A Flat Pack Kitchen That Doesn’t Look Like A Flat Pack
On today’s episode,
Bernadette talks about how to properly install a flat pack kitchen so that it doesn’t look like a flat pack.
She shares tips and strategies that will help you in determining how a flat pack can help in creating a beautiful kitchen that will save you a huge amount of money.
Listen to Episode 26: A Flat Pack Kitchen That Doesn’t Look Like A Flat Pack
Podcast: Download (Duration: 17:26 — 31.92 MB)
The following 9 Tips was originally posted on our blog: How To Install A Flat Pack Kitchen So It Doesn't Look Like A Flat Pack
Today I'm going to share my tips on how to install a flat pack kitchen so it doesn't look like a flat pack.
We love flat pack kitchens and the main reason is that they are incredibly fast. You can head into the store in the morning, take your kitchen home, be installing in the afternoon and have it finished within a day or so.
Here are 9 of the tips and strategies that we use in order to get a quality installation.
1. Choose The Right Type Of Kitchen For The Project
Obviously, there's significant variation between the companies. You're not just limited to IKEA and Kaboodle, there are oodles of flatpack companies. There are a lot of companies that are importing units from China, (incidentally, almost all flat packs come from China now). And some of them are great products. They've got thick 16mm backs and versatile modules.
So have a look around before you make the decision to buy your kitchen, and make sure you're getting the most appropriate product for your project.
2. Choose An Experienced Installer
Please don't use a general builder to install your flat pack kitchen, unless that builder has extensive experience in flat packs.
I have found that builders generally have an attitude problem to flat packs, they think they're rubbish. And so they treat them as such and do not take the time to optimise the features of the kitchen.
You need to get someone who's put in a lot of flat pack kitchens, and who knows how to install a flatpack kitchen. Do your due diligence on them. Have a look at their work and make sure that it's up to scratch.
3. Factor In The Installations Costs
Generally speaking the installation costs for a kitchen flat pack is around about $100 per unit, including the filler pieces and kickers, etc... So make sure that you factor that information in because often you think it's a cheap kitchen. Until you factor the cost of installing a flat pack kitchen and you'll find that it's not quite so cheap. And that may sway your decision to go flat pack or not.
4. Mind The Gaps
A custom made kitchen is going to be made to suit the dimensions of the room. A flat pack is made up of modules, you need to make those modules work in your space. So how those gaps work really makes a difference to the look.
Big gaps (and cover panels) are negative. Take the time to plan the modules to minimise gaps will make a difference. Rather than ending up with a great big gap on one end of the space, you might want to center your cabinet, so that you split the gap.
5. Use All The Cover Plates Provided
Usually, there is a lot of small components supplied as in cover plates for hinges and over screw holes. They often end up in the bin. You want to make sure that they're all used. If you open the cupboard doors and there are gaping holes that haven't had their cover plates put on. It will make their job look amateurish.
6. Modify Units For A Custom Solution
Your installer can cut down a cabinet to fit a space. Take note that you can modify the depth, but not the width (because you can’t cut down the doors) of a cabinet. I have found this information useful when creating an island bench, where a pair of 600mm back to back cabinets (1200mm) was just too big. So we cut down one side to 400mm which meant our bench ended up 1000m wide.
7. Fine Tune The Drawers and Doors
Most flatpack uses good quality German hardware. The kitchen installer needs to take the time to adjust the drawers and doors, so that they are centered in the module and works well. Otherwise, your kitchen will end up with uneven gaps around your doors and drawers.
8. Finish Your Kitchen With Bulkheads
A bulkhead can either be an MDF or it can be in gyprock, and what it does is it basically closes up the space between the top of the overhead and the ceiling. It’s a very important piece of the kitchen installation to make it look finished and look like a quality job. Therefore also much easier to keep clean, because you eliminate the horizontal cabinet top for the dust to collect on.
