Determining Dollhouse Scale and Sizes of Miniatures

Father and Daughter playing with dollhouse
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Dollhouses come in a wide range of standard sizes, but how can you tell which size you should collect or build? How can you check the size of the furniture you need for an antique house or toy dollhouse?

Standardized sizes for modern dollhouses​ include 1:6, 1:12, 1:16, 1:24, and 1:48, while antique houses are often a custom size. Some scales are popular for collectors of artisan miniatures, while others are more useful for children's play or families who share a range of hobbies with similar scales. Before investing in a dollhouse, you should understand the various scales available and determine which scale is best for your collection and skills.

An illustration of the size of dollhouses needed for different size dolls
The Spruce / Lisa Fasol 
  • 01 of 07

    1:12 Dollhouse Scale: One Inch to One Foot

    1:12 scale (sometimes called 1-inch scale) gained widespread acceptance amongst collectors of artisan miniatures when it was chosen as the scale for Queen Mary's Dolls House. At a time when imperial rulers were marked in 1/12 of an inch, this was, and continues to be, a popular size, which allows for the creation of greatly detailed miniatures. In 1:12 scale, doorways will be 6 to 7 1/2 inches tall (15 to 19 centimeters) or larger, and most adult dolls are depicted at between 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) and 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) in height.

    The scale is common in playhouses for younger children, with Plan Toys and Calico Critters (Sylvanian Families) making their dolls, furniture and some animals in roughly 1:12 scale. For collectors in all ranges, 1:12 scale is the most widely available dollhouse scale.

    The scale is not popular for other miniatures, however, so cars or trains and some other accessories in 1:12 scale are difficult to find. Space considerations mean 1:12 scale is not as popular with collectors who want to make an entire scene with several buildings or outbuildings. There are some popular model horses (Breyer and others) in this scale, with a few animals. A wide range of animals are available from artisans, but common farmyard animals are limited in this scale.

  • 02 of 07

    1:6 Scale Dollhouses: Fashion Doll Scale or Playscale

    Items in 1:6 scale, also known as "Playscale" or "Fashion Doll" scale, are sized to fit with common fashion dolls such as Barbie or collectible action figures, principally military action figures.

    In this scale, 1 inch is equivalent to 6 inches in full size. A standard 7 1/2-foot-tall door would measure 15 inches (38 centimeters), while an adult male doll would be 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) tall. Some artisan miniatures are produced in this scale, mainly in modern styles. This is also the scale for most Japanese 'Re-Ment' accessories and play foods.

  • 03 of 07

    1:16 Dollhouse Scale: 3/4 Scale

    1:16 dolls house scale (sometimes called 3/4 scale) was a common scale for play dollhouses from the 1930s to 1950s and has now been revived by the Brinca Dada toy company for its new range of modern dollhouse toys. One inch in this scale equals 16 inches on a real item, or 3/4 inch equals 1 foot. An adult male doll in this scale will be roughly 4 1/2 inches (11.5 centimeters) tall, while a doorway will be 5 3/4 inches to 6 1/2 inches (14.5 to 16.5 centimeters) high. Collectible houses and furniture in this scale include pieces from Tri-ang (a British Manufacturer), Marx (Little Hostess, Amanda Ann), and Petite Princess (by Ideal, marketed in the U.S.).

  • 04 of 07

    1:18 Scale: 2/3 Scale

    Lundby dollhouses, made in Sweden, are in 1:18 scale, sometimes called 2/3 scale. They are often furnished with 1:16 scale furniture, as play furniture in these scales is often "fit the box" scale rather than strictly to size.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    1:24 Scale: Half-Scale Miniatures

    1:24 dollhouse scale, or half scale, is gaining ground in the UK and Europe as a popular miniature scale. This scale is more commonly found across scale hobbies, with "G" or garden scale railways producing many inexpensive figures and details in scales from 1:22 to 1:24.

    This is also a common play scale for children, as Playmobil houses and accessories are in this scale to go with the company's railroads and vehicles. There is also a range of inexpensive "puzzle" houses available in this scale. 1:24 scale is also fairly popular for high-end die-cast car collectibles, so street scenes are much easier to construct in 1:24 vs 1:12 scale.​

    In the artisan dollhouse market, the scale remains somewhat of a niche, with some artisans in Europe producing duplicates of their 1:12 scale range in 1:24 scale as well. 1:24 scale items are becoming more widely available commercially, but the range is still limited compared to 1:12 scale. Some kit manufacturers, including The Daisy House, produce furniture kits in 1:24 scale.

    In 1:24 scale, a doorway is usually 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters) high, with male dolls standing between 2 1/2 to 3 inches (6.5 to 7.5 centimeters) tall.

  • 06 of 07

    1:48 Scale: Quarter-Scale Miniatures

    1:48 scale, or quarter scale, dollhouses are becoming increasingly popular, especially on the west coast of North America and in the UK. This scale is similar to railroad "O" scale, and building parts available for railroad buildings can be used for quarter-scale houses. In this scale, a person who is 6 feet high would be 1 1/2 inches inches (almost 4 centimeters) tall. This scale also works well for gamers who use 25/28 or 40 millimeters figures. Many of the gaming buildings available are either S or O railroad scale.

  • 07 of 07

    1:144: Micro-Scale

    1:144 has been called Dollhouse for a Dolls House Scale, or Micro Scale. Buildings this size can be used as 1:12 scale dolls houses inside a 1:12 scale dolls house. This is very close to the British "N" scale railway size of 1:148 and slightly off from the North American "N" scale railroad of 1:160 scale. It is a popular size for Christmas Railway Scenes.