I have been meaning to write about Ikea's new kitchen range since it came our a few months ago, replacing the FAKTUM range.

At the moment, Ikea is running a competition to win a £10,000 METOD kitchen makeover, so what better time to write about the pros and cons of the new range? Click here to enter the competition.

We have been installing the FAKTUM range in our projects for quite a few years. As far as budget kitchens go, it offered an ok range of finishes for all kinds of tastes and the cabinets were nice. That's about as far as it went. It was a good solution to cut costs on investment projects - fit a custom made worktop instead of a laminated pre-cut thing from Ikea and voila, 'luxury-looking' kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

However, we did find that the selection of cabinet finishes was a little bit limited and although the kitchens looked nice from a distance, the quality and design of the cabinet interiors was very standard.

The introduction of the METOD cabinets came to us at just the wrong time. We were in the middle of a project where we had already specified FAKTUM cabinets and the contractor arrived at Ikea to collect the kitchen and was told that no kitchens would be available for 2 weeks, when the METOD would be released. Our order was to be replaced with the new range.

We tentatively accepted our fate and explained to the client what was going to happen, dreading what the new range would bring. Two weeks later I popped round the site to see the kitchen going up and for a moment I could do nothing but stare blankly at the half erected cabinets with a look of confusion written across my face. At first I thought to myself, had the client gone behind our back to order the kitchen from somewhere else?

It turned out he had not. The sturdy carcasses and smoothly sliding drawers were indeed Ikea. On my way back from site I did a vast detour via Ikea Wembley to go and study the new range in detail.

What I found was that the METOD range was leaps and bounds superior to the previous FAKTUM, making improvements not only to the quality of the kitchen carcasses but also to the sizing (offering more options in terms of width and height of the units) and a few new finishes, too.

The new range now comes in two interior colours - white or wood effect black. There is a whole new collection of cabinet solutions for under sinks, hobs and three great corner solutions that offer a much more functional ways to access those difficult corner spaces (than the previous version of reach in as far as you can, if you can't reach it, lose it forever).

The new cubic, modular cabinets are also a great way to mix and match units to create a truly bespoke look to your new kitchen. Out of all the improvements, I think my favourite feature is the new 'double drawers' (one big exterior drawer that pulls open to reveal two smaller, interior drawers) - something which we have previously only seen with bespoke kitchen manufactures.

Of course Ikea will never be able to compete with luxury brand kitchens like Bulthaup, or with the custom feel of solid wood kitchens from DeVol - but neither does it try to. Ikea is poised and aimed at the younger market and first time buyers who want to feel more in control of the design of their kitchen... and they are on target for the bullseye.

I might even be controversial enough to say that the new range could easily compete with low to mid end brands like Howdens kitchens (trade only) or with low to mid consumer brands like B&Q and Magnet. Out of the above, I would personally choose Ikea.

Read back tomorrow for a more in depth look at the pros and cons of the METOD range.