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DIY Inspiration - Upgrading IKEA Kitchen Designs

Article Topics:

  1. The Trouble with IKEA Kitchen Designs

  2. Reasons to Consider Upgrading Your IKEA Kitchen

  3. Customising Your IKEA Kitchen Cabinetry

  4. Handle and Knob Inspiration

  5. Fitting Kitchen Handles and Knobs


Whether you live in a larger family house, a smaller semi or terrace, or are solo in an apartment, often we think of our kitchen space as the heart of the home. It can be a social space, an extended space or a therapeutic, contemplative space of creation. Or indeed, all of the above.

People grouped around a kitchen island - wooden worktop - open shelving

Given the importance of the kitchen, as the most significant room in your home, it makes sense that you want it to be comfortable, to reflect your tastes and sense of style.

IKEA kitchen ideas - woman and girl baking

But bespoke kitchen design isn’t cheap. And it takes a lot of time and work to get right. That’s why, when it comes to getting a new kitchen, most of us go for an ‘off-the-peg’ option.

One of the first places many people turn to for modular kitchens is IKEA’s Metod designs.

IKEA metod range showing cabinets for IKEA kitchens

Image Credit: IKEA

In this article we'll talk about IKEA kitchen solutions, the benefits of upgrading cabinetry hardware, and offer some knob and handle suggestions for DIY kitchen inspiration.

The Trouble with IKEA Kitchen Designs

Now, there’s nothing wrong with IKEA kitchens. Far from it. IKEA offers good value for money and stylish kitchen designs. They’re nice, if perhaps a little generic. Notably there’s limited choice for cabinetry specs and hardware on the Ikea kitchen planner.

Kitchen with IKEA cabinets and steel range hood - high extra storage cupboards

Image Credit: IKEA

There's little you can do about IKEA kitchen cabinets in terms of customisation, except maybe after the installation service you paint them in the colours of your choice. But when it comes to hardware, there's a bit more scope for personalisation.

Standard IKEA kitchen - modern look - pale blue flat panel cabinets - open shelves

Image Credit: IKEA

You can easily take your IKEA kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts from basic to bespoke with different, or higher spec, handles and knobs for a more modern look, traditional look, or to create a specific interior design style or aesthetic vibe.

IKEA kitchen - light grey/blue - white plastic cabinet handles and knobs on drawer fronts - partial open shelving

Image Credit: IKEA

Reasons to Consider Upgrading Your IKEA Kitchen

It's a Straightforward DIY Job

Upgrading IKEA kitchen cabinetry handles and knobs is an accessible DIY project. Unlike major kitchen renovations, upgrading cupboard door and drawer handles and knobs is a relatively quick and straightforward DIY project.

It's a fantastic option for those looking to make a statement with a new kitchen, or to makeover their old kitchen without the hassle and expense of a full-scale renovation.

Modern kitchen with handless wall cabinets for a seamless look - clean lines - grey wood grain cabinets

No Specialised Skills Needed

Fitting cabinetry handles and knobs to new doors and drawers doesn't demand specialised skills. Household tools, such as a screwdriver, a drill and tape measure are sufficient for the task.  If you’ve never been a DIYer, this could be a great starting project, with a high effort-to-benefit ratio.

However, it's worth noting that if you're upgrading your existing IKEA kitchen cabinetry and the screw holes of your old hardware don't match your new handles, you will need to fill the old holes and re-drill. In that situation, if you're a DIY novice, it may be prudent to get advice from someone with experience.

Greater Cost Savings

Upgrading knobs and handles is a cost-effective way to personalise your kitchen. By tackling the project yourself, you not only save on labour expenses, but also gain a sense of accomplishment and ownership of the transformation.

White kitchen with black countertops and cream cabinets

Express Yourself

Upgrading your IKEA kitchen's cabinet door handles and drawer knobs is more than just a functional improvement. It's an opportunity to make a statement, to infuse your personal style into the heart of your home. The vast array of available designs allows you to tailor your personal kitchen style.

Enhancing Desirability

While upgrading your IKEA kitchen's cabinet door handles and drawer knobs certainly won’t impact a property's value, it can significantly enhance saleability. When potential buyers or tenants walk into a kitchen that has been thoughtfully and aesthetically upgraded, it creates a memorable impression.

Customising Your IKEA Kitchen Cabinetry

By creating custom doors and drawers by upgrading handles, you can add a sense of different kitchen styles: classic style, a modern vibe or a contemporary fusion of styles. Higher-end handles and knobs can make a big difference to how your kitchen looks and feels, and they may not be as expensive as you think — from just a few pounds each.

Bespoke look classic shaker cabinets - modern black vertical T-bar pulls

Trends come and go, but your personal style is timeless. Upgrading cabinetry hardware allows you to move beyond fleeting trends and create a kitchen space that feels authentic to you. Whether you are inspired by the latest design fads or prefer a classic and more enduring look, you have a broad choice of customisation options.

IKEA kitchens - natural wood kitchen cabinets with large brushed chrome D handles

Experiment with different cabinet and drawer handle and knob design styles and finishes to find the perfect combination that resonates with you — a cohesive look or an eclectic mix, a modern, traditional or bespoke vibe, the choice is yours.

