IKEA Hacks and Other Fun Stuff

A couple of months ago, we finished this exciting kitchen in Renton, WA.  I say exciting, because it’s packed full of fun little customizations that you don’t see every day in your typical IKEA kitchen.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance yet to go back and get the final pictures, but I decided to post the pictures I have now so you can see some of the cool details.

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Stacking the cabinets takes advantage of this home’s 9′ ceiling height. Please ignore the blue protective film!

In the picture above, you can see that we took advantage of the home’s 9′ ceilings by stacking an extra row of 15″ tall cabinets on top.  In previous decades, the common school of thought was to keep all the cabinets low and within reach, so they would either drop the ceiling, build a soffit, or just leave an empty space above the cabinets, as was the case in the original kitchen.

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This is what the kitchen used to look like. Hard to believe, right!

One of the more popular features of IKEA cabinets is the pull-out shelves.  Unfortunately, they don’t make the pull-out shelves for their 30″ wide cabinets.  However, since all the hardware for IKEA cabinets is made by Blum, we decided to look to them for a solution, and we were in luck.  Blum makes a line called Tandembox and with the right combination of pieces, it worked out perfectly in our 30 and even 36″ cabinets!

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IKEA’s 30″ pantry cabinet with Blum Tandembox pull-out shelves.

One of the challenges with this design was how to deal with the blind corner we had next to the microwave:

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Appliance garage (closed)

We didn’t want to just leave an open space there for clutter to gather, but if we had used a standard hinged door, any items on the counter would have to be cleared away whenever you opened the door.  Here again, Blum came to our rescue with their Parallel lift system from their Aventos line:

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The parallel lift door system worked perfectly for this appliance garage.

The homeowner came up with this cool idea for utensil storage based on something similar she saw on the internet:

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This custom utensil drawer is a neat idea.

The pull out trash drawer isn’t really anything special, but I wanted to feature it here because I have found that a lot of people who try to design their own kitchens using the online IKEA planner don’t realize that you can make these in any size (the planner only shows them in 12″).  This one is 18″ wide, which is just right for two trash cans to sit back to back. We put a pull out shelf on top to store extra trash bags.

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The 18″ wide pull-out trash/recycling drawer is just the right size for two trash cans to sit back to back

Finding a convenient location for outlets in the island can be a challenge, so this pop up outlet strip was a great solution.  We set it up right next to the cooktop so they could use it to power their stick blender among other things.

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This pop-up outlet strip is a clever touch. These are available in all kinds of configurations. Some even come with USB ports for charging your phone.

Here are a couple of great uses for LED strip lighting:

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LED strip lights under the counter for extra visibility.

Since these lights are so skinny, we were able to install them under the countertop overhang, allowing better visibility for these cabinets.

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Setting the toekick lights on a motion detector means the homeowners won’t need to search for the switch or get blinded by the overhead lights when they come down for that midnight snack!

We installed the same lights under all the toekicks for accent lighting.  These lights are also set on a motion detector located in the hallway, so they will come on automatically when you walk into the kitchen.  Perfect for the middle of the night when you come down for a drink or a snack.

Overall the kitchen came out great, and what a dramatic difference from before:

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Before

After the holidays, I’ll go back and take the final pictures without all the blue protective film!

Look for them in a future post!

To see even more IKEA hacks, check out this post:  More IKEA Hacks

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Pinky-1 says:

    Tim, love the IKEA hacks! Are those “D” & “B” height pullouts in the 30″ pantry? Those pullout shelf fronts do not look like BLUM Tandembox, they resemble the shelf fronts available from IKEA in other sizes but as you say IKEA doesn’t make a 30″ pullout shelf. Did you use a combination of parts from IKEA and the BLUM Tandembox line to construct the pullout shelves? Keep up the amazing work!

    • tim says:

      These are the B and M height drawers from Blum. The back and bottom of the drawers have to be cut from 5/8″ melamine. We didn’t use any IKEA parts for the drawers. They are complicated to order, as they come in multiple pieces, but we ordered them through Woodworker Supply: 8000-383-0130, and they were really helpful in making sure we got the right combination of parts.

  • Kris says:

    This project looks terrific. I have a pretty specific question about how you stack the IKEA cabinets vertically. I’ve seen kitchens where the stacked cabinets had an unsightly seam between each row where basically one box sits atop the other. I’m wondering if there’s a way to finish this edge so that when the doors are open, there’s a seamless edge running the entire height of the cabinetry. (I hope that makes sense).

    Anyway, great job. Great inspiration.

    • tim says:

      We actually stacked the cabinets just as you described, but we run the panels full length, so you cant see the seam except when you open the doors. To do it without a seam, you would essentially have to build a custom box from scratch. Sorry, I know that’s probably not the answer you were hoping for!

  • Dorothy says:

    Well, I need you. The end.

  • Cam says:

    Wow some really amazing ideas

  • Cam says:

    Forgor to ask who makes the power bar?

  • Liliana says:

    Beautiful, what cabinets you used and appliances?

  • Scott says:

    Great work!! I have a question regarding the appliance garage; what type of cabinet frame did you use on top of the granite. Did you cut up a frame to sit on the counter. I’m trying to create a similar detail and was struggling with what frame to use on the bottom or top..
    I like the use of the Doug Mockett power pop up.. Was there any feedback from your client regarding that piece? I’m I treated to see how durable it is..

    • Tim says:

      Hi Scott-

      We used a 24″ pantry cabinet for that, and just cut it down to size. For the power pop-up, we’ve used these a few times, and they seem to hold up well. They are easy to replace if they ever go bad, because they just plug in to a regular outlet within the cabinet.

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