/ By Kerry O'Brien / January 8, 2015
Renovation Heads Up: New IKEA Cabinet Line Coming Soon!
Like many New Yorkers, the Sweeten team has been gearing up for big things in 2015, and we have two moderately technical (but IMPORTANT!) updates for homeowners thinking about renovating this year. This week, we’re highlighting changes that are coming very soon to IKEA’s cabinetry system. Later this month, we’ll walk you through contractor licensing so you’ll know what to look for when City licenses for all general contractors expire in February. We’ll keep our classic renovation before-and-afters coming, too — we can’t wait to unveil a brand new Manhattan kitchen and bath and check in on a project in a favorite enclave of Clinton Hill. If you’ve resolved to renovate this year, we hope you’ll bear with the technical updates and enjoy house tours of recent renovations so that you’re inspired and ready for spring renovation season!
First up: in February, IKEA will roll out brand new kitchen cabinets, replacing the system that has been in place since 1995. IKEA has close to 8 million customers using “Akurum” cabinets, and 20% of homeowners who post renovation projects on Sweeten consider IKEA cabinetry right off the bat, so let’s take a look at how the switch to the “Sektion” line will affect those homeowners and find out more about what will be available if you are considering a new kitchen renovation.
IKEA hasn’t released pricing or specs for the new system yet, but we scoured their FAQs and photos of the equivalent line already out in Europe for clues, and we spotted a few relatively minor upgrades in store based on features that are especially well-liked from the current system. At a minimum, Sektion drawers will incorporate soft-close drawers and doors and will include wall-mounted rails that make installation easier and more DIY-friendly.
The bigger news is both good and bad…
Extensive drawer details
The good news is that the new system is more modular which allows for more variation overall and far more detailed interior drawer and cabinet use options (cursory Pinterest and Google searches are filled with photos of drawers within drawers and envy-inducing interior lighting features). All of these building blocks allow you to customize ways to best use the space inside cabinets; they also look like they can create flexible layers within drawers and cabinets, minimizing the need for multiple doors and creating sleeker cabinet surfaces – a big plus if you are envisioning a modern, minimalist look. The photos below of the European line show slimmer drawers, more drawer configurations, and drawers for tall and wall cabinets – not terribly exciting as pictured here, but examples of how the new cabinet frames might differ from what IKEA has offered in the past.
New features are not compatible with current cabinets
The bad news is that the new system is NOT compatible with the cabinet system that IKEA has had in place for two decades, so you won’t be able to add to Akurum systems that you have already purchased or layer Sektion features with Akurum pieces. IKEA says that it will continue to honor the warranty on Akurum purchases, but if you want to buy Akurum cabinets or add to your existing system, you need to do so before February 1. After February 2, the new Sektion system will be sold exclusively.
We’re sure that the new system will be efficient and popular given the company’s longstanding success, but we’re a bit baffled that IKEA couldn’t engineer these modular upgrades to be compatible with the old drawers. It seems curious that inner-drawer lighting and floating drawers required an entirely new cabinet infrastructure. I’m also waiting to find out whether IKEA will offer a discount on the outgoing system – they must have significant supply in stock, right? Their website doesn’t address that question directly, but does invite you to sign up for their general offer mailing list … so … maybe a limited-run discount of some sort in the works? We’ll keep an eye on it.
So…should you wait?
In the meantime, if you’ve been planning your kitchen renovation for ages and are ready to pull the trigger on an Akurum system you spent hours designing, it doesn’t seem like you would be missing showstopper features or buying a system you couldn’t maintain over the years. The price points, shapes, and finishes sound like they will be comparable, so you wouldn’t be crazy to get going with Akurum before the February change-over. That said, we wouldn’t blame anyone for waiting until the new specs come out on February 2. If nothing else, lighting in your utensil drawer does seem like a tough one to turn down!
Either way, we’re here to help you find the right general contractor for your new kitchen. Many of our contractors are especially skilled in helping homeowners decide whether or not to go the IKEA route — in the last month alone, we saw Paul help Carol add IKEA cabinets to her kitchen in this Park Slope renovation, and just a few blocks away, Paulina helped Claire and Mike curate an entirely custom look in this Park Slope renovation. So post your project on Sweeten and let us know what you have in mind. We’ll introduce you to experts who can help you create a space you love, IKEA or otherwise!