how to make a dollhouse living room + study {barbie scale}

Hello lovely friends! We’re back today with another tutorial in a series that has been one of our faves: The Dollhouse Diaries.

We Barbie and Ken decided to make a forgotten house their own dream home, and in the process, she found that there were limited options with good taste that were scaled to fit their needs. {Sound familiar?} So, they decided to DIY a lot of it with a few small splurges here and there to create their ultimate abode.

Life in plastic. It’s fantastic.


We had an absolute blast building and decorating this little project with our daughter, and today we thought we’d cover the second floor: The Living Room + Study.



Once we added the floors, we eyeballed what size we wanted each space to be on the second floor. And once that wall was in place, the fun could begin.


We decided that back wall could use some personality, so I pulled some grasscloth wallpaper from an old roll I still had, and cut it to size for their “wallpaper” on the back wall of the living room.


To make the sofa, here’s what you’ll need:

We pulled from a few craft pieces + old supplies we had around our home. But we started with {legs made from craft wood} 4 @ 1/2 inch pieces 7 inches long {sides made from 1/4 inch MDF} 2 @ 3 1/4 x 2 inches {bottom seat (stained) made from a leftover piece we already had} 9 1/2 x 3 inches. We then included a front trim (for a polished look) @ 9 inches (1/8 inch thick)

DIY-barbie_scale_sofaOnce the pieces were cut, we stained or painted them separately. Then, to put it together: We recommend two pairs of hands using hot glue (for a temporary hold) and wood glue (for a long term hold while the hot glue holds it there) + simply glue as you go:

1. Glue the seat to the two back legs, then add the two front legs.

2. Add the two end pieces or “arms” of the sofa

3. Glue on the back + add the front trim.


And there you have it. A sofa at a super affordable price… with a one of a kind look.

From there it was just a matter of adding layers with fabrics {we had left over from our hoarder’s stash} for creating rugs, pillows, and the little details.


The little side table you see here is made from a few napkin holders (painted) and a large ceramic “button” Emerson picked out on the craft aisle on clearance that we decided to piece together for a table. The lamp is a piece of craft wood painted gold with a medicine cup turned upside down with tape added for a little extra personality. Who knew?

The little frame you see was an old one I had, and I simply removed the photo, and added washi tape to the inside for a little mod-pizazz. I hot glued it directly to the wall. Insta art.


For the coffee table:


We used 2 pieces @ 1 x 3 x 6 inches long. We simply glued the two together, stained, + dry brushed stripes on the top + sides in aqua. When that was dry, we added a white dry brush to give it a “reclaimed” look.

We ordered some casters for this project this past fall here, but they came in comically small. (I think they were on sale late last summer?) So imagine brass casters in human size, and how excited we were at the cheap find. Only when they came in, they were Barbie size.


{Apparently I misread the measurements and felt like a total ditz} It was one of those things where we ordered them, but time passed and we forgot to return them so it simply wasn’t worth the effort anymore. I secretly thought they were kind of cute and they might come in handy. I remembered them again when we were gearing up to do the dollhouse after Christmas, determined to put them to good use. TADA!


We simply drilled holes into the bottom of the coffee table and they became a great little piece for the room.

We topped it off with a simple pinch pot bowl we painted gold (filled with little wooden beads from an old project) and “books” little shingle pieces left over from our kitchen ’tile’ project, covered in various colors of scrapbook paper.

Cue the boys, using it as a car later this afternoon.


For this light, I used little pieces of craft wood left over form our “window panes” from when we originally built the dollhouse last summer. They were so thin, I cut then with a pair of scissors, and slowly formed them into a hexagon shape with a glue gun. Repeating the same shape for the bottom part, I then connected the two with a middle section at various angles with the wood in between. I honestly made this up as I went, and then pulled some away. I added gold paint and hung it with a small wire and hook for that “chandy” look.

I need to get out more.

But now I want my own real life version. Hmmmmm….


For the study:


The desk was one of my favorite little creations. I think out of all the rooms it was fun to imagine a little studio where I could write to my heart’s content with a hot pink Ghost chair {one of our few splurges for the dollhouse}.  So here’s what we did.

4 {legs from pieces of craft wood} @ 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches long + 1 {top from craft wood} @ 8 x 3 1/2 x 1/4 inch thick.


We painted the legs gold, and then stained the top, finally adding a ‘top coat’ of blue with a rough dry brush for that “distressed” look.


The shelving in the space was so much fun, we initially backed the wall with pieces of scrapbook paper. From there, we decided to layer pieces of wood on top



We adorned them with a little scrapbooking letter I’ve had forever, painted gold… one of the ornaments from the kids’ personal Christmas trees {the mirrorball} and little pieces of wood covered in various versions of scrapbook paper.

The books were my favorite little element.


To make the shelves, we stretched little pieces of craft wood across from top to bottom (all this depends on the measurements of your own study) and connected them on one side with a piece of craft wood that had little grooves cut.


Once they were painted, we laid the dollhouse on its back, and placed the wood in to make sure they were sitting level. We glued in the side piece, then added the shelves, adjusting their edges as we went to make sure they were straight.


For the little light, I took a toilet paper roll {trimmed down to a smaller length} and ran wire through four equal points with little holes (cut with an X-Acto). Then I added a small piece of grasscloth wallpaper (the same from the living room wall) with glue. And after that, a bracelet (that I no longer wore and always pulled my clothes.) Emerson fished it out of my jewelry box + asked if we could use it… somehow, we found a way.

make_your_own_light You never know what you have around your home that could be perfect in a dollhouse.


I think that about covers it for this second story.


As always, let us know if you have any questions! We look forward to years of enjoyment and snarky remarks of outdated decor from our many grandchildren. ;}


Have an inspired day, y’all!

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Responses to how to make a dollhouse living room + study {barbie scale}

  1. Samantha says:

    It’s funny that as I look at all the pictures, the items seem so tiny, but then when you describe what they are (bracelet, medicine cup), I realize it’s a lot bigger than it seems. Ha! How magical.

  2. JT says:

    This is fantastic! All the little touches are just incredible!

  3. Angela says:

    Love this, and when I clicked over to see your chair that you had originally ordered the casters for, my mind made the chair look barbie sized and I was like, “wow, what an awesome doll chair” and then I realized the chair was big…..but in the photos it felt the same scale as everything else. Which I think I mean to say that the doll-house looks amazingly life size and realistic when the photos are up close.

  4. Amber says:

    I just can’t get over how precious this is! As a teacher, I have shown this to little girls in my class (because I have two boys…)!!!

    Thanks for the breakdown!

  5. Stephanie says:

    How do you cut the notches out of the craft wood? Do you carve them with a knife or use some kind of hand saw and chisel? I made my daughter a barbie dollhouse a few years ago and after seeing all the great details on your daughter’s, I think it needs a makeover:-)

  6. Anita says:

    It’s beautiful to see your house grow! Where did you get this Ghost Chair? It made me laugh, to see Design furniture made for a doll house!!
    Thanks for these impressions,

  7. Mary says:

    Love the dollhouse – it’s absolutely amazing!!! I’ve been looking for a pink ghost chair for my daughter’s dollhouse but can’t seem to find where to buy. Can you please let me know where you bought yours from?


  8. These are such wonderful ideas–very creative! I love the colors and the little details.