Holly Rosado | 

Achieving a Dream Kitchen on a Budget With Ikea

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When my husband and I were house hunting for our home on the south shore of Long Island, New York, we had a specific vision for our kitchen — clean, modern lines with a beachy vibe. A large white quartz kitchen island big enough for a family of six was at the top of our wish list. However, the reality of our budget vs. our expectations was harsh, but we didn’t give up on our dream. After some research, we found that the cost of an Ikea kitchen remodel was surprisingly cheap compared to quotes from contractors, which were upwards of $50,000. So we got creative and renovated our kitchen for a grand total of $22,838.

Our 1990s-era kitchen had honey oak cabinets, dark granite, and tired tile finishes that needed an update. This is how we did it.

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Tackling a Dated Kitchen: The Before

Two perspectives of a kitchen before remodel

My husband and I aren’t new to fixing up homes. We’ve moved a few times throughout our 22-year marriage and have tackled quite a few projects at each house. Joe is the kind of guy who would rather watch a YouTube tutorial on a house project before paying a contractor to do it. Meanwhile, my Instagram feed is flooded with pictures of beautiful homes and pricey kitchens. I’ve always been told I have an eye for design. I have the vision, and my husband has the skills and patience to bring my ideas to life.

Please note that we renovated our kitchen in 2020 – 2021 and prices have increased. I also largely used eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Etsy to find secondhand items for cheap to go along with my Ikea kitchen renovation. You can see the full renovation here.

Related: 26 Kitchen Hacks


Ikea Kitchen Remodel Cost Breakdown: The End Result

A newly remodeled kitchen

Cabinetry: Ikea

Ikea cabinetry is engineered wood as opposed to its super pricey counterpart of solid wood. I was skeptical how the cabinets would look and feel, so we made the hour drive to our closest Ikea to see some options in person.

We booked a $79 consultation with an Ikea kitchen planning professional who sat down with us and really listened to what we wanted. (Prior to this consultation, someone from Ikea will visit your home and take measurements that will be used in your consultation). They have kitchen planning software that shows your kitchen on the computer screen with the different options you have based on the size and shape of your space. We found our rep to be helpful, knowledgeable, and not at all pushy.

Right there in the showroom, you can see and touch the cabinets. They felt sturdy, high-quality, and smooth. They looked high-end and perfect to us. And when we learned of Ikea’s 25-year warranty on their cabinets, we were sold.

Our Pick

We chose the Axstad cabinetry with Eneryda pulls for a total of $7,000. As an additional way to save, my husband assembled the cabinets over time. Everything was delivered about two weeks after ordering. We had set up one of our first floor rooms as the “Ikea workstation.” Every night after his teaching job, my husband would go in there and put together a cabinet. He got to the point where he was averaging about two cabinets assembled per evening. However, we did hire a contractor to hang the cabinets, which cost us $300.

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Appliances: Ikea for the win again

Since we were doing this project in the middle of the pandemic, all of the supply chain issues and shortages were in full force. It was a shock to learn Ikea had everything we needed in stock; a wall oven, wall microwave, stovetop, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Ikea partners with Whirlpool for their appliances, so we felt confident with a trusted brand. That said, what really sold us was Ikea’s included 5-year warranty. The appliance package cost around $6,000, but prices have increased since.


Hood: Facebook Marketplace

Ikea had limited hood options and only stainless steel choices. We really wanted a more custom look, specifically white wood to match the cabinetry. Custom wood hoods are pricey, so we scoured Facebook Marketplace. We ended up scoring a brand new, all-wood hood in the exact size we needed for $400. The seller was a contractor whose clients changed their mind. It was definitely a win for us!


Countertop: A local stone yard

Ikea does offer some countertop options, but they didn’t have anything we really loved. I was pretty set on what I wanted, which was mostly white stone with gray abstract veining. (I have always loved the look of Carrara marble but not the price tag or high-maintenance aspect of it.) We have a few granite and stone yards near us. One in particular had some very pricey options but some very affordable quartz options as well. As a bonus, they were available immediately.

