8 things I learned while getting an IKEA kitchen

I will disclose now that prior to embarking on Operation Kitchen, I was a devoted IKEA fan so much so that when we bought the house 5 years ago, I assumed we would get an IKEA kitchen. That said, we looked a few other suppliers (Howdens, B&Q, John Lewis) and got a quote from Wicks. I also poured over the all the blog posts I could find  – this one was particularly good – http://aubreyandlindsay.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/tips-tricks-for-buying-ikea-kitchen.htm

1.Free design service

Yes, contrary to the fee advertised on their website, if you live in an area where the take up is high, the design service is FREE! We had a lovely helpful guy come round, measure up. Turns out, we totally ignored his design and ended up doing it ourselves but it was still brilliant. He was aso in email contact with us and quick to respond.

2. The DIY design program is quite tricky to use with slow laptop and no mouse

When I say tricky, I had several first world problem meltdowns trying to move cabinets into spaces that were clearly large enough, or get them in only for them to obstinately be facing the wrong way. 6 months later, I’m still feeling a bit stressed now just reliving it. There is a solution though, which is use the ones in store on a weekday evening when it’s nice and quiet and helpful staff on hand to assist if necessary.

3. Hidden drawers

Drawers concealed behind hinged doors excite me, as do hidden drawers within drawers, like this one. All easy to do and maximise the available space.

4. It  helps if you live close.

I count my blessings every week that I live 10 minutes drive from IKEA and during the kitchen project those blessing were counted more regularly. Living close allows you to fine tune the details during the project. I was able to return items that were redundant, play with handles etc in the show room, and was returning every few days to make a decision on x y or z (and eat hot dog obviously).

5. Free Wifi

The free wifi incredibly useful when trying to keep to 2 under 5’s entertained in a shopping trolley! Peppa Pip anyone?

6. Get the whole lot delivered

Having read seemingly all the posts about IKEA kitchens, I knew that getting the whole lot delivered was the way, rather than collecting yourself. Again, having read all the posts, I was expecting key items to be missing from the order, and was delighted to find that this was not the case at all, delivery 100% perfect (and nice, helpful guys too I should add). Make sure you have enough space for it, the delivery filled our entire sitting room.

7. IKEA returns are amazing

Yes, there may be a small queue but there is usually a TV and mini kids play area too. We returned loads of things like lightss, cabinets, hinges –  all easy and straightforward to do.

8. The coffee is grim

Such a shame even though it is free too.  I even pimped my order and got the ‘latte’ and it was still not to my liking. Totally not a coffee snob,and I never hear anyone else complaining so maybe it’s just me?


As mentioned at the start of this post, prior to embarking on this project, I was a unashamed IKEA fan and part of me was genuinely worried that the love was going to disappear and I’d no longer be able to enjoy a leisurely afternoon amassing storage solutions and picture frames. A bit like meeting your idol, or maybe eating too much chocolate cake? But no, the love is still there, it’s even increased. The whole process was actually quite joyful and I would recommend an IKEA kitchen to anyone.


AeroPress Love

I like coffee. I’m actually pretty happy with instant most of the time, it’s obviously not ‘proper’ coffee but it’s a warm, caffinated beverage  that I enjoy. However, sometimes I yearn for the real thing but can’t be bothered with most of the home brew methods.  

Some common options and why they are not for me:

Stove top  – I’m too inattentive and forgetful

Cafetiere – The thought of washing it up makes me sigh

Filter machine – I don’t have one; they take up valuable worktop space

Fancy pants machine – see above re worktop and cleaning, plus I’m a tightwad.

But there’s another option! Some years ago, a dear friend, knowing my love of coffee and of gadget, bought me an AeroPress.  Looking a bit like (what I imagine) a penis enlarger looks like, and coupled with little filter paper circles and things that unscrew and plunge, it ticks many boxes. It also makes lovely coffee for 1 or 2 people  and in about 1 minute too, combining pressure, filtering and steeping method in one, giant syringe like contraption.

This is what I do:

  • Slightly plunge plunger into main tube.
  • Add scoop of chosen coffee
  • Top with water from freshly boiled kettle
  • Stir
  • Put filter paper in lid
  • Attach lid
  • Hold coffee mug over lid
  • Walk to sink
  • Invert operation so coffee starts entering cup
    Walk back to counter
  • Fully plunge
  • Add milk or whatever
  • Enjoy!

To wash up, just plunge the grains straight into bin and quick wash of parts – takes seconds.

So simple and effective, I LOVE my AeroPress! Plus it’s made by 80’s park staple Aeorobie so bonus points for that.

Which paint colour matches Ikea Grytnas?

Paint match for ikea grytnas


Have you or are you planning on getting an Ikea kitchen with Grytnas doors? Hoping to paint other furniture or moulding to match? Wondering what paint colour will match? LOOK NO FURTHER!

