Just a Little Tom Howley Kitchen

With any bright idea that I have, as soon as it enters my thoughts I have to act upon it straight away! I am quick to jump on the laptop and start searching for ideas on how I can actually achieve it. This project of transforming our preloved Ikea Duktig Play Kitchen into a mini version of my very own Tom Howley kitchen was certainly no different.

So, a couple of weekends ago we dusted off our old Ikea play kitchen which has been sat at the bottom of the garden in the summer house for the last two years and brought it back up into the house. The children were so excited to have it somewhere they could actually play with it again. I, however, was not so keen on how it looked in my colour coordinated, meticulously designed, open plan living space!

After trawling through numerous images of other people’s Ikea play kitchen hacks on Pinterest (to get an idea of what I could do to improve the look of mine), it suddenly dawned on me, why don’t I recreate my Tom Howley kitchen using the same colours and door fittings? I had some leftover paint from when our kitchen was installed and Tom Howley kindly sent me some matching door handles and internal door labels. I was all set with a plan of action and eager to crack on with it!

I’ve included a step by step guide below for your own play kitchen makeover. It really isn’t a tough one to do, I promise!

Supplies I used

x1 Rust-Oleum 400ml Metallic Spray Paint 
x1 Rust-Oleum 400ml Universal Spray Paint White Gloss 
x2 Rust-Oleum 400ml Surface Primer White
Tom Howley ‘Tansy’ Paint (similar to Cornforth White by Farrow & Ball)
Tom Howley ‘Lithadora’ Paint (similar to Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball)
Mini Foam Roller Kit
d-c-fix Self Adhesive Marble Vinyl
Big Boy Body Filler
x1 White Foam Board
Frogtape Multi-Surface Masking Tape
Box Cutter Kit
Glue Gun
Caulk or multi-surface silicone with gun
Tom Howley polished chrome cup handles for the oven and cabinet door
Tom Howley polished chrome knob handle for the microwave

Optional Accessories

x2 Grey Rattan Wicker Storage Trays
Miniature Round Clip Lid Glass Jars
Melissa & Doug Stainless Steel Pots and Pans


1. Our Ikea kitchen was already assembled so rather than taking it apart completely I just took off the doors, handles, worktop and separated the top and bottom sections. Lay out all of your pieces and make a plan for what colour to paint each piece.

2. Use frogtape/painter’s tape to block off the parts you don’t want to get paint on (the microwave, oven “glass” and outer edges of the stove top). You’ll need to also tape the inside bottom and inner sides of the stove and cabinet (approx 3/4″) in order for the internal wood not to show when the doors are closed.

3. Fill the holes from where the Ikea handles had previously been. I used Big Boy Body Filler, which I swear by! Once the filler has dried give it a good sand until smooth.

4. I sanded all wooden areas which were to be painted. I had heard mixed reviews on whether the top coat would stay on properly if the shiny properties of the Ikea doors were not sanded off, so to be safe, I gave it a quick sand. Once roughly sanded, I used the primer to spray all the wooden pieces, the white gloss to spray the kitchen sink and the metallic to spray the tap, cooker rim, rail and hanging hooks. Be sure to check the instructions on the spray cans for when you can do the second coat.

5. Once the primer had completely dried on the units and doors I applied the top coat of paint. I use Tom Howley paint which work off similar colours to the Farrow and Ball colour chart. My cabinets are painted in Tansy (Cornforth White F&B) and the kitchen island in Lithodora (Hague Blue F&B). To apply the paint I used a mini foam roller which gave a smooth finish. The secret I found to a successful application is to apply lots of thin coats. This builds up the colour nicely whilst retains the smoothness.

6. Attach the new handles. I gave this job to my husband and he did a grand job and ensuring they were level!

7. Apply the adhesive vinyl to the countertop. Do this slowly and carefully while using a vinyl squeegee to get out any bubbles as they come up. Cut out the centre parts of the sink and stove with a boxcutter and wrap the contact paper around those edges. (They won’t be perfect, and that’s okay! The sink and stove will cover it up anyway!) In order to make a smooth finish on the outside edges and corners, you will want to use a hairdryer to heat up the contact paper. This makes it stretch much easier for a perfect fit!

8. Measure your foam board to fit the back of the kitchen opening and trim it down with your box cutter. I opted for an upstand and painted wall effect (to match my kitchen) so I painted the foam board in Wimborne White F&B and then attached it to the back of the kitchen using my glue gun. For the upstand I trimmed a piece of foam board to size and covered it with the adhesive vinyl, I then glued this to the inside of the painted foam board.