9. Run The Flooring In Under The Kicker
This is particularly relevant on floating floors in the kitchen. Often flooring installers will use a bead around the edge of the floor against the kicker, and it's not a good look. It is best to get the kitchen installers to leave the kicker off, so that the floor can go in under the cabinets. Then they can install the kicker afterward, so it can sit directly on top of the floating floor to get a great finish.
Now you have my tips on How to Install A Flat Pack Kitchen So It Doesn't Look Like a Flatpack.
I'd love to know if you've got any great tips for a flat pack.
In this episode Bernadette covers,
- The tips and strategies to get a quality installation of your flat pack
- The various types of flat pack kitchens available
- The importance of looking for an installer that has extensive experience with flat packs
- How to make your flat pack modules work for the shape of your kitchen project
- Tips on finishing off the kitchen for a custom look
- How to marry floating floors in with the flat pack kitchen
- Where to get ideas for sourcing out tips on how to utilise your flat pack modules
- A guide to the cost of the installation of your flat pack.
01:53 - Flat packs are incredibly fast
02:29 - 10 tips and strategies we use
03:19 - The first one is the type of kitchen that you choose.
04:07 - Get the most appropriate product for your project.
05:01 - The quality of the installation is paramount.
05:56 - Using someone that is not experienced
06:48 - How they deal with the detail.
07:38 - All the drawers and cupboard doors are adjustable.
08:18 - Doing the job properly will make a difference
08:31 - Flat packs are really versatile
10:10 - Do the modules come in standard sizes?
11:10 - Butler sinks are very popular at the moment
11:40 - Put bulkheads over your overhead cabinets
12:31 - How to deal with floating floors
13:35 - Don't be restricted to the kitchen
14:22 - How you can utilise the flat pack modules
14:33 - Put drawers or drawer units in an existing cabinet.
15:56 - Factor the cost of the installation
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Transcription“Don't be restricted to the kitchen with what you can do with flat packs. So we've had a lot of fun designing custom storage solutions using kitchen components. So one project we wanted to create a window seat in a bedroom. So what we did was put a wardrobe by the side of the window and then in between it we had kitchen units, over the fridge units with drawers in them. And a seat on top to create a window seat. And it worked beautifully. So you're limited only by your imagination.”
Well hello! It's Bernadette Janson. And today I'm going to be talking about how to install a flat pack kitchen so it doesn't look like a flat pack. We love flat pack kitchens and the main reason we love them is because they are incredibly fast. So you can head into the store in the morning order your kitchen, take it home and installing in the afternoon and have it finished within a day or so.
So they are incredibly fast. However, a kitchen is a one in 20 year investment. You want to make sure that the kitchen you are installing is going to last 20 years. Sometimes that's about the product but often it's about the installation and we're going to be covering in this episode, 10 of the tips and strategies that we use in order to get a quality installation.
Now some people say that you shouldn't put a flat pack kitchen in a high value property. Now I would argue that, if you have a quality installation I think you can put a flat pack kitchen in almost any property. But of course it all boils down to how you execute.
Today I have got 10 tips for installing a flat pack kitchen, things that we observe when we're going down this path to make sure that we do get a quality outcome and it doesn't look like a flat pack. It looks like a custom built kitchen.
The first one is the type of kitchen that you choose. Obviously there's significant variation between the companies. So you want to make sure that you're going for something that is good quality and you're not just limited to IKEA and kaboodle and you know the flat pack companies. There are lots of companies now who are importing units from China, so incidentally almost all flat packs come from China now and some of them are great products. They've got great thick backs they've got some great modules for using and there really are a quality product. So have a look around before you make the decision to buy your kitchen and make sure you're getting the most appropriate product for your project. I've used IKEA on many occasions. I've found the result has been quite good but the process has been quite painful. I feel that when I order an Ikea kitchen I'm committing myself to a lot of trips backwards and forwards to fix the mistakes in the order.
