How to Paint a Play Kitchen

There could be a plethora of reasons why you need to paint a play kitchen. It could be because you’ve inherited an old, beat up play set and you want to restore or revamp it. Or it could you just bought a play set and you aren’t thrilled about the colors. Whatever your reason, you need to know a few things before bringing out the paint brush or you could end up causing more harm than good. 

We’re going to deep dive into the important aspects of painting a play kitchen. We’ll look at each of the common materials that typically reside in a play kitchen and show you the best approach. Wood, MDF, metal and plastic each require their own unique preparation and approach. We’ll also be touching on certain aesthetics and color combinations we are inspired by. Looking at other play sets helped me decide which direction I wanted to go with my used play set. I saw one accessory that really struck my eye and used that as an example for the rest of the play set. 

Take a look at this DIY Kitchen Playset. It’s done in only two colors and is accented well by the pink accessories such as the curtains and the appliances. You don’t need to have several colors on a play set to make it look brand new. One or two colors, done correctly can showcase a modern, minimalist view that is easy on the eyes.


Here we have a 3 tone pastel kitchen play set. The counters and framing are white. If your play set is broken out into sections, that’s a perfect time to experiment with different colors. This specific play set is professionally done, but with some tape and attention to detail, you can get a very similar color wave.

Last we have a dark blue painted kitchen play set. This really matches well with the dark hardware floor. We found this looking for inspiration and we couldn’t tell if the counter was wooden or not. Just looking at it, it gave me an idea to see if we could create a fake marble look on a wooden counter. See more below!

Painting a Plastic Play Set

Painting a plastic kitchen play set can make sense for a lot different reasons. You are often working with an outdoor play set, one that has been beat up and worn down by the elements. Giving it a revamp can make the difference! You’ll need only a few items. One is a sponge and soap. Then you’ll need a plastic paint primer and a plastic spray paint. You can find these at your local hardware store. 

1. First you want to make sure you clean all the plastic areas you want to eventually paint. By cleaning off any dust or dirt accumulated on the plastic, it will help the paint adhere to the structure. You can also use rubbing alcohol as well.

2. Cover any areas with painter’s tape if you don’t want to paint it, or if you want to paint it a different color. This is optional, but some people like to give highlights to certain accessories. I usually start with the smaller paint items first. 

3. Spray plastic with the primer and allow to dry.

4. Once primer is dry, spray with plastic spray paints in light even strokes. Paint several coats, allowing time to dry in between until satisfied. 

That’s it! You’ll notice that if you have moving parts like doors the paint will fade more quicker than other areas. That’s just something you’ll have to live with, but will be a good indication how much your kid is using the kitchen set.

What is MDF and can you paint it?

MDF or Medium-density fibreboard is a combination of wood fibers mixed in with wax binders to create a lightweight material. MDF is a lot cheaper and eco-friendly but still very durable. It’s not going to be as durable as wood and MDF has issues with taking screws or nails. It’s a good alternative because its lightweight and perfect for play kitchens. 

MDF is very easy to paint. But there are a couple things you have to remember when painting MDF. The most important tip to remember is to use oil-based paint and NOT water-based paint. The reason for this is because MDF absorbs water well and water-based paint will ruin the MDF material. 

One other note is that the edges of MDF boards need to be treated separately. This is because the edges are more porous than the flat areas, making it more susceptible to water damage.

1. Seal any edges with drywall compound. Once dry, sand edges smooth with 220-grit sand paper. Wipe everything clean.

2. Use a solvent-based primer (also called oil-based primer) with a brush or roller and apply to the primer. You can use this primer over all surfaces.

3. Wait to dry and begin painting with oil-based paint. Assess if you need a second coat, then add. 

4. Optionally, you can add sealer. 

Painting a Wooden Structure

There are some older play sets that are primarily made with real wood. If your play set is fairly heavy, you can assume its made from wood. Wood has straight forward instructions on how to repaint. 

1. Remove old paint by scrapping. This can be done roughly. 

2. Any cracks, dings or gouges can be filled with wood putty. 

3. Sand the surface with coarse sand paper about 80 grit and then finish off with 150 grit. You are preparing the surface for priming. Clean off any dust with a towel.

4. Tape off any parts you don’t want to paint.

5. Brush on primer to your play set. Use grey primer to darker paint tones such as black or blue and white primer for light colors.

6. Wait to dry and then brush on an water-based paint, color of your choosing. 


There may be aspects of your play kitchen that are metal. Most likely, the knobs or door handles, but there may be cases where a fridge door might be made of sheet metal. Just like wood, metal is easy to paint if you follow these simple instructions.

1. Make sure you are painting in an open area. Remove all rust and old paint. Wear a dust mask.

2. Sand the metal with fine-grit sandpaper and wipe down with a towel.

3. Use a metal primer. You can use spray primer or traditional primer, depending on the area. Wait 24 hours to dry.

4. Use traditional or spray paint that is formulated for metal. Like the other surfaces, apply several light coats letting each layer dry. 

Faux Marble

If you are looking to add a marble look to a non-marble surface, check out this article that showcases how to do it. It is cheap and the results look amazing. The picture to the right is faux marble. Can you believe its not real?! Crazy, right? You can replicate this with any surface, and even your play kitchen.

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