A great reason to consider the Eket series is the variety of sizes and colors available. The IKEA page has all of the basics and individual components, but they also have pre-defined designs. You can choose from these, or let them be your inspiration and change configurations and colors to meet your design needs. There are also a ton more ideas Pinterest .
All of the series come in white, but the fun is that the cubes and various other pieces come in six other colors. They are trendy hues and of course might go out of style at any time, but IKEA is always refreshing and if something is really not working after a few years, the entire line is reasonably priced and inexpensive to update.
Eket Design: Configurations
There are base frames, feet, legs (yes, different from feet) and wall mounting options. The cubes come in different depths, so you can add dimension to your design. There are cubes with doors, and cabinets with drawers and/or doors. There is even hardware for connecting the various components together to make for a secure installation. As an example, IKEA has these designs already configured for you:
Massive storage--white and grey
Massive storage--white and orange
Multi-color wall mounted cabinet
Funky wall mounted and cabinet with legs unit
Eket media storage; wall mounted and with legs
Eket Cabinet for floor, no feet, legs or base
Eket cabient with feet
Simple Eket cabinet with legs
Eket cabinet in white/grey with feet
Eket media unit, wall mounted and with feet
For advanced design ideas, check out the Eket series on Pinterest. Your imagination is the limit. IKEA does offer a design tool to build your own design, but I find it very glitchy. If you have an idea of what you want, I recommend going into IKEA and having them help build the design. That also lets you see the colors and sizes in person before you complete your design. Here is some inspiration from Pinterest:
Simple grey/white wall-mounted cabinet
Multi-color wall unit cabinet
Grey/white cabinet with legs
White cabinet with feet
Wall-mounted "floating" cabinet
Dramatic color wall-mounted cabinet
Small wall-mounted cabinet
Open cabinet wall-mounted nightstand
Two-wall mounted cabinet
Spaced wall cabinet
Floating nightstand wall-mounted cabinet
Eket Assembly Trick
You know that the best IKEA assembly trick is to call Mamakea. But honestly, this series is the easiest thing there is to assemble from IKEA. It requires NO tools and has eight assembly parts for the basic cube. The connectors are built-in, so no cam screws or cam locks. But, if you look at the reviews of items from this line, there are people who give one star ratings because of “design flaws.” Everyone needs to accept right here and now, IKEA does not have design flaws– but there is plenty of assembly error. I like this line so much I want to enlighten as many people as possible to this trick and eliminate the one-star reviews.
Admittedly, the instructions could probably be more clear. This is the first step in EVERY Eket item. It looks so benign that people miss the most important part. See the “1” there? It is on only “1” of the four sides, and it must be the side you start with. IKEA being brilliant again, labeled it “1” for a reason. If you pay attention, or win the 50/50 chance and choose the piece with the one on it accidentally, the remainder of the assembly is a breeze. There are built-in pegs to attach the sides, which just slide on to piece “1.” Then you slide in the back and slide on the last side. After inserting the back locks to secure the back you are finished.
So how does it get messed up, you ask? The reason “1” is “1” is because its slot for the back to slide into is deeper than the other three sides. This allows the back to slide all the way down into the deep slot providing clearance for the fourth side to slide on to the side opposite “1.” If it is done in any different order the backing of the cube will be sticking out of the slot and will not allow the fourth side to slide on cleanly. Hence you read reviews of the gap (because the fourth side doesn’t fit) or people shaving the backing to make it fit.
Eket Design and Assembly
I hope this makes sense, but if not, please call Mamakea for the assembly. Don’t hold back incorporating this series into your home design because of the poor reviews: it isn’t Eket’s fault, it is definitely operator error.
Renovating a kitchen is a big step no matter how you approach it. But I am a big fan of IKEA kitchens and I am sharing ideas on how you can make a remodel less painful–and maybe more functional and beautiful in the end.IKEA Kitchens–Benefits
My fanaticism of IKEA Kitchens is based on all of the things that IKEA is known for: design, price, and availability. The offerings in the Sektion line of cabinets is as broad as any custom kitchen you can imagine. The choices start with 24 different finishes, including their signature sleek/modern designs and more traditional finishes. Base cabinets are available in 52 different configurations, not counting the variety of 15″, 24″, 30″ and 36″ widths that most come in. Upper cabinets have 31 different set ups, plus they all come in either 30″ or 40″ height and various widths. They literally have every combination you can imagine, and it is all right off the shelf and ready to go home with you!
