I know I’m not the only parent that obsesses over the kids items that we bring into our house. Aside from being fun and safe, I also have a strong “need” for everything to be extra cute and match my color scheme and decor as well. I’ve done some DIY projects totally from scratch to be the most adorable possible (like this toddler activity center), but I also wanted to set Lola up with a play kitchen in our den to (hopefully!) entertain her a bit while we make dinner nearby. So an IKEA play kitchen hack seemed like the perfect project to tackle! Here’s how I customized mine!
–IKEA play kitchen
–peel and stick subway tile
–gold spray paint and clear gloss spray
-flat white primer spray paint
-paint for kitchen (I would suggest a lacquer paint if you can!)
-piece of foam core board
-wood glue and epoxy glue
-drill and drill bits
-wooden star decal
–5″ center to center brass pulls (I used 3 of these)
–round gold cabinet knobs (I used 3)
First, I started by painting the sections of the kitchen the colors that I wanted. I found it easier to assemble the bulk of the bottom and top halves first so they would stand upright while I painted them and then did the doors and countertop piece separately. My first tip for you (that I learned from my mistake) is to try and sand the super smooth surface of the kitchen pieces first and then do at least one coat of a good primer first before painting. The bottom half that I painted with a regular semi gloss pink paint comes off a little easier than I would like compared to the harder drying white lacquer paint that I used for the top, and I think a light sanding and a primer would have helped that a lot. I figured the lacquer would be more durable, so that’s why I used it for the counter area and I think it definitely is a harder coating.
Once the main sections were painted, I spray painted the kitchen faucet and sink with the gold paint and then with the clear gloss once the gold paint was totally dry. I “mounted” the faucet on the cardboard from underneath with screws so it would stand upright while I painted it—otherwise it falls right over!
I wanted to add some realistic looking subway tile to the backsplash, so I used peel and stick tile to make it happen! Since the bottom and top have a backboard but the middle section doesn’t, I just cut a piece of foam core board a tiny bit larger than the opening, and tiled the board to each edge with the tile. Once the tile was on, we loosened the top section of the kitchen enough to wiggle in the board so it was flush with the back and then tightened the screws back in again and it’s wedged in there pretty well. You could always put a brace of some sort on the back if you felt your toddler would push it through, but it feels pretty solid to me so I left in in there. We also did some white acrylic caulk around the edges to hide any of the seams and that made it look a lot nicer as well. I also tiled the top section so it looks like it goes all the way up the wall, so you’ll want the 10 square pack if you want both tiled, but the 5 square pack is enough to tile just the bottom backsplash.
I wasn’t real excited about putting the original stovetop back on since it was black and kind of ugly next to all the new colors, so I decided to make my own little stovetop by gluing a thin wood board over the hole and adding two painted circles and small brass knobs to act as the stove controls. To make the burners, I cut different sized gold and white circles out of vinyl and then layered them on top of each other so it made a bullseye effect when layered.So much cuter!
Switching out the hardware was pretty easy (although you could paint the handles as well for a budget version) and I also painted a gold star wooden decal to add a bit more midcentury style to one of the cabinet doors.
You may notice that I decided to leave off the rod that came with the kitchen. The pot and pans set I got for her didn’t have holes drilled for hanging and I decided that I’d rather hang a wooden globe light there instead, so I left it off. To make the globe light, I drilled a 1/2″ hole through my 4″ wooden disc and then drilled about 2″ into the top of a wooden ball. I used a piece of a 1/2″ wooden dowel rod as the connecter (which you can cut with any kind of electric or good old-fashioned hand saw) and glued them together. Then I painted it all white, divided the ball in half with painter’s tape, and painted the top half, rod, and disc gold, and glued it under the top cabinets. For extra stability, I also drilled a screw into it from the top in the microwave area—how cute is that?!
OMG, it’s juuuuust too much in the best possible way! I love how it totally fits in with the rest of our decor and looks so luxe as well. To make it more budget-friendly, you could paint the existing handles rather than get new ones, paint subway tile grout lines instead of the peel-and-stick tile, and leave the stovetop as-is rather than make my wooden version. Lola has been obsessed with it since we showed it to her this week and she also loves the wooden shopping cart, the gold/wooden pots and pans, and the wooden fruit we got to go with the kitchen. It’s definitely projects like this that make my mom heart swell and I hope you get a chance to makeover your own kitchen too—it’s so fun!! xo. Laura