The comprehensive guide to the IKEA Kitchen Planner


When I was researching on the IKEA Kitchen Planner and buying process, I did not find much information on the interwebs.

So I thought I’d write up a bit more on it. It’s a bit longer and heavier than usual. But bear with me. I believe it’ll be useful for the next person planning an IKEA kitchen purchase.

While I used the IKEA METOD kitchen, which is in metric – the IKEA Kitchen Planner tips can be applied to the IKEA SEKTION kitchen range.

My kitchen planning process

I’m old school so I used pen and paper to plan before I laid my plans down on the software. IKEA even provided grid paper here.

Firstly, I familiarised myself with the height, widths and depths of the METOD cabinets. The basic frames are as follows:

Wall cabinets:
Widths: 20cm, 40cm, 60cm, 80cm.
Height: 40cm, 60cm, 80cm.
Depth: 37cm (39cm with doors)

Base cabinets:
Widths: 20cm, 40cm, 60cm, 80cm.
Height: 80cm (with countertop and plinths, it comes up to 92cm)
Depth: 37cm, 60cm. (39cm or 62cm with doors)

There are also open cabinets, high cabinets, wall cabinets with drawers, fridge cabinets in different dimensions.

IKEA Kitchen METOD frame dimensions

Then starting from one corner of the wall, I added the right combination of base cabinets according to the length of the wall and how I would use the cabinets. (Eg. a pull out cabinet for sauces and condiments to the left of my stove, drawers for cutlery in the kitchen island) Did the same for the wall cabinets. When I had a rough idea of how it should go I was ready to plan online.

How to use the IKEA Kitchen Planner

You know, the IKEA Kitchen Planner software is delightful and at the same time, is responsible for my greatly reduced hair count. The learning curve was a little steep for me actually.

It was laggy, it didn’t carry the full range and didn’t always do what I wanted it to. I would click to rotate a cabinet, cook dinner and come back to it and it’s still turning.

Then, I went to IKEA and watched the pros — the IKEA Kitchen Specialists — use it and picked up a few tricks. After that, the IKEA Kitchen Planner played nice with me and it quickly became my favourite night time activity. Because what’s better than watching kitchen doors transform from BROKHULT to RINGHULT? Sigh … I have no life.

(Just a side note to avoid confusion – the IKEA Kitchen Planner is officially called the IKEA Home Planner because you can also use it to plan your office and other spaces. But most people call it the planner and I’ve decided to use that name here for easy reference.)

If you’re using the IKEA Home Planner for the first time, you’ll need to create a profile so you can save your work. You’ll be asked to install a browser plug-in too. Once you’ve done that, the fun (and hair pulling) begins.

Here are 10 useful tips when using the IKEA Kitchen Planner:

1. When creating your layout, use “3D Line View” (which is the ugly line drawing version) instead of “Front 3D View”. In this view, the IKEA Kitchen Planner loads much faster. Switch to “Front 3D View” only when you want to see how it looks in 3D.

2. When you click on an item, wait for the “Options” menu to load on the right sidebar before you attempt to make any other move. My previous mistake was clicking one thing after another without letting them fully load.

You need to think of it like an old school computer – it can only do one thing at the time and only after the first thing is done. Otherwise, it just sulks and hangs. And you would have to log out and in again.

IKEA Kitchen Planner line view
IKEA Kitchen Planner line view

3. Save after every change. So if (and when) it hangs, you can quit the IKEA Kitchen Planner and load it up again without losing too much in the process.

4. Use Room Layout > Obstacles > Ceiling Box to create horizontal items you cannot find in the planner such as shelves.

5. Use Room Layout > Obstacles > Floor Obstacle to create vertical items you cannot find in the planner such as the “waterfall legs” of a countertop.

6. Use Worktops > Extra Worktop Solutions > Worktop Resizable to create countertop surfaces in areas without cabinets, such as on top of your dishwasher.

7. The right “Options” sidebar are the main customisation tool. Click the down arrows to open up even more features. Have fun trying all the doors, knobs and legs, etc.

