IKEA Kitchen Base Cabinet System: Know Before You Buy

IKEA Style Kitchen Cabinets

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IKEA's kitchen cabinet system offers a great option for remodeling a kitchen. IKEA cabinets are well-built, low-cost, and you can bring them home the same day that you buy them.

But at times, IKEA's cabinet system and its terminology can be confusing. This quick primer on the basic elements of the system will help you navigate through the many options of IKEA cabinets.

What Are SEKTION Cabinets?

SEKTION is the name for the only base cabinet system that IKEA offers. SEKTION is a frameless kitchen cabinet system with two main virtues:

Built-In Features

Built-in cabinets have clean, unbroken horizontals with legs covered by toe kicks (if desired). The countertops can run unbroken along the entire spread of the base cabinets, except for intentional breaks, such as for sinks. Built-in kitchen cabinets are adept at using every available square inch of space—a plus with smaller galley or L-shaped kitchens.

Frameless Style

Frameless cabinets have doors that cover the entire front face of the cabinet. Frameless cabinets impart a Euro or modern look for a sleek appearance that emphasizes other areas of the kitchen such as appliances, flooring, or tilework.

What Happened to AKURUM?

For years, AKURUM was IKEA's cabinet system. In 2015, AKURUM was discontinued and SEKTION took its place. While IKEA will support owners of AKURUM products to a limited degree, AKURUM is largely a discontinued product line.

IKEA Cabinet Sizes

Base cabinets always sit on the floor and, as the name implies, act as a base for other things, such as countertops, cooktops, microwaves, and ovens. Since base cabinets occupy floor space, they effectively define the footprint of your kitchen.

IKEA Cabinet Widths

IKEA base cabinets come in the following range of widths: 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 36, 38, and 47 inches. 

Most kitchens make heavy use of cabinets in one of two widths: 30- or 36-inches wide. These are considered the core of any cabinet system, as both can accommodate sinks (although IKEA's 24-inch-wide cabinet can also hold a small sink).

The three smallest sizes (12, 15, and 18 inches) tend to be filler or end cabinets. The largest sizes (38 and 47 inches) are corner cabinets.

IKEA Cabinet Depths

Cabinet depth means the distance from the front (or leading) edge of the cabinet to the back wall or backsplash. 

The standard depth for kitchen cabinets is about 24 inches. IKEA's options for cabinet depths are 15, 24, and 24-3/4 inches.

IKEA Cabinet Height

All base kitchen cabinets are 30 inches high. After you add the legs, the total height becomes 34-1/2 inches.

This height is largely a matter of standard architectural practice, as this has been determined to be the most practical height for most people. Other types of cabinets, such as tall pantry units and wall cabinets, come in different heights.

Sink Base Cabinets

Sink bases are a special type of base cabinet. They don't have drawers or other obstructions at the top in order to provide space for a drop-in sink.

  • SE SBJ2D: This is the standard sink base with two lower doors. It is 36 inches wide by 24 inches deep.
  • SE SBP2F: This includes one large drawer to accommodate trash, recycling, or more. It is 24 inches deep and is available 24 inches or 36 inches wide.
  • SE SBP3F: This base cabinet has a big lower drawer, although this one is shorter than the SE SBP2F model. Again, it is 24 inches deep and available 24 inches and 36 inches wide.
  • SE SB1D: This is a simple 24-inch by 24-inch sink base with one door.

Corner Base Cabinets

Corner bases are L-shaped cabinets that fit neatly into the corner of the rooms. If you have a galley style kitchen, you do not need corner base cabinets, but other kitchen layouts can make use of them. Most corner base cabinets can be ordered with either right-opening or left-opening doors.

  • SE CBP: A 47-inch-wide cabinet with a pull-out carousel (indicated by the "P")
  • SE CBC: A 38-inch-wide cabinet with carousel (indicated by the "C")
  • SE CBS: A 47-inch-wide corner cabinet with shelves (indicated by the "S")
  • SE SBC: A 38-inch-wide corner cabinet designed for a sink (indicated by the "SB")

Frame Color 

Frame, as used by IKEA labeling, refers to the color of the cabinet box, and you can choose either white or brown.

While this choice matters, it is less important than it may seem. Most ends of your cabinets will butt up to other ends or appliances, so you will never see them. At the very most, you will have two exposed ends; often, you will have none.

Frame color matters most on the inside. Do you want to continue the wood-look into the box? Or do you want a clean white interior? This is a matter of personal preference.

Doors and Drawers

IKEA's names for door and drawer front styles are not descriptive, so you have to sort them by sight alone.

Many different door and drawer fronts work with the SEKTION base cabinets. Always look for any notes on the product description to make sure the doors or fronts are compatible with the cabinet boxes and with specific types of hinges and other hardware.

Legs and Toe Kicks

Legs and toe kicks are sold separately. Legs are required to keep the cabinet boxes off of the floor. Toe kicks are optional and are not used with all legs.

  • Legs: The basic legs are made of plastic and are adjustable to help level the cabinets on uneven floor surfaces; these are hidden by the plinth strips. There are also metal legs with screw-type adjustment and sturdy bases; these are more like furniture legs that you don't cover.
  • Toe Kick: Also called a plinth by IKEA, this is a narrow strip of plastic that covers up the legs; these serve the same purpose as toe-kick boards found on conventional cabinets. So, when the plinth is installed, the cabinets have the outer appearance of resting directly on the floor, though it's the inner legs that actually support the weight.