HOWDENS VS IKEA: Why we turned down an IKEA kitchen for Howdens

ikea kitchen reviews

ikea kitchen reviews

Looking for an IKEA Kitchen review? Well this isn’t actually a review

If you are looking for an IKEA kitchen review, what we have for you here might be more important than an actual review.

A few years ago when we were doing our kitchen renovation, we were investigating which kitchen supplier was right for us and there were a few candidates on the table.


We were on the market for something budget to mid range, a shaker style, and good quality that didn’t take weeks to be delivered as some kitchen suppliers do.

So inevitably, the mainstays i.e. IKEA kitchens, Howdens and B&Q were on our hit list.

Our first flat had a Howdens kitchen and we were impressed with the beating it took over the years (!) but we didn’t let this get in the way of a getting a good deal, if it meant getting a similar quality for a better price, so we gave IKEA kitchens and B&Q kitchens some real consideration too.

We read the IKEA reviews, the Howdens ones and the B&Q ones and there was so much info out there about each option, you might even be in a similar position..

Planning a kitchen is tough enough as it is, so in this post we want to share with you our thoughts on all 3 suppliers to help you inform decisions – and we’ll discuss what made us end up choosing a Howdens kitchen.

We also have some helpful guides on this blog to find answers to how much does a new kitchen cost? and how much does a kitchen extension cost, so stick around.

Why we turned down IKEA kitchens in favour of Howdens

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1. IKEA have a gorgeous range of kitchens but may require more man hours to fit

Our builder gave us some advice that I couldn’t stop thinking about when we were in the process of choosing a new kitchen, and that was:

“Fi, IKEA kitchens are lovely, they’re good quality, they’re affordable, but they take a lot longer to fit… think about your choice wisely.”

First off I thought, were they just being very biased because IKEA instructions are a somewhat nuisance to read. But then I thought deeper… It was going to take double the time to fit it, and beside that meaning a longer wait until us getting our dream kitchen, it would have cost us double in labour costs.

Why? Because of this point below…

2. IKEA kitchens don’t arrive pre-built like Howdens

Now, it was 2016 when we got our Howdens kitchen fitted (make sure to also read our Howdens kitchen review), and I don’t know if IKEA have since upped their kitchen game, but you know the white base units that make up the structure of a kitchen? Howdens can deliver those pre-built, but IKEA don’t. If you’ve got a medium to large sized kitchen, that’s going to take a lot extra man hours to build (work that we definitely weren’t going to do ourselves).

NOTE: Pre-built kitchens might come in that little bit more expensive for the materials - so if you’re looking to save money, you need to do a bit of homework and calculate fitting costs and material costs to work out what is best for you.


3. We also tried B&Q and weren’t overly impressed…

Just a brief note about B&Q in case you’re considering them too. They had a great selection of worktops there – everything from wood, to granite, to laminate – at pretty affordable prices. This impressed us. But we just didn’t fall in love with any of their kitchen styles. This is just personal taste, so your experience might vary and of course, that was back in 2016 so they may have upped their design game along with advances in the industry.

4. Howdens have local warehouses making deliveries far faster, and any extras needed, more convenient to get hold of

Something we say to students on our renovation online course all the time, is if you’re on the market for a kitchen supplier don’t overlook the convenience of their warehouse being close by.

When you’re 75% of the way through the fit of your kitchen and you realise you need an extra length of kick-board, the last thing you want is to have to wait weeks for it to arrive/be delivered leaving you with an unfinished kitchen and your builder needing to schedule in more work with you later. We guide newbie renovators on how to manage their projects seamlessly with minimal stress and our courses and guides are packed with advice.

What we wish we knew before we started:

  • Make savings and keep control of costs

  • Create a kitchen design brief

  • The order of events (What to expect and when to expect it)

  • Future proofing, suppliers, tradesmen and loads more…

Howdens have all local branches across the UK and are extremely trade friendly, meaning your builder/joiner can drive in, pick up any extras and get it fitted for you the same day.


Kitchen suppliers and designs aren't easy. They have a lot of moving parts to get right. And there's a lot that can go wrong...

My goal (as ever) is to help you approach your project in the right way, so it ultimately enhances your life. To continue learning about kitchens and give your project the best chance of success take a look at my free email series – How to Design and Order a Kitchen. It’s packed with tips to get your dream look on budget.

We are so happy with the decision we made and even now we’re still as in love with our kitchen as when it was installed.

We really hope some of what we shared in this post helps you choose a kitchen that becomes heart of your home for many years to come <3

Thanks for reading,

Fifi & Neil


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