How to make a play kitchen from a $10 piece of furniture
step one- get inspired
Have you ever seen those adorable play kitchens on Pinterest made out of old furniture and thought to yourself that you’d love to make one? Yet it looks complicated or expensive? I am going to break down the steps for you and show how you can make one with $75. First of all, you’re going to need some inspiration. This was mine:
step two- find your piece of furniture
Next you need to go to your local thrift store and see if they have anything that will fit your space. In addition, you’ll have to use your imagination at this point since there will be some ugly pieces. Don’t worry, because paint can fix almost anything!
For my kitchen, I bought a $10 entertainment center and a $1 stainless steel bowl (for the sink. Here’s an option for $6). Isn’t that laminate dark wood beautiful?! (sarcasm :))
step three- alter your furniture
Once you have your piece of furniture home, you’re going to want to do any structural alterations necessary to the piece. This will be different with each individual piece of furniture. For ours, my husband took off the top and attached it to the back and it immediately looked more kitchen like. It is nice and low so Don can access it.
step four- prime
Now is the time to prep your piece of furniture for paint. This may mean sanding or using a primer, based on the material of your furniture piece. Since I was working with laminate, I applied a coat of Kilz primer. If it would have been wood, I would have sanded.
I did two coats of the primer…
step five- paint
We’re finally getting closer to the fun, pretty part! It’s now time for you to paint your furniture the final color it will be. Our play kitchen will mostly live outside, so I then did a coat of outdoor deck paint (to help protect from the weather) and finished with a coat of the white paint from my living room (Delicate White from Lowes).
I liked the idea of the play kitchen to coordinate with the rest of our home.
If you are wanting a two tone kitchen, these instructions are for you! Since paint is one of the cheapest ways to add personality, I think this is a fun, inexpensive option (especially if you have the paint already).
I painted the bottom of the kitchen a mint color I had on hand from my son’s crib and high chair (Martha Stewart Sea Glass from Home Depot- the paint line is discontinued but they can mix it with Glidden paint). Painters tape was used to section off the two colors. Finally, I used a credit card to seal the tape and I was amazed how little bleed I got!
step six- add a faucet
The next step is to add in the important accessories. The hard part with this step is the budget- the cheapest faucet option I could find was $17. Since I have a $60 budget for all building materials, I needed to get creative.
Do you know someone doing a remodel that can donate their old one? Do you have a Habitat for Humanity Restore in your area? They are a thrift store for building materials and are all across the United States (here’s a link to the location finder). I went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Salt Lake City. I found an old Kohler faucet that I liked and went to pay for it. The cashier said I could have it! High five for a free faucet!!!
With a free faucet option, it might need some cleaning up. Due to some major build-up mine definitely needed some attention, so I put it in the sink with Lime-away and it is now looking much better!
step seven- add a stove
The next accessory to add is the stove burners and oven door. Wood circles work nicely for burners. I used chalk paint for the burners ($1 wood circles from Michael’s) and for the oven door. Note, in hind sight I should have used more sturdy circles. The ones I used were super thin and warped. I suggest thicker ones like this (only $3 each)
To classy up the cabinets, I decided to add some trim. My trim is from Michael’s since they have some great craft trim options. I spent $5 on trim and decided to add it to the door and also on the sides.
I used the miter box and saw I had on hand, but if you are doing a small project like this, Michael’s had a great option for $5! (here’s an option from Amazon)
step eight- install trim
I used a beaded trim on the sides and I love how classy it looks! I adhered all of the trim with liquid nails. As a result, these details really add some charm and character and are a great place where you can let your personality shine through!
Next step- start assembling your accessories that you have been collecting! We installed the faucet and put in hinges so that the over door opens like an oven.
You can also use Liquid Nails to adhere the oven wood circles (aka, the burners)
If you are worried about your paint job getting scratched up, you might want to give the whole piece a clear coat in addition to the paint. I gave the kitche three coats of the clear coat. Note, the faucet was wrapped in plastic while spraying on the clear coat to protect it.
step nine- backsplash
If you are wanting a back splash for your kitchen, I found a really fun, inexpensive option that’s easy to install! At The Home Depot I bought some $0.89 squares of linoleum stick on tiles that incorporate my love for the faux carrara marble look! Here’s an option on Amazon if you would rather shop from home. Or this super cute and affordable marble contact paper will work too.
