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Between the endless customization options and high-end cabinet fronts, deciding on an IKEA x Semihandmade kitchen is a no-brainer. But figuring out which IKEA system you have — Akurum versus Sektion — can be a bit more complicated. 

For the uninitiated, the entire IKEA kitchen system was called “Akurum” up until 2015, when the brand switched everything over to “Sektion.” So, if your IKEA kitchen was built pre-2015, it’s most likely an Akurum kitchen. 

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (we can upgrade IKEA kitchens stretching back to 2003), Akurum kitchens do have a few key differences. First of all, IKEA no longer services Akurum kitchens in terms of warranty, and they don’t offer replacement parts if you want to reconfigure or refresh your space. Second, not all of our materials are available in Akurum, and we do not match or replicate old Akurum fronts. 

That said, we love working with the Akurum system and have designed some truly beautiful spaces with the older model (see the projects below). Ahead, Semihandmade’s senior sales specialist Maria Herrera walks you through the entire Akurum process from start to finish.

Step 1: Determine if you have an Akurum or Sektion kitchen

There are a few key differences between the Akurum and Sektion systems. First, the Sektion system has all-white drawer interiors, while the Akurum drawers have grey sides, back panels, and a white bottom. Second, Sektion cabinets have two sets of  holes that run vertically down the sides of the interior walls, while Akurum cabinets only have one set of holes. Third, Sektion hinges come as a two-piece set that run horizontally on the interior wall, while Akurum hinges are a single-piece butterfly shape. Finally, Sektion dimensions run in 5-inch increments (drawers are either 5 inches, 10 inches, or 15 inches), while Akurum has more specific dimensions (drawers are either 6 ¼, 11 ¼, or 12 ½ ). 

Design by Homepolish; Photography by Genevieve Garruppo

Step 2: Plan your layout

Because you can no longer order new Akurum cabinets and hardware from IKEA, it’s best to work with what you’ve got layout and cabinet-wise. We recommend keeping your Akurum cabinet boxes, drawer units, internal hardware, and hinges largely intact, and re-style the fronts, panels, and trim with Semihandmade. Given the state of the system, it’s easier to remove existing cabinetry entirely (like uppers, for example) than to rearrange or add on.

Design and Photography by Rachel Ortega

Step 3: Measure twice, order once

Keep in mind that our materials are all ¾ of an inch thick, while old IKEA paneling is around ½ an inch. You’ll need to confirm that our thicker paneling will work in your kitchen, specifically taller panels and base panels at the end of countertops. Will your fridge still fit? Will our panels fit under your countertops? You’ll want to double confirm the answers to these questions before placing your Semihandmade order. If you’re unsure, we can help. Don’t hesitate to call or email our support team at (877) 877-9102 or

Step 4: Select your cabinet front style

As mentioned, not all of our cabinet fronts are sized for the Akurum system. But you still have an expansive selection to choose from — our DIY Slab and Shaker fronts, all Impression fronts, and our Supermatte Slab and Shaker fronts in black, white, grey, light grey, night sky, and walnut are available for Akurum kitchens. We definitely recommend ordering samples to get started, and if you feel limited on the color front, go the DIY Slab or Shaker route and choose your own paint color!

Step 5: Place your order

Once you’ve figured out your design plan, it’s time to place your order! You can either place your own order online, or you can place a CYC order for more guidance. For a CYC order, you’ll need to provide a list of cabinet fronts needed and their exact sizes, a sketch or picture showing the overall kitchen layout, and pictures of the hinges and drawer hardware so we can confirm it’s an IKEA kitchen. Next, our sales team will review all the materials, talk through any questions and details via video call, create a quote, make any necessary revisions, and officially place the order.