Discover how my husband, my dad, my kids, and I did a money-saving Ikea small kitchen remodel in our mountain home!
When we moved into our house in the mountains, there were many things to love about it–such as the big sunny windows, the cozy porch with a mountain view, the big master bedroom. But the kitchen was definitely not one of the loveable spots!
The kitchen had super dated (1990’s) oak look cabinets. It was oddly laid out (with the refrigerator in the middle). It had a lot of corner spaces wasted. And worst of all was how the countertops literally were like a floor–tiles with baseboard trim. It was ugly, you guys!
The Before Pictures of Our Ikea Small Kitchen Remodel
Ready for the befores? It was kinda ugly, I admit. I especially hated the tile countertops that I had to clean using a toothpick! I couldn’t roll dough out on them (because it’d be bumpy and probably pick up all the gross I missed between the tiles–yuck!). So it just had to go!
The After Pictures of Our Ikea Small Kitchen Remodel
Things I love about our Ikea small kitchen remodel: how it makes our kitchen and our main living area in general feel bigger, how it is so bright and cheery now, how it does NOT have tile countertops, and how it has so much more space (drawers for the win!).
Our Ikea Small Kitchen Remodel Process
- The Before Pictures of Our Ikea Small Kitchen Remodel
- The After Pictures of Our Ikea Small Kitchen Remodel
- Step 1: Hiring Measurements
- Step 2: Creating the Plan
- Step 3: Removing Wall & Lights
- Step 4: Flooring
- Step 5: Vent, Gas, & Water
- Step 6: Ordering the Cabinets
- Step 7: Assembling & Installing
- Step 8: Countertops
- Step 9: Appliances
- Step 10: Backsplash
- Step 11: Lighting
- Step 12: Baseboard & Trim
Step 1: Hiring Measurements
This is probably an optional step, but we did not want to undergo this huge DIY Ikea small kitchen project just to find that some measurement was off half an inch somewhere and the whole kitchen design wasted. So, through Ikea, we paid for a measurement session. A lady with laser measuring devices and old fashioned tape measure came to our house at the scheduled time and measured out the layout of our kitchen. She also took pictures of the kitchen. With these measurements and visual reference materials, she created the basic shape of our kitchen on the Ikea Home Planner so that we could get designing.
Step 2: Creating the Plan
I am very good with computers and computer programs and also with getting creative with fitting things into all kinds of weird spaces. So the planning portion of this Ikea small kitchen project was fun for me and I was able to fully do it by myself with minimal help from Ikea employees.
When I designed our Ikea small kitchen, I did it all at home with the Ikea Home Planner, an online planning software. It was pretty straightforward and easy for me to use, though it was a little frustrating at times (primarily because the digitized cabinets kept wanting to “snap” to the walls I didn’t want them on).
Once I had my layout designed for our Ikea small kitchen, the Home Planner has a feature to submit it for review where they make sure everything is “correct” and will fit in your space. I did this and it was approved with no problem.
Step 3: Removing Wall & Lights
The third thing that happened for our Ikea small kitchen remodel was my husband, kids (demo day! they loved it), and I removed some of the partial wall to open up the kitchen more. My husband also removed some recessed lights from the ceiling that were no longer needed and that would no longer be in a convenient location.
Once these things were done, my husband filled the holes and new wall edge with new drywall. Then we hired a painter who came in to mud, texturize, and paint these spots. It was a total possibility to do the mudding, texturizing (or at least attempt to so it would match the rest), and painting ourselves, but we wanted it to be done right, quickly, and with as little hassle as possible so we decided to hire it done.
Step 4: Flooring
In addition the Ikea small kitchen remodel, we removed the old, scuffed up flooring from our living room and the tile from the kitchen. Then, my husband, all by himself, installed new flooring (it is the same in the living room and kitchen). We went with Lifeproof flooring from Home Depot in the Seasoned Wood design. We chose this flooring because it was gorgeous and it was durable for taking abuse from our kids and pets. We chose not to go with real and/or expensive hardwood floors because we didn’t want it to just get destroyed by children.
Step 5: Vent, Gas, & Water
Installing these items is way out of my skill level and while my husband could have probably figured out how to DIY them, he didn’t have the time or desire to do so, so we hired these things out.
VENT – We hired an HVAC technician who poked a hole in the ceiling that led to the exterior of our house where the hood vent would be over our stove. With our old kitchen layout, there was no hood vent so this was new to our kitchen.
GAS – Our old kitchen’s range ran on electric, but we really wanted gas. Our house already had gas for other things, so we hired a plumber to create a new line and poke it up through the floor where the new range would go.
WATER – Since we were moving the location of the refrigerator, we also needed a new place to hook up the water to it. so we abandoned the old setup (which no longer worked anyway; it was later hidden behind cabinets) and had the same plumber install a new one.
Step 6: Ordering the Cabinets
It took us about 3 months to get in all of the cabinets and stuff for our Ikea small kitchen remodel because every cabinetmaker was recovering from COVID supply shortages.
