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How to install a raised dishwasher in IKEA cabinets

Posted on February 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm
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Loading and unloading a dishwasher can be a major PITB (pain in the back), and not just for those with back problems or accessibility issues.  But many raised dishwasher solutions create awkward counter layouts and or require (often expensive) custom cabinetry.  This solution beautifully integrates form and function using the highly affordable and customizable AKURUM kitchen cabinets by IKEA.  Check out the details of this handy hack, as well as some of the tips and tricks about this project after the jump!

Installing a raised dishwasher using IKEA AKURUM cabinets

Long time IKEA Fan Liz H and her husband created this handy modification to raise the dishwasher up off the floor and make it easier to load/empty.  By placing it in the corner with a raised bar on the back of the run of cabinets, they turned the top of the dishwasher into an extension of the bar counter.  This neatly turns the design problem of a raised  section of counter into a functional and beautiful expansion of the available counter space for the bar, a trick well worth remembering.

Here’s how Liz H and her husband built it, in her own words:

It’s raised up about a foot to make for easier loading/unloading. It starts with 1 24″ base cabinet, cut down to about 8″ tall. One of the cut off sides is flipped over to make the top of the cabinet, while the other cut off side is cut again to make an extension on the adjoining cabinet. A couple of melamine shelves were used for the top of the dishwasher opening.

There will be a usable drawer under the dishwasher.

raised dishwasher construction 1

raised dishwasher construction 2

Here’s a closeup of the shortened 24″ cabinet sitting next to the adjoining unit.

raised dishwasher construction 3

Here’s a closeup of the left side of the dishwasher opening, showing where the side of the adjoining cabinet was extended to cover the side of the dishwasher.

raised dishwasher construction 4

The cabinet between the sink and dishwasher will hold our every day dishes, at least when we first move in. DH is building some full height dish cabinets from scratch, and will do those after we move in. (They will be an 18″ depth) Later, I’m not sure what I’ll keep there – I’m going from a kitchen with almost no cabinet space to one with an abundance.

DH is the dishwasher in this household, and he wanted the space between the sink and dishwasher. I think it’s mainly to have a space to set dirty dishes befoere the dishwasher is loaded.

Raised dishwasher installation complete

Although still waiting on the custom drawer fronts, the finished version is both beautiful and functional.

raised dishwasher construction 5

Liz H summed up her experience 6 months later:

This works out so well! I hadn’t thought of storing dishes in the adjoining cabinet, but it’s perfect. If I had thought of it, I probably would have made it wider than a 21″ cabinet, so I could keep even more dishes there! As it is, the 21″ holds all of our everyday dishes and cups, our flatware and the cats’ dishes. Here’s a pic – drawer fronts will come one day. The 2nd photo shows the currently unused bottom drawers. IKEA doesn’t make a 4 drawer 21″ cabinet. We could do this only because of the custom drawer fronts. Btw , I love the Rationell drawer dividers! We also have them in some 30″ shallow drawers, and will have them in the 36″ shallow drawer.

Some useful follow-up tips and suggestions from gubbeen:

A good example of how great design is about integrating multiple ‘good ideas’… One aspect that reflects more ‘appliance optimism’ than my experience allows is the shelf that the DW sits on. Three things I’d worry about: The shelf is butted to the sides, rather than full width (i.e., resting on them) The raw MDF edge should be sealed (even if it were covered a full-width horiz. shelf) Even all of the MDF edges were sealed, I’d still consider some sort of improvised tray or, at the very least, caulking around the bottom edges. Doing my best Daniel Day Lewis: “There will be water.”

And Shouva added her own solution:

I agree with the weight of a dishwasher sitting on just a 3/4″ thick shelf that is only attached to 3/4″ side panels and above a drawer being a potential problem. After asking many questions back in ‘06 I actually only recently built my raised dishwasher cabinet out of Numerar (or are they Pragel?) counter top pieces, resting on a platform made from 2 X 6 lumber. The counter tops has the curved edge, so any water leaks drip down the bottom “shelf” edge. Everything is held together by angle irons + angle ironed to the back wall. Very sturdy. The toe kick (when ever I get that done) will be a 30″ X 6 1/4″ Arlig drawer front, cut to fit and glued to the front 2 X 6 piece. My tall tub dishwasher is now 7 1/4″ off the floor, making it easy to access the bottom rack. BTW : the counter pieces were finds in th “As-Is” room of a discontinued length. Paid $10 each for 6′ lengths. It took 2 of these counter tops to make the dishwasher cabinet. The toe kick piece was another “As-Is” find for $1.00 when Arlig was discontinued. Total cost for my dishwasher cabinet, including hardware and lumber: less than $35.

Everyone agrees though that it’s a beautiful marriage of form, function and ingenuity! Want more details and/or have a question? Please read/post on the original thread.


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