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.
Hello, I’m Bernadette Janson, founder of The School of Renovating. I’m sure you’ll find these flat pack kitchen smarts useful for your next renovation.
Here are 9 of the tips and strategies we use in order to get a quality flat pack kitchen installation
1. Choose The Right Type Of Kitchen For The Project
Obviously, there’s significant variation between flat-pack kitchen companies. You’re not just limited to IKEA and Kaboodle, there are many flatpack companies – many of them provide cheap flat pack kitchens to choose from. 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 quality products. They’ve got thick 16mm backs and a versatile range of 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. And check our Podcast episode: Kitchen Renovations
2. Choose An Experienced Flat-pack Installer
Please don’t use a general builder to install your flat pack kitchen, unless the builder has extensive experience in flat packs.
I have found that builders generally have an attitude problem with flat packs, they think they’re of poor quality. 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 installed a lot of flat pack kitchens, and who knows how to install your flat pack kitchen well. Do your due diligence on the installers. 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 you factor in this cost because often you can think it’s a cheap flat pack kitchen – before you add up the total. When you factor in the cost of installing a flat pack kitchen you’ll find it’s not quite so cheap. And this may sway your decision to go flat pack or not.
4. Mind The Gaps in Your Kitchen Design
A custom made kitchen is going to be made to suit the dimensions of the room. A flat pack is made up of modules, so 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. Taking the time to plan the modules to minimise any gaps will make a difference. Rather than ending up with a great big gap on one end of the space, you might want to centre your cabinet, so that you split the gap. Sometimes narrow cupboards or towel rails can be both practical and fill in the gaps.
5. Use All The Cover Plates Provided with Your Flat Pack
Usually, there are a lot of small components supplied, such as cover plates for hinges and covers 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.
Maximise the Design Details of Your Kitchen
6. Modify Flat Pack Units For A Custom Solution
Your installer can also cut down a cabinet to fit a space. Take note that you can usually 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.
A popular choice now is to add a flat pack pantry to your kitchen design – and sometimes adding a flat pack pantry can give much needed extra space beside or near the kitchen.
7. Fine Tune The Kitchen Drawers and Doors
Most flatpacks use good quality German hardware. The kitchen installer needs to take the time to adjust the drawers and doors so that they are centred in the module and work well. Otherwise, your kitchen will end up with uneven gaps around your doors and drawers.
8. Finish Your Kitchen With Overhead Bulkheads
A bulkhead can either be in MDF or it can be in gyprock, and what it does is basically close 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 it 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 afterwards, 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.