IKEA Play Kitchen Reno
Updated: Jan 26
Some of my earliest memories are playing with my own play kitchen. I loved "cooking" and "baking" for my grandparents, serving up plastic lumps of carrots and wooden cupcakes with rubber frosting. I remember "making dinner" and packing my own lunch for preschool. I had tea parties with my stuffed animals and made my family members order from my "restaurant". Pretend play was a great outlet for me as a kid and I think it's one of the important experiences that helped lay a foundation of creativity throughout my childhood.
It was just So. Dang. Fun.
So naturally, I have always dreamt of fostering that same creative and imaginative play in my own kids. Fast forward to a few years ago when I started seeing people renovating the IKEA DUKTIG Play Kitchen. And once I saw what Elsie and Laura did with theirs, it was GAME. OVER. I didn't even have kids yet but I needed this kitchen.
I restrained myself from buying one before I was even pregnant (and by that I mean my husband restrained me), but as soon as we had my daughter I knew it wouldn't be long before I would make my Play Kitchen Dreams come true. I managed to hold off until her first birthday, at which time I literally begged my husband to order the kitchen. I knew it would take me awhile to renovate and I figured if I started at her birthday, she would be old enough to play with it once it was finished. We ordered it in March. Then COVID-19 happened and it didn't arrive until the end of April.
As I waited, I scoured the internet for Play Kitchen Inspiration. I made a Pinterest Board with all of my favorite ideas. I was majorly inspired by this one from Kandis. I love how she altered the microwave to stand alone and added some open shelving. I begged my husband to let me do this, but since we aren't sure exactly where the kitchen will even go in our house, he didn't want to be attaching anything to the wall. Maybe if we find a permanent place for it, that will change!
Anyway, hers was the main inspiration for mine and I want to give her credit! I combined the color and details of Kandis' with the stovetop of this one from Jess. Here is the final product compared to the original kitchen!
So, let me show you how we did it! All products linked at the end of this post!
First, I laid out all of the pieces to make sense of where they belonged. Then I tried to decide which pieces I wanted to paint (or felt that I had to paint) and which pieces I wanted to leave. I knew I wanted to leave the countertop the original wood color and I figured I'd paint the rest. However, after looking at all the pieces and realizing how much I would have to paint I asked Vance to help me figure out if there were any pieces I could skip because they wouldn't be seen.
I decided not to paint the back of the side panels (we left them the plain wood color since those sides face the inside of the kitchen cabinets) and the very bottom panel that makes the bottom of the cabinets. But since the edge of this piece faces the front, I wanted to just paint that edge. So I covered the top of that piece with butcher paper and taped a clean line against the edge so I could just paint that front edge that would show. I also wanted to keep the bottom section of the microwave because it has the circular decal where the "plate" would be inside. So I covered that part with butcher paper and taped it off along the edge where the sides of the microwave would go. This way I could still paint the areas that would create the bottom of the shelves. I also painted the sink the same color as the kitchen.
Next, we covered the countertop with butcher paper and screwed the faucet in place. This way I could paint the entire faucet without laying it on its side. You could also try screwing it to a scrap piece of wood or possibly even cardboard. I also painted the hanging hooks the same color as the faucet.
When using spray paint, hold the can about 10 inches away and paint with straight steady strokes, releasing the button on the can at the end of each stroke. I did one coat on all the pieces, then immediately did another coat. Then I waited an hour and repeated this process, so four light coats total. We used about 4-5 cans of paint (there's a lot of pieces!).
The day after I painted everything, I noticed the paint scratched very easily if I rubbed it with my fingernail. I was worried it wouldn't hold up through her play. After talking with my grandfather, he said it would probably take a few days for the paint to fully cure and harden. So I left all the pieces leaning against a wall inside for a week or two while I waited for other supplies to arrive. At the end of that time, the paint no longer scratched easily (I tested it in an inconspicuous spot and had to scratch very hard for it to come off.)
Once the paint was fully cured, we were ready to assemble! We opted for wooden handles instead of the plastic ones that come with the kitchen. However, the screws that came with the handles were too long, so Vance bought these screws at Home Depot. I will warn you, screw them in carefully. The metal receiving end in the handle can come out pretty easily if overly tightened. We also replaced the rod below the microwave with a wooden dowel the same size.
Next, we measured, marked, and drilled holes to add the round wooden knobs above the oven. The knobs do not come with screws, so we just used some we had laying around the house.
Now it was time to make the stovetop. I had seen people make them a variety of different ways using dowel rods, etc. But I saw Jess make hers with bases from those glass dome cloches people use to display things in. I loved how clean they looked and how similar they looked to real burners. The bases came with a red-orange stain, so I had Vance sand down the tops and edges to reveal the natural wood underneath. We used a wooden slab for the base of the stovetop. Vance rounded the top edges and I painted it the same color as the kitchen. Vance drilled shallow holes in the underside of the burners and drilled holes all the way through the wooden slab. He placed a 1/2" dowel rod through the wooden slab and into the shallow holes under the burners and used wood glue on the rest of the underside of the burner to attach them to the slab. The idea is that the dowel will provide more stability and strength to the unit as a whole. Once the glue was dry, we used screws under the countertop to attach the wooden slab.
Next, the sink. It's supposed to just sit into the opening, but we decided to under-mount it. We used short screws in the corners to attach it on the underside of the countertop.
Lastly, we added the cane webbing to the inside of the microwave and oven doors. I cut it to size and stapled it in place with regular staples just to position it. Then Vance used a staple gun to make it more secure. I left the plexiglass in the microwave and oven.
And voila! All I had left to do was furnish it with all the tiny, cute accessories! I searched everywhere for the perfect pots and pans and I was ecstatic when I found these beauties in the perfect dusty rose color. When I realized they matched the napkins I had bought perfectly, I knew they were "the ones". I also bought the matching tableware set.
I looked at a LOT of play food. I debated both felt and wooden options. Eventually, I decided on these felt fruit and vegetables from IKEA. However, I might also invest in some other options eventually. I mainly chose these because they were super affordable (only $10 each) and I liked that the banana and lettuce have velcro pieces that come apart.
Needless to say, Piper loves her kitchen! She's still a little young for pretend play, but she loves exploring all her new toys! I can't wait to see her grow into this experience and to share so many memories with her.
Off-white paint for kitchen: Rust-Oleum 2X Paint and Primer- Heirloom White
Bronze paint for faucet: Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint and Primer- Satin Bronze
Wooden Handles - You can use any handles that measure 5" between the holes
Burners: Wood Dome Base 4"
Cane webbing for microwave and oven: Medium Opening 5/8", 24" wide, 2ft long
Three-Tiered Basket: Marshall's
Wooden eggs: Target dollar spot in Spring
Scrub brush: Target dollar spot in Spring