Being a twin mom, I need twice the gear and as my boys approached the six-month mark, it was time to source a pair of highchairs. Truth be told, I’ve actually never owned a highchair. I sat Hank in a Bumbo on the countertop and fed him that way for an embarrassingly long time. By the time I ordered him a Tripp Trapp stool he was 21 months old.
I knew my choice of highchair would come down to the thrifty Ikea Antilop and a spendy Stokke Tripp Trapp with a baby harness attachment. (See photo below.)
There are many reasons to love the Tripp Trapp. First for its minimalist European design and that it can tuck right up to a tabletop. What’s more, it’s a real stool so it can be used by kids, preteens—and according to the product guide—242-lb adults, too. The only downside is the price tag: a whopping $314 for the base model, delivered to my doorstep. However, the Tripp Trapp holds its value well and per my research, is a coveted resale item on Facebook Marketplace.
Since I needed two highchairs, the prospective of spending $630 plus the accessory kit (2 x $99) was a tough pill to swallow. That said, I wasn’t exactly excited by the Ikea Antilop. I had recently read the article Stokke or Ikea: What’s the best high chair? where Renae D’Andrea, a family-focused dietitian and the founder of New Ways Nutrition writes, “Dangling feet can be very distracting, as can overall improper posture.” She points out that the Antilop is absent a footrest.
I decided to wait a few days before making a purchase decision.
During that pause I was scrolling Instagram between bottles and naps when a photo of a babe in an Antilop highchair complete with a wood footrest caught my eye. Naturally, this led me down a rabbit hole where I learned of handmade after-market Ikea accessories and hacks. Searching the hashtag #antilophack, I even discovered Antilops with wooden legs. Oh great, I thought. Now I “need” a footrest and wood legs. Looking a little closer, I laughed aloud: they weren’t custom maple highchair legs; people were wrapping the steel legs with wood-patterned adhesive vinyl. In other words, giant stickers.
Two weeks and $160 later, the boys were dining in their faux-designer highchairs.
Here’s how to transform your Ikea Antilop into a pleasing, Scandi-inspired seat that’s ergonomic for baby.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
The chair retails for $14.99 at Ikea. The tray is optional but when purchased together, rounds the price out to $19.99.
Note: If you intend to tuck baby right up to a dining room table you won’t need the tray. However, it’s prudent to measure the height of your table or counter to ensure it will fit flush with the top of the chair. I’ll also mention, while the Antilop is easy to set up, I don’t find the tray easy to remove.
If you’ve got the time and interest, there are plenty of Ikea Antilops to be sourced for less than the retail price (or even free) on Facebook Marketplace. Generally, they’re pretty sturdy and well constructed, so buying one second hand is a great way to upcycle a pre-loved chair.
Again, I turned to Facebook Marketplace and found a home-based carpenter who makes Antilop footrests. Using the search term “Antilop footrest” or “Ikea footrest” brings up more than a few makers in the Tri-Cities area of Metro Vancouver. Folks are making them with various finishes: maple, walnut, cherry, white oak, etc.
I was really impressed with the quality of the footrest I purchased from Riley Janzen Designs. It’s ultra smooth to the touch, features a food grade finish and easily fastens into place with black O-rings. Simply roll them up the leg of the chair, set the piece of wood across the top of two and push one down on top to secure.
Wrapping the steel legs with maple patterned adhesive vinyl is the most challenging part of the hack but has the greatest visual impact. It does take some patience and it likely won’t be perfect.
How to wrap Antilop chairs with vinyl adhesive: I cut a long narrow strip just wide enough to wrap around the width of the leg. Place the leg in the centre of the strip. Then, slowly press the vinyl flush to the steel in short, fluid motions. It took a few attempts before I got the hang of it and still yet, I had some air bubbles which needed flattening.
Pro tip: For a more precise fit, slightly taper the strip, rather than cutting a perfect rectangle. (Full disclosure: I did not have the patience to do this so my Antilops have imperfect applications, but you wouldn’t notice unless you were scrutinizing my craftsmanship.)
Silicone place mats
While perusing Facebook Marketplace, I noticed a few people selling silicone place mats customized to fit the Antilop’s tray. As I mentioned above, I don’t find the tray to be easily detachable for cleaning so I ordered two in mint green.
While I love the look of the mat and how it transforms the “tablescape,” the material is not as substantial as I would prefer—half of the time the babies end up pulling the mat or chewing on it. I’m hoping they take less interest in it in the future (when they’re not teething?) or I may think up some way to fasten them to the tray.
Maybe it’s a twin mom thing but I thought it’d be fun to identify whose chair is whose. I used some simple letter stickers from Walmart, but I’ll likely make a custom order from Etsy at some point. When you search “name decal,” the crafty digital marketplace is populated with wedding-style name stickers in a cursive font (imagine if you were to apply a guest’s name to glassware) which are better suited to an environment that’s always being wiped down.
Pillows & Covers
I didn’t order custom textiles for our Antilops because I don’t need one more thing to wash every time the babies eat (I’m already doing double duty, after all) but there are some pretty adorable highchair pillows on Etsy.
ANTILOP FOOTREST USER TIP
Before removing baby from the chair, check to ensure their foot/feet haven’t slipped behind the footrest. Otherwise, you might end up wrestling baby from the chair with their poor little chubby feet stuck behind the footrest—ouch!
Have you hacked an Antilop? Got a question? Drop a comment below.