Here's How You Can Give Your IKEA Kitchen a Fresh Face on a Tight Budget

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Thanks to a new collaboration between Danish design firm Reform and award-winning designer Cecilie Manz, you can revamp your IKEA kitchen with a high-end look, all for a budget-friendly price.

Let's face it: kitchen remodels can come with pretty expensive price tags. But if you thought that was always the case, Cecilie Manz is here to prove otherwise. The Danish designer—who was recently named the Maison & Objet 2018 Designer of the Year—has recently teamed up with Reform, a firm that specializes in designer-customized IKEA kitchens, to create Degree by Cecilie Manz

Oregon Pine is characterized by a light, red-brown wood color with a fine, narrow wood grain. 

Oregon Pine is characterized by a light, red-brown wood color with a fine, narrow wood grain. 

By employing a simple, elegant design aesthetic that pairs the functionality of a stainless steel countertop with sleek contemporary finishes, this new collaboration offers a charmingly minimalistic, design-forward update for any basic IKEA kitchen at a budget-friendly price.

The wood grain of the Oregon Pine is laid at a 45-degree angle, softly contrasting with the horizontal and vertical lines of the kitchen. 

The wood grain of the Oregon Pine is laid at a 45-degree angle, softly contrasting with the horizontal and vertical lines of the kitchen. 

Manz founded her Copenhagen studio in 1998 and has since become acclaimed for creating beautiful minimalist products for the home. While her creations favor a subdued palette, she infuses them with a stylish sense of Scandinavian simplicity.

A geometric notch handle is placed in the corner, adding a graphic element to the design.

A geometric notch handle is placed in the corner, adding a graphic element to the design.

Her work for Reform follows the same ethos. "A kitchen is a workplace and should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing at the same time," she states. "This is the place you use every day, around the clock, to play, eat, work etc. These actions should be the primary focus—so the design should never steal too much attention. Clean lines and order are perfect for that."

Manz recommends a five or eight millimeter stainless steel countertop for a floating look. The look is made possible from a shadowed panel which is placed under the surface approximately 20 millimeters from the countertop edge. 

Manz recommends a five or eight millimeter stainless steel countertop for a floating look. The look is made possible from a shadowed panel which is placed under the surface approximately 20 millimeters from the countertop edge. 

When choosing which materials to use for the collaboration, Manz went with a classic light pine. "I love the warm tone of the Oregon pine and its slim, straight grain. It was often used in the 1960s, so it’s actually an old-school choice for kitchens," she explains.

The simple details create a classic, yet modern look.

The simple details create a classic, yet modern look.

However, it is her subtle tweak of the material which gives the design its contemporary edge, adding depth to the seemingly simple look. "Here, I just turned the veneer 45 degrees. A small but very efficient detail. Like a hatching in a drawing. It’s still classic, but not retro." 

Degree Painted comes in a matte, light gray. The panels are painted on the front, back, edges, and handles for a completely uniform finish.

Degree Painted comes in a matte, light gray. The panels are painted on the front, back, edges, and handles for a completely uniform finish.

Another version of the same kitchen is available in a shade of light gray—a tone which is no stranger to the designer's stripped back palette. 

"The grey version also maintains a warm tone, giving contrast and a nice balance to the highly practical stainless steel table top," she adds. 

Here's How You Can Give Your IKEA Kitchen a Fresh Face on a Tight Budget - Photo 7 of 8 -

Cecilie Manz's Top Kitchen Design Tips: 

1. Invest in quality: "A kitchen is a long-term investment, so quality and a nice atmosphere are essential." 

2. Good lighting: "The area needs to have good "work light" and feel cozy at the same time." 

3. Maintain balance: "I like the balance we achieved in the Degree design. Stainless steel is very practical and the cabinet fronts add a sense of warmth—I couldn’t wish for more myself." 

4. Use it or lose it: "If you don’t use your kitchen appliances, get rid of them. They take up too much space and sometimes a simple wooden spoon can do the trick."

Cecilie Manz

Cecilie Manz

Degree by Cecilie Manz starts at $98 for a front. Find out more information about ordering here