Kids, especially toddlers, LOVE play kitchens! But with dozens of great commercial sets available to buy new, why would you want to take the time and energy to make one?
Here are a couple of reasons that come to mind:
- It’s Good for the Environment – Upcycling is always a good idea. After all, some poor tree gave its life to build that old entertainment center, better to give it new life as a kid’s toy than toss it in the local landfill.
- DIY Satisfaction – There’s nothing better than watching your kids enjoy something that you built yourself.
- Quality & Aesthetics – Some of the commercially available play kitchens can be a bit of an eyesore. Don’t get me wrong – kids LOVE some of the plastic models but they don’t really go with my Pottery barn apothecary table. If you Do-It-Yourself you can pick the paint colors and accessories to match your decor.
- Cost – Some of the play kitchens below were made for as little as $50. It is hard to find a new play kitchen for that price.
NOTE: Let’s face it – being a parent is HARD! I know that some of you just don’t have time (or energy) to make your own play kitchen so I have prepared a guide for buying a play kitchen. Go ahead take a look… Some of them are actually pretty cute.
So, let’s get to it! Here are 30 Amazing DIY Play Kitchens you can make from old furniture.
Elegant DIY Play Kitchen From Lovely Etc
Made From: An Old Entertainment Center
Old entertainment centers are one of the most popular pieces of old furniture to turn into a Kid’s Play Kitchen. This is most likely because Televisions are not 2 feet deep anymore, and VHS tapes are all buried deep in landfills, we don’t need these behemoths taking up 1/3 or the floor space in our living rooms anymore.
This particular dinosaur of an entertainment center was purchase off of Craigslist for $15 bucks and then given a fresh coat of paint and some awesome accent details.
The standout feature is the custom paintwork. All of the finishes were created using paint – including the backsplash, countertop, stovetop, and stainless steel appliances.
DIY Details: Lovely etc
Detailed Design Play Kitchen From Time Out
Made From: Entertainment Center
Here’s another outdated media center upcycled into a classic looking Kids Kitchen. The unit was purchased on Craigslist for $30 bucks and transformed with leftover paint from another DIY project.
There are some great details on this one from the fake window, tile backsplash and I especially like the overhead lighting fixture which was purchased at a clearance sale at Home Depot – it really adds a touch of class.
This article doesn’t have a very thorough How-To, but there is enough information to get the broad strokes.
DIY Details: Timeout
Retro DIY Kid’s Wooden Kitchen From ReStyle Relove
Made From: A Television Stand
If you don’t have room for a full-size media cabinet conversion, try something smaller like this Play Kitchen created from an old TV display cabinet. This is small enough to push into a corner when not in use – but has enough features and details to keep your little ones busy for hours on end.
This play kitchen was pretty easy to build and does a great job of incorporating the original TV stand’s features into the finished design.
I especially like the two-tone retro paint job and the way that Julie from Restyle Relove rotated one of the cabinet doors 90 degrees to make the oven door.
DIY Details: Restyle Relove
Simple Recycled Play Kitchen From Dans le Lakehouse
Made From: A Microwave Stand
Here is another simple(ish) DIY Play Kitchen made from an old microwave stand.
The main structure was not changed all that much; the top of the old unit was cut off to open the play space up, a sideboard was added to create more space for play food preparation and some cheap Ikea legs were added to give the unit some height.
The whole thing was painted a nice neutral color and the transformation was dramatic.
This just goes to show that you don’t need to take on a 3-month long DIY project to create something that will provide your kids with hours of fun pretend playtime.
DIY Details: Dans le Lakehouse
Super-Simple Play Kitchen From Remodelaholic
Made From: A Cube Shelf
Ahhhh, the ubiquitous cube shelf. The staple of man caves and college dorms everywhere. Who knew they were also the perfect building blocks to create a super cute play kitchen for your little ones!
There are 3 great things about using cube shelves to build a play kitchen:
- You can find a version of these shelves just about anywhere; Walmart, Target, Big Lots, Home Depot etc.
- They are easy to work with.
- They are CHEAP!
If you want a compact, easy to make yet incredibly functional Play Kitchen then this one is for you. The tutorial over at Remodelaholic is very well laid out and takes you step-by-step through the process of building this adorable and functional Play Kitchen.
