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Melissa & Doug Dollhouses Guide: Are These Dollhouses Worth It?

Melissa & Doug Dollhouses Guide: Are These Dollhouses Worth It?

The tiny furniture, the realistic living spaces, the freedom to create, play, and establish an entire life for the miniature family moving within those diminutive rooms. There’s something magical about a dollhouse, and it’s a type of magic that only young minds can truly tap into and discover. Melissa and Doug is an amazing company and I love their toys, so I decided to create this Melissa and Doug Dollhouses Guide to see, are they worth it? 

If you were lucky enough to own a dollhouse growing up, then you know how singular and special they can be. Over the years, new brands have emerged that offer timeless, sturdy dollhouses at a price point that’s considerably less than the custom-built kits that dominated the 1990s. Melissa and Doug is one of those brands.

This industry-respected, parent-approved company has been churning out high-quality children’s toys since 1988, and their dollhouses are among some of the most spectacular. Today, we’re taking a look at some of their best-selling models, ranking a few of our favorites, and guiding you as you select one to become an instant heirloom for your little ones.

Melissa & Doug Dollhouses – Bottom Line, Up Front

Melissa and Doug dollhouses are an excellent, budget-friendly buy. They’re available in a range of different sizes and price ranges, and most are suitable for all children between the ages of three and six. If you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease and assemble the house yourself, you can’t go wrong with a gorgeous, heirloom model like the Classic Heirloom Victorian Wooden Dollhouse, which earns my top honors.

Melissa & Doug Classic Heirloom Victorian Dollhouse | Amazon
$192.12

This sturdy, wooden Victorian-style dollhouse has 6 rooms and 3 floors. It features updated white, pink, and gray exterior artwork, including intricately-patterned gables and friezes, illustrated brackets, and latticework.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
12/08/2022 03:17 pm GMT

Of course, you can also get by with ready-to-play dollhouses, such as the Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse that’s already assembled. While you might not have as much creative control over these models, they’re great for younger children who aren’t as picky about customization and details.

The brand is backed by a solid, decades-long reputation and has also taken measures to ensure sustainability throughout its operations. If you’re looking for a solid toy that will earn you raves and stay in constant rotation in the playroom, these are a great place to start.

Why Purchase a Melissa and Doug Dollhouse?

Melissa and Doug dollhouses

Before we dive into the different types of Melissa and Doug dollhouses you can buy, let’s take a look at why you should give your hard-earned dollars to this brand in the first place. After all, the children’s toy market is flooded with different companies vying for attention from you and your pint-sized brood.

Put simply, the company’s been around for nearly 40 years, and that’s a track record you have to admire. In a sector where trendy names are usually mere flashes in the pan, Melissa and Doug has become a veritable unicorn. The brand has cultivated a loyal following of parents, grandparents, and toddlers alike who cherish its bright colors, solid construction, and durability.

Stellar Customer Service

This company is named after its married founders, who share its namesake. This feeling of familiarity is woven into every product that they offer, and their commitment to customer service shows.

When they first started creating toys, they even added their names and phone number to the back of every product, so buyers knew exactly how to reach them with a question or concern. In those early days, they’d take turns answering the phone at all hours of the night, using a phone that lay between them in bed.

Today, you’ll find that same level of dedication. The Melissa and Doug Help Center is available Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. You can also email the company or fill out an online form with your inquiry. If you’d prefer to browse FAQs to find the answer you need, you’ll find an extensive knowledge base full of relevant information.

Commitment to Young Learning

Melissa and Doug didn’t always make dollhouses. Their earliest toys were puzzles, including their cherished Fuzzy Farm Puzzles that incorporated both hand-eye coordination as well as textural stimulation. Every product produced under this line isn’t just fun and enjoyable for little learners.

It also includes an educational element. For instance, Mellissa and Doug dollhouses encourage imaginary play, which benefits a child’s social and intellectual development as well as their fine motor skills. You can rest assured that their little minds are hard at work, even if it just seems like they’re hard at play!

Rigorous Safety Testing

One Melissa and Doug motto is “Safety is Our Signature”.  All of their items, including the dollhouses, comply with U.S. and E.U. safety regulations, as well as other international standards. Experts assess and inspect products at every point in the manufacturing process.

However, they want to make sure they’re producing toys that aren’t just safe, but are actually enjoyable to play with! That’s why they created an at-home “kid testing” program, wherein company team members take the toys home to their own families to determine if they’re exciting and age-appropriate.

