Buying the Perfect Dollhouse: Five Things to Consider

These top five things to consider before getting a dollhouse will give people interested in the hobby the knowledge to choose a dollhouse that will be perfect for them.

The Size of the Dollhouse

The room that is available to display the finished dollhouse may decide which size dollhouse to get. A person who has a large house with good-sized rooms will be able to display a larger model dollhouse with a bigger ‘footprint’ than someone who lives in a small apartment with limited sHalf scale or 1:24 scale is smaller and takes up less room.

  • Quarter scale or 1:48 scale is smaller again. Some people find this scale a bit fiddly to work with; others love it.
  • 1:144 scale is tiny, so small that the dollhouse will fit in the palm of a hand. These are perfect to display on a bookshelf or counter top.
  • A dollhouse that is one room wide and several storeys tall takes up less space than a more traditional house layout.
  • Consider what types of rooms and how many rooms are wanted in the dollhouse.

Types of Dollhouses

Dollhouses come as kits or ready built. The person’s skill level for constructing and decorating in miniature may decide which type of dollhouse to buy.

  • Dollhouse kits involve some construction techniques and cutting and gluing. With kits, all parts are included, including the doors, stairs and windows. Many dollhouse kits now have the wood laser cut to ensure straight lines and firm fitting. Paint and glue are not supplied. Painting and decorating both inside and outside will need to be done. Building a kitset dollhouse takes time.
  • Ready-built dollhouses come with all painting and decorating done. Windows, doors and stairs are fitted. Most readybuilt dollhouses are bought flat-packed for easy transportation. All that needs to be done is to screw all the parts together following the instructions. A ready-built dollhouse can be put together in an hour.
  • Scratch-built dollhouses are for the enthusiastic miniaturist who has woodworking skills and suitable power tools and can work from a plan. All parts of the dollhouse are cut and constructed.
  • For people who want a dollhouse but do not want to build or decorate, a commissioned dollhouse may be the best to buy. In this way, the customer gets exactly what they want in a finished dollhouse from a skilled craftsperson.

The Construction of Dollhouses

Dollhouses are usually made of wood. Various weights can be used. If a dollhouse needs to be transported often, a sturdier frame may be important. If it will moved from room to room in the owner’s house, a lighter style of construction may be more suitable.


  • MDF is heavy but very strong and sturdy. It is easy to paint. Take care when sanding to wear a mask and not inhale the dust.
  • Birch plywood is much lighter. It may need more work on sanding it to get a good finish.
  • Foamcore is lightweight foam sandwiched between sheets of card. It is very versatile, glues easily and is more suited to smaller dollshouses or room boxes.

The Cost of Dollhouses

Costs vary considerably between manufacturers. Time spent researching on the internet will give a good idea of comparative prices.

  • Commissioned dollhouses are the most expensive.
  • Ready-built dollhouses are the next most expensive but save time and effort if the hobbyists is not inclined towards working with wood.
  • Dollhouse kits are a reasonably priced option as all parts are included.
  • Scratch-built dollhouses are the cheapest. Often all that is needed is a plan, sheets of plywood, glue, paint and paper and the time to do it all.

Styles of Dollhouses

There are so many styles of dollhouses, from traditional looking houses to tree houses, from log cabins and fantasy themed houses to miniature shops.

American dollhouses are open at the back. English dollhouses are ‘box’ types with front doors that open out.

Victorian styled dollhouses are the most popular, probably because the Victorians liked to have lots of ‘things’ in their homes. So in a Victorian dollhouse, a wide variety of dollhouse accessories can be placed. English Tudor with its beams and rustic look is another popular style, as is the elegant Georgian.

The dollhouse enthusiast has a lot to think about when deciding on which dollhouse to have. Looking on the internet and going to dollhouse and miniatures fairs and shows are great ways of getting ideas. There are several magazines for the dollhouse and miniatures hobby that are full of inspiration.

Taking into consideration what has been learnt about the size, types, construction, cost and styles of dollhouses will help the enthusiast choose the perfect dollhouse.pace.

  • The most popular size for a dollhouse is in 1:12 scale, that is 1 inch equals 1 foot. Most of the dollhouse accessories and furniture to buy are in this scale.

 

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