using a hole saw the same diameter, and caulk for the screw holes. I have to paint it so it doesn’t look so obvious, but that’s for your benefit now.
He did that for the top and bottom, and then had to drill holes to attach the drawer. I’m sure someone can figure these out, but when I explain that “everyone on the internet is doing it”, and then can’t produce a tutorial for Mike he gets a little pissy, mostly because he’s worried that I’m following a half-assed idea. We added the cabinet pull just like a drawer aligned with the drawer next to it and it’s been amazing. Probably my favorite kitchen feature, sad but true!
The reason we didn’t put the trash next to the door is because we knew we wanted some sort of shoe storage there. We, as well as all our close friends and family, use the back door. So, having shoe storage was just as important as hidden trash cans in our books. In the early design stage we thought maybe some open shelves below the counter, but we both knew that open shelves would mean they would have to be kept tidy. Then I came up with a brilliant idea. A closed cabinet with the basket shelves. This is something I’ve only seen in readily available stock at Ikea, so I’m going to stretch the definition and say this is an exclusive feature.
We actually stuff way more of our shoes in there than this, but I’m not going to show you that! It's also not like we stuff guests shoes in there when they come over, but it’s nice to have a place to put our shoes so that it looks tidy. We also try to always put our shoes away everyday, but sometimes the pairs we wear often sit out, which is okay, because it’s better than 12 pairs sitting out. The only problem we’ve found, especially with summer shoes which are often worn without socks, is, ahem, the smell. The cabinet gets a little stinky. I’m side-eyeing you Mike’s boat shoes. I added a baking soda odor absorber, but it doesn’t stick to the door and doesn’t seem to work. I have to get something new. I will sometimes leave the cabinet open overnight and it’s better in the morning.
The other Ikea specific feature, although other cabinet makers have these as well, is the integrated or cabinet-faced dishwasher. We didn’t really go in to the design with this in mind, but we saw it, liked it, so we bought it.
The dishwasher sits next to the sink, but blends in with the base cabinets so it looks seamless.
I’ve never had a brand new dishwasher before so I can’t really compare it to others, but I’ve loved this one so I would recommend it to anyone looking. Obviously, I cared more about what it looks like, so if that’s important, then this ones for you. It also cleans really well too! I’m in the habit of rinsing before I put dirty dishes into the dishwasher, but even when I forget they still come out clean. It’s also very quiet. Which is nice, but I sometimes forget if it’s on!
The only problem I have is the cycle is really long. There is a “1 Hour” button which I thought was a 1 hour delay, but I recently found out its for an hour wash.
The buttons are on the top, and are somewhat flush, but really sensitive. Sometimes I’ll accidently press a button, but it makes a beep so you know to press cancel before closing it.
One design feature I wanted was for the refrigerator to look built-in by adding panels on both sides. This was important because the one side is open to the dining area and can be seen from the living room/front door.
I briefly mentioned how we installed these, but I wanted to note this as a special feature because it’s not necessary, just something that makes it look a little more custom. The tops are attached inside the cabinets and the right hand side is also attached to the base cabinet.
Having different colors on the top and bottom created a a small moment of decision making as to what color to use, but to me it would always be the top color, white, since it is the entire left side. I also did white on the other side.
I added a Bekvam step stool from Ikea because I need it to reach the tops of the cabinets. I’m 5’7” and still can’t reach the top shelf! I painted it navy blue after seeing it here. I grabbed one of these stools for our godson a year ago and I remembered it when we were designing the kitchen. This spot is perfect because it’s out of the way, but easily accessible. My only advise, paint before you put it together, it’s much nicer looking.
We’re planning to add a chalkboard above it for notes, or quotes, sometime soon.
The last Ikea features are the interior organizational items. We utilized all the Rationell drawer dividers and the silverware and knife trays which can be seen in the drawer photo.
They’re really great for keeping items organized because once you set it up one way, you’re more likely to put it back in the same spot.
I wished there were more organizational items for the upper cabinets, but I didn’t really find a large selection. I grabbed some plastic bins which are nice because they’re made with the Ikea cabinet sizes in mind, but they aren’t mind blowing or anything.
I’m sure if I wasn’t there I could easily grab some bins and such as Target or Bed Bath and Beyond.
Overall we’re really happy with our Ikea special features and designs and think we were able to utilize as many as we could within the confines of the kitchen space. I’ll be back with more kitchen details, because it seems that now I’ve open the floodgates I can’t stop talking about it!