Features to Look For in a Melissa & Doug Dollhouse

Melissa & Doug Dollhouse

Every dollhouse made under this line will provide all of the benefits listed above. However, not all of the models are created equal. Before you begin your shopping journey, take the time to consider the features that are most important to you and your children. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common elements to keep in mind.

Dollhouse Size

Make sure to read the dimensions of each dollhouse carefully before you buy! Do you want one that will fit comfortably on a child’s size play table? If you have young toddlers, then you might prefer one that they can easily reach and play with on their own.

If your kids are a little bigger, then you may prefer a larger one that can fit in a corner of their room, with enough space for them to explore for hours.

Included Accessories

Some Melissa and Doug dollhouses come with practically every room furnished to the hilt, while others are a little more bare-bones. While you can purchase dollhouse supplies from any local craft or hobby store, keep in mind that this brand has a particular aesthetic.

Their wooden parts are colorful, unique, and difficult to match or replicate. While you might be able to get it close, it might not be worth the hassle to purchase furnishings from another source.

If that’s your perspective, then look for one that includes everything your child will need to get up and running. You can always add on later, but you don’t want to start out with barely-finished rooms that leave a little too much up to the imagination.

Color Scheme

Next, let’s talk color! If this brand is known for anything, it’s punchy and eye-catching designs that littles just love.

Think about your child’s bedroom or playroom, and the colors that you’ve incorporated there. Do you want the dollhouse to complement these tones and blend in seamlessly? Or, do you want to introduce an element of contrast with opposing hues that work against one another in a fun way?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but you can narrow the vast selection by a lot when you search within certain color categories.

Price Point

Finally, you’ll need to think about price. Compared to many other brands in this space, Melissa and Doug toys tend to be a little on the higher side. However, what you spend in the short term, you’ll more than make up for in long-term use. These wooden toys are designed to last.

Set a budget for the dollhouse purchase and stick to it as you browse the different models. If you’re shopping on an online marketplace like Amazon, you can even set price parameters so the search results only show toys that fall into that range.

Melissa & Doug Dollhouses Guide: Our Top 5 Picks

Ready to start checking out the options? Below, we’re sharing an in-depth look at five of the top Melissa and Doug dollhouses on the market. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each one, as well as its current price.

Of these five models, my recommended pick is the Modern Wooden Multi-Level Dollhouse. This oversized dollhouse features multiple stories, a handful of rooms, and 19 well-built wooden pieces that offer hours of play. It’s also classy enough to double as decor and is an economical way to add a family heirloom to your child’s toy collection.

Here are all of the Melissa and Doug dollhouses that made my list!

Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse

Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse

Who wouldn’t want to pack up their beloved dollhouse and take it with them everywhere they went? The Melissa and Doug Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse is a genius innovation. This portable set includes two flexible play figures and 11 pieces of furniture.

A few things I love about this set are:

  • The convenient portability
  • The working front door and garage
  • The primitive, minimalistic design
  • The two separate stories
  • The thick, sturdy carrying handles
  • The unique design that will grow with children

Yet, there are a few drawbacks. Here are the top cons of the Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse:

  • Smaller size (10 x 10.5 x 15.5 inches)
  • Wood could split, especially with rough play
  • Latches that hold the parts together could break

The Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse is available on Amazon for $53.99.

Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse

Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse

Looking for a bigger dollhouse that’s ideal for school-age children? The Melissa and Doug Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse is a great pick. This set comes with 15 pieces of furniture, as well as three posable play figures. It’s designed to coordinate with two other sets from the brand: the Road Trip Car Set and Posable Passengers Set.

The features that set this dollhouse apart include:

  • The larger size (13 x 23.75 x 30 inches at 1:12 scale)
  • Open design that allows access from the front, sides, and top
  • The fun, hand-operated elevator
  • The vibrant color scheme
  • The realistic lift-open garage door

However, it’s important to note these potential disadvantages:

  • Large size isn’t suitable for children younger than three
  • Multi-step assembly can be complicated
  • Higher price point than some other models
  • Can be bulky in a small room

The Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse is available on Amazon for $101.69.

Classic Heirloom Victorian Wooden Dollhouse

Classic Heirloom Victorian Wooden Dollhouse

Some children’s toys are meant to be played with extensively and then tossed, recycled, or donated after they’ve served their purpose.

Then, there are heirloom toys that your purchase with not just your children, but your grandchildren in mind. The Melissa and Doug Classic Heirloom Victorian Wooden Dollhouse falls into the second category.