IKEA kitchens are cheaper than custom cabinets and more customizable than other stock cabinets. Although the IKEA cabinets are made from MDF and not solid wood, IKEA’s construction design compensates for the lesser materials. Another advantage over custom is the IKEA cabinets are “frameless,” meaning there is more actual storage space in the cabinet. One thing to note on the IKEA quality: the hardware (hinges and drawer slides) are as high of quality as you will find in custom cabinets. All are very sturdy and have the soft close feature.
IKEA Kitchens–Design Process
The best way to begin an IKEA kitchen design is with the planning tool on the IKEA website. Tutorials are included on how to measure everything precisely, which is the most critical step. After entering the measurements of your space, you get to start picking your products!
Mostly, you are selecting components from their inventory, with just a few tricks. You can make the design generic, and at the end use the “change all at once” to select desired finishes.
One item to remember is that the boxes only come in white and wood brown. This won’t matter in the end because the box color only shows on the inside of the cabinet. However, you must choose end/cover panels to cover the end of a cabinet run. The cover panels come in the same choices as the fronts, so then there is a uniform finish. If the planner says that you need a cover panel somewhere, pay attention. This is one of those times it is smarter than you are. Lastly, make sure you save your design frequently! The program can be slow and a bit glitchy and you don’t want to lose all of that hard work.
IKEA offers this service in store and they will send someone to your home for measuring. But if you aren’t comfortable measuring the space yourself I suggest you check with your contractor for measuring. Or better yet, call Mamakea! Once you have the measurements you can play with the planner and then have the IKEA personnel check your work. If you are going to have IKEA do the design from your measurements, plan on spending several hours in store.
The best feature of this planner is that once it is complete, you automatically have your shopping list. This helps keep track of how much you have spent as you are designing, too. The same list shows the eventual assembly and installation configuration, so it is a useful tool from start to finish.
Many people do not realize that IKEA offers appliances, but they actually have some great options. They are made by the same manufacturers of brands you recognize, but often have better deals. This review is the best way to compare IKEA options. In many cases the prices are equal or better. The standard warranty on IKEA units is 5 years, instead of one year offered by name brands. And IKEA offers some cabinet depth (24″) options.
As discussed above, the configuration options are almost endless, but there are a couple of specific things I love with IKEA cabinets. First is the “hidden drawer.” This second drawer is installed inside of a deeper drawer (pictured at right.) The practicality of this is being able to have a unified front configuration, but smaller drawers in front. One specific uses for this is a secret drawer in a silverware drawer that holds less frequently used items like serving pieces and steak knives. Another idea I love is having a secret drawer in the top of the pullout trash cabinet to store trash bags, right where you need them.
The other IKEA design advantage is integrated lighting. To really appreciate this you need to see the store displays, but be careful: if you see it you will love it, and it becomes expensive very quickly. This picture shows the lighting at the top of the cabinet and under the cabinet. They also have options for in the drawers, which is just as beautiful.
Legs & Toe Kicks
There are two major drawbacks to the IKEA Kitchens, but both are manageable. The first and worst is their standard cabinet legs and the coordinating “toe kick”. It is cheap, cheap, cheap. The plastic feet snap into place on the bottom of the cabinet. Because the cabinets are hung on a rail on the wall the legs are not load bearing, but they do serve a purpose. The toe kick is snapped to the legs that are snapped on the cabinet. This entire setup is very precarious and not very attractive, and I will avoid it in my own kitchen.
But, there are several non-standard solutions that I think are better. First and the most simple is to use the cover panel from your cabinet line and cut it into “toe kicks” that can be bracketed to the bottom of the cabinet.
For an added design touch, skip the toe kick and use other leg options and leave them exposed. This results in a more furniture feel installation, but I think it is so much more attractive. IKEA has several options, but really this hardware can be from anywhere to get the look and feel you wish. You can see my sample design above has this option.
My favorite solution to avoid the plastic feet and toe kick, however, is another “secret” drawer. This hack is brilliant and adds more storage space in a previously dead space. It involves using the IKEA drawer and front, but installing it below the cabinet. You can install flat (hidden) finger pull hardware so it is not obvious; or, I think the best solution is putting a push open latch on them so there is no hardware. This is not just an IKEA cabinet hack, and there are plenty of videos on how to install them.
The last drawback and one of the biggest complaints about IKEA Kitchens is the same as the biggest complaint about IKEA in general–the assembly. For all of the kitchens I have done the contractors were not interested in assembling the cabinets, which is why the homeowner contacted me. Based on my experience, I think it is best to call an assembly professional. Obviously, in the St. Louis area, this would be Mamakea! But seriously, any region that has an IKEA store has assembly professionals.