9. And finally, to give your play kitchen that extra special finish, apply white silicone (I used caulk) to the joins of the worktop and upstand.

And that’s it, your Ikea play kitchen hack is complete! All you need to do now is accessorise it. I put two rattan wicker storage trays underneath the kitchen to keep the play food and cutlery in and managed to find some extremely cute miniature clip lid jars so put some spaghetti in one and baking beans in the other. (Don’t worry, Scarlett will not be playing with these – they are just for photography styling purposes!).

Before and After Shots

Thanks for reading and I hope this has inspired you to give this a go! If you do, please tag me in your Instagram posts 🙂

SJ x



  1. Victoria
    April 26, 2018 / 5:19 pm

    So clever! It looks amazing!

  2. Gaynor
    April 26, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    Scarlet has a better kitchen than I do!!!😂😎😍

  3. Misskatela
    April 26, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    Love it! Looks amazing! ☺️Loooove Ikea Kitchen Hacks! I can’t wait to do one when I have kids! ☺️xx

  4. Ali Smith
    April 26, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    It looks fab!!!! X

  5. Claudine
    April 26, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    I will be doing this to my daughters pink kitchen ASAP! It looks great

  6. Daenerys Drogo
    April 26, 2018 / 9:46 pm

    This is so so cute!

  7. April 27, 2018 / 8:29 am

    Great job! Such a good idea!

  8. Orla O'Riordan
    April 27, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    Amazing such a great job.. Im going to do mine now !! Wekk dibe

  9. Harriet Hewett
    May 2, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    Through seeing a post on this ikea hack (which I love!), I have just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it. Am currently in the process of buying a house to renovate and I hope it looks half as good as yours! Great idea of an online diary blog so you can look back on all your hard work.

    Can’t wait to read more!


    • justalittlebuild
      May 2, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Hi there, thanks for your lovely words! Good luck with yours!

  10. Kirsty
    June 18, 2018 / 8:13 am

    I love this! I am now doing a mini version of our own kitchen for my daughter. Can I please ask what size you ordered the wicker baskets in? Thanks, Kirsty

    • justalittlebuild
      June 18, 2018 / 8:19 am

      That’s great! It’s the medium size! X

      • Georgine
        March 11, 2019 / 3:57 pm

        so cute! Were did you buy the baskets?

        • justalittlebuild
          March 11, 2019 / 8:21 pm

          Just off eBay – I think they are linked in the post?

          • Emily
            December 2, 2019 / 1:34 am

            Love this kitchen- we’re copying you for the big Christmas surprise this year 🙂

            Do you happen to know around what the dimensions of the baskets are that you have? It looks like eBay ones have sold. Thanks!

  11. Michelle
    January 6, 2019 / 4:35 am

    Where are the cute wooden spoons from in the baskets below?

  12. Leanne
    April 16, 2019 / 11:53 am

    Hi SJ, I absolutely love this and when I get a chance, I will do this to my children’s toy kitchen which they play with all the time. Like yours, it sits in the main living area and is such an isaw as it is bright red and blue and does not match the rest of my new house. How much did it cost you to do your little kitchen up?

    • Nicky
      May 11, 2019 / 3:40 pm

      Hi SJ I’m currently doing my own hack, I sprayed our plastic taps with plasticote and it’s chipped off quite a lot when we’ve put it back in place. I thought being plasticote it would work well! Has yours chipped at all or is it hardwearing enough to withstand brutal playing?

      • justalittlebuild
        May 12, 2019 / 9:29 am

        Hi, no, the spray I have used has been fab – give that one a go!

  13. Rachel
    December 26, 2019 / 7:25 am

    How did you finish off the corners of the countertop? Yours looks like a smooth corner…the one I did has folds in it as I pushed it down and around the edge and it’s bulky underneath as it wrapped under.

    • justalittlebuild
      January 5, 2020 / 2:26 pm

      Our corners are just normal corners, we didn’t go with a rounded edge.

  14. Danielle
    May 25, 2020 / 2:52 am

    Hello. We just tried to copy this and after 1 day of use the sink has chipped. Do you have any suggestions as to how you got your paint to not chip. Also, what are the size baskets you got? Thanks in advance.

    • justalittlebuild
      August 10, 2020 / 3:16 pm

      I not sure what to say as ours hasn’t chipped much at all. Was it the same white spray that you used? I believe the baskets are a size medium.

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