41+ Creative Theme Ideas for Dollhouses, Dioramas, Miniatures & Assemblage Art

miniature dollhouse theme ideas
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Looking for some inspiration for your next miniature project? I’m always collecting different ideas so though I would put together this ultimate list of different miniature theme ideas.

miniature theme ideas

You can use these themes to inspire your next dollhouse, room box, dioramas, altered art, mixed media assemblage and more. There’s so many ideas here and I hope if you DO make something inspired by one of these you will share it with us so we can admire your work.

{And of course, even if you are not a miniatures artist, these can be some fun art theme ideas for all types of artists and crafters to be inspired by!}

Why I Like Working With Themes in My Art Projects and Miniatures

Whenever I’m creating art, especially with different miniature projects, I really enjoy choosing a general theme and sticking to it. Having a theme helps make the whole design process a lot easier.

This makes it much easier to make design choices. It also helps you decide on what types of supplies and materials you might use. If you ever look at an empty box and feel overwhelmed about what items or materials to use, a theme to use in your art makes it much easier to get started.

Themes Help You Tell a Story

Beyond just making it easier to make design choices, a theme also can help you build a story for the miniature room or art assemblage project you are working on. Stories can jumpstart your creativity and imagination. I like to imagine characters in the space and what they might like to do.

The story telling aspect of miniatures is one of my favorite things about miniature art. There’s something special about looking into a room of a dollhouse and wondering what type of tiny folk might live there. In many ways, it is like creating a character like you would for a book or movie.

One of these days, I also very much would love to create stop motion videos with different characters and projects I make. Having a theme, with a project that tells a story will help make that a lot easier to do once the time opens up in my schedule.

There is a third benefit to telling a story with your artwork. Stories draw others in and helps awaken even the most non-artsy/craftsy of people into finding the things you make interesting. When there is a story, we are able to connect to one another in truly the most magical of ways.

You certainly don’t have to sell or display your work {just creating for fun and your own personal enjoyment is totally okay!} – but there may eventually be a time when you do want to share your creations with others.

If you ever plan on selling any of your miniatures, a story is a very important part of making your work unique and attracting people who might like to buy it.

Anyways, yes, I do love working with themes in my art, and hopefully these theme ideas will help inspire you to create something beautiful and amazing that is fun to make.

Okay, let’s get onto this big giant ultimate huge-a-mongous list of miniature themes and dollhouse ideas, shall we?

The Giant Ultimate List of Miniature Theme Ideas for Dollhouses, Assemblages, Roomboxes, Dioramas and More

1. Under the Sea

sand, seashells, message in a bottle

This could be a home for mermaids or sea creatures, or perhaps you could tell the story of the lost civilization Atlantis, or maybe just use it a decorating theme for a standard dollhouse.

Pet stores that specializes in aquarium care and supplies will likely have many things to inspire you for aquarium style decor!

2. The Circus:

From clowns to tigers and elephants to trapeze artists, this is a fun motif that can make for  interesting decor and miniature scenes.

3. Fairy/Gnome Homes:

The fairy world is always enchanting and charming. It is definitely very fun to build fairy gardens, fairy houses and fairy scenes. Garden gnomes are also a fun idea to work with.

4. Garden Theme:

While fairy gardens are definitely one option, what about recreating a miniature scene for real life gardening?

You could create a rustic potting bench like I did or use garden-themed flowers and plants to decorate an entire dollhouse.

5. Treehouse:

Similar to fairy homes or garden themes, a treehouse can be its very own special place to make in miniature. You could build the home in a hollowed out faux log or take inspiration from the Treehouse Master himself, Pete Nelson. Many of those treehouses I would happily live in full-time in real life.

6. Music:

I love all things music, and music is a very fun theme to work with.

You could have a band rehearsal space or create a miniature recording studio scene or even just make the character living in the home a rockstar or a professional musician in an orchestra.

Recently I’ve also seen some pretty amazing dollhouses in hollowed out guitars and violins.

7. Historically Inspired:

History is another fun thing to explore for miniature themes. From medieval castles to ancient civilizations, it is always interesting to look back at the way people lived and the places where they lived.

8. A Place in Time:

Another neat and interesting theme? Clocks! Many mixed media art assemblages use old alarm clocks, or you could even perhaps create a miniature scene that would fit in an old pocket watch replica.