I do my part of kitchens in two phases: first I put the cabinet boxes together and have them ready for the contractor, and then come back to the job site after the boxes are hung to finish the drawer/door installation. This makes it lighter and easier for the contractor to maneuver during installation and minimizes damage to the fronts. And using a professional assembler and a separate contractor is the least expensive approach because an assembly professional can be much more efficient at this part of the job than a contractor is.
In addition to the assembly, I am happy to consult on the design. I can help use the IKEA tools and make design recommendations based on my experience. I can’t wait until I can renovate my kitchen, but until then I will enjoy living vicariously through yours. Give Mamakea a call!
After spending the past year embedded with IKEA, I thought I would share some of my IKEA favorites. You already know my favorite foods (see blog), so let’s look at household items and all sorts of furniture—beds, chairs, sofas, and consoles. Any my favorite IKEA favorite thing of all —kitchen cabinets.
Obviously my business is based on the furniture, but as I have become familiar with IKEA through the furniture I have discovered some household items that are worth the trip. Their modern/contemporary style matches my tastes. And their prices can’t be beat. So I recommend if you like the style, start your shopping at IKEA for dishes, glassware, linens and décor. Specifically, I have this shower curtain and bath mat in my green bathroom. It is hard to find a shower curtain this inexpensive and it is heavy duty. The bath mat is incredibly cheap, thick and plush, and comes out of the washer/dryer the same as the day I bought it. I love the pop of color.
IKEA Favorites: Storage
Ikea is well-known for their storage options and I have two that I especially love. First is the Trones shoe cabinet. This is slim enough that I have it installed behind my bedroom door and the three tilt out drawers hold 18 pair of shoes. The other item I like, especially for the price, is this plastic bag holder. I use my own grocery bags, but I still end up with these plastic bags, and I still find use for them so I want to keep them around. I have come across many storage ideas for them, but none that I like as well as this Variera dispenser—for $1.99! It is kind of silly, but it mounts to the wall wherever you want it and you can actually get ONE bag out of it at a time, without the rest flying around.
IKEA Favorites: Pantry
I didn’t realize until I started hanging out at IKEA that they sell pantry type items, too. Batteries! $1.99 for 10 alkaline AA batteries. This can’t be beat. They also have rechargeable sets, but I do not have any experience with them.
Another bargain is their ISTAD plastic sandwich/storage bags. IKEA sells three different packages, and each package comes with two sizes in it, so you have twice as many options within the same storage space. They have from a snack/sandwich combination box up to a box that has 15 each of 4.5 quart and 6 quart size bags. They are rated for freezer safe, but I have not tried it yet.
The last example is light bulbs. Because IKEA sells lamps they have many sizes/shapes of bulbs, including standard light bulbs. Their E26 RYET bulb is the equivalent of a 40Watt standard bulb. They sell a two-pack for $1.99. LED light bulbs, for $1 apiece! These “bargains” might not be worth the trip to IKEA, but they are definitely worth adding to your cart if you are already there. And I am sure there are more—these are just what I have discovered so far.
IKEA Favorites: Furniture
I am going to try and keep this brief, because most of you know I could go on forever about IKEA furniture. I love the design, the engineering and the price of almost everything, but I do have some favorites.
Favorite Bed: The Malm storage bed with four under bed storage drawers. It comes in four finishes (black-brown, white, oak and ash), is available in full, queen, king, and my favorite thing about it is the storage drawers are on casters and can be freely removed from the bed.
My favorite series is the Hemnes, which includes items for every room of the house. This is some of the sturdiest furniture that IKEA sells and it is a very classic design. I have probably assembled this Hemnes daybed as often as anything (except Billy bookcases) and it is a fine example of the classic, sturdy and functional design.
Of all of the IKEA furniture that I have assembled, the Stockholm sideboard is my very favorite. It is built of solid ash with a walnut veneer, so it is very sturdy. Ironically it is one of the easiest
Based on all of the time I spend in the IKEA store and everything I have assembled, the kitchen designs are my favorite. But this is bigger than a paragraph or two, so check for my next blog about IKEA kitchens!
Due to Ikea being a recent addition in St. Louis, not everyone is familiar with the wide selection of products they offer. Everyone knows about their inexpensive furniture choices (that require Mamakea’s assembly services), but there are many other product lines that may surprise shoppers.
