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The Agony of IKEA Kitchen Planner on macOS

Introduction

Recently my wife and I decided that it might be worthwhile renovating the kitchen after more than fifteen years of living with the late-1970s vintage space we inherited. Many of our friends have been delighted with the quality and style of kitchens from IKEA, and I was interested to see that IKEA had a tool available which would let us try designs on our computers at home.

This page was written from a Canadian perspective at the end of March 2018. If you want to run IKEA’s kitchen planner on your Mac, and you’re happy installing a few programs then I hope that this is helpful!

To cut to the chase…

The web “plugin” for running their in-browser design tool doesn’t support 64-bit versions of Safari, and 64-bit Safari is the norm on up-to-date macOS in March 2018. As a software developer I knew that I could run an old version of Windows with a supported version of Internet Explorer in a virtual machine (Oracle’s Virtual Box) on my MacBook Pro, and that let me run their kitchen planner.

I had some problems with the plugin, sometimes it seemed to lose its mind and not draw a refreshed image when I made a change. My workaround to that was to save the design and reload it. I’m not sure if that’s a problem with the plugin or with my set-up—I was able to do what I needed to!

Both of the things I installed are free of cost, yet it seems to me an awful rigamarole to endure when IKEA could update the plugin to work on modern browsers.

My Situation

On my MacBook I’m running macOS 10.13.4, and the version of Safari is 11.1; I like Firefox (its current version being 59.0.2), and I prefer to avoid having Google software on my computer. The system requirements for IKEA’s Home Planner are listed below, so I’m going to have to be a bit creative.

Game Plan

  1. Install Virtual Box so that we can run a version of Windows and Internet Explorer known to work (Windows 8.1 and IE 11)
  2. Download the “image” of Windows 8.1 / IE 11 from here
  3. Uncompress the image. If you’re happy with using the command line then the macOS version of /usr/bin/unzip worked for me when I ran unzip IE11.Win81.VirtualBox.zip, if not then you can use The Unarchiver as suggested on the download page at Microsoft
  4. Import the image into Virtualbox
  5. Before starting the virtual machine for the first time, take a “snapshot.” This is because the image “expires” after 90 days, and the snapshot gives us a place to “restart” the clock.
  6. Start the virtual machine
  7. Install Virtual Box “host tools” to improve the usability of the virtual machine
  8. Try out the IKEA Home Planner in Internet Explorer in the virtual machine:
    1. Visit the IKEA site
    2. Install the plugin
    3. Try it out!

Web Sites

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