A thrift store play kitchen makeover for a little kid's room

September 13 | Guest post by Stephanie Segall
All photos by Stephanie Segall.

After a weekend of working hard, my son Jax has his shiny, new custom "retro" play kitchen! I was so lucky to find a wooden kitchen with great "bones" at our local thrift store. It had a lot of water damage, a broken shelf and faucet, and a missing door, but the clean, simple lines were perfect.

I started the makeover by deciding what I wanted the kitchen to look like. I had already used apple red spray paint when I created Jax's chalkboard, so I chose that for the main body. His table and chairs are aqua and lime (as well as the shelves I recently put in), so those became the accent colors. I had some leftover glitter paint from a Christmas ornament project, and I knew that would be perfect for hiding any water damage I couldn't sand out.

I started by scrubbing out the dirt and mulch in the cabinets and then cleaning, sanding, and priming the whole thing. I took the back two pieces off, as well as two knobs, but many screws were stripped on the rest of it. I ended up breaking off the knob discs to paint them separately from the dowels they were attached on. They were glued on crooked anyway, so I was able to fix that, too.

I used two-and-a-half cans of apple red glossy spray paint (and I ended up needing to get a mini can for a little more coverage where the clock had been). For all the silver parts I used a mini can of silver spray paint, then a coat of silver craft paint and glossy varnish. The knobs got several coats of craft paint and glossy varnish.

I needed to replace the broken faucet, so I bought a large wooden J and attached it with a wood screw and E-6000 glue. For the backsplash, I bought smaller letters to spell out his name. Those were attached with the E-6000 glue. My husband glued a small chalkboard I'd painted to the side with Gorilla glue.

The shelf was detached when I bought it, and it wasn't hard to see why… It just had 3 tiny screw holes. A super nice Home Depot employee helped me pick out the right size screws, as well as which L brackets would work best to fortify the shelf. I chose to leave the brackets unpainted to match the rest of the silver.

The counter top got two coats of aqua craft paint, then 10,000 (or so) coats of my favorite glitter paint (which is more of a glue with lots of glitter). The burners were painted black, then got a very thick coat of black glittery paint (and a clear coat.)

I adore it! It looks perfect in the room, and Jax loves it already. I started him off with Melissa & Doug Wooden Pantry Products and the KidKraft Metal Accessories Set which comes with three pots/pans, a lid, two utensils, and some wooden food. I'm really happy with both purchases. I wish the pantry products had labels on both sides, but they are nice, sturdy wood toys. The pots are holding up great so far, and Jax is enjoying the bonus food items: a chicken leg, fried egg, two carrots, and two broccoli florets.

This was such a fun project! I'm already looking ahead to the next playroom DIY… a reading nook!

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  1. Thanks for the feature!

    The little wooden veggies came with the pot set – it is by KidKraft. The groceries are a wooden set by Melissa & Doug. Jax loves them! We just added a set of fruit you can chop apart with velcro.

  2. This is great! Teo is only 5 months but he loves watching his daddy cook, and he's *obsessed* with "grownup food". I have a feeling he'll be needing one of these one day.

  3. My Boys got a kitchen, last christmas, and they love it. We still play with it and they cook me lovely meals. We also got them some chefs hats and aprons, which are also a hit!

  4. This takes me back to my party kitchen. I need to get one for my daughter. I had forgotten how much I loved playing restaurant!
    Great work!

  5. I love that you took something that had already been loved and made it new – not to mention gender neutral!

  6. Omg! This little kitchen is so gorgeous! I'm going to try to do one for my daughter, she is totally into cooking and is only 3. Thanks for sharing. Good night!

  7. Great job! Using an upside-down J for the faucet was brilliant! I wouldn't have known that's what it was if you hadn't told us!

    1 agrees
  8. That is absolutely adorable. I only had one of those classic Playskool plastic kitchens as a kid, but man, I looooved that thing

  9. That is adorable! I've always avoided buying a kitchen set for my daughter because of the awful pastel colors. Now I'll be on the lookout for a sweet Goodwill find 🙂

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