Amidst a veil of secrecy IKEA unveiled their new line of kitchen cabinets today – called SEKTION — with little fanfare, at least not at my local store, Ikea of South Philadelphia. By secrecy I mean the fact that IKEA would not release any information about the cabinets prior to today’s launch. Not a big deal, you say? Well it is if you wanted to go in there today and buy a new kitchen. Without the dimensions or specifics no one was able to plan ahead, so I can’t imagine too many people were buying a kitchen today. Frankly, the staff at my IKEA didn’t look like they had nearly enough time to pull of the switch from AKURUM to SEKTION (don’t even get me started on them having to memorize a whole new list of funny-sounding names) because there were unfinished displays, cardboard boxes lying around, and duplicates where they were not meant to be.
I was totally wrong with my prediction last August that the new IKEA kitchen line would be called METOD, which replaced AKURUM elsewhere around the world. Check out the IKEA websites in these countries. The American version is called SEKTION, which is a name I actually like. The name SEKTION no doubt makes reference to the fact that IKEA’s new kitchen line is more modular, or made of sections, in nature. Or perhaps it is referencing the snazzy new drawer dividers now available. I am particularly fond of the bamboo drawer organizer.
Ikea is most certainly using components from the METOD line, just changing the name, my guess is the main difference being inches versus centimeters. Maybe they didn’t use the METOD name because it’s too similar to the popular METHOD line of hand soap and cleaners. Who knows? Just note there is one piece in the new SEKTION line named METOD – – it is the METOD Ventilation Grill. I don’t remember the old AKURUM line even offering a grill, but I think this is an excellent addition as many kitchen remodels require the movement of wall and floor registers. Often these are redirected to run under the kitchen cabinets, terminating in the toe kick. The METOD vent grill should fit the IKEA toe kicks perfectly. Speaking of toe kicks, let’s move on to some of the differences between the old AKURUM kitchen cabinets and the new SEKTION cabinets.
What’s the Difference between SEKTION and AKURUM?
Toe Kicks are Now Plastic
The SEKTION toe kicks (plinth) are made of reinforced polypropylene, which is definitely an improvement over particleboard when it comes to kitchens. It is not surprising that there were moisture issues with the old particle board toe kicks. Um… it’s a kitchen. There’s moisture. The plastic ones should not have the same issues with warping. When looking at the built models, I thought the new toe kicks were better looking in appearance.
Upper Cabinets are Deeper
In SEKTION, the upper cabinets are 15”. Every last one of them. I hope you didn’t want 12” cabinets on your walls, because that ain’t going to happen with SEKTION. Personally, I like the added depth, but an option would be nice. Take for instance the half wall I knocked down in my kitchen – I replaced the wall with 12” AKURUM cabinets – I’m sure glad I did it while I had the chance because I would not have wanted any extra depth there. But it most instances of using upper cabinets as base cabinets, I think the 15” would be warmly received, especially because SEKTION has 15” deep drawers! Kitchen islands will greatly benefit from the new 15” depth.
New Interior Colors
I was never a fan of the gray drawer interiors of AKURUM, so I am delighted that the new drawer interiors are white! All white. Even white coated metal. What I don’t like is the new cabinet boxes. They kept the white option, of course, but did away with the birch cabinet boxes in favor of dark brown. It’s terrible. It clashes with the doors and looks very busy with the other white interiors.
SEKTION is Built on a Modular Design
Oddly, SEKTION offers more cabinet sizes, more choices in width and height. (NOT depth!) There used to be only two heights for wall cabinets, 30” or 36”. Now there are 15”, 20″, 30″ and 40″.
The 15” high cabinets, which are cubes, look especially nice hanging from the wall buffet-style.
Loads of Drawer Options
Tons! With the SEKTION you can now have a drawer inside a drawer. Or two drawers inside a drawer, which means that behind one drawer front you will have 3 drawers (the drawer attached to the drawer front, and two additional drawers tucked behind the drawer front). The new door hinge design, of all things, plays an important role in the new drawer interiors. The new hinge is only screwed into one row of holes on the inside of the cabinet box, while the old AKURUM hinges took up two rows of holes. The new streamlined hinge allows for more space and more configurations for drawer slides.
How does this work? The drawers and slides are exactly the same depth on both versions, the only difference is that the sliders are set back one hole on the interior of the cabinet. The interior UTRUSTA drawer faces are all white (which I think looks ridiculous with the dark wood interior) and are available in 8.5”, 4”, or 6.5” heights. To confuse you a little, there are two types of drawer glides: MAXIMERA is what you’re used to from IKEA drawers, full extension and soft close, and is the more expensive model. If you want to go basic, get the FORAVAR glides, which open ¾ of their depth and don’t have a soft close.
