Thursday 19 June 2014

The sweetest hack ...

After posting a picture of my kitchen makeover on Instagram, I had quite a few inquiries about how I did it. I'm no expert, but I'm really happy with the results so I thought, why not do a little write up about it? My girls adore it and it was definitely worth the effort. So here we go....

I had big plans to transform two old side tables into a cute play kitchen for my girls. It seemed so easy in theory, but finding the time to make it a reality proved too difficult. 

So I turned my attention to the ikea play kitchen. Yes, it was more costly, but it already had a sink, taps, hotplates, perspex oven, all the necessary bits which meant I didn't have to spend hours finding or making these small details. It was certainly worth the extra money. 

However, I still wanted to make it personal and special, not just 'one of those ikea kitchens'. Out came my vintage wallpaper collection (ok, so not quite a collection, but I had a couple to pick from) and I picked a fun, colourful piece to use as my splash back. It was then easy to simply pick colours from the wallpaper to complete my project.


1) The wallpaper I used is from Etsy store 'Moulin Choix - French Vintage Finds' but you can find some other sweet vintage wallpapers from Etsy stores:

2) A primer is a must, especially when painting onto a smooth or glossy surface. I used White Knight Grip Lock Primer but any primer should do the trick. 

3) Without fail, the staff at Bunnings recommend a gloss paint for furniture. Only because it provides a more hard wearing surface that won't easily scratch. But I really dislike the look of a high gloss surface so I always opt for a matt finish. 
For this project I used Dulux 'Shutterbug' half strength. I ended up mixing in some extra white paint because I decided I wanted it lighter again. 

4) To protect finished painted surface I used Porter's Paint 'Stucco Wax'. If you love painting furniture and you don't yet own this product then go out today and buy it. You simply paste it on with a cloth and then buff it off to leave a hard coating that looks vintage and smells amazing. 

4) Light MDF board and staple gun (for the splash back). Mine measures approx 68cm x 33cm.

5) I picked the ceramic door knobs from a local home wears store called Eclectic. They were the perfect shade of lilac and make the oven feel a little more functional. 


As with any ikea product, the kitchen comes in pieces ready to be assembled. Lay out the bits and decide what you want to paint and what you want left as is. I decided to paint all the beech coloured pieces (excluding the counter top which I left beech) and leave the white bits as white for contrast. 
I did one coating of primer and 2 coats of my green. Once it was dry, it was quickly assembled as per instructions. 

I then measured out where I wanted the oven knobs and used a pencil to dot each drill point. When measuring from the left (of the panel) my measurements were 4cm, 12cm, 20cm and 28cm for each knob.

The splash back was a little tricky as the kitchen isn't really designed to have one. There isn't that much surface area on the sides to attach the MDF to so you have to make sure your child isn't going to be pushing against it all the time. I was planning to nail it securely onto the bottom and top section of the kitchen but even this proved difficult. The microwave fixture sits a little forward on the counter top which means you have to sit the MDF board on top of the counter top rather than down the back. And the top bit, behind the microwave has a little lip which means you can't have the MDF flush against the back, you have to nail it into the little lip and there isn't much surface area there either. I'm hoping you will know what I mean once your kitchen is assembled! I ended up using a staple gun to get it all together. It's not the strongest splash back in the world but it certainly looks effective :)
Don't forget to put your wallpaper on the MDF before attaching it to the kitchen.

To finish off, I made a girl sized tea towel from white cotton fabric and added some appliqu├ęd hearts and hand dyed vintage lace. I purchased some hand knitted donuts from eBay store Gathering Threads and made some lavender and rice filled tea bags using felt, ribbon and liberty fabrics. It was certainly worth the effort, the girls absolutely love their kitchen and it’s a joy to watch them play in there. 

Hope this inspires you to give it go!

Jo xx


  1. Beautiful! Thank you for the details. How's it holding up one year later?

    1. Really well thanks! Although the splash back needs to be re-stapled, its getting a little wobbly from the girls pushing it!

  2. So precious. Thank you for sharing! What rod and hooks did you use to hang utensils, etc. in the back? Did you paint it or find one in that gray finish that matches the sink?

    1. Hi there, the rod and hooks actually come with the kitchen if you buy the top section ie. the pack that contains the shelves and microwave. Hope this helps! Jo

  3. I've decided on the ikea kitchen for my 2-year old and I was searching for inspiration to personalize it a bit, and I ran across your blog. Your upgrades are lovely!