An IKEA kitchen designer reveals 5 tricks to create your dream bespoke kitchen on a budget

You don't have to break the bank to achieve a premium kitchen

IKEA navy kitchen with white marble worktops
(Image credit: IKEA)

When searching for a way to create your dream kitchen on a budget, there's no better place to turn to than an IKEA designer's advice. IKEA is known for their affordable prices, reliable furniture and customisable storage solutions, but recently we've been impressed with their kitchen ranges that look and feel more premium than ever.  

Knowing how to design a kitchen can be tricky. You need to consider a functional layout, practical surfaces, and a stylish design and of course, you'll need to stick to a budget. It's hard to know where to start and where to even start shopping, but if you're looking for some clever hacks to make a kitchen look more expensive on a budget we asked an  IKEA kitchen designer to share their top tips and tricks.

IKEA designer's tricks for a premium-looking kitchen

We spoke to interior designer, Marie Tenglund, who has worked for IKEA for over 20 years - so it's safe to say she knows her way around the product ranges and knows exactly how to use them to create a premium design. IKEA's kitchens are fully customisable and this year alone they're launching 13 new fronts in 11 new colours. In short, there's so much scope to curate an individual look that suits your home and taste.  

'We want to be able to offer that high-end look, whether that's a traditional kitchen design or a modern kitchen idea, and that's why our offering has got so much bigger because we know you can't beat the prices,' Marie advises. 

Marie Tenglund
Marie Tenglund

Marie Tenglund is a professional Interior Designer / Space Planner with 17 years of experience in commercial and domestic environments. She is currently the Swedish UKIE Interior Design leader who has worked for IKEA for over 20 years. When not conquering all things interior design, Marie can be found based in a village called Taplow in Buckinghamshire with her husband and two girls.

1. Stick to cupboards

IKEA navy kitchen with wall cupboards

(Image credit: IKEA)

Deciding between kitchen drawers vs cabinets often comes down to assessing how you move about your cooking space and what you need to store in each area. For example, cabinets will be best if you have lots of small appliances and crockery. Alternatively, drawers will be useful for adding organisation for cutlery and household essentials such as kitchen foil. 

However, if budget is the biggest factor in your kitchen renovation process, cabinets will help stay within budget. 

'Being smart and perhaps designing a kitchen with larger cabinets will always bring the cost down of the kitchen,' says Marie. 'If you design the kitchen with lots of small drawers where you can have lots of different interiors, that will always be more expensive.' 

'You can be smart on the inside of cabinets and we can help to divide up space on the inside instead,' she adds. 

2. Decide what you can upgrade later on

IKEA kitchen with open shelving and hanging utsensil rail

(Image credit: IKEA)

When planning a kitchen renovation, you want every last detail to be perfectly complete, right? In actual fact, there's no harm in completing a kitchen project in stages to help you split the cost but also figure out what works best in your home. 

'You can do things in stages. The more affordable way of doing it is perhaps using open shelving which you can add later on. If you want to add more cabinets at a different point, we see a lot of mix and match,' Marie explains.

'Using open shelves in a kitchen will bring the cost down as well,' she adds. Instead of opting for both base and wall cabinets from the offset, consider opting for open shelving on the walls to keep the costs down and see how much storage you really need. If you decide wall cabinets are a necessity, you can always stagger the purchase and add them later.  

3. Add bespoke storage solutions

IKEA navy kitchen with white marble worktops

(Image credit: IKEA)

Choosing the right kitchen storage ideas is essential to making sure your cooking area is as functional as possible and stays tidy. IKEA is known for their innovative storage solutions that can be added into cabinets and drawers for a bespoke layout, and it's a fast way to make your space look super high-end. 

'I know one of the things that our customers have wanted for a very long time is the larder area which we now offer,' Marie explains. 'You get a complete overview of your dry storage and we know that there has been something that has been missing in our range a little bit.' 

She continues, 'We also have a great range of bamboo interiors, which look so high-end, and they're great for organising your utensils into trays.' It's all about getting smart with adding trays, drawers and boxes into your cupboards and drawers so that food and kitchenware are easy to access. 

4. Include an island

IKEA navy kitchen with island and wood worktops

(Image credit: IKEA)

IKEA trolleys and moveable kitchen islands are popular choices in kitchens thanks to the flexibility they provide as well as the lower price point. They create a bespoke look without you needing to get something custom-made. 

'Bringing a little trolley in in a really powerful colour is a way to add to a kitchen on a budget,' says Marie. 'You can also move it into any space where you need it. And some of our choices now have sort of chopping boards that you can put on top so you actually can get more workspace too.'

5. Focus on the finer details

IKEA kitchen cabinets with fluted glass doors

(Image credit: IKEA)

'One of the great things about IKEA kitchens is really taking time to add lighting and functional lighting into the kitchen,' Marie explains. 

'We would always recommend that you have lighting underneath the cabinets to illuminate your worktop as this is where you actually do the work. We also then have top cabinet lighting that will wash the front of your kitchen to provide a beautiful atmosphere.' 

The secret to a premium, bespoke kitchen is always in the finer details, so ensuring your kitchen design looks carefully considered in the added extras is a simple, and affordable, way of upgrading your space. 

'We also see very much in the trends that marble is coming back,' Marie adds. 'And the idea of using the same worktop as your backsplash will give a really sleek look.'

All that's left to do is to decide on your favourite kitchen trends and book a free design appointment with one of IKEA's designers. A sophisticated kitchen is well within reach. 

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).