There are entire websites devoted to "Ikea hacks"—DIY modifications to the Swedish furniture giant's popular, ready-made designs. But if you don't have the time or skills, there's still a way to keep your kitchen or bathroom from looking like it came straight off a shelf next to the frozen meatball case.
A host of new companies have sprung up to create custom additions to your Ikea cabinets, and their products are as easy to buy and install as the company's own Härlig and Gnosjö doors and drawers.
At Dwell on Design L.A., we got a look at some aftermarket cabinet fronts and interior shelves that can give your Ikea-sourced kitchen or bathroom a custom feel. They add about 30 percent to the price of an existing Ikea setup, but also let you add inset drawers, hide flush-mounted appliances, and choose designs that aren't available at Ikea itself.
Semihandmade is an L.A.-based company that creates custom cabinet fronts for Ikea boxes, including solid wood doors, drawers, and fronts. It's not affiliated with Ikea in any way, but has an entirely symbiotic relationship with the company's lineup.
In addition to cabinets, Semihandmade also offers inserts for bookshelves, home appliances, and wine cabinets, as well as custom legs, pulls, and cover plates that hide the Ikea logo. If you need help outfitting your kitchen, you can also get bespoke design services.
The company's founder, John McDonald, said that he sold 300 kitchens last year, and expects to sell 700 next year.
Cost-wise, the company's Eco line is advertised as adding just 15 percent to the cost of Ikea's own Abstrakt cabinets, though custom designs can quickly get more expensive.
Dunsmuir Cabinets goes a step further. Users can still add custom fronts, including options that will cover nearly any panel-ready appliance. But Dunsmuir also sells interior drawers and shelves that mimic Ikea's new Metod line, which is already available in Europe but hasn't yet hit U.S. stores.
Dunsmuir's founder, Ann-Sofi Holst, even visited an Ikea store in her native Sweden to check out the Metod line for inspiration.
According to Holst, the kitchens add about 30 percent to the cost of the most expensive Ikea options, but customers can do most of the design work on the company's website, which also offers detailed cost estimates.
"You can get a look that's totally custom, and that's not totally expensive," she said.