The first thing you need to be aware of is that there are two standard types of dolls houses. One is for peg dolls and the other is for 11inch dolls (like Barbies, Bratz or Lottie Dolls) So when you go to buy a dolls house, make sure you know what type you are looking for as peg dolls would be lost in a large house and Lottie Dolls wouldn’t fit into a peg doll house.
Here’s some things to consider if you are buying a dolls house:
1. What size are you looking for. Generally these come in lots of different sizes – you can get bedsits, two storey ones with just two rooms or three storey ones with multiple rooms. When considering what size house to buy, think about how much space you have in your house to put it, how old your child is and how long you want it to stay in your house for. If you plan on keeping it for years, it’s worth investing a little more. However, if you’re not sure your children will like it, maybe purchase a smaller, cheaper one to start with.
2. What way does it open. Some of these have a front that opens while others separate in the middle displaying half the house on one side and the other side on the other. Usually it’s a hinge that holds it together. If you have a space allocated for it in your house, make sure the space it big enough for it when it is open, as well as closed, as often they become twice as big as they look initially. If you have a table in mind to place the dolls house on, you need to bear in mind the open size so it doesn’t over balance and topple over onto the floor every time it’s opened. My husband attached our one to the wall at a height that suited our daughters which has meant that it never topples over or gets carried around.
3. What does it come with. Some houses come furnished while others come empty. It is possible to buy furniture for each room, but it can be pricey, so make sure you consider this extra cost when purchasing your house. It’s unusual for the houses to come with dolls. In the past, most peg dolls were very similar, but recently I’ve spotted lots of different dolls – African and Asian ones, as well as grandparents, children, babies and dolls dressed in their work clothes like farmers, firemen etc. Peg dolls come in one outfit. You cannot change their clothes/dress-undress them.
4. What age are your children. What I love about these smaller dolls houses are the details. When my daughters were very little, we were given a gift of a really gorgeous one. It included furniture and lots of tiny things like wine glasses, cups and saucers that are about the same size as my little finger nail. Obviously it wasn’t wise to put all the small things in the house when they were little, but we’ve gradually introduced them now that they are bigger and don’t put things in their mouths or up their noses any more! Still, anytime we have visiting young children in our house, the first thing they want to play with is the dolls house, so I need to remove all the small items regularly and be extra careful when hoovering.
5. Think outside the box. Dolls houses don’t have to be pink with flower boxes on the windowsil. They can be farm houses or animal houses too.
Usually the smaller doll houses come assembled but the larger ones come in flat pack. So if you are giving one as a present, make sure you order it on time to assemble it before giving it. Depending on the house, this can take 3-4 hours and often two people are needed.