Modern Play Kitchen Makeover | Upcycling Kids’ Toys

How many times have you walked passed a worn out play kitchen, Cozy Coupe, or play house at your local thrift store, yard sale, or consignment sale because it looks like it’s been beaten and battered by at least 500 toddlers? Before you skip over another “well-loved” toy, consider giving it new life for your child to enjoy for many more years! I did just that with a wooden hand-me-down play kitchen for my daughter.

Just because an item is marketed for kids doesn’t necessarily mean it should comprise the style of your home.

This was my theory once I saw the sky blue play kitchen that was kindly given to us after three girls had loved on it for several years. I immediately imagined my little modern dream kitchen and how it would mesh perfectly with the rest of our home. 

Supplies needed:

Remove and spray paint hardware

I removed every pull, handle, and knob and spray painted them with my favorite gold spray paint, Rust-oleum Metallic Gold. Even if you’re not painting the hardware, you’ll need to remove them before painting the rest of the piece. 

Using chalk paint to paint the kitchen

I chose to paint the countertop a crisp, clean white before painting the rest of the piece green. After two coats of chalk paint, I allowed it to dry completely before taping it well with painter’s tape. Once the white countertop was protected, I painted the rest of the piece, except the backsplash, with Behr’s Naturalist Green, which I made into chalk paint (recipe). I didn’t worry about taping off the back because I knew I would be gluing a paper backsplash on it. 

Once the paint was completely dry, I took an old rag and rubbed on Miniwax Finishing Wax in a circular motion on every surface that was painted with chalk paint. This ensures a lasting finish and protects against any dings or scratches. You don’t want to skip this step!

Creating the backsplash

This part is a bit tedious, but oh-so-very worth it! 

I chose three large sheets of scrap book paper from Hobby Lobby. Using a ruler, I measured each section, then using those measurements and ruler, I drew a straight line on the back of my paper before cutting the paper into the right shape and size.

Important: Cut out every piece and test them in their spot before gluing them. 

Once the fit was ensured, I brushed on a coat of Modge Podge on the back of the paper with a foam brush. Using a straight edge (for example, a used gift card), gently rub out any bubbles. After the backs of the paper were glued on, I brushed a coat of Modge Podge on top of the paper for a protective layer. It dries clear, so don’t worry if it gets on other surfaces. 

The after

The kitchen turned out to be my little dream kitchen, and it fits with the rest of our home décor effortlessly. I also feel like it’s neutral enough for a little girl or boy. 

If you have a play kitchen, Cozy Coupe, or play house that needs a little love, take a look at your Pinterest boards and use the colors of your dream kitchen, car, or house. It’s okay to think outside the pink and blue box, and choose colors that go with your home décor and style. 

More upcycled ideas to inspire your next project:

If you want more inspiration for upcycling your play piece, check out some of my favorite makeovers!



Have you upcycled kids’ toys? Share your projects with us by leaving a comment!

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