If I ever get an old grandfather clock by some strange chance you can bet I am turning it into a dollhouse! You could also just use clocks as a theme in your decor or even perhaps make a home for a time traveler or an inventor who is building a time machine.

9. Coastal Beach/Nautical Theme:

If you ever find yourself dreaming while flipping through magazines like Coastal Living, a beach cottage theme can definitely be a very fun one to work with. Think lighthouses, sand, surf, and fishing boats.

10. Tropical Paradise:

Think palm trees and cool ocean breezes – this could be a very fun idea for a number of different scenes and characters. You could build an island home or simply enjoy design inspiration from the Caribbean.

11. Pirates Theme: 

Speaking of the Caribbean, wouldn’t it be fun to make a pirate ship? Or perhaps a secret treasure cove? When we were kids I had so much fun playing with Pirates themed legos with my brothers – we built all sort of things and it was definitely fun to imagine different stories and characters.

12. The Traveling House:

Tiny houses are a very popular thing and more and more people are exploring the idea of living a nomadic lifestyle on wheels. You could do a travel trailer, van, or even a horse drawn wagon home.

13. Through the Decades:

Many of the decades throughout history have very distinct styles. You could do the roaring 1920’s, or the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. You could do an entire building for a specific decade or even create a house where each room reflects a certain decade.

14. Sports Themes:

There are so many great sports to draw inspiration from – baseball, soccer, football, tennis, hockey, lacrosse – the list goes on and on. This could translate into sports style decor for a bedroom or family room or you could even potentially transform a soccer ball into an entire soccer-themed miniature house.

15. Fairy Tales:

Another fun idea is to base a scene or story around a fairy tale. Perhaps you could build the cottage where Snow White lived with the 7 Dwarves, or the Gingerbread House from Hansel & Gretel. Fairy tales definitely are a fun and popular theme to explore.

16. House of Books: 

In addition to common fairy tales and folk legends, books are always a great place for inspiration and ideas in miniatures.

Popular classic books such as Great Expectations and Alice in Wonderland serve as wonderful ideas to inspire you for themes.

You could even use actual books to build your house or use pages of text as background wallpaper.

17. Sweet Treats:

Think gingerbread houses or a magical candy world. Perhaps your miniature guests could live in a magical world of cupcakes.

If you wanted something a little more realistic, you could also do an ice cream parlor or candy factory in miniature.

18. Favorite Foods:

I’m sure my teenage son would love if I made him a miniature house in the shape of a pizza! Food can be used in so many different ways in miniatures.

Perhaps your character lives at a bakery or owns their own restaurant. Diners, pizza parlors, a gourmet kitchen…the possibilities are endless with food as inspiration.

19. Beverages of Choice:

In addition to food, you could also of course stick to a theme of a favorite tasty beverage. Maybe it’s a cup of herbal tea or coffee, or even a wine theme.

This is another one that can go in many different directions, but how cute could it be to have a miniature scene set in a tea cup or a house in a wine bottle?

20. Viking Theme:

One of my dreams some day is to visit a Viking reenactment. There are so many interesting things about the culture and the Viking Age in Scandinavian history to explore.

21. The Bayou:

If you ever have a chance to visit the bayous and swamps of the southeast U.S., there are some fantastic ideas for themes in your work.

22. Southwest/Desert Theme:

This is another fun idea for many theme ideas, and of course plenty of design inspiration abounds. You could go with a southwestern dessert theme for a traditional dollhouse design or even create miniature scenes and assemblages.

23. Cowboy/Wild West:

An old wild west saloon or perhaps the hideout of an outlaw. The old wild west ghost towns serve as great inspiration for ideas for themes.

24. Feng Shui:

This ancient art and science originated in China thousands of years ago and can be an interesting theme for inspiration in all sorts of miniature design.

25. Farmhouse Style:

Think barns, farms, and rustic country living at it’s finest. You could also create homes for farm animal families.

26. Urban/City Life:

This is another fun idea for room scenes and miniature displays. Perhaps you have a rooftop terrace or a studio apartment – or even a lovely penthouse that overlooks the beautiful city skyline.

27. Sweet Dreams:

Another creative idea for miniature bedrooms is to create a place for dreamers. This could be a scene filled with things such as nightlights, moons, clouds, big comfy pillows and blankets, and even glow-in-the-dark stars for decoration.

You could also take inspiration from things such as dream catchers and other night-time scenes.

