The IKEA kitchen doors hack – adding high-end bespoke fronts to standard Ikea cabinet carcasses

Some clever people design and build their own kitchen layout with new cabinet carcasses from IKEA, and then add beautiful, bespoke doors and drawer fronts from Naked Kitchens to get a high-end finish for a very smart price. If that sounds like you, here’s how to do it…

Green ladbroke handleless kitchen

The IKEA kitchen doors hack - what is it?

The idea is brilliantly simple: to turn a standard, low-cost IKEA kitchen into something that looks beautiful and like a much more expensive bespoke kitchen. You design and build your kitchen using IKEA carcasses (e.g. the METOD range) and then instead of using their standard fronts, choose high-end custom-made doors, drawer fronts and end panels in bespoke finishes, and fit them to the cabinets. The result will look stunning and nobody will realise it’s really an IKEA kitchen under there unless they peek behind the doors.

Of course, there are pros and cons to it – but if you’re going to give it a go, Naked Kitchens’ doors are perfect for the job. We have a virtually unlimited choice of colours, materials and finishes, and all our bespoke doors and fronts can be precision-engineered to standard IKEA sizes, ready to fit straight onto your cabinets and drawers.

If you’ve used the IKEA planning service we even make it ridiculously easy for you to order the correct items: you can simply send us your IKEA planner link and we’ll build you a quote. You can do that here

So you can have the stunning kitchen of your dreams, in a few simple steps and at a savvy price.

dark blue ladbroke handleless kitchen
A stunning kitchen using IKEA carcasses with Naked Kitchens’ custom Midgard doors.  

Caution: What you need to know before you try it…

The Ikea doors hack is a tried-and-tested way to get a beautiful kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen service. But it’s not for everyone. As well as the obvious pros, there are some cons to bear in mind…

  • It’s not a truly bespoke kitchen – by definition, the cabinets will all be standard IKEA sizes, not made to measure for your home and the available space. So you won’t get the full advantage of a custom-made kitchen that’s built for life.
  • It’s a DIY job – with a full Naked Kitchens service you’ll get personal help from our specialist design experts, who will work with you to create the dream kitchen that makes optimum use of your space and is tailor-made for the way you live. With the IKEA hack you’ll need to have your own layout and plan already in place before you buy the doors.
  • You’ll be limited to frameless doors – this hack is not suited to in-frame cabinets (where the frame is visible – see FAQs below) , so you won’t have the fullest choice of door styles.
  • The insides will still be IKEA carcasses – of course, we won’t tell anyone if you won’t…. But by taking the ‘hack’ route you will miss out on the long-term benefit of high-quality cabinetry expertly crafted in the best materials, as well as all the bespoke storage solutions a full Naked Kitchens service can give you.

But if that hasn’t put you off the idea, read on…

The IKEA kitchen doors hack - step by step

Here’s how you do it…

  1. Choose the look of your ideal kitchen. Naked Kitchens has a range of stunning styles from traditional to very contemporary.  Select the colours, materials and finishes that you’ve always dreamt about (see below).
  2. Design and build your IKEA kitchen – using IKEA’s service, a third party or by doing it yourself. Or if you already have an IKEA kitchen, take off the doors, drawers, end panels, filler pieces and so on (all the visible bits).
  3. Order all the doors and fronts you need from Naked Kitchens. You can complete a contact form and simply share your IKEA planner link with us, or order all the items via the website. As well as the doors and drawer fronts, don’t forget the less obvious items like plinths, filler pieces and corner posts (see below for a checklist). You’ll need to make sure you select the correct measurements. We make this very easy for you (again, see below).
  4. We make your bespoke doors and fronts in our Norfolk workshop – all precision-engineered according to your unique specifications. 
  5. We send them to you; you attach them. This is usually straightforward: all you need is a screwdriver – and if you took the old ones off successfully, you should be able to put the new ones straight on.
  6. Stand back and admire your stunning new kitchen.
Dark green ladbroke handleless kitchen and table
Naked Kitchens’ Ladbroke doors on IKEA carcasses (see also image top)

Choosing bespoke kitchen cabinet doors and fronts from Naked Kitchens

This is the really enjoyable part of the process – choosing the bespoke doors that express your personality and style to create your dream kitchen. All Naked Kitchen doors and fronts are manufactured right here in our Norfolk workshop just for you. 

You can use our online order process to select:

  • Door style – from traditional styles like frameless Shaker to sleek, contemporary looks like Slab or Ladbroke.
  • Finish – our beautiful, high-quality finishes include Scandi birch ply, brushed limed grain oak, exposed oak and walnut
  • Colours – we have a range of standard colours inspired by the  countryside around our Norfolk showroom, and we also offer a bespoke colour matching service for a truly unique kitchen. Our painted doors are sprayed using an industrial sprayline and then passed under UV lighting to give an exceptionally accurate and durable finish.
  • Handles – the small finishing touches make a big difference to the feel of the kitchen:  choose from a range of stylish handles or customise one of our handle-less designs.

Getting the measurements right

If you’ve used the IKEA planner, you don’t even need to do any measuring. Just send us the planner link and we’ll build a quote for the correct items.

Otherwise, you can order all the items you want via our website. If your kitchen is from the IKEA METOD range, then our website makes it really easy for you. All the METOD sizes and hinge hole locations are pre-programmed so you can simply select the items you need. 

If your kitchen is from a different IKEA range, you’ll need to enter the measurements for your doors and other items  in millimetres. See the FAQs below for more about measuring for non-METOD ranges.

