I Tried the IKEA ANTILOP High Chair Hack, and Now It’s So Much More Stylish and Functional

published Feb 17, 2023
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Ikea antilop high chair
Credit: Ikea

When I was looking for a new high chair, I did the first thing I always do: Ask my mom friends for their recommendation. The consensus among the group was that the IKEA ANTILOP high chair is sturdy, easy to construct, and cheap ($29.99). The ANTILOP also has the benefit of being the preferred high chair at most of the cafes I frequent with my daughter (and my mom friends), so she’d be familiar with it.

There was just one problem I couldn’t escape: The ANTILOP is ugly. 

Some might say that shouldn’t matter, but because this piece of furniture will be a focal point in my kitchen for at least the next two years (longer if my daughter gets a sibling), I want it to look nice. 

So I turned to Etsy to help me make my IKEA high chair stylish. Did you know you can buy and DIY accessories to upgrade the ANTILOP? You can! And it makes a huge difference. Here’s what I did.

Credit: Zoe Pickburn

How I Hacked the IKEA ANITLOP High Chair

1. The Legs

The first thing I did was find a way to cover the high chair’s metal legs. I bought a kit like this one from a local Etsy seller. I received four contact paper rectangles, one for each leg, cut exactly to size, which made it easy to apply. If you’re doing this, it’s best to apply the contact paper before you put the legs on your high chair, and make sure you start with clean, dry legs. (This is especially important if you’re upgrading your ANTILOP after it’s already been in use.) 

Here’s what to do: Starting at the bottom of the legs (the end with a rubber foot), carefully apply the center of the short end of the contact paper. Roll up, unpeeling the backing as you go. Once the contact paper is stuck straight vertically up the leg, carefully start to press it down around the leg with your thumbs, avoiding air bubbles. Repeat with all four high-chair legs before reattaching.

For an even more DIY approach, buy wood-look contact paper. Cut four rectangles approximately 3.5 x 24 inches, and follow the above instructions to cover the legs.

Credit: Zoe Pickburn

2. The Foot Rest

The only thing missing from the original ANTILOP from a functional point of view is a foot rest. Even if you don’t mind how it looks, getting a foot rest is a good idea, as foot rests help your baby sit in the optimal position for chewing and swallowing, according to SolidStarts.

I bought a wooden foot rest like this one from a local Etsy seller. It is supported in place by two o-rings, which make it sturdy enough to support my daughter’s weight.

If you’re a keen woodworker, you can purchase a template on Etsy to make your own foot rest.

Credit: Zoe Pickburn

3. The Tray

I know from experience that, despite being wipeable, these white plastic trays will eventually succumb to the orangey red stains of tomato sauce and puréed sweet potato that come for any white baby items. It’s simply inevitable. So, like the footrest, a silicone tray cover is as much a practicality as it is an aesthetic choice, which is why I bought a silicone tray cover like this from a local Etsy seller.

Alternatively, you can buy the high chair without the tray and just pull it right up to your dining table. This works for some families (and is the most common configuration when the ANTILOP is used in cafes and restaurants), but I also use the high chair as an activity table while I’m cooking or doing dishes, and the only way for it to pull up to our table would be for my daughter to face away from me, which isn’t practical for us. 

4. The Cushion

The inflatable cushion for ANTILOP is a great addition to the chair — particularly if you’re using it for a small 6-month-old who might otherwise slide around in the seat.

IKEA sells two cover options, but if neither yellow & grey nor blue & red tickle your fancy, there is a world of (wipeable!) designs to pick from on Etsy. I chose a sage green and white one like this. This suits my kitchen decor, but obviously, you should choose colors that speak to your own tastes. You could even get a range to swap and change with the seasons!

If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can choose your own fabric, buy a pattern, and run a cover up for yourself. Maybe you could match it to other fabrics in your kitchen, like curtains or seat cushions.

I recommend buying or making two cushion covers if you have the budget. They may be wipeable, but you will want to run them through the laundry every now and again, too.

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