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Finding the perfect play kitchen is kind of hard when you are looking for something functional, beautiful and inexpensive. Instead of spending a small fortune buying a perfect play kitchen I decided to just makeover the wooden play kitchen that we already owned.
I have Pottery Barn taste but more of a Target kind of budget! My mother in law is a firm believer that spray paint can transform ANYTHING. I took a leaf out of her book for this project and it simply does not disappoint.
Finding a Blank Slate for a DIY Wooden Kids Kitchen Makeover
I spent a lot of time browsing Pinterest looking for ideas of what I wanted to create. We originally purchased a KidKraft kitchen for our girls for Christmas one year. By the next Christmas, it was literally falling apart. I was so disappointed because you would think that a wooden kitchen would be of better quality.
So we were in the market for a new kitchen again. I asked around for recommendations for a quality wood kitchen and everything that was recommended was over $500. That just wasn’t happening. I mean sure, Id love to drop that much on a kids toy but my practicality just wouldn’t even allow me to seriously consider it. Although it might have been funny to see the look on my husbands face if I suggested it.
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So back to the drawing board.
I simply was not going to settle for a plastic play kitchen. It did not fit the look I was going for and honestly, I try to stay away from plastic toys as much as I can.
I finally found a kitchen that though it was pretty ugly, was wooden, had pretty good reviews and was in my price range.
We ordered the children’s wooden play kitchen in time for me to do the remodel before Christmas but I just didn’t get around to it. Of course, my children really didn’t care about the glaring orange handles and shelves as I did so they, of course, loved it.
Kids Kitchen DIY Makeover
When I finally decided to get moving on the play kitchen remodel it was almost summer and I was pregnant. That’s a perfect time to start an outdoor spray painting project, right?
Anyways, I decided that I would just take the project slowly and not try to do it all at once. Of course, the idea of this project spanning multiple days made me absolutely crazy but I was determined not to overexert myself during this pregnancy.
First thing I did was decide on my paint colors. We had already had a girly pink kitchen so that was out. I wanted something that was a bit more realistic this go round. I decided on a nice grayish blue with white and rose gold accents.
I mean that just sounds fancy right?
Taking the Kids Kitchen Apart
My kids totally lost it when I started to take the kitchen apart. They play with it all the time and the idea of having to part with it for a day or two was just not appealing to them.
We had the same problem when I remodeled their dollhouse too so I wasn’t really surprised.
Taking the kitchen apart was pretty easy, even if I was chasing little girls around the house trying to keep up with the screws they were stealing!
I only partially took the kitchen apart because I really only wanted to cover the bright orange areas. I mean who thought bright orange was a color that moms would want in their playrooms??
For the parts that I didn’t want to be painted, I covered them with a thick roll of wrapping paper and painters tape. Much easier than taking the entire thing apart!
Spray Painting Tips
The great thing about spray paint is it dries fast and it covers really well! I did find that I preferred certain brands over others though. Rustoleum was my favorite because it covered the best and the spray nozzle wasn’t super hard to push. Plus I didn’t get ANY paint on my fingers when I used this brand.
If you go for a cheaper paint you might get a crappy nozzle and get paint all over. Spray paint is sticky and hard to get off when you get it on your skin.
When you are spray painting make sure your stand an appropriate distance away and spray light layers. Otherwise, you will get drips and runs and that will totally ruin the look you are trying to achieve. Unless you are going for the runny look and in that case, you should get all up on your kitchen and spray away!
I always have random cardboard boxes in my garage thanks to my husband’s job so I set my projects on those to elevate them off the ground and to get better coverage on the sides. If you try to paint on a concrete surface you will end up with paint that never goes away. If you try it on grass it’s almost impossible to not get grass lines on the bottom of your kitchen.
Also, and this might just be a Florida problem, but try and paint at the least buggy time of day! Nothing worse than getting bugs stuck in your paint!!
Finding a Realistic Play Kitchen Counter
Honestly, this was the hardest part of the kitchen remodel for me. Not actually doing it, but finding a countertop that I liked!
There are tons of tutorials about painting faux granite or marble but I really didn’t want to do that. I wanted a solid waterproof surface since my kids are known for taking actual food and drinks into their play kitchen.
Seriously, if you aren’t following my kid’s shenanigans on Instagram you should be! It will give you a good laugh and make you feel like you have it all together! My life is crazy!
My mom suggested that I use contact paper, like the stuff people put in their kitchen cabinets! Perfect idea mom!
The only problem was that I couldn’t find anything useable anywhere! Everything was weird patterns or not the right color. Wal-mart, Target, Dollar Stores, Big lots… they all failed me.
At this point, the length of time this project is taking me is starting to stress me out. Plus I am dragging two kids to all these stores with me to look for contact paper and that in itself is stressful.
So I’m laying in bed one night and literally laughed out loud at myself when I thought of the perfect place to find what I needed.
I preach the glories of Amazon on a regular and am quite embarrassed that the thought didn’t cross my mind sooner.
Of course, they had what I needed, I ordered it, and it arrived at my house two days later! Amazon Prime is my secret weapon!
Installing the Play Kitchen Faux Countertop
Contact paper is super easy to install.
The main problem you will have is bubbles. Cut yourself a piece slightly bigger then you need and roll it slowly, smoothing as you go, from one side to the other. If you have the option of some adult help, four hands will be much easier then two!
If you do end up with any bubbles just try to push them out on the sides. If they are too bad you may want to rip it up and try again. You will have to use a brand new piece because it will stretch as you remove it.
The most difficult part for me was the corners. I ended up just cutting little notches and folding the pieces over each other. The pattern I chose makes it hard to see that it isn’t just a smooth continuous corner.
Accessories for Toddler Play Kitchen
I had been looking for a better way to store the play food. Keeping the food inside the kitchen meant that the kids had to pull ALL of it out each time they played in order to find what they wanted. I was tired of cleaning it up every day!
I decided on some open storage. The baskets were black so I just spray painted them to match the kitchen. This worked pretty well until the kids realized that they could remove the baskets. Which they did. Every day.
While this was super annoying I didn’t start looking for another solution until my husband fell on the baskets and bent them into an irreparable shape.
Now we have the same sort of open storage but they are attached to the wall. Sorry kids, mom just isn’t into cleaning all day long!
I had a few of these cheap shelves from Ikea laying around. At one point I used them for books.
I spray painted them white and hung them up just far enough for the kids to be unable to reach them. This way I could add a few cute touches without them being able to destroy my look each day.
I really wanted to have shopping carts for the kids but really we just don’t have the room for them. So I grabbed a few metal baskets from Hobby Lobby instead.
The girls love their mixer. Probably because they see me using mine all the time!
Most of the play food came from Ikea but I did order some felt cupcakes from Etsy.
I also added a felt letter board from Felt Like Sharing which I LOVE. I mean who doesn’t love letter boards?
The pots and pans are Melissa and Doug and have held up incredibly well!
What do you think?
I absolutely adore our remodeled children’s play kitchen. It was exactly what I was hoping for and didn’t cost me a small fortune! Are you inspired to go out and create your own?
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