DIY Details: Remodelaholic
Nightstand Turned Into Play Kitchen From Nikki Snacs
Made From: Old Nightstand
This upcycled play kitchen demonstrates the power of a child’s imagination. There is very little customization done to this old nightstand yet I’m sure some kid played happily with it for many years and never once thought “Why am I cooking eggs on an old nightstand?”
If you have limited time to create your kid’s kitchen and want to keep it super simple then you may want to try something like this. The original article is a bit sparse on details, but it really is not hard to figure out what she did:
- Cut a hole in the top of the dresser for a sink (just a metal mixing bowl).
- Attach a cheap faucet.
- Paint 2 black circles to emulate the stove burners.
A coat of Emerald Green paint finishes off he illusion giving the unit a classic Antique look.
DIY Details: Nikki Snacs
Simple Vintage Upcycled Kitchen From Little Gray Table
Made From: An Old Nightstand
Here’s another creative nightstand makeover. The most difficult part of this build was the custom made backsplash/hutch.
DIY Details: Little Gray Table
Another Nightstand Play Kitchen From Baby Center
Made From: A Night Stand
Yet another nightstand turned Play Kitchen. This one has quite a bit more detail than the 2 versions above and would probably take considerably more time and effort to make. But the finished product looks amazing, maybe better than some of the commercial wooden play kitchens available.
I especially love the tile backsplash and the lighted oven, alot of time and love went into this beauty.
DIY Details: Baby Center
Adorable DIY Toddler Kitchen From At Home With Ashley
Made From: Thrift Store TV Stand
This is probably one of the most complete do-it-yourself tutorials you will find on turning an old piece of furniture into a super cute kid-sized toddler kitchen. In it, Ashley, from At Home with Ashley, breaks down step by step how she turned a $10 thrift store find into the awesome project you see in the photo above.
She covers everything from the correct type of paint to use to details like making the burners and attaching a working oven light.
DIY Details: At Home with Ashley
DIY Retro Kid’s Diner From eHow
Made From: Entertainment Center
This is a great story because this Retro Diner actually began its new life as just another play kitchen made from an old entertainment center.
As you can see in the image above, the play kitchen was pretty impressive. But the builders thought… why stop there? So they decided to add even more fun to the mix by adding a retro kid’s diner on the backside of the unit.
This was a truly inspired idea, all they had to do was add a chalkboard to list the day’s specials, a fold down counter to serve the pint sized customers, and a retro sign to top it off. But the finished effect is epic.
What kid doesn’t want their very own diner in their house. And as a bonus, now there is room for twice as many kids to play at once.
DIY Details: eHow
Vintage Entertainment Center Play Kitchen From Southern Revivals
Made From: Vintage Entertainment Center
This is one of my favorite entertainment center conversions. It is epic in scale and the details and build quality are really first class. The gloss white paint job gives it a clean chic look that beckons you to come and play.
The giant chalkboard is sure to be a big hit with the kids and the massive storage cabinet hidden behind it will be much appreciated by parents.
The lower cabinets have been converted into a dishwasher on the right and an over on the left. The oven has metal racks and a working light. The large 2 tiered refrigerator on the far right is another large storage cabinet (you can never have too much storage).
The only downside is that this is a massive play kitchen and really not practical unless you have a giant house or a dedicated playroom for your little ones.
DIY Details: Southern Revivals
Full Sized DIY Kiddo Play Kitchen From On a Cold Day
Made From: Entertainment Center
Another sad discarded entertainment center gets a new life as a s a kids toy – if furniture had feelings I’m sure this old heap would be ecstatic.
This DIY play kitchen is very similar in style to the one above but on a bit smaller scale. While I don’t personally think this is one of the prettiest play kitchens on the list, there are some very nice details that make this comprehensive tutorial worth a look. I especially like the oven and stove details.
Another plus is that this play kitchen has plenty of storage. There is a large fridge section on the left where play foods can be kept and on the right, there are storage shelves and drawers where utensils and kitchen nick-nacks can be kept.
DIY Details: On a Cold Day
DIY Outdoor Play Kitchen From Adventure in a Box
Made From: Old School Ikea Shelving Unit
This beautiful outdoor play kitchen started life as an Ikea shelf. Ikea seems to be the common thread that runs thru this entire post. It seems that more than half the builders used some sort of Ikea components to build their play kitchens. This build just takes it a bit further and uses Ikea furniture as the foundation as well.
DIY Details: Adventure in a Box
Repurposed Play Kitchen From Sutton Grace
Made From: An Old Entertainment Center
Another great upcycled media center that uses the original units features to its advantage. There was no heavy modification of the basic structure, just a cleaver reimagining.
