This is the story of a toy that no longer appealed to our kids…that almost ended up in the donation pile…but was spared by a last-minute makeover.
I think nearly every family with kids under the age of 5 have a play kitchen and can probably relate to this story.
We were pretty smitten with the affordable Ikea play kitchen that fit perfectly in the corner of our mud room, just feet from our real kitchen. The boys loved it at first, and then their interest in it began to wane. They stopped using it altogether and the only thing it seemed useful of was collecting our piles of mail.
Over the summer we upgraded our mail piles with a hot turquoise file cabinet in the space once occupied by the play kitchen. We moved the play kitchen to the basement. I honestly thought we would donate it.
Then, as progress on our basement continued, we had a little heart to heart about the empty storage space under the stairs. With no immediate plans to actually store anything under there, we decided to give the boys more play space.
Their pirate-themed playroom was coming along nicely, but it didn’t have any room for a hideout. And, we have learned our boys…and probably all kids in general…love a hideout!
The under-the-stairs closet entrance is right around the corner from the play room. And, it just happened to be where we were temporarily storing the too-boring-too-play-with play kitchen.
Lightbulb moment! We could give them a hideout playhouse under the stairs.
We are more than halfway done with making that idea a reality. And, happily, the play kitchen is staying.
3 Steps to Upgrade an Ikea Play Kitchen
But first, it got a 3-step makeover to make it drop dead gorgeous and suddenly interesting enough to play with again :)
With less than a quart of paint and primer, a faux tin back splash tile, and a little foot surgery…the play kitchen was better than new!
1. Foot Surgery
The Ikea play kitchen comes with big, clunky grey plastic “feet” that go on the bottom of the legs to raise the kitchen up. We took them off for painting and decided to keep them off. No more clunky grey plastic stumps under the cabinet. And, shortening the play kitchen a few inches made it fit better under the stairs, keeping the shelf on top useable.
2. Two-Tone Paint
I am obsessed with two-tone kitchens, but haven’t been gutsy enough to try it out on my kitchen cabinets. The play kitchen seemed like a lovely place to experiment. We primed and painted all the natural wood and left the white areas. In a last-minute decision while we were painting, we painted the countertop as well. The color is Mariner by Martha Stewart.
3. Back Splash
All great kitchens need a back splash. We found a $20 faux tin tile at Home Depot that was just slightly smaller than the width of the play kitchen. I used my staple gun to attach it to the back at the counter and the shelf underneath the microwave. It really gives this play kitchen a high-end look!
With three simple steps and moving the play kitchen to a new spot in the house, a secret hideout playhouse for the boys, we were able to revive a tired toy!
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