cost of inset framed cabs vs. ikea cabs

lmrinc_gwMay 14, 2013

I know this is going to be a vast difference but I'm just curious if it would be worth it?

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These are progress pics, and a lot has been done since they were taken but I haven't gotten around to taking new ones yet. The counters + cabinets, both ikea, came in at $3900. I've been extremely happy with them.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 7:40PM
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    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Now? From House on Chick Road

From [House on Chick Road](

(Yay! It worked!)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 7:46PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The cheapest possible inset will still be 4-5x Ikea. Good custom quality will be 10x+

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:01PM
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raenjapan, I love your Ikea Cabinets! What height are they? What counter did you use to come out so reasonably priced. Which style is the one you have since they look like the Adele style but look like solid maple on my monitor painted the perfect shade of off-white.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:45PM
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Athough I like the look of inset cabinets, we have a relatively small kitchen and wanted frameless cabinets for the increased storage space. We are also DIY'ers on a low budget. We did Ikea ramsjo white cabinets and butcherblock counters for under $5K including shipping. This is a photo from the installation phase back in January.

We still have to put in some molding, backsplash, other cosmetic stuff, but we are very happy with the cabinets. I have no doubt that you can get wonderful inset cabinets for a higher price, but that's just not my style. If we had that amount of $ to spare on hand, I'd probably still have gone budget DIY and spent the money on travel or something like that instead. No judgment against those who spend lots more on their kitchens - many here do and enjoy the fruits of that decision every day in their beautiful kitchens. You just need to consider where you fall on that spectrum.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:17AM
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I know you're asking about the cost difference, but it's the construction difference that strikes me as more important. Ikea cabinetry is frameless. Inset cabinets are framed. They're really very different. Frameless cabinets are a godsend for small kitchens as every inch is maximized. For slightly larger kitchens that don't have such constraints, either is a valid choice.

Back to cost difference, though. Ikea is at the least expensive end of cabinet possibilities. Insets are at the highest. Insets are more expensive because all the doors and drawers have to fit perfectly - more precision carpentry - or they look like some kid's kindergarten craft project. Insets are "worth it" if you have a generous budget and you love the look. If going inset would put you in hock until you head for the rest home, then no. There are lots of options in cabinetry in between Ikea and insets, so there's no shortage of choices. You probably need to do some more looking around before you decide for sure.

This post was edited by artemis78 on Wed, May 15, 13 at 1:01

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:24AM
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Honestly, it depends a lot on where you are and whether you have local cabinetmakers as an option. We used a custom cabinetmaker largely because the quote was not that much more than IKEA (which I would have been happy to use as well) so it seemed worth it for inset plus the ability to tailor the cabinets to the space in a small kitchen. We paid about $9K for cabinets that were half inset and half frameless; the same layout from IKEA was about $5.5K (with one of the solid wood doors--other doors are less), but that didn't include assembly/installation, and the cabinetmaker's price did. (At the time this was not a deciding factor, but in retrospect I am soooo glad we did not end up assembling/hacking/installing the IKEA cabinets ourselves! We were in over our heads on the DIY tasks we did take on pretty quickly--obviously YMMV if you are more experienced with carpentry, etc.) IKEA with Scherr's doors was somewhere in between, and complete Scherr's was surprisingly a little more than the local cabinetmaker with shipping (all in 2010, though). However, this was on the low end for inset cabinetry--we got a great deal because our cabinetmaker was relatively new to inset (though well-versed in frameless) and the economy was still picking up after the recession. We also got some other upgrades in that price--wood drawers, plywood boxes--so it wasn't really apples to apples. Can't say if those were worth it or not as we don't have much to compare them to. (But the Blumotion full-extension slides--which is also what IKEA uses--are wonderful!)

I agree that there are lots of options in between, though. I love the look of our inset cabinets, but I actually much prefer our frameless cabinets for function, and if I were doing another period kitchen, I'd seriously consider doing frameless with inset uppers, or just frameless across the board and spend a little more on accents like lighting. I'm not sure anyone but me notices the inset vs. the frameless at the end of the day (but I do, and I love it, which counts for something!)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:59AM
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I do love inset because I like period look - it is worth any loss of space and the cost. We saved some money by going with custom cab makers. We saved space by all drawer stacks go to the floor. In my present kit the only toe kick is at the sink. Uppers are deeper than standard.

This post was edited by mpagmom on Wed, May 15, 13 at 16:55

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:56AM
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I've done both in the last year - custom cabinets in my kitchen and Ikea in the kitchenette in the basement. My kitchen cabinets were built by local Amish cabinet makers and I could have any size I wanted. Wall cabinets were 13" deep standard, which is what you want with inset since you lose some depth. It was a 10% upcharge for inset cabinets (which I only did on the wall cabinets), a 10% upcharge for painted cabinets, and a 10% savings for frameless (which I did on the base cabinets). It was $11,000 or $12,000 for my 19 cabinets (some of which are very large because I have 10' ceilings) and all the trim, and here's a picture to give you an idea of what I got:

For my Ikea basement I bought 7 cabinets and spent about $2000 (that's what my budget says but I didn't go back and add it up) for all the cabinets and trim. It was new construction so I planned the space so the Ikea cabinets with their limited standard sizes would fit well. Here's a picture of that:

So what's the difference? I had the fun of loading and unloading the Ikea boxes in my minivan and putting the Ikea cabinets together. My custom cabinet boxes are 3/4" plywood and look like they'll last forever. My Ikea cabinet boxes are 1/2" particle board that made me nervous when I put granite on them. I figured when I attached two together it made 1" particle board, and that made me feel better. The plastic legs on Ikea cabinets made me nervous too. My wood cabinet doors can be touched up or repainted when my kids clobber them. My Ikea doors can be replaced easily. The hinges and drawer glides are about the same. My wood drawers are beautifully made and heavy-duty. The Ikea drawers aren't nearly as sturdy - I wouldn't load them up like I do my wood drawers (NOTE: Oops, I goofed, and I retracted this statement below - the drawers are sturdy). The greatest advantage to Ikea is that there is no waiting and you can quickly make changes as you go along if you need to.

So I would definitely take the time to price it out both ways. The difference probably isn't astronomical, and then you can decide if the inset are worth it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:16PM
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>The Ikea drawers aren't nearly as sturdy

Well, they are blum tandebox, which are an upgrade in most cabinet lines.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:00PM
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You're right, writersblock. I just took another look at them and they are sturdier than I thought. I was thinking the bottoms were thin, but they are really thick. We've put together a lot of Ikea furniture and I must have been thinking of the drawers on something else.

I'm not a big fan of the partially open sides on the Ikea drawers.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Yeah, I believe my IKEA 36" drawers are rated for 150 lbs, which is quite a few plates. I agree, I'd rather they didn't have partially open sides, though.

"raenjapan, I love your Ikea Cabinets! What height are they? What counter did you use to come out so reasonably priced. Which style is the one you have since they look like the Adele style but look like solid maple on my monitor painted the perfect shade of off-white."

Thanks! The uppers are the taller height, lol, I don't recall what it is. The counters are oak, with ebony stain on the perimeters, and no stain on the island. Finished with waterlox. The style is the Adel off-white, which reads as just barely cream. I've got to get my pantry finished, then I'll post after pics. Total kitchen reno cost was about $7K.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:24PM
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