I can’t believe this hasn’t been written about yet, or maybe my googling skills are not what I thought they were? Anyway, I’ve read plenty of posts that state Benjamin Moore Paper Mache is the best bet for Adel (the older, pre-Metod version Grytnas), FYI this one is the best and also essential reading for anyone getting an Ikea kitchen. However, I’ve never seen Benjamin Moore paint here in the UK but… I did find this post that matches in BM paint to Farrow & Ball, but alas,  no mention on here of Paper Mache. Realising that for once, maybe the internet was not going to provide all the answers, I went to B&Q with a Grytnas door front, ready to actually find something out for myself.

And came away disappointed.

According the B&Q/Valspar the slight sheen makes scanning difficult meaning the resulting match is not a match at all (to me at least). I then walked round the store looking like a loon trying to match by eye the door front and little tiny paint samples on shelves and unsurprisingly, this did not work.

Now feeling quite concerned as had installed a large MDF shelving unit that was all ready to be painted in Grytnas colour,  I suddenly remembered the Dulux trade paint store.  Here the sheen was not a problem and hoorah, they were able to find a match. I took a couple of sample pots home, here you can see the results.


I’m therefore happy to reveal that if you want to paint match Ikea Grytnas doors, (and don’t have a door you can take with you to scan), you need … Dulux Cameo Silk 2.

Happy painting!

Yellow pom pom trim

When we first saw viewed what was to become our home, the curtains in the sitting room were pretty amazing. 100% man-made fabric in a vibrant orange, they co-ordinated perfectly with the brown/orange swirly carpet. We were suprised when the current owners decided to keep the curtains although turns out it was for the grandson’s fashion project so made a bit more sense.

Anyway, the replacements were brown and barely covered the sil and were nasty too so it was off to IKEA for me to find some replacements. In the end I went for these tab topped ones, but chopped off the top and sewed on curtain tape so they worked with the existing rail. It’s a bay window so it needed 3 seperate curtains to get good cover and there was always a plan to one day improve this situation and jazz them up at the same time.

That day came and it was with great delight that I chopped the middle one in half, sewed each half onto an existing curtain and edged each curtain (now 2 instead of 3)  with the most delicious yellow pom pom trim.

Adding the trim was simples, just pinned it on and then whizzed it through zig zag stitch.

It’s a reflection of my empty life when I tell you that this pom pom trim makes me so happy each time I enter the now totally transformed room. The yellow works well with the pale grey walls, pink lamp and blue stool and when I get all 4 aligned, it’s almost too much.

Sad, but true.

painted bistro chairs

Garden furniture

In an earlier post, I mentioned Brackenwood Garden Centre which is stuffed full of beautiful plants and their associated gubbins. While it has a cafe, that’s not really the main draw, and if you are looking for a non-plant gift then look elsewhere. However, at the opposite end of the scale, if you are after 90% gift shop/10% plants, then one that I can really recommend is Burford Garden Centre, and it was here that I first laid eyes on the beautiful Fermob bistro chairs (although they don’t seem to sell them anymore, at least according to the website).

fermob bistro chairs

These are classics, and it was love at first sight, until I saw the price tag which made them out of reach for me.

So, imagine my excitement when I saw a similar set in my secret favourite place – Argos! Yes, it was all white, and probably not as well made but at just £50for 4 chairs plus a table, how could I say no.

argos patio set

A bit of paint later*, and a not-dissimilar set at a fraction of the price. Yippee

painted bistro chairs

I just used paint that we had hanging about in the shed but I would like to respray one of the grey ones yellow, and do the table as well.

*plus approx 2 years procrastination…

popcorn hydrangea

Popcorn hydrangea

Silly name, beautiful plant.  As soon as I spotted this plant in the entrance to Brackenwood garden centre, I knew it had to be mine. I’ve had this now for over a year and it’s still alive which is pretty much a record, and I even think it’s grown a bit.

popcorn hydrangea

I like the shape of the flowers but the green/blue/purple colour of their buds is what I really love about this plant.

popcorn hydrangea

As everyone knows though, hydrangeas change colour according to ph level of the soil so mine is already turning pink.

popcorn hydrangea pink

I read somewhere that you can add certain things to the soil to make it stay blue so when I re-pot it, that’s what I’ll do.

Perfect patterns

Oh my gosh I love pattern. And colour. And pattern and colour. And Pinterest, where beautiful patterns flow about, ready to be collated and poured over for months to come.

Here are a selection of some of my current favourite prints where the colour and pattern are both, in my opinion, going for it.

Helga White by Hamburgerliebe on Spoonflower

Childhood a Tana Lawn by Liberty Art Fabrics

Helen Dardik, although it was difficult to pick just one.

Beautiful gift wrap from Leah Duncan at Betty & Dupree

Leah Duncan Triangles,

Put a lid on it by Michael Miller available from Fancymoon

Put a lid on it by Michael Miller

Amy Butler Water Boquet Midnight fabric available from onlinefabricstore

Amy Butler Water Bouquet Midnight Fabric

Annabel Grey – cut flowers

Annabel Grey cut flowers hanging

Studio Lisa Bengtsson – Tyget “Baronessa” Rosa/Gul

Tyget "Baronessa" Rosa/Gul

Seagull by Jenny Lee-Katz