IKEA Kitchen Planner interior
IKEA Kitchen Planner interior – open up drawers and doors for a peek inside

8. You can’t move a cabinet if another is blocking its way. You must first move the block. Just like in real life.

9. When moving an item and it won’t go where you want it to, then you need to hold the item — click on the item, move it to the right position and do not ‘un-click’ — until the “yellow” outline turns “green” to fix it in the position. Unless there isn’t enough space for the cabinet, then it’ll never fit in. Just like in real life too.

10. For wall cabinets, click the “arrow” that appears on the side of the cabinet to move them up or down. The “hand grab” cursor only moves them horizontally.

11. Bonus tip: Try not to click the floors and walls. They take a long time to load.

It took some time but it was definitely worth learning to use the IKEA Kitchen Planner and I managed to create 2 possible kitchen plans. Well, the gavel’s down and Design #2 it is. (Thank you everyone for your comments and feedback. It has certainly made this whole process a lot more fun!)

Finalising the design can only lead to one thing —> $$$. That’s Step 3 of the IKEA kitchen buying process.

Step 3: Order

This is the easy part. All I needed to do was head down to the IKEA Kitchen Department. I logged into the Home Planner and showed Khairul the Kitchen Specialist (pix below) my design and site measurements. He made a few tweaks and made sure everything fit in well. He gave ideas on troublesome areas. Using the final plan, he transferred every item onto the POS system.

my IKEA kitchen installation_1

I ended up with 3 lists:

  • A POS Order: This lists all the items in stock and ready for purchase.
  • Out of stock item list: You can choose to wait for these items to arrive and install them at a later date or change to alternative in-stock items. I chose to wait.
  • A list of Self-Collect items: These are smaller items like handles, hinges, lights that I would need to gather from around the store and pay as usual at the check out.

Adding up this three lists, I had my final price. I took the lists and paid at check out. The POS Order is only valid for one day. If you don’t check out within 24 hours, the Kitchen Specialist would need to key in your order all over again. At this stage, I also booked the earliest possible installation date, which was in 2 weeks. Can’t wait for Step 4!

Step 4: Install

My items arrived 2 days before installation. I wanted to cross check them against my Order List to make sure they sent everything, but the little hill of 158 boxes was beyond me. It would be awesome if you do.

my IKEA kitchen makeover installation_5

The installers came bright and early. First, they went through the plan with me. Then they assembled what felt like a thousands cabinets. After the “L” portion along the short and long walls, the kitchen island and with the worktops were installed.

Lastly, the finishing touches – they sealed the joints and gaps, added legs and plinths, made sure the doors were aligned, opened and closed properly, etc. Even, packed up all the carton boxes and hauled them away.

IKEA Kitchen Planner

I know I made it sound so easy and quick. But it actually took 3 days! And my new glossy IKEA Kitchen finally stood before me. When the installers left, I did my happy dance.

This is how it looks now — but it isn’t 100%  done yet. There is still a missing pull out cabinet, which wasn’t delivered with my order (hence, the thing about cross-checking the delivered items against your order).

The horizontal glass doors are not the right one either. (The one I wanted, JUTIS, was out of stock. IKEA was kind enough to install these LAXARBY doors for temporary use, while I wait for the stock to come in.)

There’s still lots of cleaning and some touching up to do. Some exposed areas need re-tiling. And of course, the massive job of deciding what goes where and restocking the cabinets. I’ll post more photos after the final installation and I’ve had the chance to fill those babies up.

my IKEA Kitchen installation_7b my IKEA Kitchen installation_3 my IKEA Kitchen installation_6

See the gap in the base cabinets, it’s waiting for the missing pull out.

Next post I’ll show you what I plan to do on two of my METOD kitchen cabinet doors. I’ll be adding a command centre to them to organise my weekly plan meals, groceries and bills all in one place. Stay tuned for the next My METOD Makeover update.

See other posts in my IKEA kitchen series:

How I planned my space for IKEA kitchen cabinets

How I use IKEA kitchen accessories to organize my kitchen

My kitchen command center in IKEA kitchen cabinets

IKEA Kitchen – The Reveal

Disclosure: IKEA Malaysia is the sponsor of my new METOD kitchen. However, my experience and views on the IKEA METOD range are entirely my own. 

Jules Yap