I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist. However, when I was attempting to furnish our house with all necessary kid-gear before the little man was born, I decided, at some point along the way, that SOMEONE (maybe our government? maybe the French government?) must be conspiring to Keep America Fugly. The super-secret Keep America Fugly campaign was the only possible explanation I could come up with as to WHY WHY WHY all of our easily accessible baby items were covered in patterns with names like "Jungle Jubilee" or "Sleepy Safari". Even the plaids were insipid. In order to come up with acceptable baby gear items, one had to launch a massive research project worthy of a doctoral thesis, and then, be willing to shell out majorly BIG BUCKS in order to get a pack-in-play not covered in smiling animals.
For me, the highchairs were the worst. Not only were they, IMHO, the pinnacle of the Keep America Fugly campaign, but unlike other baby items, they weren't hidden away in the nursery somewhere. They were out, in plain sight. Shudder.
So two years later, the landscape has changed somewhat. The Keep America Fugly campaign is still out there, but losing steam. The good news is that there are now a plethora of super-cool looking baby gear items (especially highchairs), but the bad news is that most are still pretty pricey. If you are concerned with good design, a highchair isn't a bad place to put your money, considering that it is arguably the most visible baby gear item.
NOTE: If you are tight on space, check out our post on the Best Modern Highchair for Apartment Living.
Now, here are my picks for the coolest modern highchairs:
First is Fleurville's Calla Chair, which retails at MyUrbanChild.com for $575. No offensive to Fleurville, but these guys are out of their minds. Don't get me wrong – this chair is positively drool-worthy. However, it takes up a decent amount of floor space, there's no mention of how long kids can reasonably use it, and the price of $575 is hardly justified by the claim that it's "easy to clean!"
However, if you are a total design freak, must have something that fits right into your sleek mid-century modern, like to make all of your friends jealous, and think nothing of dropping $575 on a highchair, than this is your chair. Own it, rock it.
Mod, Multi-Stage Highchairs
Next is Bloom's Baby Fresco Classic Highchair in Bermuda Blue, which retails at nurseryinstyle.com for $400 (which includes free shipping). While the price is still high, the Bloom Fresco is a multi-stage highchair. From newborn to 6 months, the chair reclines into a resting position (which might be helpful if you are trying to cook). From 6 months on, this chair can be used with the tray, or pulled right up to the table. It can also serve as a booster seat for your toddler or young child (the chair will support weight up to 79 lbs).
The design is fantastic, it comes in virtually any color you could possibly hope for (turquoise is my favorite) and it will certainly grow with your child.
This is the Boon Flair Standard Pedestal Highchair in pink, currently on sale at boonhighchair.com for $229.99 (usually retails for $299). The sale price includes free shipping. This is yet another option if you are looking for something mod. In addition to pink, this chair comes in white and a fantastically bright orange.
Both this chair and Bloom's Baby Fresco are insanely comfortable. Great cushion, no risk of the kiddo climbing out. However, a few of my friends have complained about a slightly shaky base on the Boon Flair. I don't believe it's shaky enough to be at risk to the child, it's just an annoyance when moving the chair up and down. The fact that it's on sale makes me wonder if the manufacturer is coming out with a newer model. In any case, this is another example of a super-cool highchair that will work for your kid up to age 4 (it's designed to fit nicely under a table). This highchair is also made of "good" plastic – no pthalates, BPA or PVC. Nice.
This is Phil&Ted's new highchair, the HighPod Highchair. This chair isn't actually available yet, but will retail this fall for $300.
This highchair will support the baby stage up to 3 years old. This chair can be used standalone, or with the tray removed, brought right up to the table.
Like most Phil&Ted's gear, the design strikes me as cool, but a touch masculine. It's not my personal favorite design, but I suspect it would be my husband's.
In addition to the black color, the seat cushion also comes in red.
Mod Wood Highchairs
This pic illustrates just how well the Stokke Tripp Trapp works as a multi-stage high chair. In addition to the fun colors, the Tripp Trapp also comes in various wood shades, so if matching your existing dining room is important, this might be a good option.
It's sleek, it's cool, and it retails for $249 at babybungalow.com, which includes both free shipping, a free baby harness and free cushion. They also have other "packages" available – free tray, no cushion, etc.
The Svan Highchair (pictured above) is virtually identical to the Stokke, pictured above. The Svan also comes in various wood shades to match your dining room, it also adjusts to support babies through adults (yes – up to 250 lbs), and has a small footprint that can be pulled right up to the table.
The Svan retails at highchairs.com for $259.99. This price includes free shipping.
This highchair received mixed reviews on highchairs.com. After reading the reviews, it looks like you'll want to hang on to the tools that the highchair comes with, in order to adjust it later.
Lastly, the HiLO High Chair by Age Design retails for $299 at babyearth.com (and includes free shipping). It basically swings around to adjust to either a highchair (pictured in red) or a toddler chair (pictured in portobello). The tray is removable, and the seat is one molded piece, making it easy to clean. It's funky, it's different, it gets extra points for creativity…I think I like it. I can't stop staring – it makes me want to swing it around a couple of times.