Ikea Home Decor
Most people are aware that Ikea offers home decor items in addition to furniture. They have an incredibly wide range of lamps, rugs, baskets, vases, and picture frames; you get the idea. All of these items are just as stylish and affordable as the furniture. As an example, the Eivor Cirkel rug is 6’7″ by 6’7″ square for $149. In fact, 70% of their current rug offerings are less than $200.
Ikea also carries all kinds of lighting: floor, ceiling table, LED, recessed. Their selection includes very modern designs as well as simple, more traditional models. One of my favorite is this modern Fillsta pendant lamp–which sells for only $29!
If you are looking for vases that are high on style and low on your budget, Ikea is the place to look. This 7 inch Formlig vase is only $9.99 and is mouth blown. In fact, Ikea is the place to look if you are planning a banquet or wedding and need inexpensive centerpieces. Combine the decorative vases with their abundance of candle options and voilà!, your centerpieces are complete.
In addition to the furniture, Ikea offers everything a designer needs to remodel a kitchen, including appliances. A buyer or designer can start by using the planning tool to help choose and layout a kitchen design using their cabinets. The beauty of this tool is that it creates a comprehensive shopping list for all of the items, including the details, that need to be purchased. But besides the cabinets, which honestly are just a type of furniture, they also offer high-end appliances. But again, although they are high in design, they are very affordable options and of course are easy to coordinate with their cabinet designs. You can see ideas in their gallery, which includes all styles from slick modern to homey to traditional elegance, all of which are extremely functional.
Ikea offers everything a host requires to set the mood for any occasion. There are dishes that will work for everyday family dinners or are appropriate for an elegant dinner. There is a wide range of table linens–place mats, coasters, napkins and tablecloths–that are of course affordable and coordinate with the dish selections. Ikea also offers a wide range of serving ware that can dress up or down any table design. And the glassware options are very practical, yet stylish, and the least expensive to be found. Ikea groups many of these as series, as seen below:
And, of course, Ikea has an amazing food selection that allows you to set out a feast on any of these table settings without much time or money. I am going to cover this more in the future, as well as more detail on topics such as the incredible children’s offerings and paper product lines.
I truly have a passion for the assembly of furniture–especially Ikea assembly. I appreciate the design and engineering of the items, and I think their instructions are very expressive: all with no words so they are multilingual. I do realize, however, that I am not necessarily in the majority, so I am going to attempt to share some of the more meaningful tips for successful Ikea assembly.
A couple of days ago I was contacted to assemble a Brimnes bed. After providing my quote the customer felt it necessary to tell me the following: “full disclosure– I’m sorting out a terrible experience with a contractor from XXXX.com who misrepresented his ability to assemble Ikea. Bed is about 20% assembled with some minor mistakes (spacers left out of the drawer rails). No apparent damage done.”
The customer offered to pay me extra, but I assured them that I would sort it out and take care of it for the quoted, firm price. When I showed up to do the assembly, the owner’s mother informed me that the original contractor had quoted three hours to put the bed together, and had given up after nine hours with it not even being close (or right). This is one reason I quote a firm price—not an hourly rate. Any problems are on my time and my price structure is in line with Ikea’s, at a lower price point.
I took time to assess where the job was, but I should have skipped this step and just taken it all apart—which is what I did in the end. My assessment determined that NOTHING was put together correctly, except one drawer. In the end the bed was put together correctly and safely (total of 2.5 hours to disassemble and reassemble.)
I doubt this particular contractor will attempt Ikea assembly in the future, but I recommend everyone that is going to hire someone to do this for them find out what their experience is and ask for pictures of completed furniture. My website has a gallery with a wide range of projects.
But if you are going to attempt assembly yourself, here are some tips to make things easier:
Assembly Tip One
First step for any furniture assembly—sort and inventory the hardware. Through all of my assemblies I have only come up short once from Ikea—and they were very gracious in replacing it—but it helps to know before you start instead of in the middle of the job. Several times I have counted okay in the beginning and been missing something later, but I know it is there somewhere and I just need to look. Furniture brands other than Ikea usually have a set of spare hardware, but it is still easier to build when the hardware is sorted. Especially when it is sorted on a tray of some sort—a muffin tin can work well if you don’t have this great tray.
Assembly Tip Two
Second solid tip: If it isn’t fitting together, then you aren’t trying to put the right pieces together the right way. All designers include dowels and the cam screws in a pattern that allows the items to go together in only one way. If these aren’t lining up, then the two pieces don’t go together the way you are trying to make them. It is not a good idea to remove enough dowels/screws to make them go together. Things won’t fit later and even if they do, nothing will be secure with missing pieces.
