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IKEA KITCHEN REVIEW: What You Need to Know

ikea kitchen review

MUNICH, GERMANY | The apartment was empty. Not even a single bulb. No kitchen. Definitely, no kitchen. The new apartment we were moving in was as empty as a ghostly white baby’s bum. It was surprising, and my head, who is so bad at math, already freaked out about the mounting figures of the cost. Building nor kitchen shopping in Germany is something I never thought I would do myself. I thought kitchen is a given. So consider this as your IKEA kitchen review. 

Can we not just DIY it? I asked my partner, who is a local, thankfully. I never thought I would be thankful for a partner who knows the ins and outs of a place I am in either. 

Or bring the kitchen from the old apartment? He said no to both. For a very patient man, he has no DIY and artistic patience. I do. The old apartment’s kitchen served him well for years. It is time to move on. 

So the dilemma has already started. My partner’s contract with the old apartment would end in February. But we could move into the new apartment in early February, granted the kitchen would be installed by then. 

With quick turnaround and cost, our kitchen shopping in Germany, specifically Munich, only entertained two options. 

Obi Vs. IKEA: Delivery Time and Ethicality 

We first went for Obi. Their massive store and kitchen in Schwablhofstraße was a dream. Anything with home improvement, decor, and plants is my wet dream. Obi was the ethical choice. They source all their goods within the region. The kitchen planner, a bulky guy, was funny and helpful. But. He was slow. Painfully slow. I did a better rendering of our kitchen on my iPad. But the ultimate deal-breaker for us was the delivery time: it would not be available until the end of March. No can do, sir. 

We had no choice but to go for IKEA. My partner is not a fan of IKEA. For environmental and ethical reasons, he said. But I think he simply hates anything popular. But, surprise! Writing this leads me to finding data on IKEA’s sustainability goals. Phew, now the guilt of having an IKEA kitchen disappears. 

IKEA Online Kitchen Planner 

We went to IKEA once—it is a massive store that plays with layout psychology oh so well, good thing I only bought a bath tray and a transparent teacup—to check out their kitchen designs for ideas. But we already knew the look we wanted, and it simply required some fine-tuning. What kind of kitchen appliances, countertop, doorknobs, color palette, kitchen sink, and tap do we need and want.

We had an online meeting with an IKEA’s kitchen planner. She was a marvel to work with. Or I assumed so. Everything was done in German. My partner translated important stuff in English and translated my questions into German. The kitchen planner knew their software well and based on her voice and ease, and she had been in this business for quite a while. I wonder if she had an IKEA kitchen too. She rendered our kitchen in less than an hour. And the best news was? It would be delivered in two weeks. We did not have to wait for two months to have the kitchen.

Obi Vs. IKEA: Cost 

Obi, with the basic necessities, quoted us about €4000. Everything, we were told, is sourced within the region and fully customized for our small kitchen. We did not even know if the quote included the installation fee. He did not even finish the kitchen planning, and we did not hear back from him at all. While with IKEA, the kitchen cost €3300, including a ceramic sink, dishwasher, remote-operated adjustable LED lights, hood, induction, and soft-close-hinged cupboards. 

IKEA Kitchen Review: Installation 

The installation cost was a painful €700. My partner initially thought of installing it with his buddies, but it required some power tools, and it might take a while, and he might end up fucking up everything. IKEA outsourced the contractor.

The installation was reasonably good. But not for a local. A cabinet door was a millimeter shy of being fully closed. Not a problem at all, but for my partner, it was. The bummer, for me, was a cupboard surface with the exact dent of a metal dowel. A week later, we realized the oven would not turn on at all. Thankfully, an IKEA technician came over to fix it. It was a matter of electricity. There was nothing wrong with the appliance. And we did not have to pay extra for it. 

obi kitchen shopping in germany
Backsplash tiles is not part of the package. It is a peel-and-stick subway tiles bought on Amazon for €80 for 20 pieces. 

We also upgraded the fridge, so in total, it cost about €4700 to build a kitchen from scratch in Munich, Germany. With a two to three-week waiting time. This amount though only applied to a kitchen with a small square footage use. I reckoned if would be much more expensive if the space is much bigger. 

Kitchen shopping in Germany greatly depends on your budget. If you are renting the space might be best to go easy on the investment. 

IKEA Kitchen Review 

Our IKEA kitchen is not perfect, far from it. There is a wasted 5cm space on the top since all things are modular, not customized. Hence, the speedy delivery and installation time. The wasted 5cm space in the top of the cupboards would have been part of the cupboards, now, it is nothing but dust gatherers. The countertop is not full wood, which we could not afford. But despite that, we are happy with the kitchen, given the quick turnaround.

The Look and Functionality of Our Kitchen 

I want a clean, cohesive look. White cupboards. White sink. White induction top. Wooden countertop and wooden cupboard handles. For three reasons. 

A dominantly white kitchen is easy to get dirty. Yes, but also very easy to clean. A combo of chlorine, vinegar, and baking soda does the trick. Dirt is visible and will be cleaned instantly. 

ikea kitchen shopping germany
Yes, it is stinkin cute 

Air and bright colors can make a small space look more spacious for a relatively small space. Our living room, dining space, and kitchen are all open concept. It is tight, so by choosing a white kitchen with wood accent gives the illusion it is much bigger than it actually is.

And having a dominantly white kitchen is easy to blend with the rest of the design. 

Issues encountered with the installation

So IKEa outsources the installation crew. But for a hefty €700 for the installation alone, it felt that they should have done a better job.

  1. A metal dowel dent on one of the cupboards
  2. The oven was not properly installed and someone had to come and fix it
  3. And now, 9 months after, we realized the dishwasher was not properly installed, and there is water dripping.

Of course we called the service center, but you know how things are when it comes to this. They said the closest a personnel can come to replace the waterlogged cupboard and fix the pipes would be December 16. Great.

To summarize it all, if you are kitchen shopping in Germany, look for four things: delivery time, cost, design, ethicality, and installation.

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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