Susan Yeley Homes
Life is too short not to love your home.


The IKEA Kitchen Hack

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! [That's Hoosier for get ready.] You're getting an IKEA!

This is old news, we know. IKEA announced this like two years ago. For those of us who dig a colorful dose of mod but will be paying off student loans until we die, the drool has been pooling ever since. Well, our wait is almost over. Time to start thinking about where to put your new Nyboda, purchased right here in Central Indiana! 

For DIY-ers who have been waiting for the last drawer to break before pulling the trigger on a kitchen reno, rest assured it will soon be easier for a Hoosier to bring home a truck filled with an IKEA kitchen. (Tell your kids to climb on the drawer while you're not looking this summer. We won't tell your significant other.)

While we love a solid, locally made custom cabinet, we are not against IKEA.  But we do want to offer some not-so-humble advice before you go get your flat-pack kitchen. Did you know you can upgrade IKEA door and drawer fronts? Yes. You can do a classy IKEA hack and at least get a custom look.

Odd though it may sound, there are a bunch of companies that specialize in door upgrades specifically for IKEA kitchen cabinets. A few are based in the United States. We love it. There are many blogs on the World Wide Web about this, but none so far combines these four door upgrade companies in one place.


Semihandmade is based in Duarte, California, and offers 50 different styles to choose from. Since their launch in 2011, they have faced over 5,000 kitchens and bathrooms and other IKEA cabinet boxes. Designers from Amber Interiors to Erin Williamson and bloggers from Chris Loves Julia to Garvin & Co. have used Semihandmade products. Their price comparison to IKEA cabinet door fronts can be read about here, and an honest review can be read on Remodelista.


Based in Portland, Oregon, Kokeena specifies low impact paints and finishes in an effort to be environmentally sustainable. From low- and no-VOC paints to no-VOC conversion varnishes, finishing products and techniques are selected for the best combination of durability and sustainability. 

On their slab doors they use Agriboard instead of MDF. Aside from its green credentials, the real benefit of Agriboard compared to MDF is its imperviousness to moisture and dimensional stability, according to Kokeena. While MDF will swell quite readily when exposed to moisture, Agriboard will not. Agriboard also resists warping better than MDF or plywood. 

The founder sums it up perfectly: "Why the focus on IKEA? Because I believe that you should save money where it makes sense, but that you should spend that extra bit of money on the things that will truly make you happy over time. You're going to live with your kitchen for a long time. You should fall in love with it every time you see it."

Dunsmuir Cabinets

Based in Los Angele, Dunsmuir is cutting edge. Dunsmuir Cabinets was founded by a Swedish furniture designer and an American architect who share a love of IKEA and a frustration with contemporary kitchen showrooms. This brand offers a number of ingenious built-in pull options, as well as classic Benjamin Moore paint colors for painted cabinets. Their site has step-by-step instructions to help you build out your kitchen and get a formal quote.


If all of the above are out of your price range (we. get. it.) or just not doing it for you, try Scherr's. Based in North Dakota, they specialize in solid wood cabinetry. You can get boxes from them—not just doors and drawer fronts made to fit IKEA cabinets. You do need to contact them directly for a quote (no ability to build the quote on the site). And many homeowners have been pleasantly surprised by their prices. 

Here is an honest review of working with Scherr's. And one more for good measure.

Dude, This Is Way Over My Head

Yep. That's why we're here! If you need help making sure what you planned in the IKEA kitchen planner is really going to cut the mustard, reach out to SYI. We can help determine proper flow and figure out how to mix and match IKEA door and drawer fronts with semi-custom/custom fronts, to create a kitchen that works for your family and for your budget.

Susan Yeley5 Comments