Assembly Tip Three
The third tip to keep from making rookie mistakes is be sure you are using the correct hardware at the right time. Ikea will provide a “blow up” of the part to be used and compared to similar hardware pieces but crossed out, so you know which one is correct. You need to be careful here, because the wrong one might work now, but later when you only have the wrong thing left it might not fit. If the screws/bolts/nuts were interchangeable they wouldn’t have included both kinds. Take the time to figure out the right hardware in advance.
Assembly Tip Four
The last common mistake to watch out for is picking the right piece of drawer roller hardware for the right place. The tracks come packaged in sets of four—two that go on the drawer and two for inside the furniture. Hints to keep in mind: the flat frame pieces will go in the furniture, the two pieces with the right angle go on the edge of the drawer. In the case of Ikea sets, they mark each piece with letters indicating left/right and drawer/cabinet. So DR is the right drawer piece, CL is the left cabinet piece. If all else fails, look at the picture! Pay attention to the location of the roller: is it in the front or back and on the top or bottom of the rail? One last hint—there are multiple holes on these rails to accommodate all of the different furniture designs. Different pieces use different holes to position them correctly for each piece of furniture. Again, the picture will show this.
I hope this is helpful, but of course, my best advice is call Mamakea before you frustrate yourself!
I have spoken to many people who haven’t visited the relatively new Ikea in St. Louis because it is so large and different than other stores. In fact, it can be intimidating to seasoned Ikea shoppers. I have a friend who has shopped Ikea for years but she still has a process of going once to browse and then going back to actually purchase what she needs. As I have become fairly acclimated to the store through my Mamakea furniture assembly business, I thought I would try to explain navigating Ikea St. Louis through a series of posts.
This is Part One of navigating Ikea St. Louis and is an overview. In the beginning, this would have helped me figure out what level I was on and where I needed to be. Don’t forget, the store doesn’t start until Level Two—ground level is only parking. This can be a bit disorienting.
Ground (First) Level: Parking—outside or covered
Second Floor: Småland, carts, Marketplace, self-serve furniture area, check outs, Bistro, Food Market, Customer Service, large furniture pick-up
For people in St. Louis who haven’t shopped Ikea in the eight months it has been open, you are probably wondering “What is the big deal?” Well, I think you have to see it to believe it, but even so, I am going to try and explain it.
First is the sheer size of the property. It contains 1300 parking spaces and the store is 380,000 square feet. The unique set up of the store means that you will typically walk 2-3 miles as you follow the pre-set route. Data shows that people average three hours on site per store visit. The layout can be daunting—which is why my next two blogs will be helpful hints on navigating the store.
Of course, the three hours may include a visit to the restaurant, which certainly contributes to the hype. Between the free coffee and tea for Ikea Family members, the 99 cent breakfast and the scrumptious Swedish meatballs, the restaurant lives up to the hype, in my opinion. Again, a future post will be dedicated to the restaurant and market food.
The restaurant is indicative of the overall Ikea experience: Value. The furnishings and décor are very good quality for the inexpensive price tag. The adage “you get what you pay for” doesn’t exactly apply to their products because they have streamlined EVERYTHING to cut costs and offer affordable items that have a higher quality than their competitors. As an experienced furniture assembler, I can tell you that not all particle board is created equal. They use higher grade materials, design items so that the assembly is very sound (this is your labor, so it doesn’t cost them) and they even design the packaging to keep size and materials to a minimum—saving money on packaging and shipping. The attention to detail of all of their costs is what makes these products affordable—not because the products are cheaply made. Having said this, there are higher quality and more affordable lines and another future post will help you to discern the difference.
The last major piece that contributes to the hype is the universal design of the items and how they then appeal to a wider audience. I call it universal because the design is typically basic and minimal, thus blending into different styles. As a whole the store seems modern, but taken out of context I have seen pieces work in all styles of homes, offices and businesses. In addition, the simplicity of the design has spawned an entire Pinterest category—Ikea Hacks. I will share some of my favorites in the future.
The one part of the Ikea legend that I don’t buy into is how difficult and frustrating the assembly can be. As an engineer I appreciate the brilliance of their assembly design and the graphic-only assembly instructions. But I am grateful that many people struggle with the assembly, because it gives me an opportunity to make a business out of doing something that I love. So if you finally shop Ikea and find the perfect pieces to supplement your home décor, don’t let the daunting assembly instructions deter you. Call me instead!