Learn how to set up and organize an area to build or remodel dollhouses so you have enough room to store and work with all the tiny supplies.
Early this year, my son and I thought it would be fun to jump on the dollhouse bandwagon. We bought one that needed a lot of TLC off of Mercari.com and before it even arrived, we were drawing up plans in a notebook.
Up until we moved into our new house, we were working on the dollhouse in the home office I shared with my husband. It was definitely less than ideal, because I really didn’t have a lot of space to work with, but I learned a lot of tricks to organizing all the supplies in such a small space.
I’ve since moved the dollhouse reno area to a spot in my studio, but it’s still a teeny tiny area, so today I wanted to share some of the things that work for me in hopes that they’ll work for you, too.
Tips For Setting Up A Dollhouse Workspace
1. Get a good table
I bought a sturdy table from Ikea and made sure it was twice the width of my dollhouse so I’d have some extra work room. It’s super important to measure the house before you buy a table so you know it will fit and not hang off the sides.
2. Raise your table
Not only are dollhouses small, they’re hard to do intricate work inside. Your body will almost always be in weird positions when you’re installing things like teeny crown molding, so you need the house to be as accessible as possible.
If your table has adjustable legs, raise them as high as they will go. If it doesn’t have adjustable legs, here’s an easy hack I use: bed risers. I bought some bed risers from Walmart and raised up the table by 8 inches. They work perfectly!
3. Amp up your lighting
Even if the room is well lit, you’re going to need some extra lighting for detailed projects. In my own workspace, I have a task light on the table for small building projects, and I pull over a photography spotlight when I’m working in the back of the inside of the house.
You can use anything you already have at home, like extra lamps, a garage spotlight, a ring light you use for selfie videos, or even a flashlight strapped to a tripod.
4. Monitor the humidity level
Humidity is the mean girl in your dollhouse’s friend group and will take her down faster than you can put on your pink shirt on Wednesday.
I recommend testing the humidity and temperature in your room with a smart gauge like this one. Based on the results, you can add a fan, dehumidifier, or even just some houseplants to suck up some of that moisture.
Tips For Organizing Your Dollhouse Workspace
1. Get a rolling cart with drawers
This 12 drawer cart (the same kind of cart I store my Cricut Maker on) has been the superhero of my dollhouse reno space. The drawers are perfect for separating all my supplies, adhesives, tools, furniture, and decor.
And bonus points to the wheels because I can roll it under the table when I’m not working there to keep it out of the way. I also use the top shelf as drying area for glued pieces because it has tiny ventilation holes that make the glue dry faster.
2. Don’t buy what you don’t need
This was a hard lesson I had to learn in the beginning. I wanted to jump right into buying tiny coffee mugs and cute doormats, long before I had even installed the flooring.
But all those little pieces are hard to keep separated, and they take up a lot of much-needed space when your work area is small. So I highly recommend not buying too many furniture and decor pieces until most of your build is done.
3. Keep your tools and supplies safe
When it comes to storage, you’ll be tempted just to throw all the tools in a drawer and pile all your pieces of balsa wood in a container. Please, please, please don’t do that.
Sharp tools need to be stored in felt sheaths to avoid injury or damage to other tools. And wood needs to be stored in a cool area with low humidity. I like to keep all my wood pieces in the drawers of my rolling cart so air can flow freely though.
Tips For Keeping Your Dollhouse Area Tidy
1. Add A Clock
I know this sounds silly since you probably have your cell phone nearby, but it’s easy to get caught up in a siding project and not realize it’s time to cook dinner right now. So you drop everything you’re doing and leave a huge mess.
By adding a clock, you can just glance up and see the time without ever having to take your hands off what you’re working on. I like to keep an Amazon Echo Dot in my studio so I can have her tell me when it’s time to start cleaning up.
I just set an alarm for 10 minutes sooner than I want to stop working, and my dear, sweet Alexa says “it’s time to clean up.” She’s the best at keeping me on schedule! Plus I can listen to Spice Girls while I work…
2. Add recycle bins
You’ll probably have a lot of trash as you’re renovating your dollhouse, so you definitely need a big trash can with sturdy contractor-grade black trash bags in case you throw away sharp metal shards.
But it’s also a good idea to add some recycling bins to separate your plastic, paper, and wood pieces. Not only is it good for the environment to recycle, but it makes it easier to fish out something you threw away but actually end up needing.
3. Don’t have carpet under your workspace
Renovating a dollhouse is super messy. Tiny pieces of glass, metal, and wood end up everywhere, and if you have carpet under your work table, you’re destined to get an awful splinter.
If the room you work in has hard floors, don’t bother putting a rug down. But if the room is carpeted, it’s a good idea to add a plastic mat like this one to keep messes from ruining your carpet. Plus it’s much easier to wipe clean if you spill a giant bottle of wood glue. Don’t ask me how I know…
How Do You Organize Your Dollhouse Workspace?
If you’ve got an organization hack, great storage solution, or awesome dollhouse area setup, I want to see! Share a pic on Instagram and tag me @lelaburris or use #lelaimorganizedish. I would love to share your space with others who need inspo.
Edward brown says
Wow… this looks cool I think I have to start putting time to manage my work desk too…
Lela Burris says
Thanks Edward, so glad you’re inspired to work on your desk now!