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How to Get FREE Kitchen Planning Help: A Guide for Beginners

Posted on May 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm
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Free IKEA Kitchen Planning Help. It’s what IKEAFANS was founded on, and although we’ve grown from a small handmade site to a monstrously huge community site (with forums, blogs, galleries and more), a large majority of people still come to IKEAFANS for free kitchen planning help.

With all the resources we have available here, it can be difficult to figure out what to do first. Read on for a step by step guide on how to get FREE kitchen planning help here at IKEAFANS…

See also: Kitchen Planning Guide

Kitchen Planning Resources

IKEA Home Planner Resource Roundup

How to Get FREE Kitchen Planning Help at IKEAFANS

1. Write a Mission Statement

Really. Seriously. This is one of the number one things you can do to make this undertaking easier. Your stress levels will decline, your focus will sharpen, and you’ll have the answers you need when you need them most. Give it a good read, then write one of your own. Trust me, you won’t regret this step.

2. Consider creating an Inspiration Board

To help convey your visual ideas to others, consider putting together a Design or Inspiration Board. This is one way that professional designers communicate their ideas to clients and it’s an excellent way to see how well the various elements in your design will work together.

3. Request a Kitchen Planning Review

After taking initial measurements of your room and noting the positions of utilities, doors, windows and other obstacles in your space, create an IKEA Home Planner file using the planner software (if you’re on a Mac, see this article for alternate ideas on kitchen planning software: Mac Users – Kitchen Planner. Or, if you’re comfortable using a product in beta testing stage: Mac Compatible IKEA Home Planner Launched).

How to get FREE Kitchen Planning help in our forums:

Save your Planner Files For the sake of the folks who like to help review kitchen plans, PLEASE take a few minutes to capture some screen shots of your plans and save a .fpf file to post. Here’s how to do that: How to Save and Post Planner Files and a quick overview of saving planner screenshots as images to post:

1. Get the shot you want on the screen. Choose either the layout overview or a 3D picture.
2. Choose File/Save As from the menu
3. Change the file type to Bitmap – .bmp (down at the bottom of the Save As screen in a dropdown box. The default is .fpf format which is the planner file).
4. Name your file appropriately (i.e. layout.bmp) and click SAVE
5. You now have a bitmap picture saved on your hard drive. If at all possible, open your file on your hard drive and save it as a .jpg file or a .gif which is MUCH smaller format size. You can use TinyPic – Share The Experience!™ to resize a file easily on the web.

Upload your Planner File and Images There are a couple of ways to do this, but the most straightforward way is to first go to the Galleries and click on Upload.

Choose the appropriate category for your images (e.g. ‘Kitchen Planning’ or ‘Assembly and Installation’) and then use the checkboxes to further categorize your uploads (i.e. Under ‘Type’ select ‘Plans’).

From there you can select the images you wish to include in the set (a group of images that are related to each other). So, you might wish to create a set for ‘Before Images’ and a set for ‘Preliminary Plans’. Make sure you select a title that is descriptive enough that you can differentiate (in other words, don’t name them all ‘Karen’s Kitchen’ or you’ll forever be mixing them up. Provide a brief description and click on Submit. Now you can include those images in any thread or post that you make on the forums!

Start a Kitchen Planning help thread To get help from others, you’ll need to make your files available on the forums. Start a new thread in the Kitchen Planning forum by clicking on New Thread at the top or the bottom of the forum. Title your thread with a brief description of your kitchen, such as ‘Small Galley Kitchen Makeover’ or ‘Bernice’s L-Shaped Kitchen.’ Also, you can use the prefix [Review Request] to further clarity.

Associate a set of images from the galleries with the appropriate tab title, such as Plans or Before. (Hint: associated sets can always be changed later by editing the original post in your thread and changing the tab association. You can also add more sets to other tabs as your project progresses.)

Include your Mission Statement Help people to understand your intentions and limitations by including your Mission Statement in your thread. Include it and any other information about yourself, your kitchen or your plans that you think will be useful to others in helping you. Remember to thank those who offer assistance! Noone here gets paid for doing this (except for professionals listed in our IKEA Service Directory) – we’re all volunteers. Help support by making a donation.

Attach Icon

Attach your Planner File By including your .fpf file as an attachment, you’re making it possible for ambitious volunteers to open your file in their own planner and make some changes directly. Click on the attachment icon (it looks like a paperclip) in the post editor or scroll down to Manage Attachments.

The Attachment Manager will launch a new window, so look for that. Click on Choose File to browse to the file on your computer (you can’t link to it from IKEA’s server – you have to save it locally first) and select the appropriate file(s). Then click on Upload (you may have to scroll to the right to see the Upload button. It’s a bug – we’re on it.) and your files will begin uploading. When they’re successfully uploaded, you’ll see them underneath Manage Attachments. Click to Submit your thread and your attached files will appear at the bottom of your thread. Voila!

Give Thanks Now you can sit back and wait for help. Remember to respond to suggestions and advice and PLEASE keep in mind that NOONE HERE IS PAID for helping you out. It’s all volunteer work done out of the kindness of IKEA Fans hearts. To donate to IKEAFANS to support the cause, click here.

iKarma Icon

Tip: To reward individuals who’ve helped you out, you can click on the treasure box icon under their member name in a post and give them iKarma.

4. Launch your Project Blog

After you get sufficient help with the planning stage it’s time to launch a Project Blog so that others can follow along with your progress. You can do one of two things – you can ask a moderator to move your existing Kitchen Planning thread to Project Blogs for you, or you can start a new thread in Project Blogs. Either way, you’ll be able to associate new or existing image sets with tabs, and you’ll have additional options to include the Room, Mission Statement and Materials list so that they’re always shown at the top of each page of your thread.

Remember that a Project Blog is great for recording your progress and sharing your project, but isn’t necessarily the best place to get answers to your questions. If you’ve got specific questions, create new threads in the appropriate forums. You can also link from your project blog to a thread in another forum so that your audience knows that you’ve got questions elsewhere. People LOVE to see all the related questions, problems and solutions that are posted in relation to a project.

5. Submit your Finished Kitchen

We’re working on formalizing the process for uploading a Finished Kitchen so that others can be inspired by your success (like those in Real IKEA Kitchens). In the meantime, you can always write up a quick article outlining your project in our Photos forum, or you can send your info to us at

Additional Kitchen Planning Resources

We’ve put together a Kitchen Planning Guide to help you with accessing resources relating to your kitchen planning efforts: Kitchen Planning Guide. There you’ll find links to articles on IKEA Kitchen Quality, DIYing, Traditional Kitchens and links to resources, tools and more.

Also, read this classic article by our very own DesignDiva: Getting Started on your Kitchen Design for more links to articles about DIYing an IKEA Kitchen, understanding the component system and tutorials for Google Sketchup if you’re unable to use the IKEA Home Planner.


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