SEKTION also offers more drawer face sizes. You can now have drawers as small as 5″ high and 36″ wide.
You can even add drawers to wall cabinets, why you’d want to I have no idea, but IKEA must think it’s a hot new trend.
I really liked the interior drawer lights. They are something I would consider installing in my new kitchen. Very dramatic effect.
The basic, hidden behind the toe kick, legs look pretty much the same as their old counterparts, but the attachment method is now different. In the medal variety, there is now a white color option as well as the original aluminum. SEKTION has new 15” legs, in either wood, stainless steel or white powder-coated steel (LIMHAMN, $59/2pk). The stainless steel ones are pretty hot! They add that furniture look to the SEKTION cabinets.
Creative Use of Sink Cabinets
The standard sink cabinet in AKURUM had a false drawer at the top and two shorter doors underneath. You always had the option of forgoing the false drawer and adding two full height doors, but only if you were smart enough to think of it on your own. On the contrary, every SEKTION display kitchen had an interesting use of a sink cabinet. I was impressed. They even had 36” wide single panels disguised as two drawers. Clever. Not sure how long that door will hold up, but at least you can get a replacement. (Sorry AKURUM owners)
More Options for Your Garbage
The AKURUM line completely neglected the trash can thing. Yes, you could jerry rig a solution by adding a full height door to a drawer front placed at the bottom of a cabinet, but it was most certainly an afterthought. Not so with SEKTION. I saw several different solutions for stowing trash cans out of site. IKEA now makes an American sized trash can. Yay. You have to pay the ridiculous price of ??? for a lid, but hey it’s a start. The display kitchens showed several configurations, some under the sink, others adjacent to the sink. You can even fit 4 Euro-sized garbage cans (VARIERA, $5.99 + $2.99 for lid) behind one door.
More Options for Corner Cabinets
The SEKTION corner base cabinets are pretty much the same as the old AKURUM models, except the carousels are now white, which I definitely approve of. While the carousels move easily up and down, they cannot easily be removed from the cabinet, something I inquired about mainly because I know the ones I currently have in my non-IKEA kitchen get disgusting. Each carousel does come with a laser cut mat that can be removed for easy cleaning. Think car mats. Except these are clear. The configuration of the base cabinets is the same though, either have the typical bi-fold door style with carousel (SEKTION/RINGHULT, $379) or the single door model with a blind end on one side and an oblong pull-out fitting that swings outside of the cabinet frame.
What’s different is that the upper corner cabinets (which I have no interest in personally) are now available in different heights and you can now get glass doors for the corner cabinets. I never thought about it, but the doors on the corner cabinets do not fit any of the normal 12, 15, or 18” sizes. Who knew? The glass carousel (UTRUSTA, $69) for the upper cabinet is also very attractive. (Not attractive enough to make me want an upper corner cabinet, but pretty none the less.)
The appliances got an overhaul as well, but I didn’t pay as much attention to them, as I don’t plan on buying IKEA appliances for my new kitchen. Although… I might give the integrated microwave a shot. They are hard to come by at the big box stores and there aren’t many options elsewhere. Rest assured the appliances are not made by IKEA (what a relief), rather they are still made by Whirlpool. Amazingly they come with a 5-year warranty, which we all know cost a few hundred bucks at the big box stores. Installation is also FREE! All the refrigerators I saw today had NEW tags on them, and I was informed that IKEA added two French door models due to popular request. What I can’t for the life of me figure out is why they didn’t make the refrigerators counter depth. I mean, come on, you make the cabinets, so you have to know the dimensions, right?!
So What is Still the Same as AKURUM?
The door styles are pretty much identical in appearance, but remember, the names and dimensions have all changed. There is still a 25-year warranty. But I know what you really care about… yes the drawer slides and hinges are still made by Blum!
The SEKTION rails aren’t the same as the ones used with the AKURUM wall cabinets, but you’ll hardly notice the difference.
Do I Like the New SEKTION Cabinets?
Yes! And I’m very glad I waited for them to be released. (Read my kitchen post from September HERE) I feel so badly for anyone who bought an obsolete AKURUM in the past few months. Not only are there more configuration options with SEKTION, but who wants to own something you can’t get parts for or add on to anymore. Do I think SEKTION is perfect? Nope. I will probably still buy custom doors from Semi Handmade. We’ll see…
Thanks for reading! If you have first hand experience with the new SEKTION cabinets I’d love to hear about it! You can leave a comment here or visit me on one of these sites…