The answer is yes, for God’s sake people, yes! If you want to, you can and you shall put together an Ikea kitchen yourself (with a few handy tips, shared below).
The last time I employed someone to fit an Ikea kitchen I ended up showing him how and, I might add, with no personal hands-on experience of building Ikea kitchens at the time. To be fair, he didn’t seem to be the shiniest spanner in the box and that, coupled with his refusal to look at instructions was his downfall. He fell further in my estimations as he consistently ignored conversations we had, preferring to call my husband throughout to get decisions on matters I had already advised him on… needless to say, we didn’t work with him again.
But in any irritating, slightly insulting situation you can find a lesson and the lesson here was that I could totally put in an Ikea kitchen myself, as could you.
Once you break it down, you realise that if you can put together a flatpack, you can put together an Ikea kitchen. So here are the tips you need to get you through.
Check everything when it arrives.
Ikea may be brilliant at the whole flatpack lark but when it comes to kitchens and all the multiple parts they entail, stuff sometimes gets forgotten, lost, broke or missed out. So check you have everything on your kitchen list soon as it’s in so you can get any replacements if needed.
If something is missing don’t panic, Ikea have a whole department dedicated to missing and extra parts and they’ll see you right. You just want to phone at the start rather than halfway through some serious flat plack flow, realising it’s 9pm at night and it’s too late to get that extra hinge screw.
The joy of ‘the list’
If you’re anything like me you’ll love a list, and the wonderful ‘everydayness’ of Ikea provides you with a very comprehensive one both when you order your kitchen and another when it arrives with the delivery man. If you are fitting the kitchen yourself these lists are your bible, the instructions in each box your hymn sheets. These, coupled with the stickers on the boxes with the corresponding number codes ‘768.987.889’ for example (very helpful) will be your holy grail throughout the process of ‘the build’.
Get your instruction manuals together and consistently cross-check them with both the parts on your list and the kitchen plan AND the numbers on the boxes. This will ensure you get everything in the right place. The doors that all look the same, save for some tiny detail; the cupboards and the hinges etc can all be a little confusing if you don’t check the product code against both your list and your instructions.
Remember… it’s just a flatpack
From here on out it really is just the same as building cupboards, don’t get over fazed by the fact it’s a whole kitchen. Take each unit at a time and focus, you’ll have built half of it before you know it.
Breathe, it’s all there in black and white in the instruction leaflets with those little men who scratch their heads whilst on the phone. You’re not like those men, you know your shit and you’re going to totally smash this kitchen (figuratively). Take it slow.
Remember the door hinges are adjustable.
If it looks a little wonky once you put the doors on don’t stress, the hinges can adjust the doors to the right levels, up down; left, right. Use a hand-held screwdriver here for precision. If you find it hard to work out how to do it get yourself on Youtube, there are a million videos waiting to help you.
Buy a jigsaw
You need this to cut your worktop (providing it’s wood not stone). This might need slightly more skill and know-how than the rest of the job but bear in mind that if edges are a little wibbley it’s not the end of the world. The edge of a sink or overhang of a hob generally covers any mistakes.
Get an electric screwdriver
Not much more to be said here, this will make both your kitchen and general flatpack building life as pleasant as riding through rainbows on a unicorn.
You can do the sink
Providing you’re not moving the sink don’t be scared to replace this yourself. I promise you, it’s easy. Just go by the INSTRUCTIONS and you’ll surprise yourself. I did it, that means you totally can.
Return the bits you don’t use
Ikea often sells you a load of extra gumpf you don’t need with a kitchen. They tend to overdo it on things like end panels and kitchen plugs for some reason, sometimes the odd door. I’m sure it’s well-meaning but it’s a total waste when you don’t use them. Have any leftovers picked up from your house by Ikea and refunded by calling the number at the top of your kitchen order form and quoting the leftover part numbers from your item list.
Get someone in to do the tricky bits.
If you’re wiring in ovens this needs a professional, don’t try to do this yourself. Similarly, if you are moving plumbing or need gas work again, here you need a qualified professional.