The first thing you need to know and one of the most important is that dolls houses are built to standard doll house scale. That is they are built to a certain size so furniture and decorations can universally be fitted into them.
There are two standard scales for dolls houses: 1/12th scale and 1/24th scale. 1/12th scale is 12 times smaller that real size and 1/24th scale is 24 times smaller than real size. 1/12th scale is by far the most popular and most furnishings and dolls houses are made to this scale. 1/24th scale is becoming more popular but there are far fewer furnishings available for this size doll house.
If you have seen doll houses displayed in shops or on the Internet they are most likely in 1/12th scale but you do need to check.
Another thing you should know is that some dolls houses are designed specifically for children and some for adults. There are big differences between the two and a dolls house made for a child will not suit an adult collector.
Collector’s dolls houses come in many shapes and sizes and are designed to resemble homes from different periods in time. The period your dolls house is from will shape you collection and you could choose Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian or modern.
Victorian Dolls House Kits
These doll houses are made from MDF and the floor plan are usually divided into a number of different sized rooms. The Victorian dolls house roof generally has many different shapes, angles and had many gables facing in all directions. These types of dolls houses have a porch across the front that wrap around the corner and down one side and sometimes down both sides of the house. The floor of the porch and the first story are usually raised from the ground level. Bay windows and porch columns are also a main feature.
Georgian Dolls House Kits
These stylish dolls houses generally contain multiple large rooms based on a three storey building and are very popular. Corner stones, known as "quoins" are a base feature in Georgian dolls houses and typically have an elegant facade.
Edwardian Dolls House Kits
These generally include bay windows, carved woodwork, balconies, verandas and small porches. The doll houses visual appearance is generally half timbered with a bottom storey which is bricked. Most of these Tudor dolls houses generally have thin chimneys and decorative chimney pots.