Dollhouse Decorating

Miniature Decorating Ideas |Articles on decorating dollhouses and the history of this artform


I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 09 June, 2016


Miniature Fixer Upper, “before” pictures of a dollhouse makeover, found on Thoughts From Alice

Refurbishing This Old Dollhouse

The dollhouse is battered and worn. Several generations of little darlings have had their way with it. A loving father picked it up at a yard sale for next to nothing, the seller relieved that someone had hauled it away. Now she wouldn’t suffer guilt pangs because she trashed her grandmother’s treasure that had been taking up space in the attic.

That was my first impression of the charming picture of the little boy with the vacuum following his sister’s instructions. I had a moment’s reflection about my introduction to miniatures, a Christmas exhibit at my daughter’s elementary school. I liked the room boxes that recreated a memory, so an early effort was my great grandfather’s general store. Will Hunt lived long enough to have been part of a posse that ran Jesse James out of town, and on his 100th birthday to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Another effort had a less noble inspiration. This same daughter was giving me grief about going to school during a normal  “lake effect” snow storm in Cleveland. My first school had four grades in one room, was warmed by a potbelly stove. We used an outdoor privy; our water was hauled up from an open well in an old-oaken-bucket and shared one enamel cup

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Next Susan is going to say she had to trudge 2 miles through the snow to school, uphill, both ways!

Now my interest in the dollhouse miniature universe, besides selling 1:12 scale accessories in my Etsy shop, is to blog about great artisans and the works they produce(d). Few of us are able to start out producing museum quality work. Many began as Alice who writes the ‘Thoughts From Alice” blog. Or Kate and Pam, who have a real-world restoration company and bring professional organization to a dollhouse refurbishing project. For instance, here’s Kate’s action plan, which has detailed captions under pictures in her RetroRenovation blog post:

Action Plan

Remove flooring
Clean interior and exterior
Research and decide key decorating themes
Decide what scale of furniture I will use

[In the good old days, when grandfathers made dollhouse on their workbenches, scale sometimes followed the “ish” rule: ¾ ish. 1:12 ish, etc]


“Choosing the accessories is fun!” Found on retro renovation


Decide basic furniture layouts
Wire for electric lighting
Acquire or make sconces, lamps, and chandeliers
Wallpaper all the rooms
Add interior wood trim to the windows
Add flooring

Acquire key pieces of furniture
Make window treatments

Please note: I wrote that Alice’s husband bought the dollhouse for “next to nothing.” The rest of the story is the seller was asking $25, but her husband got it for $17 because that’s all the cash he had in his pocket.

I love it!


Susan Downing, with Patrick Owens


I invite you to visit my Etsy Shop where I offer many accessories and pieces of furniture in 1:12 scale. Subscribers to this blog receive a discount on all Featured Products. Click here for details.

Posted by Susan Downing

Categories: dollhouses, repair, wood

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