Basic cabinetry is just the start of a great kitchen. So even when you begin with some simple boxes — like inexpensive ready-to-assemble ones from IKEA — you can configure them in smart ways that feel more special. Then, once you layer on color, extra features and details, your kitchen can reach another level. Take notes from these clever projects and hacks that squeezed out every drop of style from basic cabinets, and think how to apply them to your own space.
Even though these examples are IKEA cabinets, most of these ideas work for any brand, except maybe one or two.
In a very smart move, Emilie Cederquist took advantage of his ceiling height and stacked layers of glass-front cabinet uppers on top of each other. It looks more like a custom hutch, where he stores and displays extra glassware and serving pieces. That's the rest of his kitchen, in the lead image above.
Jillian Lare's little sister Kate redid her kitchen using IKEA cabinets and their contractor added crown molding to the wall cabinets, island legs, and baseboard trim. When painted the same white, everything comes together as one cohesive design that looks custom.
These mint green cabinet doors from Reform (which sells fronts for IKEA cabinet bases), seen on Decor8, are less of a hack, and more of upgrade, but they are still a great way to remake your kitchen into something more special than it was.
These IKEA cabinets were revamped by the homeowner, who "electro-painted" them with a resistant black matte coating. Adding hardware that blends into the doors makes everything very streamlined.
This kitchen got a number of custom features, including these toekick drawers, which add storage to a previously unused space. The brass sheeting is just another way to make them look special.
IKEA themselves suggest adding storage to the exposed sides of kitchen cabinets. Here they've created ways to organize herbs, electronics, jars and other basic supplies.