The best thing about this model (besides the color) is the massive amount of counter space, there is plenty of room for kids to spread out and whip up some gourmet play meals. The downside is that the unit lacks the storage that some of the other models have.
This would be a great candidate for the Retro Diner treatment (see above).
The great thing is – you can build something like this pretty cheap. This play kitchen ended up costing around $65 bucks. Here is where the money went:
The entertainment center was $20- craigslist. The sink and faucet $15, knobs $4 and blue paint $4- all from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I tried to use things we already owned- handles, fabric, pot rack, window trim. About another $25 for plywood, magnetic closures, spray paint, nuts, bolts, washers, plexiglass etc.
DIY Details: Sutton Grace
Industrial Style Play Kitchen With Plans From Harlow & Thistle
Made From: Thrift Store Kitchen Cabinets
Certainly the most realistic DIY play kitchen on the list, this entry form Harlow & Thistle is not for the casual DIYer. The basic form is not that complicated to build, it is made from 2 standard kitchen cabinets, but the details and finishes will take some skill and patience to get right.
But if you are willing to put in the work you can create something that rivals many of the consumer models available at a fraction of the price.
The step-by-step tutorial is quite detailed and should be all you need if you want to create something similar.
DIY Details: Harlow & Thistle
Turn a Desk into Play Kitchen From A Swell Place to Dwell
Made From: An Old Desk
For this upcycled toddler play kitchen the builder used an old desk that had been buried in the dark recesses of his garage for years. I’m actually surprised I didn’t find more desk to play kitchen tutorials online, it is the perfect base form to build on.
It didn’t take much in the way of construction to create this play kitchen – a bit of work went into building the oven area but other than that, this project was all about creative re-imagining.
There are a bunch of great detail ideas in this tutorial that you can use to create your own play kitchen masterpiece. I especially like the use of round cork Ikea trivets painted black for the burners. And the wheels make it easy to push into the corner when not in use.
This do-it-yourself tutorial is split into 2 parts (see links below).
Old Dresser To Gourmet Kitchen From Kate’s Creative Space
Made From: An Old eBay Dresser
This one is about as simple as it gets; some paint, a junkyard tap, a couple of knobs, and this old dresser takes on a new life as a gourmet kitchen for your budding chef. Another great example of the power of a child’s imagination.
Kids love getting their hands on “adult stuff” so why not give them their very own versions of the items they see us using every day? And that’s exactly what this play kitchen does.
The wicker baskets give easy access to all sorts of fun kitchen utensils, the kettle and toaster are right at toddler play level and the dual side cabinets hold even more goodies.
This dresser was purchased on eBay for £12 (that’s $15 measly dollars) and given a fresh coat of paint, which the builders had leftover from another project. The tap and oven knobs were found at the local dump. The basic structure of this play kitchen probably cost less than $30.
Compare that to this Pottery Barn Play kitchen with a price tag close to $500…
Okay – the Pottery Barn version is pretty darn cute – but do you really think your kids will know the difference?
DIY Details: Kate’s Creative Space
Recycled Armoire DIY Play Kitchen From Andrea Dekker
Made From: An Old Armoire
Another obsolete media center given new life as a toddler play kitchen. Although this one is very similar to some of the others on the list it does have some details worth a mention.
This is one of the few units that has a real, full-sized sink installed. The oven and stove detailing are very creative and the use of a mirror as the backsplash is a great touch.
I must say I was a bit disappointed after reading the tutorial to find that the refrigerator door was not made from metal. I love the idea of having a dedicated space where the kids can play with their magnetic letters and hang their artwork. Unfortunately, it looks like the letters you see in the picture are just stuck to a wooden backboard.
I got excited about this idea so I did a quick bit of research into magnetic paints- but it turns out they don’t really work as advertised. So, I think the best method would be to purchase a magnetic whiteboard and just work it into the refrigerator door design.
This is another epic tutorial with dozens of great detailed images to show you exactly how each step was accomplished.
DIY Details: Andrea Dekker
Modular DIY Play Kitchen From The Handmade Home
Made From: Thrift Shop Dresser and Nightstands
Here’s a bit of a twist on creating a kid’s play kitchen… start with a selection of outdated wood furniture and end up with a DIY modular play kitchen that your kids are sure to love.
I really love the modular DIY play kitchen idea for several reasons:
- The kids get to arrange the various pieces however they want.
