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Dollhouses Then and Now

Dollhouses and miniatures have captivated people for centuries. Some of the earliest dollhouses in Europe were actually made for adults as built-in cabinets. They contained acquired collections of very tiny and expensive things.
Girl playing with dollhouse.

During the Victorian Era, when dollhouses for girls first began being built, they were originally intended to teach young girls how to “keep house”. This lasted until the girls figured out that there was much more fun to be had. By imagining the possibilities in these petite worlds, girls made dollhouses their own.

Doll's houses still serve as places where the imagination can take hold, much like toy trains, tiny ships, and model airplanes encourage us to do. But these days, the options for models and miniatures have expanded considerably. If you are looking at dollhouses for sale, there are now boy’s dollhouses as well as for girls.

More often, the models are gender-neutral, and they can be furnished however you choose. DIY dollhouse kits are also available at varying levels of skill, including dollhouses for beginners, so that you can assemble one yourself. And dollhouses are now available in a range of architectural styles to suit your taste, from elegant Victorian homes to traditional Craftsman cottages. Not to mention, there are now so many miniatures to choose from, to fill your space from the front parlor to the third or fourth story.

Miniatures are soaring in popularity, and if dollhouse history is any indication, they are here to stay. Of course, they never really went away. Some vintage models might have ended up at estate sales or were tucked into storage for safekeeping until the time was right for people again to be ready to play.

In the meantime, some modern versions have emerged along the way, from Disney-inspired options to haunted dollhouses (Boo!). Yet, amidst all the modern variations, there remains a strong desire for classic wooden dollhouses with a true vintage feel.

The Magic of Dollhouses

In each and every era, a new generation seems to discover the magic of dollhouses and miniatures. Just like in previous decades and centuries past, dollhouses today are capturing the hearts and imaginations of people of all ages: young, old, and everything in between. The best part is that this hobby isn’t only for children (if ever it was?).

Regardless of your age or occupation, your gender, or your height, when it comes to miniature worlds, there are no requirements to partake in the fun. Whether or not you had a dollhouse as a child, creating a dollhouse miniature world feels like remembering something pleasant that you nearly forgot. During the process of rediscovering this part of yourself, your crafting skills might even surprise you. DIY dollhouse kit instructions are very easy to follow.

And thanks to the internet, there are now tutorials on a wide range of topics, such as how to hang wallpaper in your new miniature home or even install a dollhouse chandelier. Before long, you’ll find yourself frequenting Etsy shops and collecting all kinds of tiny handmade items, from telescopes to trestle tables to teacups. You might even begin swapping stories on social media or at workshops with others who enjoy the same hobby as you.

One thing is certain: a dollhouse wouldn’t quite be a dollhouse without its miniature furniture and its even tinier décor. Today, it is common for dollhouses not to include any dolls. It’s a bit similar to the popularity of outdoor fairy gardens inhabited by invisible fairies (or are they just too small to see?).

Nowadays, dollhouses might tend to exist without dolls because people much prefer to imagine themselves in these miniature worlds.
- Dolls’ House of Petronella Oortman, c. 1686–1710

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