IKEA Adel kitchen: before and after sneak peek!

The LA Lady's IKEA Adel DIY Kitchen

So it’s been a couple of weeks of traveling and house guests and I’ve been remiss in posting. And there was Dwell on Design where I met the most awesome purveyor of skincare products (more on that soon) and I had a great time.

Basically, I was putting the finishing touches on the kitchen and then I had to leave town! After weeks of IKEA cabinet assembly and tile installation, we have a finished product. So now I’ve been able to work in the kitchen and so far it’s been amazing. SUCH a huge improvement over the old 80’s kitchen. And now I won’t hit my head on the cabinets either!

Before pics:



The white upper cabinets that extend into the middle of the space were THE WORST. They weren’t attached to a soffit and so they were way too high to really be usable… and I’m almost 6 feet tall.


There were two big changes to the layout of this kitchen. One is the right corner of the kitchen (see third image) which is to the left of the fridge. That’s where our old water heater was housed. It’s such a terrible layout and getting to use that corner was a must. The second is the peninsula that divides the dining room from the kitchen. It’s great counter space but it makes it incredibly difficult for two people to work at the same time. Also, I’m pretty sure every guest we’ve had has hit their forehead on those upper cabinets, so they had to go no matter what.


And here’s the new corner! The water heater has been swapped out for a tankless so now that closet has been significantly altered to accommodate a washer and dryer (I’ll do a post for that later).


So now there’s no peninsula and it’s transformed our space into more of a U-shaped kitchen. If we’ve lost counter space, I haven’t noticed it yet.


I think the best part of all is our cabinet space is so much more usable. I’ve been able to put away everything with room to spare. The door in the above image, while a necessity, kind of interrupts the flow but I’ve made it work by adding the towel rack with hooks (I think it’s the IKEA Bygel version) and am storing my oven mitts there. You’d be amazed what you can hang on a hook or mount to a door.

Mr. Los Angeles and I were discussing the whole project. He hated installing the tile backsplash the most and I hated the cabinet assembly the most. Although as you can see, the tile going all away around the door is a great touch and I’m so glad we did it. Who says white kitchens have to be boring?!

These are the main materials we used: IKEA Adel cabinetry in off white, Cambria countertops in Bellingham and a sandy gray tile

These are the main materials we used: IKEA Adel cabinetry in off white, Cambria countertops in Bellingham and a sandy gray tile (not sure of the manufacturer)

Be sure to check out the post on how we assembled all of this stuff here as well as our custom DIY spice rack here. Once again, a special thanks to TME Construction for making this vision a reality and letting us DIY our hearts out.

12 Comments on "IKEA Adel kitchen: before and after sneak peek!"

  1. Emily says:

    Thank you for these pictures! We’ve just started an Ikea Adel renovation and I’ve been thinking about floor to ceiling subway tile–it’s great to get a sense of how it looks in practice!

  2. LALady says:

    Awesome! If you’re going to DIY the tile, it’s definitely a lot more work and it takes some mental math to figure out the placement and everything, but it’s totally worth it. Our local Home Depot offers a free class on the weekends on how to tile back splashes. It probably would have helped if I’d taken it 🙂

    We found a wet tile saw on craigslist: it’s a must. Those score-and-crack tile saws broke more tiles than they cut. Also, getting the pre-mixed mastic and grout was a big help.

  3. Karen says:

    Curious about the shades of white, specifically subway tile and cabinets. Our adel cabinets are in and I just picked up white subway tile from local tile store. I’m starting to get cold feet that the tile is significantly whiter than the cabinets. Not sure it that’s a good thing (mixed whites) or if it will end up making the cabinets look sallow. Your pics make the whites blend beautifully. What was your real life experience?

  4. LALady says:

    Hi Karen:

    We were really lucky to find a perfect match. I carried around the smallest cabinet door we had to various tile stores and found something that worked. Maybe it was luck or maybe it was just that the Adel white is pretty common.

    I did a lot of research on paint colors that supposedly match Adel white “perfectly” and a lot of people have had trouble with this. Personally, I think paint color can vary enough to notice between batches, regions, temperatures, etc. and I think even the Adel white has to have some variation as well due to manufacturing practices and such. I’m really glad we used all that subway tile (even though it was tedious to install and I still am not sure about drilling into it to put up shelves and rails. Someday maybe…)

    I think getting close to a match would be much better than just going with plain white tile. I don’t remember the brand of our tile but the color on the invoice is listed as “biscuit.” Bringing along one of the cabinet doors with you when you go look at tile is probably the best way to see if something matches. We considered using a different color tile, like blue or yellow, but went with this because it matched so well. If I had to go with something else, I had a cement gray and a sort of sea foam green/blue tile that was really pretty–same shape and size and everything.

    Thanks for checking out the blog! I’d love to see what you end up going with. It’s fun to see how people take the same IKEA kitchen components and come up with something totally unique.

  5. Anna says:

    What did you use for deco strip under the cabinet and can you share a picture?
    Your kitchen looks great! Enjoy.

  6. Doug Lindstrom says:

    Kitchen looks great. Have a similar set up to install around the fridge. Did you put finished panels down both sides of the fridge? Regarding the cover panel above the fridge, does your sawcut (if there is one) next to the fridge or against the cabinet base?

    Many thanks.

    • LALady says:

      Hi Doug:

      We put two finished panels on both sides of the fridge. We used a small rubber strip on the bottom side that touches the floor to keep it in place. They’re so big that they can bow a little if you’re not careful. Plus, I didn’t want it to damage the floor (as it turns out, the texture of the tile would be more likely to damage the panel).

      For the cover panel above the fridge, we used a leftover piece of panel (identical to side fridge panels) and simply cut to size. It was actually easier to do the finished edge at the top and add the laminate edge on the bottom. Also, double/triple check that the panels are not cracked beforehand. The finished panels on the side of the pantry cabinet were and we had to do some fancy reinforcing to make it right.

      At the top of the hood vent, we used similar pieces to cover the gap between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling where you could see the ductwork for the vent.

      The side/end finished panels come in many sizes and I would definitely take note of the item numbers because they can come in handy in situations like this. There are plenty of little gaps and cracks that needed an extra piece or two so I’m glad we had a couple of extra kickplate pieces and panel pieces lying around during construction.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Jenni says:

    Hi! I just found your site. I’m currently doing my kitchen with white Adel cabinets and I was wondering what color you chose for the ceiling? I’m wondering if my ceiling will be too bright when placed next to the off white cabinets.

    Thanks, loved reading your post!

  8. Pam says:

    What color paint was used?

  9. Tiffany says:

    I’m installing Adel white cabinets and struggling with a ceiling color. What color did you paint your ceiling?

    • Jenni says:

      Hi Tiffany. I never received a response either. I installed Adel white cabinets in my kitchen and chose Benjamin Moore’s Simply White for our ceiling color. It looks great! Our cabinets don’t look any less white and it matches well.

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