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Wiggle, Wiggle, Please Don't Jiggle: Installing An Ikea kitchen Floating Island: Part 1 of 3

Property 1 Island with Ikea Grimslov Cabinets

On Property 1, we were on a learning curve when it came to installing a floating island with Ikea Cabinets and I left the Hubs to engineer this one on his own. Unfortunately, property 1 left us to call in the contractor because, wiggle wiggle and the island did jiggle. While the Hubs typically does a fantastic job, in his defense there isn't a whole lot of information out there on installing a floating island with Ikea kitchen cabinets. This is due to the unique shape of the Ikea kitchen cabinet box.

Ikea Cabinets vs Traditional Cabinets

Ikea plastic feet

Ikea Cabinets: When assembled, the Ikea kitchen cabinets are boxes that come with separate plastic feet to be attached to the bottom, which is where the recessed Ikea kick-plate is attached.

Traditional cabinets: Have a hollow base and a recessed kick-plate area already built in. The hollow base on traditional cabinets allows you to create a solid 2x4 base for the hollow kick-plate to fit snugly over (like a puzzle) and attach firmly to.

The plastic feet for Ikea cabinets are quite easy to pop off and on and in no way would they provide any stability for an island so it was off to creating our own base and firmly securing it, and the cabinets, to the floor. After our first time - install fail on property 1 - we watched a few you-tube tutorials on installing a traditional cabinet base, and figured out one of the keys to secure a floating island was to use long lag bolts to secure the base into the floors.

What you'll Need:

painters tape (to mark cabinet placement)

hanging weight (if you already have drop lights in place)

2 x 6s

2x 4s

3 1/2 inch lag bolts, approximately 24

3 1/2 inch deck screws, approximately 12


Ikea hardware (for securing cabinets to each other)


Part 1 Securing a base to the Floor:

1. Figure out your island placement:/location Considerations: Lighting and walkways. Traditional walkways call for 48 inches of clearance between appliances and cabinets. We are at 40 inches in some areas and feel like it's totally fine. Mark your cabinet placement on the floor and remember to leave a gap of 3 1/2 inches on the face of your island to allow for your baseboard molding and the typical recessed toe kick area. Lighting: Consider your placement of lights. I love this article from Claire Bella Studio on island lighting. To help figure out the center of your lights, hang a weight (or in our case a pencil tied to a rope) from the center of the lights down to the top of the cabinets.

cabinet placement

Securing your cabinet base to the floor

Centering with the lights

2. Figure out how high you want your island. We went for a standard countertop kitchen height of 36 inches (which accounts for the 1 1/4inch countertop). To achieve this we stacked 3, 2x4s with a solid piece of MDF on top. Somehow we must of done the math wrong because when counter top was installed we ended up at 37 inches. Oh well! Stick with 3, 2x4s if you are going for an all in height of 46 inches.

3. Cut your 2x6s and 2x4s to make your cabinet base. Layer these in order to achieve desired height. We went for three stacked. These should run the entire length of your island. Only use 2x6s on the bottom layer for a more secure base. Remember that you will need to counter sink most of the lag bolts so that all layers fit flush to one another.

4. Grab the drill and the metal. By metal, I mean those 3 1/2 inch lag bolts and deck screws. Drill pilot holes in to the base, approximately 4 holes per 2x6 run for us ( our island length is--------) and screw in the lag bolts. Add your 2x4s on top of the 2x6s also securing with lag bolts.

screbws and bolts for your base

layering to construct your base

5. Secure cabinets into the base. Set the cabinets on top and secure each individual cabinet into the base, using approximately 4 deck screws per cabinet box depending on cabinet size (Our cabinets sizes on the current run total just over 62 inches with two 24 inch cabinets flanking a 15 inch cabinet)

6. Secure cabinets into one another according to Ikea Instructions. Hang on to your drill and grab your clamps and Ikea hardware for this step.

Tip: Don't forget about your electrical run! We've only used Ikea cabinets with door fronts instead of Ikea cabinets with drawers, on the side(s) with electrical run.

Tip: Do not install the two Ikea metal hooks (used to hang on the railing system) or the two white plastic blocks (used to protect the wall from cabinet damage) on the back of the cabinet boxes. If you have already attached these, you will need to remove in order to trim out or wrap your island (See Part 3)

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