I've put a lot of, well not a lot but quite a few sort of hybrid tight flat pack kitchens in and on my current project I'm putting my first ever bonnet Bunnings or kaboodle kitchen. I've always avoided Bunnings kitchens for some reason but they have a profile that works for our current project so I'll be able to report on that later when it's done I'm actually going up Tuesday of this week to get that ball rolling.
My second point which I've alluded to is that the quality of the installation is paramount. Now please don't use a general builder to install your flat pack kitchen unless that builder has extensive experience in flat packs. I have found that builders generally have an attitude problem to flat packs they think they're rubbish and so they treat them as such and do not take the time to optimise the features of the kitchen.
So the first flat pack I ever installed was an Ikea Kitchen. I had the builder actually install it. He clearly was not impressed. And the first thing he did in the very first day he took to one of those big cover panels in panels with a saw to cut it up for some reason, I don't know why. And basically wrote off a panel that cost me over three hundred dollars to replace. So that was the outcome of using someone that is just not experienced in it. We got the kitchen in, in the end but never again because it just the quality it was really hard to manage because of his attitude to it. So get someone and it doesn't necessarily need to be a builder, it's someone who's put in a lot of flat pack kitchens and do your due diligence on them. Have a look at their work and make sure that it's up to scratch.
It doesn't cost any more to get a quality installation. So most of the installers charge about the same price. But you just want to make sure that they have sufficient experience to be able to do the job and do it well.
So my next point is also around quality. Is that it's really around how they deal with the detail. So things like gap so a custom made kitchen will be made to suit the dimensions of the room so it's made exactly. Where it's a flat pack is made up of modules and so that you need to make those modules work in your space. So how those gaps work really makes a difference to the look.
If you're ending up with great big cover panels over gaps that's going to be a negative. Really working through how those modules will work in the space will make a difference. Rather than ending up with a great big gap one end you might center your cabinet so that you split the gap. The second thing is all the drawers and cupboard doors are adjustable. You need someone who's going to take the time to adjust them so that they are centered in the module. And so that they work well. If you end up with uneven gaps around your doors and drawers it will look crappy.
The other thing is that there are lots of small pieces as in cover plates for hinges and over screw holes. You want to make sure that they're all used. If you open the cupboard doors and there's gaping holes that haven't had their cover plates put on. Then bring your installer back and make sure that they do the job properly because that will make a difference, it will make their job look amateurish. If those components are left off.
My next point is that flat packs are really versatile. If you need a cabinet for a space, your installer can actually cut it down. And I've done this quite a few times to get a more custom look. So in one project, which I'll share the details of this is a property that we sold for $1,250,000. We used one of those hybrid type flat packs. It was quite good quality and it had the good thick backs. And when the kitchen was going in I looked at it and thought there's just not enough storage in this kitchen. We were putting in an island bench. So the island bench had 600 cabinets and it had a 900 bench top over it. And so what I decided to do was double up the cabinetry. So I asked the company to double them up so have cabinets both sides and they put 600 mill cabinets both sides which made the island bench 1.2 metres wide which just really lost all the proportion. So what I did was I got them to cut the one side down to 400. We had 600 one side and we had 400 on the other, 400 deep which meant that we had a 1 metre island bench which was perfect for the space. And it also doubled up the storage so it made a big difference. That's one of the other beauties of flat pack. You can I guess be a bit creative with how you use the modules.
The other thing to be mindful of is, do the modules come in standard sizes? And I can tell you IKEA does not. They changed, a couple of years ago and they're no longer. The depth the cabinet is deeper than a standard cabinetry. And this comes into play when you're ordering your bench tops. If you're not using IKEA bench tops which I don't. Then you will find that you just need to be mindful of that because if you're planning out a kitchen with standard modules it won't work.