Reminiscent of those early-90s DIY dollhouse craft kits, this dollhouse is stunning when it’s completed. With this one, the beauty is in the details. This model features six rooms, spread across three floors.

Some of my favorite features include:

  • Moderate size (15.5 x 24.5 x 28 inches at 1:12 scale)
  • Intricate designs and graphics, including the white, pink, and gray exterior artwork, decorative brackets, and extensive latticework
  • Realistic gables and friezes
  • Detailed instructions and link to online assembly video included

The most important cons include:

  • Not suitable for children younger than six
  • Doesn’t come with any furnishings or posable figures
  • Can be difficult to refinish if the interior or exterior stickers become damaged
  • Assembly can be complicated, even with expert guidance

You can find the Classic Heirloom Victorian Wooden Dollhouse on Amazon for $169.87.

Melissa & Doug Classic Heirloom Victorian Dollhouse | Amazon
$192.12

This sturdy, wooden Victorian-style dollhouse has 6 rooms and 3 floors. It features updated white, pink, and gray exterior artwork, including intricately-patterned gables and friezes, illustrated brackets, and latticework.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
12/08/2022 03:17 pm GMT

Wooden Horse Stable Dollhouse

Wooden Horse Stable Dollhouse

The Melissa and Doug Wooden Horse Stable Dollhouse is another one of their Fold & Go models. This particular one is perfect for the budding equestrian in your family! When opened, it reveals four roomy stable stalls with plenty of room for easy play access. Instead of flexible figures, it includes four sturdy plastic horses that are sure to outlast years of wear and tear.

A few of my favorite features of this dollhouse include:

  • The cute accessories: sliding stable doors, fold-out corral, ladder, and wooden bales of hay
  • The durable carrying handles for easy transport
  • Ready-to-play, fully assembled model
  • Sizable enough to hold play 5-inch play horses from other manufacturers (e.g. Schleich)

A few drawbacks include:

  • No clasps or hooks to hold the hinged sides together
  • Horses that come with the set don’t stand sturdily
  • Hinges can be difficult to open and close

The Wooden Horse Stable Dollhouse is available on Amazon for $46.49.

Modern Wooden Multi-Level Dollhouse

Melissa and Doug Modern Wooden Multi-Level Dollhouse

When you want to keep your children entertained for hours, break out this wooden mini-mansion! The Melissa and Doug Modern Wooden Multi-Level Dollhouse comes equipped with 19 individual pieces and includes three spacious levels and five unique rooms.

This is one of those dollhouses that you’ll build once and never break down. Partly because the assembly process is fairly involved, but mostly because it’s so beautiful it almost becomes another piece of furniture in your child’s room. Invest in this one once, and plan to keep it around for years.

A few standout features I love about this dollhouse include:

  • Handpainted, upscale furniture
  • Two repositionable staircases to change the interior layout
  • Spacious size (28” H x 15.25” W x 24.5”)
  • Great for a wide range of ages (3 to 7)
  • Attention to detail (working doors and drawers on the cabinets)

Though there aren’t too many to mention, you may want to pay attention to these cons:

  • Assembly required (illustrated instructions included)
  • Can be too bulky to easily move once assembled
  • Higher price point than Fold & Go models

This dollhouse is currently on sale at Amazon for $98.09.

FAQs

Question: When Should I Buy a Melissa and Doug Dollhouse?

Answer: Most Melissa and Doug dollhouses are designed to appeal to children between the ages of three and six years old. Certain models, like the Classic Heirloom Victorian Wooden Dollhouse, are better suited for older children who can keep the pieces in good shape and make the best use of the expansive play areas.

After the age of two, children begin to develop the ability to engage in complex, imaginative play. Dollhouses are the ideal way to tap into and encourage that creativity!

That said, there are still plenty of children over the age of six who enjoy playing with dollhouses. This is especially the case for those who have younger siblings. In that case, the older child can transition into more of a mentor and leader, explaining the lay of the land to their fellow little learners.

Every Melissa and Doug dollhouse will include an age range on the packaging. Be sure to refer to this information before making a purchase to ensure it’s age-appropriate for the recipient.

Question: Do Other Toy Brands Fit in a Melissa and Doug Dollhouse?

Answer: From Barbies to Calico Critters, it’s easy to find a range of miniature accessories as you browse the aisles of any toy store. That said, you might be tempted to purchase a few items to round out your Melissa and Doug dollhouse. Why not add a few more people to emulate your big family?