- It is much easier to store away when not in use than a monstrous entertainment center play kitchen conversion.
- You can build it one piece at a time and just keep adding to the collection whenever you have time for a new DIY project.
DIY Details: The Handmade Home
Do-It-Yourself Kid’s Kitchen From Young House Love
Made From: An Old Kitchen Cabinet
DIY Details: Young House Love
Retro Kid Kitchen & Peg Board Back Splash From A Beautiful Mess
Made From: Thrift Store Cabinet
(via A Beautiful Mess)
Turn Your Old Chair into a Kid’s Kitchen From All Dad, All Day
Made From: An Old Chair
If you don’t have much space, try this creative version made from a kitchen chair.
DIY Details : alldadallday
Old-Timey DIY Play Kitchen From Bubbles Stitch Quilt
Made From: An Old Dresser
DIY Details : bubblestitchquilts
Handmade Kid’s Kitchen From Giggle Berry Creations
Made From: An Old Entertainment Center
DIY Details : giggleberrycreations
Build This Play Kitchen & Fridge From Upcycle Nation
Made From: Old Kitchen Cabinets
If you have some old kitchen cabinets cluttering up your garage why not turn then into something useful? This tutorial shows you how to take old cabinets and convert them to a simple play kitchen and fridge. This is not the most beautiful Kid Kitchen on our list – but it is one of the simplest to build.
DIY Details: Upcycle Nation
Simple Stove with Oven From Ikea Hackers
Made From: Ikea Oddvar Pine Stool
Another great Ikea conversion. I love this one – it’s so simple yet it reads 100% as a stovetop. This is a bit of a cheat as the pine stool was purchased brand spanking new from Ikea, but at less than $20 it’s not really worth hitting the 2nd hand shops looking for a used one.
DIY Details: Ikea Hackers
Play Kitchen Makeover On A Budget From Copper Rainbow
Made From: An Old Bedside Cabinet
When Ria from Copper Rainbow saw an ugly old bedside cabinet at a local thrift shop for around $7, she knew it would make the perfect play kitchen for her daughter.
She spent an additional $3 bucks on a metal dog water bowl, $15 for a couple cans of spray paint, $2.50 for a cute little window frame, $4 for some Gingham curtain fabric, and around $1.00 for a wooden dowel that she used as a curtain rod.
This shows just how cheaply you can make an upcycled play kitchen. With a little elbow grease and a lot of creativity, this little beauty cost less than $35!
DIY Details : Copper Rainbow
Clean Functional Play Kitchen for Under $90 From 1 Dog Woof
Made From: An Old TV Stand
I absolutely LOVE the clean functional look of this upcycled play kitchen. In its past life this cute little unit was a TV stand. But after alot of sanding, some custom paint work and carpentry and a whole lot of detailing – it blossomed into what you see before you!
This play kitchen has one of the most complete DIY tutorials of any on my list. Even if you don’t want to build this exact unit you REALLY should check it out. The team over at 1 Dog Woof came up with dozens of creative detailing solutions that you can use on any DIY play kitchen you decide to build.
And they did an amazing job of photographing and laying out the construction methods and materials they used to finish this project. Really… Check it out!
DIY Details : 1 Dog Woof
Play Kitchen DIY! From Miranda Walker
Made From: An Old TV Stand
Another simple and functional play kitchen upcycled from a discarded TV stand. I love the colors and little details like the metal plate attached to the side for plastic magnet letters.
DIY Details: Miranda Walker
The Play Kitchen From Easy Peasy Pie
Made From: An Old Cabinet
This retro-looking play kitchen from Easy Peasy Pie has some great touches. The fake window really ads a whimsical element to the design and the backsplash is so cute that I am tempted to steal the design for my real kitchen.
If you are planning to build your own play kitchen – remember – the base structure is important but don’t forget the details, like this fun sideboard treatment:
You can purchase a magnet board for around $20. The clock in the picture was handmade (nice work Kim!) but if you don’t have the time to make one you can buy one for around $10 bucks.
DIY Details: Easy Peasy Pie
DIY Play Grill From Kate’s Creative Space
Made From: Small Wooden Table
The starting point for this cute little play kitchen was a small wooden table that cost around $10 at a charity shop. It was a great find as very little was needed to transform it to what you see above. This is a good example of keeping an open mind when you hit the 2nd hand store as you never know what you can find there.
DIY Details: Kate’s Creative Space