The Budget :
Kmart Dollhouse $49
Wooden eBay kitchen $14.00
Sandpaper (180 grit) / cork block $5.70
White Knight Tester Paint Pot $7.25
Bedding Material $10.00
or mini Stanley Handsaw $10.00
Spotlight Craft Glue $3.70
The list above will give you everything you need assuming you have none of the above laying around the garage - you can always ask family members if they have some of the tools etc which you could borrow as this is a fairly small and simple project. All the men in my family are metal workers and we still had most of this stuff laying around the house!
Firstly the best thing about the Kmart house is that it comes with furniture! and the wooden furniture is pretty indestructible for little hands. I added the option of a full kitchen for my dollhouse, and made 2 small beds from balsa wood.
I brought my kitchen from Kidstuff at my local Westfield shopping centre (brand was called Saint Germaine) and was definitely a splurge item considering I sanded and repainted it anyway. However you can buy a perfectly good wooden kitchen from Ebay. I have brought the pink wooden kitchen from eBay and used both '9amfree' and 'aclmart' in China and they cost about $14 with free shipping. The only other piece you may want to add is another bedroom/nursery set.
The other item you will need to decide on is wether you buy a handsaw or a box cutter. A handsaw will easily chew through the wooden furniture if you are wanting to modify a few pieces. I use my Stanley box cutter for everything!! It is a great tool to use with balsa wood. However the wooden furniture in this set may be a little too thick and strong for the box cutter and I don't want anyone chopping off a finger.
HOW TO RENOVATE THE FURNITURE
This is a flat lay of the furniture which comes with the house. There is about 1 piece of furniture to each room so it does leave the house looking a little barren, which is why I decided to purchase a wooden kitchen. I did made 2 small wooden beds as my daughter insisted there be a bed for her and her brother!
Choose a colour scheme for the house and try to stick with it throughout, most commonly used colours in these renovations are white, grey, pink and black (try to stick to 3 colours if you are wanting the crisp Scandi look). I kept my makeover simple by using white paint on the furniture as this tied in with the colours of the house as it is already mostly white.
The first thing you need to do if you want to change the colour of this furniture is sand it. Im not going to lie, this is hands down the most time consuming, boring part of the job. I used a fairly aggressive sand paper (180 grit) and try and use a cork block so as not to dig trenches in the wood. I suggest you grab a glass of wine and watch the kids run around the backyard for this part... you will probably need to set aside 2 hours for sanding. I did cheat as I hate sanding and didn't sand the back, bottom or inside of any of these pieces (naughty!) but in all honesty if you do not sand off the original paint, it will leech though and the new paint will also scratch off.
Once you have given the old furniture a decent sand you can paint it. Bunnings sell small test pots of paint (near the spray paint section) for under $10.00. Make sure you buy a water based paint so it is kid friendly and also go for a 'gloss' finish. Matt finishes feel chalky, will scratch and mark very easily. You will most likely need to coats of paint on the furniture, but there is so little to paint that a test pot will easily see you through this project.
BEFORE and AFTER of the Saint Germaine kitchen set.
This is an after photo of the pink wooden eBay kitchen which I used in one of my previous houses. For $14 this is an easy addition to your dollhouse, and the pink isn't that bad (considering it is a girls dollhouse!).
This is the large red set of draws which came with the dollhouse. I used my handsaw to cut just under the first draw.
I turned the bottom half up the other way and cut out the back of where the 'middle' draw would have been. This made another 2 sets of draws which I found to be a better fit in the house. I used one in the very top room where the roof is slanting and hard to fit furniture into.
Next is to make over your little bed and couch.
Spotlight will let you buy as little as a 10cm strip of fabric (assuming you get a nice shop assistant.... sometimes they get a bit annoyed....) The other option is picking out some quilting squares or 'Flat Fats' which are only about $4 each (pre cut fabric which measures approx 50cm x 50cm). The swan pattern on my bed above was one of these precut quilting squares. Another option is to cut up an old pillow case or buy a Kmart pillow case for as little as $5.
I recovered the couch using a strip of fabric and a good quality craft glue. Both Bunnings and Spotlight sell craft glue suitable for sticking fabric to wood. The Bunnings glue is called Boyle craft glue and is found near the balsa wood/craft/paint section or the Spotlight Crafters Choice 60ml clear craft glue.
Fill the remainder of the rooms with bits and pieces, swabs of fabric cut to make floor rugs, $2 shop fake flower/succulent arrangements make great indoor plants. Cut pictures from childrens books or magazines to make wall art or search google images for great wall art finds. Use scrap booking paper (available from Kmart, Reject Store, Big W etc) to add more colour to floor and walls. Ensure you use a good quality craft glue (like the 2 brands mentioned above) to fix wall paper and flooring. Childrens paper glue will not hold wall paper to the dollhouse.
Make up compacts make great bathroom mirrors!
I removed the middle walls in the bottom 2 rooms to add more space.