Or, what about incorporating some tables, beds, and chairs to create living areas that looked a little more realistic?

A majority of models in this line are built to the traditional 1:12 scale you’ll find on most dollhouses. That means that other items specifically meant for dollhouses should fit.

However, this isn’t the case for all Barbie dolls, or other brands such as LOL dolls and Fisher-Price Little People. Make sure to compare the dimensions of your dollhouse with the size of the accessories you’re eyeing to make sure they won’t be too big.

To avoid a sizing issue, why not invest in a Melissa and Doug play set that will fit easily inside any dollhouse? The 7-piece Melissa and Doug Posable Wooden Doll Family Set is full of sweet extras. Each piece is between two to four inches tall, you can rest assured you’ll have plenty of wiggle room.

Question: Can I Paint My Melissa and Doug Dollhouse?

Answer: Answer: One of the best parts about Melissa and Doug toys is that you can find many items made of plain wood. If you prefer a primitive or rustic look for children’s toys, then you’ll appreciate the clean and unfussy aesthetic.

However, you may also want to put your own spin on the pieces. Your tiny artist may be interested in doing the same!

As long as you’re careful to use non-toxic, kid-friendly paint, you can transform these dollhouses to your liking. Since you’re working with such a tiny canvas, you can save money by purchasing sample-size cans of paint at your local hardware store!

To help the finish last as long as possible (and to save yourself a step), look for paint that already has primer mixed into it.

A neat idea would be to look for a dollhouse that resembles your own home and then purchase paint to truly transform it into a custom, recognizable piece.

Question: Are Melissa and Doug Dollhouses Easy to Assemble?

Answer: This question is a little subjective. If you’d rather do anything besides fit small pieces together, then you can purchase plenty of ready-made Melissa and Doug dollhouses that don’t require any type of assembly at all. The Wooden Horse Stable Dollhouse is a great example.

However, you might find that these models lack the intricacy and design detail that you’ll find in other models, such as the Modern Wooden Multi-Level Dollhouse. These usually include simple pieces that either fold out or snap together, but there’s not much customization beyond that.

If your house does require hands-on work, you can rest assured that there will be detailed, illustrated instructions included in the package for you to follow. In addition, the final result will usually be a little sturdier and longer-lasting.

If you have any questions during the assembly process, the brand’s Customer Service team is happy to walk you through the steps. You can even find instructional videos on YouTube!

Question: Is the Melissa and Doug Brand Ethical?

Answer: Answer: More parents than ever before are demanding transparency from the brands they shop the most. This includes checking to make sure that their children’s toys are manufactured in sustainable, eco-friendly environments. With Melissa and Doug, you can take a deep sigh of relief.

Not only is this brand committed to nurturing young minds, but they’ve also expressed a direct interest in the ecological and social aspects of the environment. They replace all the wood they use for their toys by entering into a global reforestation partnership with the charity organization One Tree Planted.

In addition, they also ensure that all of the wood and paperboard used in their manufacturing is responsibly sourced, and seek to maintain a carbon-neutral footprint throughout all of their operating locations.

In 2020, Melissa and Doug was the first major toy brand in the United States to be awarded certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

They earned the distinction for their new stationery line, and they’ve committed to ensuring that 100% of their paper products will be FSC-certified by 2025, along with more than half of their wooden toy products.

Which Melissa & Doug Dollhouse Will You Buy?

Whether you’re shopping for your own little one or a special child in your life, you want to make sure the gift you give will be meaningful and last as long as possible. While you can find dollhouses for cheaper online and in the store, few can rival the quality of a Melissa and Doug model.

This brand has been entertaining children and delighting parents since the late 1980s and it shows no sign of slowing down. With this Melissa and Doug Dollhouses Guide, you can start shopping with confidence.

Set your budget, determine the features you want, and keep the recipient’s interest in mind. Before long, you’ll be unwrapping, setting up, and enjoying this classic children’s toy together.

Melissa & Doug Classic Heirloom Victorian Dollhouse | Amazon
$192.12

This sturdy, wooden Victorian-style dollhouse has 6 rooms and 3 floors. It features updated white, pink, and gray exterior artwork, including intricately-patterned gables and friezes, illustrated brackets, and latticework.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
12/08/2022 03:17 pm GMT

Looking for insider advice on other types of pint-sized playthings to shop? Check out our guide on How to Find the Best Baby and Toddler Toys!

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