This play kitchen project may have created a bit of a monster.
I now realize how fun..and easy, and CHEAP it is to makeover tiny things!!
I highly doubt my little boy appreciates the aesthetics of his updated IKEA DUKTIG kitchen, but I’m seriously envious of his workspace.
While our family was squeezed into that tiny NYC apartment, I’d dream of a way to put my little one’s kitchen in my kitchen so that we could “cook” together. After seeing a few Pinterest photos (oh the cruel inspiration!) I was totally sold on the idea of a matching play kitchen IN the kitchen for my babies.
Of course the first kitchen to catch my eye was made by Pottery Barn Kids (and was $$$)…
So, I continued dreaming and wandering the internet until a realistic option crossed my path. It didn’t take long to find some pretty inspiring IKEA hacks, but without a space to revamp the DUKTIG in NYC – I knew I would just have to be patient and wait for my suburban spray painting dreams to come true.
As you probably already know, we moved out of our New York apartment 2 weeks after Christmas in 2017. Knowing that we would have a LOT more space for “big toys” (not a feasible option before) my husband and I decided that an IKEA play kitchen would be great addition to the new house.
I was very happy to wait and make our $99 Christmas purchase once we arrived, but the play kitchen Gods shined down on me instead! A neighbor in our building wanted to sell their old IKEA DUKTIG for $50! We picked it up from their storage unit (also in the building) and it was loaded on the truck by the movers the very next morning! Talk about convenient!!
The little guy was pretty excited to see his play kitchen in the new house, but truthfully he was equally excited to see all the toys he’d been missing for the 2.5 weeks it took the movers to get our stuff to North Carolina.
The new house had a huge to-do list and the play kitchen wasn’t getting enough toddler attention to warrant an immediate overhaul. So, it sat in his room in its original IKEA condition until the house had progressed from completely overwhelming to tolerable.
A few months (and furniture additions) later – I realized that most of our playtime was happening downstairs, and I really didn’t want major distractions (like brand new kitchens he hadn’t seen all day) in his bedroom – especially when I was trying to get the little man calm before nap time.
In hopes that he’d be more interested in independent play (and his kitchen!) if he could pretend to cook while I made dinner in my kitchen, I moved the IKEA DUKTIG downstairs.
In my ideal world, the play kitchen (minus the hutch on top) was going to fit perfectly under the countertop of the island.
The space was meant for barstools, but was a little tight. Without stools underneath this large slab of granite at toddler forehead height, the danger zone needed to be addressed!
Placing something there seemed like responsible childproofing.
See what I did there? I’m convincing myself (and hopefully my husband) that having a play kitchen in our kitchen is the responsible parenting choice. Is it working??
I’d recently finished painting all the yellow kitchen cabinets white, and I couldn’t wait to further improve and accessorize my newly refreshed kitchen with my little guy’s mini-me.
But first, the little Ikea kitchen needed some work!
At the end of another round of naptime cabinet painting, I still had extra paint on my brush and roller. I impulsively decided to paint all the wooden sections of the DUKTIG white to match my cabinets. Luckily, the original white parts matched the new paint well enough, so there was no need to coat those!! As you can see I still had a bit of touch up to do on the bottoms of the legs. I didn’t even have cardboard under it when I started to paint (did I mention this was an impulsive decision?!), so this was more of a preview than anything else.
I was pretty happy that my eye (and tape measure) hadn’t lied to me about fitting the kitchen under the counter. Though it was a bit wider than I really preferred, I was willing to give it a try!
Now, I needed to address that wooden countertop. Marble Contact paper to the rescue!!
First, I used a screwdriver to remove the faucet and simply pulled out the sink and stovetop. Then, I unrolled contact paper across the top and cut it to fit. The width was close enough, so only one cut was needed to make the piece the right length. So easy!
Next, I slowly peeled back the adhesive, and trimmed the corners and edges to the proper length to wrap around and under the edges.
I wish redoing my own countertops was this easy and inexpensive!
Now, it’s time to cut holes for the sink and stovetop. I just opened up my scissors and made two big Xs.
A bit more trimming and sticking the contact paper to the underside of the sink and I was ready to replace the sink and stovetop!
Of course, I couldn’t stop there. I was able to use SPRAY PAINT in my backyard – I couldn’t resist.
Creating a perfect mini-me to my own kitchen required spraying all the silver plastic pieces to match my new aged brass knobs and pulls.
I ended up ordering this Rust-Oleum Antique Brass Metallic Spray Paint on Amazon.
It was the quickest nap time project I ever completed! Spray them, let dry. Repeat. Re-attach!! I will say, that these plastic spray painted pieces have shown the most wear, so maybe I should have prepped them…but I figure I can always respray them if they get too scratched up.
The most ironic part of this whole project is that after adding a faux marble countertop to the IKEA kitchen, I couldn’t have it anywhere near my present brown speckled granite countertops!! The tiny kitchen was just too beautiful! It pulled focus and made me cringe at my brown speckled granite counters. I was wildly jealous!
Once I replace my countertops and backsplash, I’m hoping this little guy can have another chance under the island, but for now he’s been relocated to the wall of the breakfast nook.
Finding tiny accessories was too much fun, and luckily I happened upon them both without needing to hunt at all! The tiny Le Creuset look-alike was at Pier 1 (on clearance!) and the brass collander was waiting for me at Kirkland’s.
I honestly have no idea what good these would be to someone who isn’t accessorizing a tiny kitchen, but that’s probably why they were so cheap – only 3 dollars each!
The tiny utensil holder was from Michael’s. It reminded me of a utensil holder I found in the Target Dollar Spot for myself. The larger piece won’t make an appearance in my kitchen until the brown is officially sayonara. Someday, I hope we really will have matching kitchens!! (Not that he will care one bit, I’m sure!).
I didn’t want to commit to a full backsplash, but I played with some small scrapbook paper squares that look like Spanish tile in the top section of the hutch.
It’s still not permanently affixed since its too small to completely cover the space, but the scale is right and I’m definitely enjoying a peek of Spanish tile along with more blue and white in my breakfast nook in the mean time.
It’s not perfect, but that allows me to relax while I watch my toddler slam its doors and bang pots and pans in the sink. (I really hope he’s not mimicking how I do dishes…it’s rather violent!).
Truth be told, my little guy could care less about the kitchen, unless we are baking pretend cookies that are “too hot to eat” (which means we pretend to burn our mouths and throw them all around the room and scream…boys).
For a $50 kitchen, improved with $5 of contact paper, $8 of accessories, and $8 of spray paint, it makes me pretty happy, even if it sits ignored in the corner. More importantly, it continues to serve as my inspiration for our future kitchen renovation!
It sure was fun to play in the world of tiny makeovers for a little while!