28. Fashion:

This makes for another fun theme idea, and if you work with fashion dolls in 1:6 scale regularly I’m sure you’ve explored a number of fashion related themes.

You could choose specific fashion styles to draw inspiration from or even design a space for a fashionista character. It could also be fun to design spaces that show off different styles of clothes – perhaps a small fashion boutique storefront or a dressmaker’s shop for example.

29. Beauty:

In the realm of fashion and style, beauty could be another theme to work with. You could design an upscale beauty salon or even challenge yourself to make a miniature set using only items you make from beauty products, such as cosmetic cases, make-up accessories and mirrors.

30. Outer Space:

There is also a lot of inspiration that can come from outer space. Think rockets, space ships, stars, galaxies, and planets. You could even go deeper, such as choosing themes from Astrology and the Zodiac signs.

31. Vintage & Antiques:

Perhaps your character is an antique collector or has a booth at an antique mall? I know I can spend hours at flea markets and antique shops just looking around at all the different things, and of course many of these items you might want to use are readily available in miniature scale.

32. Rainbows: 

So many different directions a rainbow theme can take! You could make a rainbow house, where each room is a specific color scheme, or you could even make a rainbow shaped house.

33. Hotel/Inn:

Take inspiration from Victorian era Hotels, modern hotels or even a charming bed & breakfast to create a place where your miniature guests will feel right at home.

34. Shops & Storefronts:

This is another fun idea to recreate in miniature. You could make an old general store or grocery store, or even an upscale boutique gift shop. This could easily be combined with other themes – maybe a beachfront souvenir shop or a blacksmith’s shop.

35. Family History/Genealogy:

Our very own ancestors can be a great inspiration for a theme for different miniature art projects and dollhouses. This can also be a great way to preserve some of the family heirlooms and stories of previous generations.

36. Royalty:

Queens, Kings, Princesses, and Princes all make for interesting characters for miniatures and dollhouses. You could also of course always make a castle scene.

37. Valentine’s Day: 

Valentine’s Day is a holiday we just simply don’t decorate for enough. I always thought it would be fun to make a miniature “Valentine House” full of things like hearts, roses, and everything romance.  You could even use a heart shaped box as the setting for your scene.

38. Spring/Easter: 

We often associate spring with things like rainy days, tulips, daffodils and blossoms on trees.

There are all sorts of fun ideas for Easter as well. You could create a home for a family of ducks or rabbits, or perhaps even a home inside an Easter Egg or birds nest.

39. Summertime:

The summer season is full of different things that could make for a great theme in a lot of miniature crafts. You could create a backyard BBQ scene, the inside of a pool house, a vacation home, or maybe perhaps even the inside of an RV.

40. Fall/Halloween:

Halloween is another fun one to consider for miniature scenes, and just like Christmas there are enough ideas it warrants its own post in the very near future. Fall is full of brightly covered leaves, warm crispy fires, and of course all things pumpkin spice.

41. Christmas/Winter: 

Plenty of inspiration abounds for Christmas miniatures, and of course this could be its very own post of ideas! You could go with traditional dollhouses decked out in holiday decor or perhaps even build Santa’s workshop or some of the homes at the North Pole.

I’m sure there are many other themes and ideas I am forgetting – but hopefully this list will inspire you to create some fun miniatures and dollhouses that tell a story.

Do you have any dollhouse and miniature theme ideas you have used or would like to try in the future? Which of the themes listed here are you most wanting to try? Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

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  1. You mentioned family history, I took most of my ancestors pictures that I have and resized them and they are now on a wall in my dollhouse. People are amazed when I tell them the pictures are all my grandparents.

  2. Hi, I love your ideas.
    I am working on a British 1920/30s vet based loosely on James Herriot book/tv series. In the same dollshouse will be a Yorkshire Pub and an old-fashioned butcher serving up country-styled meats and pork pies, etc.

    I also have on the go a Tudor/Middle ages blacksmith and home of the common folk, so without all the regal paraphenalia.

    As I live in Australia on acerage, I am putting together an Aussie farm, having made a corrugated water tank from a large peach tin, drilling a tiny hole to put in a tap near the bottom and making a stand for it to sit on from icy pole sticks and dowel. A cockatoo and some other Aussie animals will be included in the scene.

  3. I have been thinking a lot about making a street of shops with the main store being a fabric store or some kind of sewing shop.
    I think it’s just a matter of getting started with sketches.

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