Ikea kitchen, non-Ikea doors (options)

Ikea Custom Kitchen Doors thumb

We’re getting so close to finishing our main building work! All that’s left are couple of tidy-up bits and bobs. I can’t wait to have our house back, even though it’ll still be trashed. Once the builders have gone we have to have new windows fitted to the front of the house, plaster various walls, level the floor and install flooring, and install the kitchen.

We bought the Ikea kitchen cabinets the other evening – cabinets, legs, interior drawers and shelves, lighting, integrated dishwasher. We didn’t get the doors, trim/plinths etc, handles, worktop, sink, tap or other appliances. The reason we didn’t get the doors in simple: I don’t really like any of them. If I had to choose one it would be Ringhult high-gloss white, but I’m not yet convinced that look is what I want. I’ve lost my way a bit with a vision for the kitchen, and am hoping it will become clear again once the floor is down and the walls aren’t bare plaster, so I can see how dark or light the space really is. The attraction of the high-gloss is that it reflects a lot of light, so if the space ends up like a cave Ringhult might be a good option.

I’ve been looking at my options for doors, and as far as I can see, here they are from cheapest to most expensive:

1.) Buy the cheapest possible Ikea doors (Haggeby) and attempt to give them a Shaker look with trim and paint.


The doors would cost about £60, then if I add paint, trim etc it would still be a relatively small amount of money to risk losing if the result was rubbish. It could save me many hundreds of pounds if they miraculously ended up looking good.


It would take a lot of time, which could all be wasted if the attempt fails.

This much-referenced kitchen by Sarah Sherman Samuel would be the ultimate goal!:

Sarah Sherman Samuel Ikea Kitchen Doors


2.) Buy the new Torhamn doors, and try to paint them.

I like the look of the new Torhamn doors, but don’t think they’re quite for me as they are. The frames are solid wood, which is the closest you can get to wood now with the current range of Ikea doors, although the panels within the frames are veneered particleboard.  They have that clear Ikea lacquer on them, which I don’t think will prove easy to paint over.


The door itself already looks professional – it’s only my paint job which can botch things up.


The doors alone will cost about £510. A lot to lose if I ruin them with bad paint results. There’s also the cost of paint.

It will take a lot of work to prep those doors for painting, with no guarantee of success.

This is the Torhamn kitchen unpainted:

Ikea Torhamn Kitchen


3.) Get custom doors from Kitchen Door Workshop.

For about £525 I can get doors made to fit by Kitchen Door Workshop. The colours are limited, and having received almost all the samples I ordered (the grey was missing), my fears have been confirmed: I don’t like their colours.. They do have a paintable door, which would mean I could have any colour I want if I put the work in.


If the paintable doors are a good product, they should take the paint ok and I’d be able to have any colour of the rainbow.


I bought a sample door once and it still had that plasticky look which I’m not fond of. Not sure I could get a desirable look with these doors in the off-the-shelf colours.

If I end up having to paint them myself, I’m back to doing a lot of work which could end up looking rubbish.

I have no guarantee that the paintable doors are hard wearing.

This is the door style I think I’d go for (it’s called “Tullymore” in the Bella range):

Bella Tullymore Kitchen

4.) Get custom doors from Shaker Doors.

Shaker Doors make shaker style doors to fit Ikea units, in MDF or tulipwood, and you can have them pre-primed or even finished in any Farrow and Ball colour you like (costs more, of course).


The doors are a nice simple style and I’d be guaranteed a professional paint job.

I can choose from a huge range of colours.


I requested some sample pieces and I’m just not convinced on the practicality of the finish. It’s that kind of smoothness which I think would show every fingerprint (just from the natural oils on the skin). It also looks like the surface could dent or chip easily, and because it’s such a perfect finish any touch-ups would show.

Pre-painted in my chosen colour, tulipwood doors would cost £1,416. Pre-primed, ready for me to paint, they would cost about £1,152 (saving £264). For MDF, the price painted goes down to £1,176  and for just primed MDF the price would be 1,032.  I consider the prices reasonable, but not if my concerns about fingerprints, dents and scratches turn out to be correct!

Here’s an example of what Shaker Doors do:

Shaker Doors Ikea Kitchen


I thought that writing this all down and talking to you would help, and it has! It seems to me that 3 out of my 4 options involve painting the doors myself anyway. As the difference in financial cost between Option 1 and Option 4 is a whopping £1,000 or more, I may as well attempt Option 1 on a small scale and see how it goes. If it’s awful I’ll only have lost a bit of time and money. Also, the fact is that I do have time but I no longer have much money!

Until next time x

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Comments 8

  1. Kelli

    If you are just painting the doors you might want to go with Bjorket Birch not Torhamn. They are solid wood as well ( birch) but much cheaper.

  2. Fiona

    I am going through the same dilemma as you! I love devol kitchens but sadly my champagne taste only has a lemonade budget. Am thinking I will go the shaker door route. Not sure when you posted this, but what did you do?!

  3. Polly

    Hi there! My plan was to do the exact same thing because we have the same dilemma. I can’t find any cabinets with colours I like. Did you manage to paint these doors? How did it work out? Would love to hear more!

  4. Adele Sandry

    I am in the same boat. I like the shaker inspired style of the Grimslov door, but not the plastic finish. When I saw the Torhamn I thought it was unfinished & could be easily painted. Unfortunately it does have a finish so sanding them down only to repaint seems wasteful. The folks at ‘St. Paul Haus’ blog used cabinet doors from Scherr’s, Minot, North Dakota, US. I think that is the direction I am headed. They have tons of design & wood options and stock can be factory finished or sent unfinished. Shipping to the UK would probably be cost prohibitive, but there has to be a custom wood shop nearer you that could tackle it. If I remember correctly they figured they were able to purchase unfinished custom doors for almost the same price as the Ikea ones. It might be an option for you. Don’t settle for a finish you don’t like, you have to live with those cabinets, gotta love ’em.

  5. Rebecca Symes

    I have strongly considered attempting Option 1 myself. I absolutely adore the shaker style in 2 tones: black for the bottom cabinets & white uppers. Not in love with IKEA’s “black” offerings.

    I would love to know if you actually painted the Haggeby doors & how they came out, what paint you used. I am quiet good at painting furniture but have never attempted melamine – which is the only thing in my budget.

    Look forward to your updates. I’ll pinning your post.

  6. Bouchard-Negre

    I was thinking about buying the Turhamn Ikea Kitchen and paint it after a small sanding. Did you try it ? I’m french and we don’t have as many industrial options as you for cabinet kitchen.
    Thanks your your answer and I hope your kitchen is fantastic !

  7. Heather McFarlane

    Hi there,

    Really helpful blog and well written. i am in exactly the same position and really interested to know how your kitchen doors wokred out in the end. Any learning is helpful for me!

    Kind regards,

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