Got a dollhouse on someone’s holiday or birthday list? There’s an option you might not be aware of. Or maybe I am the only one in the world not aware of these cool houses, since they’ve been around for 65 years and keep coming up with really novel ideas.
The Lundby Smaland Doll House is the newest addition from this Swedish company whose houses and furniture, not surprisingly, look like they could have come right out of IKEA or some mid-century vintage store.
I received one to check out and I will say that the lightweight plastic panels mean it’s not as solid as the wooden Plan Toys dollhouse we’re used to around here. Still, it’s head and shoulders over most of the mass brand stuff in both construction and definitely in looks. The real opening and closing doors (which don’t fall off like our others, hallelujah) and balconies are great touches.
Plus the look is fabulous with a European, vaguely mid-century feel that is so refreshing compared with the all pink and purple all the time U.S. stuff on most toy shelves.
Do we really need purple refrigerators? Don’t answer that.
The furniture and accessories are not particularly cheap, with sets mostly in the $20-40 range. But even if plastic, the details are really neat, like a “glass” topped coffee table with a sliding drawer underneath containing three colorful coffee table books. Still, there are a few things that really differentiate these dollhouse sets from others.
Most notably, Lundby makes teched-out dollhouses with working lights (really!) in accessories like dollhouse lamps, kitchen sets or a light-up fish tank. It works courtesy of mini prongs that poke through pre-cut holes the back of the dollhouse, attaching to a kid-safe 5-volt adaptor you can plug into the wall. My girls went absolutely nuts at the idea of turning the lights on and off themselves. We’re talking full-on shrieking.
Another nice touch: The houses are modular, meaning you can add the Lundby Garden extension with lawn and picket fence, or the dollhouse extension floor (both shown at top) should the Bjornstrand family outgrow their modest 4BR 1BA w/balc.
Big caveat though: The working lights are extremely delicate. When a more aggressive playmate came over and “made an earthquake,” that was the end of some of them.
Other big caveat: My six-year-old daughter called the Lundby dolls “creepy.” They don’t look like plastic surgeon-perfected Barbies at all. If a Barbie or a more Waldorf style doll is what you prefer, well, you can pretty much use any dollhouse dolls you want with the sets.
Of course the thing I really like about having a dollhouse around is the creativity and imaginative play it inspires. Lundby takes this to heart, with free printable dollhouse wallpaper in 6 patterns and a ton of tips for easy dollhouse DIY projects like making your own couch cushions, or planting real watercress in the planters.
You can even upload your own photos into “frames” and print from the website to hang them around the dollhouse. The page is a great resource whether you own their toys or not. Which makes me like Lundby a lot as a company.
As for my kids, they’re too busy turning the lights on and off to be able to comment at this time. -Liz
Browse Lundby dollhouses and furniture on their website, and find them at great prices at Creative Kidstuff online or or an indie toy store near you. Be sure to purchase the Lundby extension cord set if you’re going all in with the working lights. And thanks to Lundby for sending one for review.
See our other recommendations for the best dollhouses for kids here.