Dining Kitchen

The IKEA Effect: A Phenomenon That Drives Kitchen Designers Crazy!

The IKEA effect is a cognitive bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on what they partially create.” Wikipedia

The IKEA effect was identified and named by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School, Daniel Mochon of Yale, and Dan Ariely of Duke, who published the results of three studies in 2011.

In these studies researchers found that consumers value their own work product far above what would be considered reasonable or rational.

For example, researchers found that the majority of people attempting origami for the first time rated their own creation better those done by an origami master.

As Kitchen Designers this effect is troubling for two reasons.

First, IKEA cabinetry is poorly constructed and not a particularly good value, yet due to this documented effect homeowners rate IKEA cabinetry above ALL other brands in Consumer Reports and JD power rankings.

Even more concerning to kitchen designers, IKEA and others now supply complimentary and extremely rudimentary kitchen design software. Due to the same IKEA effect people can believe their designs are equal to, or better than designs done by professionals.

island with table attached
The Fabuwood Kitchen above is about 20% more than IKEA. The cabinets come assembled with all plywood construction, solid wood dovetail drawers, and soft close doors and drawers. Main Line Kitchen Design also carries Cubitac Cabinetry. Cubitac is made the same as Fabuwood, comes assembled, and is approximately the same cost as Ikea. Many other local cabinet dealers have similar lines that are also better values than IKEA.

People accept that they can’t fix their transmission or cut their own hair without professional training. Yet they assume that they don’t even need help designing an expensive kitchen.

As a kitchen designer who studied Engineering for 4 years at The University of Pennsylvania and ran a construction a company specializing in kitchen renovations, I know that my own kitchen designs from 20 years ago were simplistic and uninspired compared to the designs I do today. It took me many years working exclusively as a kitchen designer to become a good one. And part of becoming a very good kitchen designer is being able to help a customer spend the money they have budgeted for their renovation effectively.

Helping customers understand what options they have within their budget is not intuitive to anyone without extensive experience as a kitchen designer. The following videos elaborate on this in both an informative and humorous way.

Please enjoy them, beware of the IKEA effect, and of course . . . Bon Appetit!

Paul, Julie, Chris, Lauren, Ed, Jeremy, Camilla, Juliet, and Mark

Main Line Kitchen Design