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by Amanda Sims, Architectural Digest
In the world of kitchen renovations, there are two categories: IKEA kitchen cabinets and everything else. Being demonstrably less expensive than pretty much every other option out there (think: a few thousand dollars versus tens of thousands), IKEA cabinet systems are used in even decidedly fancy homes as a way to curb costs. The trick to making them look much more expensive than they really are? Custom cabinet fronts! So popular is this option that a handful of folks have started companies expressly for this purpose, so you can choose from a range of retailers, styles, and materials, depending on the look you're going for. Installing a kitchen is a serious matter—this isn't a quickie DIY upgrade—but the results will be well worth the trouble. Here are our favorite makers of door and drawer fronts for IKEA kitchen cabinets, and also a few up-and-comers that make covers for freestanding IKEA cabinets.
Reform: If you're looking for a more modern and bespoke take on IKEA cabinets, consider Copenhagen-based Reform and its cabinet fronts and countertops designed by renowned architects. Its Basis line, inspired by 1960's architect kitchens, feature painted, veneer, linoleum, and even brass fronts with chic little finger pulls instead of bulky knobs. Or you can get even fancier, with the powder-coated Fold by Sigurd Larsen collection, or the diagonally grained Degree line by Cecilie Manz. Ships worldwide. reformcph.com
A Los Angeles couple worked with designer Natalie Meyers to use Semihandmade mahogany cabinet fronts mixed with colorful ones in their midcentury home.
Semihandmade: Perhaps the best-known option for customizing IKEA cabinet systems (Karlie Kloss used them in her Kode With Klossy office), Semihandmade offers American-crafted cabinet doors in melamine, wood veneer, thermafoil, and the like. Styles are abundant, too: Shaker, slab, beaded, even reclaimed wood grains, and its most recent collaboration with Sarah Sherman Samuel is a modern take on beadboard. No matter what style you choose, a serious perk of this company is that its cabinet doors ship in just one week. Ships to US and lower Canadian provinces. semihandmadedoors.com
Plykea: Are you big on the whole plywood-everything trend? Good—us too. In the world of cabinet fronts, Plykea might be your best option for that look: It makes Formica and birch plywood cabinet doors and worktops to work with IKEA systems. The look is super streamlined and a bit raw, with every piece made to order to suit your specific kitchen system. Ships to Europe and the UK, with hopes to launch in San Francisco and ship to the U.S. "very soon." plykea.com
Kokeena: This Portland, Oregon, retailer stands out for its commitment to using low-impact paints and finishes and wood that has been sustainably harvested—so you can feel good about your purchase in addition to being very pleased with how it looks. Choose from premium wood grains like walnut and white oak or various paints and laminates. Ships to U.S. and Canada. kokeena.com
Superfront: With funky, youthful designs for cabinet fronts, pulls, and handles—think raised scalloped patterning and colors like pink and lilac—this Stockholm-based outfit can help you cover a whole IKEA kitchen cabinet system, a few closet doors, or just a simple freestanding sideboard. Fronts ship to Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, U.K., and Germany; handles and legs can be shipped worldwide. superfront.com
Norse Interiors: A newcomer to the Scandinavian-inspired IKEA front game, Norse makes doors, sides, tops, and accessories to trick out freestanding storage cabinets and TV stands in the Besta line. Colors are minimal and subdued while designs get a bit geometric. Ships to U.S. only. norseinteriors.com
Frontly by Prettypegs: If you're reading all this, hoping there's an option for the not-at-all DIY-inclined, consider Frontly, a line of self-adhesive cabinet fronts that can be applied to pieces from the Besta line. Accordingly, they're going to be a bit less expensive than other options—think $26 for a single front rather than more like $100. Ships worldwide. prettypegs.com