Additional kitchen front accessories - a checklist

In addition to the cabinet doors you may well have other visible elements of your IKEA kitchen that you want to match the new style. It’s a good idea to go through the standard IKEA kitchen  and make a list of all the items you’ll be replacing, so you don’t miss anything. 

These may include:

  • Drawer fronts
  • End panels
  • Plinths (the long panels that run along as floor level the foot of your cabinets)
  • Filler pieces and angled fillers (often used between end cabinets and walls)
  • Pelmets (the optional trim that fits onto the bottom of wall units, often to conceal lighting)
  • Cornices (the optional trim at the top of the wall unit - for which you can also use an angled filler)
  • Corner posts (used to create a seamless join between two cabinets that meet at a corner)
An IKEA kitchen customised with Naked Kitchens’ bespoke Ladbroke doors. Image: @raspberryinteriordesign. Photographer: @annastathakiphoto

The Ikea hack – more tips and ideas

Replacing IKEA’s standard doors and fronts with beautiful bespoke ones is the basic kitchen hack. But with some additional investment and imagination you can take it to the next level.

Things you might consider include:

  • Worktops – from beautiful natural wood to luxurious marble or quartz, a premium worktop makes a dramatic difference to the look, feel and long-term useability of a kitchen. 
  • Islands – … a stylish worktop is especially effective on a kitchen island. Some clever IKEA hackers create islands by adapting METOD cabinets and even other IKEA units like BILLY bookcases.
  • Splashbacks and tiles – they’re easy to overlook as functional items, but premium splashbacks can be really attractive focal points of a room. Likewise tiles – invest a little extra time and budget for a big effect.
  • Lighting – beautiful designer pendants and even chandeliers can be surprisingly affordable (check out Pooky’s kitchen lighting for example), help create different moods and atmospheres, especially in a kitchen-diner, and really can lift your kitchen to the next level of style.
  • Accessories – does the money you’ve saved on cabinetry give you a little more to invest in taps, sinks and other accessories?

And why stop at the kitchen? The IKEA hack works for other rooms. You can add matching Naked Kitchens doors to IKEA cabinets in pantries, utility rooms and even bathrooms. 

Bathroom vanity unit with Naked Kitchens’ Ladbroke doors

How to order Naked Kitchens cabinet doors and fronts 

Ordering our doors, drawer fronts and other items for your IKEA kitchen online is beautifully simple.

The easiest way is to send us a message with your IKEA planner link and your choice of door style and we can build a quote for you.

Alternatively, you can do it all yourself via our website. Just create an account and start building a quote by browsing items and adding them to your basket. Once you’ve selected a style and finish, the site will automatically default to those settings as you add new items.

A step-by-step order process guide is here.

The IKEA kitchen doors hack – FAQs

What about just painting the IKEA doors?

Painting IKEA’s standard doors is another way to personalise them – but leaving aside the inferior materials of the standard doors, it’s virtually impossible for a DIY job to achieve the flawless, premium look of a high-end kitchen that you’ll get from Naked Kitchens’ doors.

At Naked Kitchens we use an industrial sprayline to paint our doors, and then pass them under UV lighting for an exceptionally accurate and durable finish.  Finding your perfect colour is no problem: as well as our huge in-house range of beautiful colours we also offer a colour matching service, so you can get exactly the look you want.  

What DIY skills and tools do I need to hack an IKEA kitchen?

The actual skills required for replacing IKEA doors with Naked Kitchens ones are pretty basic – and all you’ll need in most cases is a screwdriver and a measuring tape. But designing a kitchen layout well does require expertise – and unless you’re very confident in your skills, installing the IKEA carcasses for a new kitchen is generally best done by a professional.

What if my kitchen isn’t from the IKEA METOD system?

Naked Kitchens can supply doors, drawer fronts and other items to fit any IKEA kitchen system (or indeed, for any other cabinets full stop).

The METOD is the most common IKEA kitchen, but if you have a different system that’s no problem. When you order, you’ll just need to treat it like a custom kitchen and enter the measurements in millimetres. If you have the IKEA doors to hand you can measure those rather than the units.  (If you don’t, note that doors need to be 3 mm smaller than the cabinet to allow them to open. For example, a 600 x 800mm carcass will require a 597 x 797mm door.)

You’ll also need to provide measurements for the doors’ hinge hole locations. For that, measure the distance in millimetres of the centre of the hinge hole to:

  • the top of the door
  • the bottom of the door
  • the nearest side of the door.

Does the kitchen doors ‘hack’ only work for IKEA kitchens?

No, you can add beautiful custom doors to any kitchen. Many people upgrade a tired kitchen with new doors (see Replacing your old kitchen cabinet doors and drawers with bespoke new fronts – a complete guide )

As well as the IKEA METOD system, the Naked Kitchens website is pre-programmed sizing for Howdens kitchens. And for anything else you can simply enter your custom measurements.

Can I use in-frame doors for an IKEA kitchen hack?

The short answer is no. It will be virtually impossible to do the IKEA hack with an in-frame door style.

In a frameless design the door is overlaid onto the cabinetry, so that only the door is visible and none of the carcass behind it can be seen. But in an in-frame design (like the traditional Shaker kitchen) the door or drawer sits within the frame, which is visible around it. 

However, you can achieve a more traditional look by using Naked Kitchens’ frameless Shaker kitchen (like this example).

What is a Shaker Kitchen?

What is a Shaker Kitchen?

Frameless versus In-frame kitchens: what’s the difference, and which should you choose?

Frameless versus In-frame kitchens: what’s the difference, and which should you choose?

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