kitchen transformation part 3 & review of IKEA’s tundra flooring

Well, the kitchen is done! Except for a a bit of finish work (filling nail noles in the trim) and some new decor, we’re finished! As a recap, we: refinished the kitchen cabinets using Rustoleum’s cabinet transformations kit, got new countertop, had a white subway tile backsplash installed, traded old white appliances for new black ones, and ripped out our old flooring and installed new laminate flooring from IKEA. We also purchased a new table and chairs from IKEA. (Interested in parts one and two of the process? click away)

Today I’m going to tell you about our experience installing laminate floor from IKEA and give you a few tips if you’re thinking about doing that. But first, a few more before and after photos. Here’s what my kitchen used to look like, in all it’s green walls, light colored laminate floor and ugly oak cabinets glory:

(Yup, that’s me doing step aerobics in the kitchen while my baby girl makes a royal mess on the floor around me. I never actually stepped on her, which is good. The fact that I can’t say the same about my older kids tells you that either my coordination has really improved or my exercise frequency has dwindled…)

Anyway, here’s the before/after:

I gotta say I love it. The light blue walls make it so much airier, and the newly painted cabinets just look so much nicer!

We repainted and refloored the front room as well:

I need some fun throw pillows for my couches now in an accent color – as soon as I decide what that should be I’ll get working. And I’ve got big plans for that old light fixture…the kind of plans that might never materialize, or might result in tears when the plans don’t work…but plans nonetheless.

Isn’t it pretty? I painted my stools turquoise (thanks to those that left comments helping me decide!) but I think I’m going to distress them a little – when I get them finished I’ll do another post showing what they end up like.

I’ve been very happy with the floor. Like I mentioned, it’s from IKEA’s Tundra flooring line, and we chose the Antique color. It’s hard to know what a floor will look like when it’s down, so it’s always chancy, but we really like it.

Alright, I’m done showing off now. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering installing laminate floor from IKEA:

1. IKEA’s floor is really a great value. It’s a lot cheaper than what you can find almost anywhere else (it’s about $1.15 a square foot). Other stores occasionally carry one type of laminate floor for 99 cents a square foot, but it’s usually UGLY.

2. IKEA’s floor comes with really lame picture instructions. We’ve installed laminate flooring before so it was no big deal, but if this was the first time we’d ever done it we would have been completely confused. I don’t know whether they offer better instructions on their website or if you’d have to look elsewhere for good instructions. The installation was exactly the same as the other laminate we’ve installed (which was from Costco), so it probably wouldn’t be too hard to find good instructions elsewhere.

3. You need to puchase the floor planks, moisture barrier underlayment (which comes on a big white roll), and an install kit which includes little black spacers and a couple of tools needed to lay the floor. If your room has any thresholds/doorways/stairs you’ll also need to buy transition strips.

4. IKEA also sells a little tool/handsaw set that it says you can use to install your laminate floors. Don’t bother! I cannot imagine how difficult and time consuming it would be to try to install this floor using a handsaw. I think it’s ridiculous that IKEA even suggests that option. You’re going to want power tools for a project like this. Plan to buy or borrow a miter saw for straight and angled cuts and a jig saw for detail cuts (like around your floor registers). We also borrowed a table saw when we got to the very end of the room so we could rip the planks lengthwise (since the last row of planks all needed to be cut in half lengthwise so they’d fit). You could probably make it work w/out a table saw, but I’d consider a miter and jigsaw to be neccessities for this project.

5. You can install laminate floor right over linoleum, or if ripping up carpet, right over the subfloor. Be aware that you will need to remove all your baseboards before installing the floor. Either remove them very carefully and label the backs so you can put them back on in the right spot, or rip them off and plan to put on new baseboard after the floor is in.

6. Planks should sit in the room they’ll be installed in for 24-48 hours before you begin install. This ensures that they won’t expand or contract too much once they are put together. So plan to buy your planks and place them in the room a few days before you are ready to get to work.

7. Be very careful with the planks during installation. Once installed, the floor is very sturdy and doesn’t knick or scratch with normal wear. However, the planks are installed using a click-lock system, which means they have a “lip” on one long and one short side. These “lips” are kind of delicate and prone to chipping, so carry the planks carefully. You’ll use a rubber mallet and two different tools (provided in the install kit) to click the planks together:

If you hit the tools too hard, you’ll chip the ends of your planks. We used a dishcloth in between the install tools and the plank to protect them, and then used medium-gentle taps to tap the planks into place. Check each plank as you install it – if it’s been chipped, pull it back out and put in a new one. Chips are very noticeable once the entire floor is put together, so it’s worth a little extra time to make sure all your planks go in without chipping.

8. It’s really not too tough of a project, even for novices. My husband and I had never done anything like this the first time we installed laminate floor, and we muddled through just fine. This second time went much quicker, and we got the bulk of the work on both rooms done in three 5-6 hour chunks. (Want to see the nerdy time lapse video we made of the install? Click here.)

Good luck to anyone considering a DIY kitchen redo. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!


  1. 3

    the cape on the corner says

    oh my gosh, your kitchen looks amazing. i looove the counter top, and the bar stools are a fun pop of color!

  2. 5

    Double Glazing Oxford says

    Tweaking for some great ideas and we could all do this in the cheapest manner as possible. You don’t need money, all you need is resourcefulness.