Kitchen Handle and Knob Inspiration

Here we'll take a look at some kitchen cabinetry handle and knob upgrade options. Hopefully these examples will inspire you to give your IKEA kitchen a personal twist, whether it's a classic shaker or classic country style, contemporary chic, or a modern edge.

Vintage vs. Contemporary

Kitchen cabinets with close-up of vintage ceramic and antique brass handles

The style that you choose to upgrade to will depend on your vision for the overall kitchen vibe. For example, the aged ceramic cabinet handle with antique brass metalwork pictured above offers an authentically vintage style, which would work well for more decorative traditional kitchens.

Ikea kitchens - close-up of a knurled T-bar handle

Mix and Match

Going the other way, you might want to give your kitchen space a more modern look. T-bar cabinet door and drawer pull handles can offer a more contemporary feel, especially in darker, muted metallic finishes, such as brushed or black nickel, or antique brass (pictured above).

In-frame kitchen cabinets with combination knob and T-bar pulls

Mixing modern kitchen handles and knobs with more traditional kitchen designs can create an appealing contrast. Above is a kitchen with traditional in-frame cabinetry in a cool, modern off-white and a combination of horizontal T-bars on drawer fronts and rounded square cupboard door knobs.

Edwardian-style cabinet knob in antique brass finish

The same design ethos for pull handles can apply to kitchen cabinetry knobs. Above is an example of a Edwardian-style cabinet knob, taking it's cues from the preceding Art Nouveau movement with a flower-like style in antique brass finish.

Modern kitchen cabinet knob on white glass panel doors

Again, a more contemporary knob alternative might have cleaner lines, feature more geometric shapes and have a metallic finish, such as a classic flat knob in steel (pictured above), polished chrome or brushed nickel.

IKEA Kitchen Upgrade Inspiration

Chrome cabinet bow handle

A common type of kitchen cabinetry pull handle is the bow handle (pictured above). This is a simple pull design consisting of an arched, or bowed, metal grip. Bow handles can be fitted to kitchen cupboard doors vertically, or to drawer fronts horizontally, varying in detail. Bow handles are ideal for shaker-style kitchen cabinetry.

Custom look pink kitchen cabinets with chrome bow handles

For more contemporary kitchen ideas, why not consider industrial details, such as a pewter pipe-style pull handle (pictured below) or knurled cylinder cupboard and drawer knobs.

Rounded pipe handle - rustic pewter finish

You might want to give your IKEA kitchen a quirkier, more idiosyncratic look. Handles and knobs are great for adding a twist of the unusual outside of basic kitchen designs — they can be the proverbial icing on the cake.

A good example is something like the knob pictured below. It's a wood and resin combination that’s great for a traditional-meets-contemporary look.

White resin and natural wood round cabinet knob

Or perhaps this take on the bow handle design would give your IKEA kitchen a more sophisticated feel? Its sleek lines and wider, flat grip offer a more substantial look. And in antique brass finish, it would work well for a variety of kitchen styles.

Flat bow cabinet pull handle in brushed brass finsih

Here's a marble cupboard or drawer knob in a geometric design, reminiscent of the Art Deco style of the 1930s. Again, this could add an interesting detail to plain or purely functional kitchen cabinetry.

Small kitchen cabinet or drawer knob - white, geometrically shaped - Art Deco-style

The cup pull handle is a kitchen design classic. It's often seen in shaker, farmhouse or rustic kitchens, in pewter or copper finishes. Below is an example of a modern take on the traditional kitchen, showing black drawer pulls contrasting with white cabinetry.

Super simple modern shaker-style kitchen - open shelving - with black hardware and range hood on white cabinetry

Finally, here's an example of how quirky you can get with kitchen handles and knobs. They're a ceramic style, with a 'freehand' decorative vibe. If you're handy in the crafts department, perhaps consider buying plain ceramic knobs and decorating them yourself with acrylic paints for a bespoke kitchen look.

Ceramic drawer knobs with a quirky wow factor - blue, decorated with white paint design

Fitting Kitchen Handles and Knobs

It's a straightforward DIY job to fit your cabinetry handles and knobs. How to go about it will depend on whether you’re buying a new IKEA kitchen and using your own upgrade handles, or you already have an IKEA kitchen and want to upgrade existing IKEA hardware.

IKEA kitchen inspiration - person fitting a cabinet door handle

Here's what to consider:

New Kitchens

When you buy your IKEA kitchen, specify it without handles. This will enable you to fit your own upgrades from scratch. Watch this knob and handle installation video for a good idea of what's involved.

Existing Kitchens

As we’ve already touched on, if you’re upgrading an existing IKEA kitchen, you may need to fill and re-drill the holes. This is a bit more involved, and unless you're a confident DIYer, it's probably best to call in a tradesperson or professional handyman to fit your wonderful new kitchen handles and knobs.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this article will have given you some IKEA kitchen handle upgrade ideas, whether you're buying new or upgrading your existing kitchen cabinetry.

Remember, with IKEA kitchen handles and knobs choice is limited. Sourcing your kitchen handles and knobs from a specialist hardware supplier will offer a much greater range from which to choose, and will definitely be worth the effort to create a unique kitchen style.

Get IKEA kitchen makeover inspiration with a huge collection of handles and knobs at Hiatt Hardware.

IKEA kitchen ideas - chrome D-handles on olive green drawer fronts