For our 4-foot x 8-foot island, our countertop, and a small slab piece as a window trim over the sink, we paid $4,500. We also added four legs to the island, one at each corner, to give it a more custom, built-in look ($73.88, Home Depot). Our contractor charged us $400 for installing them, which took one day. We painted them white.


Sink and Faucet: Ikea had a lot of sink options

Ikea had so many great options, even a farmhouse basin sink that I almost purchased. However, at the end of the day, I chose a low maintenance stainless steel sink ($109, Ikea). I didn’t love any of Ikea’s faucet options and wanted one that had the fancy touch-on feature. So I found mine online ($335, Amazon).


Light fixtures: Etsy

I am the kind of person who will wear an outfit from a thrift store or T.J.Maxx but carry a designer bag. Basically, I’ll stick with the basics for the foundation but splurge on the details. This rings true when it comes to my kitchen design.

For my island pendant lighting, I wanted a wow factor. To me, they’re like the jewelry of the room and had to be special focal points since the rest of the kitchen was so white and minimal ($999, Visual Comfort). I was able to find them for half the cost, secondhand on Etsy using Google Lens. To use Google Lens, which is free, you upload a photo of an item you love, and then Google Lens goes to work finding online matches of the item.

As for the light over the sink area, we wanted something a little more subtle but eye catching, so we went with a single arm sconce style ($104.98, Lumens.com). Our kitchen lighting, plus electrical work to wire the island pendants, cost $1,000.


Backsplash: Lowe’s

We found this nice textured, elongated white subway tile ($1.49, Lowe’s) and had our handyman lay it in the pretty herringbone pattern I wanted. The total for the tile and labor was $1,000.



Counter/bar stools: Facebook Marketplace and eBay

We needed six stools so that everyone in my family can sit around the island. I knew I wanted white, and I knew I wanted the stools to be comfy with backs. For me, I love the classic lines of Ballard’s Dayna stools ($599, Ballard Designs). However, I couldn’t justify spending $3,000, plus tax and shipping, for stools.

Off to marketplace I went, where I found a set of three for $800 about an hour from me. Fortunately I was able to negotiate them down to $700 for the three. Then we checked eBay, where we found three more, but in black, also about an hour drive from us. Asking price was $600, but I negotiated the seller down to $500.

Once we had all six in our possession, we purchased six cans of semigloss white spray paint and six yards of a linen-look vinyl fabric (for easy spill cleanups) for $50 from Joann Fabric. My husband sprayed the stools white and then used his staple gun to replace the fabric. The end result is six Ballard stools that each cost about $200.


What We Learned

We’ve been in our kitchen for a little over a year and continue to feel pleased with how it came out. Sure, there are some minor regrets and things we’d do differently. For example, we regret not adding under cabinet lights or taking the time to move a few outlets for better positioning to use counter appliances. But these are minor things that we can always go back and change later. And we added some removable battery operated lights under the cabinets from Amazon that cost $64. These give the look we want at night.

The point is, if you’re willing to keep an open mind and be savvy, your dream kitchen may not be as unattainable or expensive as you think. A few tips:

  • Use Google Lens to find dupes of expensive items.
  • Find secondhand, used items that are cheaper than the new versions.
  • Don’t forget about the power of Facebook Marketplace! Open your mile-radius up and be willing to drive a bit farther for the bargains.
  • Visit thrift stores and check eBay for decor items.
  • Give Ikea a look when in need of new cabinetry.

Total kitchen renovation costs:



  • Consultation: $79
  • Cabinets: $300
  • Island Legs: $400
  • Pendant Electrical: $500
  • Backsplash: $1,000 includes labor and material (Subway Tile $1.49 per 3″x12″ tile)

Total cost: $22,838

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