  3. 6

    Kim says

    Did you have any trouble getting the transition strips to click in? We installed our Ikea floor several months ago and are now just getting around to putting in the transition strips where the floor meets the carpet. For some reason we cannot get it to click down. Just wondering if you experienced this.

  4. 7

    autumn says

    Yes, we actually did have that same problem. It seemed like the U-shaped piece the transition strips were supposed to snap into was too narrow. What worked for us was place just the right side of the transition strip down and making sure to get that corner/end into the U-shaped piece, then slowly lowering the other side of the transition strip and pressing along it to from right to left to get it all secured in (hope that made sense). Good luck!

  5. 8

    RFBrown says

    Power tools are definitely not needed and could be detrimental. A sharp fine-tooth handsaw and coping saw will do just fine, and especially so for anyone worried about power tool safety. Since all visible edges will be factory machine edges, perfection in cuts is not an issue.
    Something like a Black&Decker Workmate is very handy with hand or power tools, and reduces or eliminates the need for a second set of hands.
    The admonition about chipping the machined edges is probably the biggest single concern with snap-fit and tongue & groove laminates, coupled with the need for the rows of boards to be perfectly parallel. Even a tiny piece of material [pin head size or larger] in a groove will make it impossible to properly align one board to the next, make it impossible to snap them together manually, and almost assure future damage as the gap it creates will allow water to enter and swell the core material. Panels that are not parallel will do similarly. As the edge swells, it becomes more vulnerable to chips, amplifies the difference between the true edge pattern and the photo pattern of the surface and generally makes the floor look like a cheap, plastic job. When edges are tight everywhere this floor looks great for a long time under tough conditions: we live on a beach and if it can keep its good looks in spite of grinding sand on it every day it can look good anywhere – – but the edges must be virtually perfect; there is no margin for error.

  6. 9

    Erin says

    Hi! I stumbled across your blog while searching the ikea flooring. Just wondering how it’s held up so far?

  7. 11

    Kristen C. says

    I came over from pinterest. I’m thinking of doing the antique floor and black cabinets and I’m so excited that I found your pic to get an idea of how it will turn out! Off to check out how you did your cabinets 🙂

  8. 12

    Brekke says

    I love this! i found your blog while looking for reviews for Ikea’s flooring. I think you may have sold me on it. I wanted to ask how you refinished your cabinets. Do you have a post on your process? Also, what color is your paint? I was going to go with a brown, but seeing yours, I might have to go blue. I love it so much!

    • 14

      Patti says

      I also did the cabinet transformation 3 years ago & loved it. But now by 2 handles, it has completely wear off & a few small chips by other handles, have you had any problems? I contacted the co., was told “this is a maintenance for cabinets (whatever that means) & will last 5-7 years, at which point touch up could be needed” which is news to me, I found nothing on the website stating it has an expiration date. Was told they have no touch up application, have to redo it. They offered a refund with receipt, didn’t have it. very disappointed

  9. 15

    Leaf solution says

    All looks magnificent. I get few amazing ideas which absolutely help in ingenious transformation for my home. I love brown and blue color combination which looks so attractive.

  10. 16

    wood flooring new jersey says

    kitchen transformation and the outcome looks so great. I just love this flooring and I am loving to like it.

  11. 17

    Sara says

    Wow, your kitchen looks amazing. We are considering putting in Tundra flooring as well.
    As for your subway tiles, did you write a post on that? That is our next step.
    If not, mind if I ask a few questions?

    Where was the best place to purchase these?
    Did you install these yourself? Any tips/suggestions for us DIYers?

    • 18

      autumn says

      Hi Sara! Thanks for the nice words 🙂 We actually did not install the backsplash ourselves, although I’ve heard it’s not that difficult. We purchased the tiles at Home Depot – they were super cheap – and then paid a friend who’s a contractor to install them. If you do it yourself you just need a saw that can cut tile – a wet saw, maybe? Good luck!

  12. 19

    Sara says

    Oops! Forgot one more question. Have you gotten any scratches on your Ikea flooring? I know it is difficult to do so, but I wanted to make sure there was some way to “fill in” scratches should there be any.

    • 20

      autumn says

      We haven’t had any scratches on our laminate flooring. We had our previous laminate floor for six years and had no scratches – it’s pretty tough stuff. If you did get a scratch, I don’t know that there is a way to “fill it in” – however, I think you’d have a tough time getting one in the first place. I’ve been very happy with the laminate.

  13. 21

    Flavia says

    Thanks for sharing… I feel that I took a giant step ahead on my research by reading your blog, Autumn! Congrats on the new kitchen and God bless 😉

    • 22

      Hartjanet says

      Like your work and appreciate your sharing of the process. We are thinking of doing something similar. I have 2 quick questions:
      1. I assume you ran the tundra under your stove and fridge, Should we be concerned about moving the appliances when we clean? Does their weight dent or scratch the flooring?
      2. Did you feel the cabinet repair kit was worth it compared to just sanding them and painting them with say an exterior paint? How are they holding up over time? It’s been 2 years now… Still happy with the floors and cabinet refinishing? Thanks!

  14. 23


    I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images.

    Maybe you could space it out better?

  15. 24


    The kitchen looks amazing! I wish to use Tundra laminate in my own, but I fear this flooring would swell in the area under the sink. Or what is the dishwasher leaks! Do you have any feedback on this matter?
    Thank you so much
    great job!

  16. 25

    GeFum says






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