We set up a place in our basement to collect everything and we did not even attempt to start the actual remodel until we had everything.
We did a combo of having some items delivered to us and making many runs to Ikea to get piece by piece. With the shortage, they weren’t holding items, so that made it a bit of pain, but not the norm–it was just our bad timing! All things considered though, we got all of our items pretty quickly (especially when you consider some people were waiting for things for 6 or more months!).
Step 7: Assembling & Installing
Once we got the last required piece for our Ikea small kitchen remodel, we got to work! When we were in store ordering some of our cabinets, we were given a printout of what pieces go where. That came in very handy. We referenced it to go to our basement and grab just the pieces needed for the cabinet at hand. My oldest son and I built all of the cabinets and my husband and dad installed them.
Most of the cabinets more or less had the same process to build them. So, once you get into a groove, it’s pretty easy to put them together! You’ll want to have a drill handy so it goes quickly.
When my husband installed the cabinets, he started with the sink first (to ensure it was centered under the window) and the corner cabinet (to ensure everything else would fit from there).
Somewhere in the process, after the island was complete, my husband also installed our black stainless steel hood vent.
Step 8: Countertops
We chose to go through Ikea for our countertops, ordering them when they were on sale. We chose a marble-look quartz. I chose quartz because it is supposed to be fairly durable (great around kids) and because it isn’t super porous, things like spilled red Kool-Aid won’t stain it (again, great for kids).
Before the countertop installation, Caesarstone (the company that provides the quartz countertops for Ikea; we ordered the color Noble Grey) sent a man to our house who measured our lower cabinet tops to ensure the proper amount of countertop was ordered and cut. He also took some pictures of where the countertops would go so the installers would know what to expect on installation day.
Then, on installation day, several guys came in and went to work installing it. I took our kids out somewhere (probably to my dad’s house–I don’t remember!) so they were out of the way while they installed the countertops.
Step 9: Appliances
Somewhere along the way, my husband got on the computer and ordered our new appliances and scheduled delivery. Again, we hit a time where there were some people waiting 6 or months for their appliances thanks to recovering from COVID shortages, so we weren’t expecting to get them for a while. But, I think because we went with black stainless steel instead of traditional stainless steel, we managed to get them ordered and delivered with a few weeks. Plus, we hit a sale which saved us some money!
When the appliances were delivered, my husband had to place everything because he didn’t pay the extra for them to place everything. Which was fine because he was still working on parts of the kitchen and they couldn’t all be placed just yet anyway.
I wasn’t so sure how I’d like the black stainless steel appliances since I’m used to regular ones, but now that we have them, I absolutely love them!
Step 10: Backsplash
My husband, with a little of my and my dad’s help, installed the backsplash in one day. We chose a hexagon pattern as opposed to the oh-so-popular subway tile because it is different and my husband said the subway tile reminded him of the tile in a subway bathroom so he didn’t like it!
One thing I would do differently if I had it to do again would be to use white grout. I chose a medium gray because I liked the look of it (and it does look awesome), but oh was it a mess to grout with! I’m sure the white would have been bad too, but because it would have been white on white, it at least wouldn’t have seemed to be such a mess (I’m guessing, don’t quote me–I have no idea what I am doing in this department!). However, once we got past the mess, the gray grout really does look amazing.
Instead of mortar to stick the backsplash tile to, my husband bought SimpleMat. To prep the wall, he first sanded it down to smooth it out, wiped it down with a damp towel, let it dry, then stuck on the double sided sticky SimpleMat stuff. It was a LOT less mess to do this than using mortar.
Step 11: Lighting
Our old kitchen had some very dated looking antler chandeliers. My husband is an avid hunter and we both love antlers, but these looked so fake and dated that neither of us liked them. So we replaced them with updated light fixtures. These fixtures not only look a world better, but they’re brighter and make the room feel bigger. They also look awesome with the Edison light bulbs!
In case you’re wondering, we ordered this one for above our dining room table, this one for above our sink, and this one for our kitchen main light. The Edison light bulbs were ordered here.
Step 12: Baseboard & Trim
Some things we had to do to finish our remodel was replace the baseboard. Because the flooring is lower than the old flooring, we were faced with either trying to paint above where the baseboard would be (but then there would be an obvious line) or replace the baseboard. So we opted to replace the baseboard. We chose one that was taller so it would reach the floor and cover up the spot where the old baseboard used to be.
For the window in the kitchen, we also had to replace the trim. With the new space-maximizing cabinets, the old trim was too wide. So we went with a narrower trim. I think it turned out awesome!
So there you have it! Overall, the whole process took us about 4 months, but most of that was spent waiting on cabinets to come in. If we could have received our cabinets sooner, the whole process would have taken about 1 month. Not too shabby! And we estimate we saved at around $20,000 (probably more since we also redid the flooring in the living room and purchased new appliances–this total is how much we saved on labor) by installing it ourselves.
Now, it’s time to dive into my recipes and get cooking!