How to choose a dolls house

How to choose a dolls house


This is my first attempt at creating a blog, and I will no doubt return to add more content in the future.

I have used images from our own Heirloom Collection for ease this time. Hopefully I will include customer images with their permission, and possibly other contributors in future blogs.

To start 

Your hobby will of course start with a dolls house, shop or perhaps a design in the style of a pub, pub! yes, they're out there. Whatever style you are interested in, it is important to consider the points below, so you will enjoy this fascinating hobby for years to come. 


My intention isn't to sway anyone towards a specific design or brand with this information. Simply to offer different points to consider before making a purchase.

How to choose a dolls house
Here we will look at the various considerations to be made before purchasing a dolls house, including; who is it for? a child or adult, 
material it is constructed from, dimensions, and the level of detail you expect to see for the price.

Children's toy or Collectors pride and joy 

Are you buying a dolls house for yourself as a collector/hobbyist, or for a child as a toy?

In all the years I've been making dolls houses, I have not really catered for the toy market. So, this blog isn't going to offer much
help other than to advise any dolls house for a child, must be chosen carefully. Consider a hinged roof for example, is it heavy? 
will a child be able to close it safely by themselves? will it fall and trap or hurt little fingers?
Begrudgingly, I would ask if a plastic dolls house is a better choice than a wooden one, in this instance.

If it's for a project or new hobby. Then buy a house with reasonable sized rooms and ceiling height. Otherwise 
you will soon be disappointed with the lack of space for furniture. This doesn't mean you need a six-foot wide
house to gain large rooms. You could opt for a tall design, with a small footprint. This option is ideal, especially if each floor
consists of just one room with separate hall/landing and stairs to the next level. However, you will need to rain in the number of rooms you plan to decorate. 

No17 Market Place by Dolls House Cottage Workshop

A tall design may only have three to four floors, and with only one room per floor, your variety of room themes is limited. This should
not be considered a negative option, providing you aim to create well-furnished detailed room displays. For example; you may choose to create a well-equipped kitchen, grand dining room, sumptuous lounge and an elegant bedroom. Then pretend there is a bathroom behind a false door.

If on the other hand you would like to see a large selection of room settings, such as kitchen, dining room, lounge, bedroom, bathroom, music room, library, study and probably more. Then there is no escaping the fact you will need a larger house or accept a medium size design will have more rooms, but each will be smaller and restrict how much furniture you can put inside them. If this is to be your first venture into the hobby, then a you may find a large house to be overwhelming and just not understand where to start. We've seen and heard from so many customers that are finally starting to build their dolls house several years after buying it, having finally built up the courage to have a go.

Personally, for anyone starting out on this venture, or perhaps short of space, I think it is better to adopt the less is more philosophy. Just a few large rooms that will not look full the moment a bed or large piece of furniture is installed.

Plywood or MDF construction

Some will prefer a plywood house because it's wooden and looks nice. Nothing wrong with that! 
The only disadvantage with plywood, unless it's top quality, is it sometimes has a tendency to twist and splinter.
MDF on the other hand is a stable material that won't twist or splinter, but perhaps doesn't look as nice in its raw state.  
However, once either one has been painted and decorated, who's to know what it's made of.
Although mdf can be considered a cheap material, it is so smooth and stable, it's hard to deny it's practicality.


Derwent Manor by Dolls House Cottage Workshop

Of course, it's not just about the carcase (main body of the house). It's worth considering the rest of the design. 
Are you looking for wooden windows? Not many makers will supply their houses this way, most are plastic or laser cut mdf.
If wooden windows are your preference, then it's worth asking before clicking "buy now" online. Although laser cut windows
can be detailed, they are not for everyone. Plastic is perhaps the better option over mdf, and despite some saying you can't 
paint them, you can. People have been painting models made of plastic for years, just think about world renowned Air fix models, 
other makes available of course.
Wooden windows will be more expensive, but the option should be available from a good maker, or better still, included as standard with higher priced houses. Other considerations are if you like the style of the house, amount and quality of architectural detail, and size of rooms as mentioned above.

Which era do you like?

Georgian and Victorian are the most popular. If you intend following a certain period religiously, then a bit of research will be helpful. For instance; you have chosen a Georgian design and now want to buy some lights. You might like gas lamps or Tiffany shades, oh dear, its Georgian! only candles allowed. Hanging chandeliers, single or double wall candles and table candelabras. 
Plenty to choose from, but no fancy decorative lamp shades.
Another approach could be to go for a Georgian house, but modernise the interior to any period you like. Think about anyone living
in a Georgian house today, they will no doubt have electric lights and at least one TV.

Modern and Tudor are also available, but furniture is not so easy to find.

Round up
I cannot reiterate enough, how important it is to think about the type of dolls house you would like to buy. You must feel comfortable and confident with your choice, otherwise building and decorating may become overwhelming. This will soon lead to it being put away, possibly never being built. We have seen so many people through our door over the last 25 years or so, that have been unhappy with a previous purchase (elsewhere). More often than not it was simply a case that they had rushed in with their first purchase and bought on a whim (first sight without much thought). This can be a fascinating hobby, and I do hope I have offered some useful advice, or at least prompted you to take your time deciding which dolls house will suit you best. Please feel free to leave any comments and feedback. 

Website links

DHCW house page

DHCW showroom


Unfortunately there is no option that allows me to directly respond to comments on this page.

I will however personally reply by email to every comment that are posted.

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