It's a known fact that everything is cuter in miniature version (see: puppies and these teeny-tiny succulents). So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a corner of the Internet that merges the aww-factor of small things with my love of interior decorating and design. The result of this aesthetically pleasing combination is the purest form of Instagram rabbit-hole you can go down. I give you: miniature homes.
And no, I'm not talking about the tiny home movement. These are beautifully designed rooms, such as kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, or bedrooms, reproduced in miniature form (usually at a 1:12 scale). In these pint-sized spaces, photo frames are roughly the size of a thumbnail, and a clove of garlic reaches nearly to kitchen counter-height.
But these aren't the pink plastic dollhouses you might have grown up with. Many of the scaled-down designs feature trendy accessories, including round mirrors, potted fiddle leaf figs, and chunky-knit throw blankets, as well as popular materials like patterned cement tile and velvet upholstery.
Creating one of these miniature scenes is a months-long process that requires some serious craftsmanship and attention to detail (and very steady hands). "My pieces can take from a month to almost two years to create, depending on the size and detail required," says Chris Toledo, the artist behind the Instagram account @ibuildsmallthings. "The kitchen piece [pictured above] took about six months to create since all the cabinets and drawers are fully functioning (and lined)."
Miniaturists craft custom furnishings using materials like clay, wood, fabric, and metal, then arrange and style the room with mini handmade accessories. A single piece of furniture (like this miniature sofa made and sold by Samantha Murphy of @tinyperfectworld) can take more than a week to complete. Some artists, like Ella of @life.in.a.dollhouse, cut images out of magazines to repurpose as miniature artwork or crochet tiny jute rugs to layer on the floors.
My pieces can take from a month to almost two years to create, depending on the size and detail required.
Found under hashtags like #modernminiatures or #moderndollhouse, many of these dwellings are intended for dolls, with some artists selling scaled-down sofas and other furnishings through online shops. Murphy, for example, sells doll-sized accessories like throw pillows for less than $4 and larger items, such as velvet-upholstered beds and sofas, for around $50 on her Etsy store.
I've always been a lover of the 1920s and historic architecture, and being able to recreate these historic rooms in miniatures gives me the chance to see a small piece of the past with my own eyes and be able to hold it and touch it.
Other makers, like Toledo, craft their tiny creations as an art form. He draws inspiration from early 20th-century architecture for his diminutive designs. "My favorite thing about it is the tangibility of it all," he says. "I've always been a lover of the 1920s and historic architecture, and being able to recreate these historic rooms in miniatures gives me the chance to see a small piece of the past with my own eyes and be able to hold it and touch it." He even takes commissions for custom pieces, such as a childhood home replica or single-room reproduction, which range in price from $2,000 up to $200,000 for an entire 15-room home.
Some of these unbelievably tiny rooms are so realistic I feel like I could walk right in and snuggle up on the sofa. Offering both major design envy and the satisfaction of tiny things, modern dollhouses are one Instagram trend I can't stop scrolling. If only my childhood dolls could see their homes now.