I cut the linoleum tiles down to 2″x4″ rectangles and then installed them to look the same as subway tiles
I cut them with a paper cutter I had on hand. It was nice and fast. I had to rip the paper backing because the paper cutter couldn’t make it all of the way through, but it was still an efficient way to cut the tiles. This paper cutter is similar to the one I have (and love)
The tiling was fast and fun! This project was coming along super quickly now! This part was super fulfilling :). It was also the element that pulled everything together and looked polished. Update- I have had to since go back and glue down the tiled because a few fell off. If you go this route, I’d suggest gluing from the beginning :). I used liquid nails to secure them.
I also attached the sink with liquid nails and it has held up really well so this seems like a great option.
step ten- add a spice rack
Now, your main elements of the kitchen are in place! It’s time to add in the smaller details!
I bought a spice rack from Ikea and since I like the white on white look, I painted it white and screwed it onto the black splash.
And now, for the reveal photos!!! In addition to some more small detail ideas for you!
Didn’t it turn out cute?! I am in love!
We added these Ikea pots and kitchen utensils. I put in cup hooks under the rack to hold his cooking utensils
I found oven replacement knobs on eBay for $7.80. We put on three- two for the burners and one for the oven. I have seen simpler oven knobs on other play kitchens made of wood, but I love the realistic version.
I added a finishing detail by sewing Don a little matching kitchen towel with fabric I had on hand.
At Anthropologie they were having a 40% off clearance sale and they had the cutest kitchen timer. I snagged it at $2! You can get the same timer on Amazon too!
I found a play tea set from Down East Home (a store that sells Pottery Barn kids items for discounted prices). It was on sale for $8! Here’s an available option. I love that these are stainless steel so they won’t break with little hands.The color wasn’t perfect, but I figured I could paint it. It’s actually hard to find non-breakable gender neutral play dishes! I ended up loving the color with the play kitchen. So what if my little boy plays with pink dishes? Maybe I’ll paint it down the road if it bothers us.
My dog Lucy is a fan too… Haha
The best part of this project is how much my son Don loves it!
I think this will be a toy that grows with him. He loves opening and closing the doors and moving the faucet handle. He thinks the oven door is the BEST little step stool!
Don’s Moccasins / These are my favorite little jeggings
When he is older I can see him actually playing pretend more with it. At that point I will add an apron, play food, hot pad, and an oven rack. For now it is good and we all love it!
Entertainment Center- $10
Oven Knobs- $7.80
Oven Burners- $3
Oven Pull- $6.75 (from Ikea)
Spice Rack– $4
Hinges for Oven- $2
Building Materials Total: $44.05
Tea Set $8
Pot and Pans $10
Accessory Total: $24
In conclusion, with some elbow grease and imagination you can too create a play kitchen you and your children love! And on a budget! Isn’t it fun that you can make something custom that matches your home?! You can do it!
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Update- I’ve recently made another play kitchen. It’s similar in design and I thought you’d like to see it here.
Thanks for following along!
How to make a play kitchen from a $10 piece of furniture. Please note, affiliate links were used
It turned out so cute! I agree that is the perfect toy to grow with him.
[email protected] says
Thank you!!! I loved playing pretend house, so I hope he does too
I love your kitchen! I made one for my kids for Reese’s 2nd birthday (so five years ago next month) and they still play with it so much. I love that you made yours for outside, I’m sure it will be home to lots of mud and weeds and rocks 🙂
[email protected] says
I can’t believe that Reese is almost 7! That’s awesome that they still play with it! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Rachelle burton says
Okay!!!! How cute is this? You’re amazing. 🙌🙌🙌hands down cutest kitchen ever! LOVE IT!
[email protected] says
Oh thanks! I really, really appreciate it! Before you know it, you’re little guy will be big enough for one too 🙂
Kate S. says
You are the best mom! I have been searching (and searching!) for a little kitchen for my son… but none of them feels right. And the cute ones are expensive. I am so inspired I wan to hug you! One question: How did you attach the faucet? Oh, and do the stove knobs turn?
[email protected] says
Hi Kate! I am so glad that you are inspired! The faucet is attached with a combination of glue and screws. And yes, the stove knobs turn. You attache a plastic circle part that comes with the knobs to the kitchen and then the knobs turn when placed over the plastic.