Joel and I bought Thea her first play kitchen for Christmas this year. Before we purchased it, I pulled ideas on Pinterest for inspiration, but all of the IKEA play kitchen hack ideas were both awesome and overwhelming. The options seem to come decently priced or completely DIYs. I loved the idea of a full makeover, but when it came to buying one, I really wanted to keep it simple. We opted to keep the IKEA play kitchen the way it comes when you purchase it, with minimal updates.
If you’re looking for a clean and simple IKEA play kitchen hack, this post is your how-to.
Overall, I didn’t want to have to do a full paint job on the kitchen. I wanted to embrace the natural wood that it comes with while ditching the dark gray accents. We kept the white look of the cabinets, the natural wood on the supporting sides, and spray-painted both the sink and faucet. I loved the neutral paint that Molly from Almost Makes Perfect used in her DIY play kitchen, so I opted for that. She also suggested sealing the paint with a clear coat, but I tried a different sealer because it was the only one my local hardware store had in stock. Big mistake! I ultimately ended up buying the one that she suggested because the one that I had purchased cracked all of the paint underneath. We had to sand everything down and start over. Once I bought the one that Molly had suggested, everything sprayed on smoothly and we haven’t had any chipping! I only did two or three coats, I think it was even closer to two, and the paint has held up nicely the last eight months since giving it to Thea for Christmas.
How to create a simple IKEA play kitchen hack in 5 Steps:
1. Assemble Kitchen. To start, we assembled the play kitchen as instructed without adding any of the charcoal gray parts.
2. Paint Sink. As mentioned above, we used neutral beige spray paint for the sink followed by about two coats of a clear finish to seal the paint. We let it dry completely for a few days.
3. Paint the faucet. We did the same steps as above from painting the sink, using silver metallic spray paint to replicate the look of a real faucet. It looks just like the faucet in our kitchen.
4. Make/Buy Handles. We decided to make wood handles instead of using the plastic handles that came with them. You can opt to spray the handles that come with a color of your choice or use metallic silver to match the faucet. I preferred the look of wood handles to match our kitchen, but even if I did want to use the plastic handles, Joel had insisted that he wanted to make the handles himself. He loves to do his own woodworking projects, so the handles were all him. He took 1-in x, 3-in square unfinished maple boards, from the hardware store, cut them to about 5 inches long, then rounded the corners. He super glued the handles onto the kitchen doors and they have not budged.
5. Finish Assembly. Once you have painted all of the pieces you want to spray paint and have allowed for drying times, you can finish your assembly and the play kitchen is complete. This hack really is simple!
Additional Things We Did:
Bottom Lifts: I didn’t love the look of the rod that you can set in place to hand utensils from. I left that off as well as the feet that lift the kitchen off of the ground. The kitchen is the perfect size for Thea being under two years old, but as she grows we will add feet. If you choose to leave the feet off, you can spray paint the ones that it came with for later.
Stove: The stove is battery-powered and fun to play with for a “real” cooking experience, so I left that as is. However, I did use painter’s tape to tape off the main part and spray-painted the edges with the metallic silver spray paint. Again, I really didn’t love the dark charcoal look.