Frameless kitchen cabinets, known as "Euro-style," are those sleek, ultra-modern styles that have no surface face frames, with doors and drawers that fit snugly against the cabinet carcasses. They offer a very smooth, clean look that are ideal for modern decors. This style is nearly universal in Europe and other parts of the world, but in the U.S., a relatively low demand means that there has been little competition to help drive down prices. Euro-style cabinets tend to be quite expensive in the U.S. market, and often must be purchased from upscale European providers, such as the high-end Italian manufacturer, Snaidero.
In an effort to save money, many homeowners have turned to Euro-style cabinets from IKEA, the Swedish manufacturer that has taken the home furnishings market by storm, especially for young homeowners. In fact, KEA-lovers in touch with kitchen trends will swear that the high-end Italian cabinet manufacturer Snaidero is one of the true makers of IKEA kitchen cabinets.
Many major manufacturers of high-end products are known to offer "off-brand" discount versions for certain markets. Is this perhaps true with IKEA Euro-cabinets? Are they actually made by the high-end manufacturers, such as Snaidero?
To get to the bottom of this, we did side-by-side comparisons of current IKEA cabinets with the closest matches from the Snaiidero product line. We found that although IKEA cabinets are by no means exact duplicates, their cabinets are very much in the spirit of ultra-expensive Snaidero—in every way except the price.
Here are some side-by-side comparisons between Snaidero and IKEA kitchen cabinets
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Basic White Kitchen Cabinets
Snaidero Florence (Left)
The Florence line from Snaidero uses doors and drawer fronts made of genuine wood veneer over a particleboard core. The carcasses (body of the cabinets) are made from plastic melamine over particleboard.
IKEA AKURUM ABSTRAKT (Right)
In IKEA's closest match, the AKURUM ABSTRACT, all parts consist of high-gloss white melamine surfaces over a particleboard core.
The difference between the expensive Snaidero and much cheaper IKEA cabinets are apparent at close examination, where the wood grain of Snaidero gives a texture that can't be matched by IKEA's melamine. However, at casual viewing, or at a distance, there is little difference in appearance.Continue to 2 of 4 below.
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Light-Brown Wood Finish Cabinets
Snaidero Idea (Left)
The Idea line from Snaidero features a matte cherry wood finish. Particleboard panels are covered with a polymeric laminate. The carcasses are melamine over particleboard.
IKEA AKURUM NEXUS (Right)
IKEA's closest match is the yellow-brown finish of the NEXUS cabinet line. All surfaces are melamine over particleboard cores.
IKEA"s simulated-wood malamine surfaces are a surprisingly close match to the Snaidero cabinets. Apperance-wise, IKEA offers a very good value, though the finishes are not identical.Continue to 3 of 4 below.
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Traditional White Kitchen Cabinets
Snaidero Gioconda (Left)
Euro-style cabinets can be given a traditional "panel-and-frame door" look through the use of surface moldings. In Snaidero's Giconda cabinets, a feather-gray matt lacquer finish is created by the application of acrylic matte lacquer paint over particleboard doors and drawer fronts. The carcasses are melamine over particleboard.
IKEA AKURUM LIDINGO (Right)
IKEA's closest match, the LIDINGO line, features melamine surfaces over particleboard cores for both drawer fronts, doors, and carcass walls.
Snaidero's surface finishes are decidedly different and probably superior to IKEA's, although many consumers will not find the huge price jump warranted by a fairly slight improvement in finish appearance.Continue to 4 of 4 below.
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Close inspection suggests that high-end Italian cabinet manufacturer Snaidero is NOT one of the suppliers of IKEA cabinets. Some consumers may want to believe that Snaidero is building these cabinets, but is just using slightly inferior surface finishes for the IKEA market. However, notable differences in carcass construction seem to disprove this.
However, the IKEA designers or buyers have done a very good job of creating Euro-style cabinets that have a similar appearance to luxury cabinets costing many times more. For many homeowners, this will offer a remarkable value.