January 14, 2015

A Tale of Three Highchairs

left to right (without trays): Bloom Fresco / Stokke Tripp Trapp / Ikea Antilop

Some gals like jewelry, some like clothes, my vice is 'gear'; kitchen gear, camping gear, and without a doubt, baby gear. Where form meets function is my happy place, and so you will have to excuse the embarrassing number of highchairs we've purchased in the last four years. Two kids, four years, four highchairs... I don't know, seems about right to me!

Luckily for those of us that appreciate modern design, there are a good number of options for highchairs these days. I have to confess that I have spent a ridiculous amount of time researching (both on-line and in person), contemplating, and comparing what is available. I found tons of reviews showing all of the details and features of each chair, I dragged them around in our local store to size them up, but what I always wanted (and could never find) was a simple side-by-side image of my top picks. Today, as I waited for our long-loved Bloom to be picked up by a buyer from Craigslist, I realized I had the rare opportunity to fulfill my very own wish... three modern highchairs at three distinct price points, and I couldn't resist.

left to right (with trays): Bloom Fresco / Stokke Tripp Trapp / Ikea Antilop

This isn't so much a review as an anecdote. Our Bloom Fresco is four years old and they have made some minor improvements, so it's really apples to oranges. I don't want to go through all the features either (those are available ad nauseum), but at a subjective glance, our personal highchair overview:

Bloom Fresco: +/- $450 chair, +/- 60 seat pad

Oh the sentimental affection I have for this chair! If you go back through the blog archives here, I am confident there are a loopy number of pictures of Little Smith (and some of Roo too) in this high chair. For one, it's the only time when they are still. For two, it swivels to take advantage of the best light at any time of day, raises and lowers, it does everything short of clean itself... which now that I mention it, is the biggest downside of this highchair. Lots and lots of nooks and crannies for food to accumulate and settle. 

When I was pregnant with Little Smith, I actually remember initially not being sold on this chair. I was slightly thrown off by the space-age design, and thought it was trying a tad too hard. That, and the price tag (close to $600 at the time) was insane. But... after multiple discussions with my generous aunt and cousin who were in love with the Bloom and offered to give it to us as a baby gift, I was seduced by the features. This chair really does have it all, and you sort of need some technical savvy to navigate all the intricacies of the settings (do you find assembling Ikea furniture a breeze? This is probably within your grasp. Do your look around for someone, anyone, to help you decipher unclear assembly instructions? Not the chair for you).

Of all the many features, my favorites were the newborn setting (we are using it here) and the double trays. I can't count the number of times I slid that larger tray off effortlessly after a messy dinner and transitioned to some cut fruit to buy some more time before we left the table. I am missing it right now, just typing this. The Bloom, without question, has the best, most versatile, and easiest tray(s) in this trio. 

I loved this highchair, Little Smith loved this highchair, Roo wasn't completely sold. She often would demand to get 'up!' and wanted to sit at the table like her brother (in his Tripp Trapp). Our dining chairs are not easy for kids (or many adults), but I like them... and so we ultimately decided to part ways with our Bloom, after many blissful years, and double up on our Tripp Trapps. Still, I will always have a fond place in my heart for this futuristic design. Both my kids ate their first meals in this chair, does this mean we can't have anymore kids?! ;)

Stokke Tripp Trapp: $249 chair, +/- $69 baby seat, +/- $49 tray

This highchair is truly timeless, and as of yesterday, we have two of them. The baby set is very helpful to keep a squirmy toddler in proper position, and Little Smith uses the basic chair without the harness (James and I even sit in it on occasion) to give him the autonomy of an adult dining chair with the best and most ergonomic height and footrest for a child his size. The tray is far improved from what I saw four years ago. It's still pretty basic, and you have to use the baby insert with it, but it looks clean and isn't difficult to attach or release.

I chose white, and Little Smith does have some scuffs and dings on his. This might be less noticeable with a natural wood finish. These are solid wood though, so I actually imagine us repainting them and keeping them forever and ever... but if not, there is always craigslist. 

Ikea Antilop: $19.99 

Twenty bucks for a very nice looking and functional highchair, does it get any better? The plastic of this chair is not of the highest quality (gasp!), it does scratch and mark if you aren't careful. That said, our's lives on our back porch and we take it on camping trips, and it still looks pretty decent. 

The legs of this chair pop off easily for travel, but for everyday use, I do think the tray is a pain. It's simple enough to attach, but a minor struggle to get off. There is also no adaptability, and so little use for this chair beyond roughly the 2 year old age range. Regardless, it is impossible to find a modern highchair at a better price. We have one of these at my mom's as well, because why not?!

There is far more to say about each of these chairs, and several others that I considered  as well (Oxo - for me personally a 'meh', but I have a friend who loves it, Svan - which I convinced my cousin to get and think is beauty, and the clip on varieties that always make me wish our table didn't include glass). 

I suppose, if pressed, my vote today would be for the Tripp Trapp. It is durable, beautiful, expensive yet not obscene (there are often deals where you can get the babyset for free), and adaptable. I hope both of our children will use them for a good long while. Time will tell!

* you say 'high chair', I say 'highchair'... I am insisting it IS a word!


  1. This is adorable! Love the pictures. The highchair I used for my kids was so big and ugly. I would be much more careful now if I was buying kids' gear. ;)

  2. Great reviews, Lilly, and very helpful! I really love those first two pictures of all your Ruby's! She is triply sweet! :)

  3. Those pics are beyond cute and great reviews!