As scores of interior designers and many happy homeowners will attest, there is plenty to love about an IKEA kitchen—cost, convenience, and versatility included. But for some, it’s easier to embrace the system’s ease and affordability than it is to commit to its somewhat sparse (and often instantly recognizable) aesthetic.
Enter the custom cabinet front, an increasingly popular fix to this very common problem. The idea is simple: Purchase the framework of an IKEA kitchen; then, make it your own with specially designed fronts in the colors, materials, and finishes of your choosing. Whether you’re craving understated neutrals or something more playfully over-the-top (color-blocked cabinetry, anyone?), it’s a way of coming as close as possible to a custom kitchen at a fraction of the cost.
Depending on your location, there are a variety of services available to help achieve the look you’re after. For renovators in the US, here are three we’d recommend for quality, variety, and ease of use.
Nearly every designer we spoke to for this story mentioned this nearly decade-old company—and it’s easy to understand why. The service offers a wide range of custom possibilities thanks to a diverse offering of styles (from straightforward slab to a more decorative beadboard), colors, and materials, including paintable and glass-ready options for maximum versatility. They’re also well-known for successful partnerships with big-name designers like Sarah Sherman Samuel, and for the option to add chic extras, like specialty hardware and thick, ultra-luxe-looking floating shelves.
Talk about making a serious design statement. In addition to their classic BASIS fronts (which come in veneer, linoleum, and painted finishes, all outfitted with signature milled-in handles), this Danish retailer turns out eye-catching options for those unafraid of a little drama. Check out the CHELSEA collection’s bold, raw brass fronts, dreamt up by designer Christina Meyer Bengtsson, or the MATCH collection by European design darlings Muller Van Severen, which features high-density polyethylene fronts in six vivid, mix-and-match shades. Reform offers a three-year warranty on cabinet fronts (excluding fronts for integrated dishwashers).
Renovators looking for sustainable solutions would do well to consider this Portland, Oregon–based company, which prioritizes responsibly sourced natural woods, including walnut, oak, maple, and fir; low-VOC glues and varnishes; and a controlled output of production waste. Along with fronts, the brand’s online pop-up, Hardware by Kokeena, sells a curated assortment of metal knobs and pulls to complement its custom offerings.
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