Saturday, February 08, 2014
IKEA Kitchen Sale 2014: Planning Your Project Now
(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)
It's no secret that IKEA has a sale every spring. Starting early March, ending late April, it's not as predictable as taxes and, well, you know, but it's almost a certainty. During these winter months (forgive me, sun-tanning Aussie clients), planning your project, shopping for appliances, tile, flooring, lighting and, last but not least, contractors, has a sort of quiet hum behind it. Spring will come and suddenly you are heading to IKEA and emptying your cabinets for the demolition.
Some of the most important planning for most projects has to do with budgeting. Working out the real cost of your project will enable you to move forward with confidence. My free eBook will help. I worked on over 500 projects as a co-owner of a remodeling company, and I've since worked with thousands of clients on design of their IKEA kitchens, so I do have a pretty good idea on what things cost. Still, your home, your project, is utterly unique, and no estimate is as good as getting realistic materials costs for the stuff you plan to buy, real and comprehensive bids from more than one contractor, and making sure you have some margin set aside for the unpredictable.
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The IKEA spring sale is likely to last 7 or 8 weeks so it's not necessary to rush in. That said, the earlier in the sale you order, the less likely you'll run into back ordered items, booked up installers and an overwhelmed IKEA sales staff trying to input dozens of kitchen orders, hundreds of thousands of dollars and nearly as many separate cabinet components, in an afternoon.
Here are some ways to plan head, so you are calmly ready when the first IKEA sale TV commercials, the first sale-announcing emails, arrive with the daffodils.
1) Work out your budget. Know before you go how much your project will cost. If you don't know, you'll worry, and you might try to save on items or services that won't really save you in the long run.
2) Project WHEN you'll do the project. IKEA delivers within two weeks of ordering, so you'll either need to be ready to do the project, or you'll need a place to store a pallet or two of heavy, flat-packed boxes. You will be surprised how huge a pile of boxes an average kitchen is composed of.
3) Design, design, design. Since my company sells professional IKEA kitchen design services, I am totally biased when I say you cannot save money by doing the design yourself. Every display kitchen you've seen at IKEA and other stores was designed by a professional designer. Kitchen design is a skill, a profession. The difference between an expertly designed kitchen and, well, the other kind, is obvious when you see it. You could walk into two kitchens with similar cabinets, that cost about the same, and spot the difference immediately. It's huge.
Thus, in planning your project, allow a small percentage for expert design. Don't base your entire project and budget on a mediocre layout. The online IKEA planner is a free, basic layout tool. It won't allow you to customize cabinets or use panels creatively. It is not a good starting point for a an elegant, optimal return on your remodeling investment.
4) Get bids from more than one contractor. I have written before that many, maybe most, remodeling contractors, even good ones, will disparage IKEA cabinets. They'll tell you they are bad, one way or the other. They'll offer to sell you a brand they can get wholesale. About 3 out of ever 4 clients we have tell us this happened to them. Why? 1) there is no wholesale discount for contractors at IKEA so a contractor can't mark them up. 2) Unless his crew is familiar with the IKEA system, a contractor doesn't want to figure out how to assemble and install IKEA cabinets. It's actually rather easy, but it takes time to figure it out. For a contractor, time=wages. Anyway, you get it.
Tip: hire a qualified, legal, trusted contractor with good references. If he doesn't want to install IKEA cabinets, have the local store's installer do it, when the kitchen is ready. It takes only 2 days in most cases for an experienced installation crew to hang your cabinets. The contractor then finishes up with final plumbing, electrical, etc.
In the meantime, late at night, browse kitchen remodeling magazines and websites. Look for what you really love. You can create all kinds of custom, elegant looks with IKEA cabinets. Our designers simply want to know what ideas you have, requirements you have, what vision you have for your new kitchen. So spend the snowy nights creating that vision for yourself. You can have it, it's on it's way now.
(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)