Planning for your IKEA kitchen starts well before you first start to covet a particular door style.
Believe it or not, planning for our renos started for me when I was in my teens. My dad was a DIY'er, and I sometimes helped. I remember looking forward to the Saturday paper, when there would be a new house plan to view. I have no idea why this interest got sparked in me.
As an adult, I explored every possible avenue for home ownership on-a-budget. I looked into modular homes, geodesic domes, and even mostly subterranean homes. Saturday mornings were for shows like This Old House and HomeTime where I learned a lot. My first spouse and I also visited show homes as well. We could never have afforded any of them, but I saw a lot of houses and learned what I liked and didn't like, and what I thought was a waste of space, or poorly done. I also saw some really neat ideas.
I come from a white-collar family, immediate and extended. What I know about housing/design and building I learned from books, magazines, TV and my dad. And now the internet, too, of course. My second spouse, though, had lots of hands-on experience. She worked in construction, insulating houses. She has taken a cabinet-making course and worked at that for a time: she makes nice pieces. She has worked with her brothers in various situations drywalling and framing. And she learned a lot by observing other trades at work on job-sites.
We both like to DIY as much as possible, and our backgrounds helped a lot when we bought our first house together. We visited 7 houses in one day. Our agent kept the one we were really interested in for last, and it's the one we bought. It had some pretty unusual finishes, but we knew we could do a lot with it for not too much money, including an IKEA kitchen. In the 13 years we lived there, we contracted out only twice: the roof, and installation of an electrical sub-panel for a workshop in the garage.
In 2005, we were finally ready to attack the kitchen, having re-done the windows, doors, siding, bath, powder room, and all the flooring. I began planning. The sink could stay where it was, but the stove, up against a wall on one side, definitely had to move. I played around the with IKEA Kitchen Planner for months, until I finally had it just right. The stove would have counter space on either side, and a fan hood that vented to the outside. My work triangle was within recommended dimensions. I insisted on a pot drawer, and we had one other pull-out base cabinet, but the rest were shelves. We had two 15" wide pantries next to the fridge: one pull-out with drawers, because there was no room for a door that swung in that spot, and one with a door and pull-out baskets. We doubled our storage space.
We chose the least expensive doors. We were on a budget, and knew this would not be our last IKEA kitchen. As soon as the Kitchen Event was announced, we booked our appointment. Because we had lots of different cabinets, our order was one of the longest lists the Kitchen Co-worker had ever had.
Coincidentally, we started this kitchen reno on almost exactly the same date as that first kitchen reno. Based on pictures we took at that time, working evenings and weekends, we did most of the kitchen in about 6 weeks. Finishing touches were a little longer.
Surprisingly, even though we are now retired, this reno will take longer: living rurally and being as self-sufficient as we can be means spring includes cutting and splitting firewood, and getting the vegetable garden started. We are also 17 years older than we were, so although we're pretty active, our bodies just can't take the abuse they could back then.
We know the kitchen won't be done in 6 weeks and that's ok. We knew that going in. The bath will be completed once the kitchen hits the waiting-for-the-countertops point. Our current set-up is less convenient, but very liveable in the medium term.
Right now, we're at a stand-still in the kitchen, as the outside work is a little more pressing. Drywalling will likely begin later this week, and we will do both rooms so that we can get a taper in to do both at once. This means the the tub will have to be at the very least installed in its alcove before the taper comes in. Trades are reluctant to come all the way out here for small jobs, so we decided to make it worth their while. We have both done taping and mudding before, but doing a good job takes us a lot longer and it's worth it to us to save the aggravation and get it done professionally.
On the IKEA supply-chain front, things are pretty good. We are now missing only 3 items (multiples of each of them) and they are all expected to be back in stock within the next 3 weeks!