What We Like
Includes 17 pieces of furniture
What We Don't Like
Feels cheap and plasticky
Setup is time-consuming
Dollhouses are the perfect pretend environment for kiddos to create their own imaginary world. But there are so many options out there, it’s hard to figure out which one is actually worth the money. My husband and I let our kids play with the KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage. We tested its design, setup, and entertainment value. Read on to see if we think it’s worth the price.
Setting up the KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage took a lot longer than we expected: 45 minutes (and a lot of patience). My husband took the lead. Assembly includes 50 screws and bolts and 16 house pieces. Everything is color-coded, so it seemed straight forward at first. Then we realized we couldn’t use the Allen wrench that KidKraft provided because we needed a screwdriver instead. We needed to use a screwdriver with a small handle because we had to screw in the house from inside the frame, making the whole process more tedious and time-consuming. What’s more, the numbered stickers were sometimes difficult to peel off, which slowed us down as well.
Design: Open floor plan with an old school aesthetic
The layout of the KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage is designed well for group play. Measuring 25 x 13 x 28 inches, the house is big, but not overwhelmingly so; and it has an open front for easy access to each room. It has three levels, five rooms, and a balcony. All the rooms are spacious, and the two molded staircases and functional window shutters add a realistic touch.
This dollhouse feels somewhat cheaply made, though. The plywood frame is thin, and the details (like the windows and stairs) and furniture are made of light plastic. My youngest son kept knocking one of the windows out of its frame. It was easy to put back on, but it still irritated him each time.
I personally wouldn’t have picked this house based on the design alone.
This dollhouse comes with 17 pieces of furniture—enough to keep my kids busy—but no characters, which my oldest son was disappointed about. The manufacturer says it can accommodate 5-inch dolls.
As someone who values aesthetically pleasing and minimalist designs, this dollhouse was a bit much for my taste. Each room features different patterned wallpaper, so it feels very pattern-heavy and generally “old school,” like it’s from the ’50s. It boasts a lot of pink details like hearts, flowers, and fruit. I personally wouldn’t have picked this house based on the design alone.
Entertainment Value: A match made in heaven
The second that my oldest son laid eyes on the KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage, he exclaimed, “This is for girls!” Now, my husband and I have never fed into gender divides. In fact, both our boys wear pink and purple, and we’ve purchased many toys that would be considered “for girls.” Sure, our 5-year-old son has probably learned a couple of stereotypes at school (he’s in kindergarten), but this remark was the first of its kind, so it says a lot.
My boys quickly moved past all the pink and “girly” stuff and dove right into play. I convinced my son to let his Toy Story characters Woody and Bo Peep move in. He played with them for a while, and my youngest eventually joined in.
This dollhouse comes with 17 pieces of furniture—enough to keep my kids busy—but no characters, which my oldest son was disappointed about.
Both kids loved moving their characters up and down the stairs and making up stories about having to leave the house in the middle of the night to escape a fire. My youngest son tucked Bo Peep into the bunk bed close to 50 times. He even sang her a lullaby.
All in all, if you want to encourage imaginative play (or if your kid is already into it), this is a great toy.
Age Range: 3 years and up
The manufacturer claims that this toy is suitable for 3-year-olds. I agree. I would even say that if you have a child who’s 2 years old and into imaginative play, it may be a good toy for him or her too—with supervision. Some of the furniture, like the detachable piano legs, are small and would pose a choking risk.
Cleaning: Wipe clean to remove dust
Cleaning is easy enough. Everything can be wiped clean in a jiffy, though the furniture that’s made of fabric (like the bunk bed with the faux sheets and the umbrella) will undeniably get dirty and will be difficult to clean. I’m not sure if they can go in the washing machine, but I don’t imagine there’d be any harm in washing them by hand.
Price: A bargain price for a dollhouse this size
Retailing around $90, the KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage is a bargain. Though the quality isn’t the best. For a bigger investment, you can get more durable, better-designed dollhouses that will capture kids’ attention and hold up to regular play.
Retailing around $90, the KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage is a bargain.
KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage vs. Hape All Season House
We tested both of these dollhouses. They are comparable in size, and neither of them comes with characters (which are huge bummers for the little ones). The Hape All Season House is more minimalist and gender-neutral. It feels modern and even has details that feel very current (which could be potential conversation starters and opportunities to teach), such as the solar panel on the roof. I personally love how minimalist it feels, and I wouldn’t mind keeping it in my living room. The KidKraft cottage, on the other hand, feels busy and undeniably clashes with my decor.
Although the Hape dollhouse looks airy and open, there are a lot of blind spots that make it a bit more difficult to see and play inside the house. The KidKraft house is easier for kids to play and engage with.
The KidKraft cottage is slightly cheaper than the Hape house. So if you’re looking for a more economical option, it might be the right pick for you.
It’s a solid choice for the price.
If you’re looking for a dollhouse that’s affordable and engages your little ones for a while, the KidKraft Chelsea Doll Cottage is a solid choice. But the design is busy and “girly,” as my son noted, so if you have a boy who seems to care or if you’re more of a minimalist, I’d recommend you go with something else.
- Product Name Chelsea Doll Cottage
- Product Brand KidKraft
- UPC 823951045278
- Price $89.99
- Weight 14.99 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 25 x 13 x 28 in.
- Recommended Age Range 3+
- What’s Included House, 17 pieces of furniture, and assembly instructions