IKEA Decoded

(Apologies in advance for what will be a long and somewhat technical post, but I want to record this information down for future reference!)

Having decided on adding high level storage to the room, I turned to IKEA to help me out rather than going down the expensive bespoke joinery route. I can fit six 600mm units perfectly across the room length and have a somewhat generous (but still acceptable) 75mm reveal gap at each end as a reveal gap and to allow tolerance for out of plumb walls and for them to be mounted straight. So the question was what 600mm wide x 380mm deep x 400mm tall IKEA cabinet to go for?

IKEA has, in a nutshell, three storage systems :

  1. BESTA for living rooms
  2. PAX for bedroom wardrobes
  3. METOD for kitchens.

METOD replaced the old FAKTUM last year and is called SEKTION in the USA (coming soon I read). But just because they are designed with those rooms in mind, doesn’t mean you need to stick with that if the sizes don’t work.

I knew I didn’t want a PAX system for our high level guest bedroom cabinets, as at 600mm deep it would project out too far.

My plan was to go for either some METOD kitchen upper cabinets (380mm deep), or the BESTA wall system (also available at 380mm deep and a shallower 200mm designed for CDs and DVDs it seems).

Not being familiar with the new door front finishes I figured a visit to IKEA Croydon was needed as not all white doors are created equal so head off yesterday evening after work.

The results of my findings for the white doors are shown in the images above and described below:

HAGGBEY – Entry level white kitchen door – and it looks it. Thin looking melamine foil with plastic edge visible at top and bottom. A matt finish.
VEDDINGE – Nicest kitchen door in my opinion. A spray painted finish which wraps around all four edges in a soft matt finish.
RINGHULT – The choice for if you want a high gloss finish. Thick good quality foil with plastic lipping visible at top and bottom though.
NODSTA – A really nice soft matt finish, and a thicker 18mm thick door to accommodate the recessed aluminium finger pull handle across the top. Also a foil with the plastic edge lipping visible at the side.

SELSVIKEN – Good thick quality high gloss white foil wrapping around the sides, with plastic lipping visible at top and bottom.
LAPPVIKEN – good quality foil in soft Matt white with plastic lipping visible at top and bottom
HANVIKEN – soft Matt finish applied in a foil – shaker style (ie not flat panel). Central panel is quite thin and feels a bit flimsy.

Unfortunately there is no sprayed finish door in the BESTA system so was leaning towards METOD with a VEDDINGE door. I wanted to ideally avoid the plastic lip as it  tends to attract grime in the ridge over time based on experience in my previous flat.

BUT as its below your eye level, the base of the kitchen upper cabinet is not designed to be visible so there are loads of screws visible on the underside. Not ideal for a unit I am mounting up near the ceiling height. To solve this at my old flat, I fixed a thin piece of MDF to the underside and painted it. Certainly an option – but it doesn’t give a nice satin factory finish.

I then had the potentially brilliant idea of buying the nicer VEDDINGE kitchen doors for the BESTA units as they are the same size – BUT the holes for the hinges on the kitchen doors are set too low (the BESTA unit had a thicker base) – so that would mean some complicated modification (see images)

(As a side note however – it looks like you might be able to go the other way and put BESTA doors on the METOD system)

So what’s a girl to do?!

After much deliberation (and sleeping on it) I decided to go with the BESTA units with the LAPPVIKEN doors as they will look the neatest from the underside – which is what you see most in this instance.

(I know, too much information, but maybe someone else will find it useful!)


11 thoughts on “IKEA Decoded

  1. Julia, I am in the process of refinishing cupboards in an apartment. They currently have thermos foil which is now brittle, cracking and peeling. Research tells me that the lifespan of these doors is 10-12 years. Not very long in the scheme of things. I am opting for new doors, spray painted off site and the cupboard frames spray painted on site.

    Not sure if the Ikea foil is the same thermo foil, but wanted to share.

    I am able to keep the existing hinges and door knobs. Turn-around time is 2-3 weeks.

    Of course the research, decisions and ordering take 5-6 weeks L


  2. Thanks for the advice and sharing your knowledge Connie! You confirmed my suspicions that the thermo foil (which I suspect is what they use at IKEA) is not designed to last forever. A sprayed finish is ideal, and I certainly would choose that for a kitchen. For our guest bedroom where the cupboards are high up and wont get much use I am hoping the foil will be ok. If not, I can replace them in 10 years!

  3. Thanks for a thorough report. We are in a similar mix-n-match situation – looking to use 75″ Stuva frames with 15″ and 10″ Lappviken (Besta) drawer fronts and 50″ Veddinge doors to create a wardrobe unit. Do you recall how different the whites are on the Lappviken vs. Veddinge – I understand that one is laminate and the other is painted. The high gloss Ringhult doors are just too pricey! If the colors are really different we may do the Selsviken high gloss grey for the drawers. Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Ricky. Good question, I’m afraid can’t remember how the white’s compared colour-wise, although I think they were pretty close actually. What I will say is that the finish shiny-ness is slightly different between the two even though they are both satin matt. The Veddinge is a tiny bit more glossy (not glossy enough that you would call it high gloss by any means, but just a little more light reflective). You would therefore notice a difference between the two and it might annoy you if you are a stickler for detail. I always feel it is better to ‘aim to miss’. If you cant match a finish or colour perfectly, then choose something deliberately different so it doesn’t look like a mistake. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for the response. We will likely go with the high gloss grey on the bottom drawers. So yes purposely mismatched! We will end up drilling the hinge holes higher on the Veddinge doors.

  4. Did you see a Besta high gloss unit in person? I just ordered a white system in high gloss but the only thing that was ‘high gloss” were the selsviken door fronts. The top part where the tv sits and the sides of the unit are white, but not in a high gloss finish. Did they send me the wrong pieces or is it that only the doors fronts are truly glossy ?

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Yes, I saw the bests high gloss in person – the gloss is created by what they call a high pressure foil (I believe) which is wrapped around the door to the edges. The top and bottom are then a plastic lipping. I don’t remember the lipping as being Matt, but it will have a slightly different finish. I used the high gloss on my kitchen but didn’t really mind as you don’t see the edge when the door is closed. All the best!

      1. Sorry – just re-read your question again and realised I didn’t quite answer it! Yes, only the doors are gloss – the units are all a satin white regardless of what door front you get.

  5. I am looking at the Besta units online, just thinking what is the difference between Hankiven and Lappviken when looking at the light oak effect – does anyone know please?! Thanks 😀

    1. Hi Karen,
      The Hanviken is a country style/ shaker style door with a frame and inset panel, whereas the Lappviken is a flat panel door. Both are a ‘wood effect’ – so a foil which is printed with an image of wood. I cant recall whether there is any quality or visual difference between the two wood effects. Hope that helps!

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