installing flat pack kitchen

After ripping out the old kitchen we decided to get a flatpack kitchen from Bunnings.  It’s a temporary measure before the full house extension gets done in the next year.

[See Who needs a kitchen anyway? ]

We’d built and installed flatpack laundry cupboards before in a previous house so thought we were up to the task (with the help of a few mates with tools of course.).

We used the Kaboodle range and I must say I was pretty impressed with the quality of the carcasses especially, better than some kitchen companies around town I’ve seen.

Planning the design was pretty easy in such a small space where the sink and cooker spaces were already set.  I added in a dishwasher provision though because I can’t live for any amount of time without one!

We went with gloss white doors (with push to open hinges on overheads), 2 sets of soft close drawers and a tall pantry cupboard.

The benchtop ended up being timber rather than laminate as planned (but I’ll explain that later).

It was tricky to get the process right though so I’m sharing some of those lessons and tips for those who want to give it a go.

Tips for Installing a Flatpack Kitchen

  • I made about 8 trips to Bunnings in the work ute picking up all the bits and pieces and going back for more.   Even though I thought I was organised, there were always things missing or not in stock or not enough of.
    TIP:   Take a lot of time preparing and make good use of the kitchen planner and product selection guide available from Bunnings or the Kaboodle website to make a full list of everything required, including screws and accessories.
  • Some of the reason for multiple trips was that these boxes are big and heavy and wouldn’t all fit in the back of the ute, so I couldn’t physically buy everything at once.  The older gent serving in that department knew me by name by the end of the weekend and was nice enough to push my oversized and overflowing trolley to the carpark for me on several occasions (sometimes it’s good to play the poor small girl card 😉 )
    TIP: Take someone with you to help and use 2 trolleys and/or take 2 vehicles.  Better yet, it’s worth paying for home delivery or borrowing a trailer from Bunnings for the day.
  • The cupboard carcasses can be built elsewhere before bringing them into the kitchen piece by piece.  Thank goodness for the adjustable feet when dealing with old flooring and bowed walls!  Levelling the floor cupboards is the most time consuming but important part.
    TIP:  Leave the height of the floor cupboards as high as possible to reduce having to cut down your kickboards.

installing flat pack kitchens

  • Use quick release clamps when screwing the cupboards to each other but also when screwing the drawer fronts on
    TIP: use cardboard offcuts to protect the door fronts from denting

installing flat pack kitchens

  • When I’d measured the wall for the overheads I was sure it was 2700mm so I could fit 3 x 900mm cupboards but alas, it was about 3mm out and they couldn’t squeeze in next to the fan switch.  So they had to sit on top, taking the height up 100mm in the process which means the standard splashback I’d picked won’t be big enough, grrr.
    TIP: Measure, measure and measure again!
    PS. This is why I need a fancy laser measure (hint, hint, Mother’s Day lol)

installing flat pack kitchens

  • We saved about $200 by not putting an end panel on the left side of the pantry cupboard.  As you can see it’s nearly all covered by the fridge so not worth worrying about.   We just used push on screw caps to cover the exposed screws at the top.
  • Kaboodle supplies a handle drilling template for all their handle sizes so you just choose your handle type, use a pen to mark the holes and drill.   Can’t go wrong!  (although Mr Bell still managed to drill one drawer completely wrong)
    TIP: use masking tape to mark the holes on – easy to remove if you make a mistake and leaves a cleaner hole when you drill through it first.
  • I’d planned to get laminate benchtops in a white or grey flecked look, but on my way to the back of Bunnings I spotted timber benchtops on a rack that were $99!  This took my fancy because I needed 2 pieces and the laminate ones were $240 per piece.  This was a saving of $282 so I snapped them up and was pretty chuffed with myself.   However, I hadn’t realised that the laminate ones were a bit longer and could be cut straight and butt-jointed together. Because we had 2 corners, the timber tops needed to be mitred which we couldn’t do.   Enter a kitchen installer a few days later to cut and fit them for us at a cost of $260!  Argh!  There goes the savings.

But we got there in the end, it functions pretty well and is most definately an improvement on the old one.

Before and after renovation kitchen

The splashback is the FASTBO wall panel from IKEA which was siliconed on (cut with circular saw and switches cut out with jigsaw).


Have you had any crazy kitchen building experiences?  Have tips to share?  

I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

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