Doll house makeover
DIY,  Make

Doll House Makeover

Over the last few months I have been busy renovating a doll house for my daughter’s 5th birthday. The whole project actually started last year, when inspired by the doll house renovations on Pinterest I decided I would like to give one ago. So last November I started looking for doll houses on Gumtree and I got one for just $30. It was going to be a Christmas present, but I ran out of time to do the renovations so it ended up being her birthday present instead.

Doll house before makeover

The doll house wasn’t painted in anyway except for the roof, so I didn’t need to sand anything back. It was however made out of a fairly thin plywood, so it wasn’t perhaps as sturdy as I would have liked. Also the staircase ran straight through the middle of two rooms which made it hard to place the furniture, especially in the bedroom.

Original doll house with furniture

Wooden furniture came with the house, along with some wooden dolls. Apart from some pops of pink and blue the furniture blended in with the wooden walls and floors of the house.

Original doll house furniture

Let the make over begin…

The first thing I did was to move the staircases. I did debate over whether it was worth having staircases, but in the end I decided it would be more fun to have them. I bought a sheet of thin craft wood from Bunnings, and my husband cut it to the same size of the first floor and attic floor and then cut out the new holes for the staircases. The craft wood was then glued to the original plywood using PVA. The floors of the doll house are now a lot sturdier than they were before.

Doll house with new floors and stairwells

The next step was to undercoat everything! After just one coat of undercoat the doll house already looked a lot better and smelt fresher too. Features like the windows and moulding started to really pop!

Doll house with undercoat

Now it was time to add the colour! I already had all the paint we needed for the doll house (including the undercoat) from previous projects and renovating our home. The only paint I did purchase was the roof colour. After a bit of trial and error with paintbrushes and rollers I discovered foam brushes. The foam brushes were amazing for cutting in around such tight spaces and gave a nice even finish with no brush marks. I only wish I had thought to use them from the beginning. Both the white and grey are a semi-gloss water based paint. For the roof I used spray paint, it was a lot cheaper than buying another tin of paint, especially for such a small area. I did have a little problem with over spray but this was fixed with some touch-ups.

Doll house with final coats of paint

After the paint had dried I added some “wallpaper” and “floorboards” to the house. The wallpaper is made from adhesive backed paper or printable sticker sheet that I got from Officeworks. I then chose a design I liked and printed it on the paper. Unfortunately after a few days the paper did start peeling and I ended up sticking it on with some double sided tape. The floorboards are a vinyl adhesive contact that I picked up from Kmart. After these finishing touches were added, the stairs were glued into their new positions.

Doll house with wallpaper and floorboards

Now it was time for the fun bit, adding the furniture! Most of the furniture that came with the house was given a coat of white paint. I also made a new vanity, bath and bed out of balsa wood. I found an old round mirror from a makeup compact that I used for the bathroom mirror. And I sewed new bedding and couch cushions from some of Mum’s fabric scraps. I also made some pot plants from felt and plastic lids. The nursery furniture was given to my daughter for her birthday and came from Kmart.

Finished doll house with furniture
Close up of attic
Close up of bedroom and bathroom
Close up of living room and kitchen

In the end my daughter loved her doll house and I am pretty proud of how it turned out! I’ve even caught my son playing with it. It was a lot more work than I anticipated and lots of “secret” trips to the garage to do another coat of paint, but it was well worth it for the smile on her face when she saw it for the first time on her birthday. I’m sure we will add a few more finishes touches to the doll house in the future, some chairs in the kitchen might be nice:)

Completed doll house


  • Joanne

    What color of gray paint and the pink for the door did you use? I love the house and am replicating it for my granddaughter.

    • SmallAdventures

      Hi Joanne,
      The paint colours I used are Dulux Feather Boa (pink) and Dulux Moxa (grey). I’m sure your granddaughter will love her doll house.

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