The other thing is the depth of the kicker is not adjustable so you're going to have to work with the depth. The last time I put an IKEA kitchen in which was about a year ago it had I think the kicker was only about 80 mil which is quite small. I like the kicker to line up with the bottom of the dishwasher so that you've got a clean line all the way through. But couldn't do that because there was no adjustment in it or very little, I should say.
Butler sinks are very popular at the moment but in terms of your cabinetry if you're not using a company that does a butler sink. Incidentally IKEA does it, then the cabinet is going to have to be modified to take the butler sink it's not that it can't be done. But you just need to be mindful of that. Don't think that you just buy a butler's sink and was thinking it'll slot into any sink module. It doesn't.
The next tip that I want to share with you is that make sure that you put bulkheads over your overhead cabinets. A bulkhead can either be an MDF or it can be in gyprock and it basically closes up the space between the top of the overhead and the ceiling and it will have corners surrounded if you've got cornices in that room. That's a very important piece of the kitchen installation to make it look finished and look like a quality job. And also it's much easier to keep clean because you've not got a horizontal surface for dust to collect on. So remember to put a bulkhead in. That will probably be an extra job for a handyman or a carpenter but well worth doing because it will really finish off the job.
My next point is how to deal with floating floors. Using floating floors in kitchens a lot and you want to make sure that you get a good finish in the kitchen. Now I can't stand those beads that they use on floating floors around the edge of the room so I'm sure you know the ones I mean and I'll put an image in the show notes just to make sure. And so you don't want the floor company to put a bead along your kicker to finish off the floor. So what I suggest you do is when the kitchen goes in, get the installers to leave the kicker off so that the floor can go in under the cabinet, just slightly under the cabinet and then the kicker will be cut down so it can sit directly on top of the floating floor and you'll get a great finish and there is no need for any of those horrible beads.
My last tip is don't be restricted to the kitchen with what you can do with flat packs. So we've had a lot of fun designing custom storage solutions using kitchen components. In one project we wanted to create a window seat in a bedroom. So what we did was put a wardrobe by the side of the window and then in between it we had kitchen units, the over the fridge units with drawers in them and a seat on top to create a window seat. And it worked beautifully. So you're limited only by your imagination.
So somewhere for getting ideas for those sorts of tips is by googling IKEA hacks. You'll find lots of different ideas on how you can utilise the flat pack modules in lots of different ways.
Another thing I like to do is put drawers in an existing cupboard. I did a short video on this. I find this is a great way of really maxing out the capacity of a cupboard.
Another tip is don't restrict your use of flat packs just to the kitchen. We have solved so many design problems using kitchen modules and have had a lot of fun doing it in one property we wanted to create a window seat so we had we put a flat pack wardrobe on the side and then 3 kitchen fridge overheads along the middle in between with drawers in them so that they could be used for storage and a seat on top. So we created a window seat. I've created wall hung entertainment units with it.
One of my favourite tips is to put drawers or drawer units in an existing cabinet. So this was an existing Ikea kitchen. I've put drawers in it to really max out the capacity for that cupboard and I'll share a little video that I did on that. If you're interested in finding other ways to utilise flat pack just google IKEA hacks and you'll find lots of different ideas. So that's probably all I've got for you today. Oh one more point. So just on the logistics. Don't forget to factor in the cost of the installation when you are planning at your kitchen.
Generally speaking the installation costs around about $100 per unit including the filler pieces and kickers etc. So make sure that you factor that in because often you think it's a cheap kitchen until you factor the cost of installing and you'll find that it's not quite so cheap and that may sway your decision to go flat pack or not.
I'd love to know if you've got any great tips for flat pack. So if you do, love to hear about them and maybe I can share them on the podcast and give you a shout out.
But in the meantime I would be very grateful if you would go over to our iTunes and leave a review that helps our podcast to share the love and gain new listeners. And so if you are getting great value out of this podcast I'd really love it if you would do that for us please. Sorry about the banging and crashing in the background but guess what? We're renovating and the show must go on.