In our world, having our daughter's furniture made out of wood is ideal. It is also true that many people, including us, have to also think about cost and weigh multiple things when making a decision on what to buy. There are three things we have bought in the past year that I am going to talk about here. I think they are reasonably priced and also solid and strong. There are many beautiful handmade and locally sourced, completely non toxic products out there, and at the end of this post I will list some of them. These three items have fit very well in our home.
Little Colorado step stool, unfinished wood.
This little stool is very sweet and has been the right height for our daughter since she was about 1 1/2. She is a fairly tall for her age, and now at 2, it still works great. I love that she can move it around, that it is made in the USA, and is solid wood. It is comes all in one piece so there is no assembly. If I bought it again, I might buy one that is painted or finished, because I didn't put a finish on right away, it got fairly dirty. It gets used multiple times a day! At least I should have put my own finish on it sooner (tung oil). I think we bought it for $37 including shipping. Here's the companies website: www.littlecolorado.com
eHemco Table and Chairs.
We purchased a kid's table and chairs around the same time. I knew that I didn't want to get it from Ikea*, even though it was inexpensive, because (at least the one I looked at) the chairs did not look comfortable to sit on. eHemco has a table and two chairs made out of unfinished solid wood for $89.99 including shipping. It comes unassembled, which is the downside. Or not, if you like having a part in putting your furniture together. I can't remember how long it took me, maybe an hour? The chairs were difficult for me to assemble on their own, I think the screws were tricky to tighten, or something. I remember it being frustrating and then one of the chairs wobbled once assembled! eHemco was helpful when I contacted them about it, and send me a pre-assembled chair. Pretty awesome customer service. I finished it with tung oil and it makes it look really rich, darkens it a bit. I sometimes cover it with paper for some time, so my daughter can draw on it freely. It does have marks on the surface and sides though, of course, when my daughter drew really freely. I have seen some beautiful sets on etsy and other places, but we couldn't afford them. I think this is great for the price. It is very solid. We all sit around the table in the chairs sometimes and draw or eat and it feels completely sturdy. Their website is ehemco.com
*Oh, did you see that Ikea play kitchen in the background?! Ok, so I did a lot of research on play kitchens and I wanted to get many others. There's Camden Rose's Palumba hardwood play kitchen that is a dream for $350, Elves and Angels sweet options that range from $185-$400 and they need to be assembled, Heartwood Natural Toys in Oregon makes a nice one that's a little larger for $350 fully assembled, and Willow Toys in NH has a very decently priced and sweet one for $188 plus shipping, it comes fully assembled. In the end, the $99 price tag and the simplicity and cuteness of the Ikea Duktig kitchen won. We were able to get it in the store by our daughter's 2nd birthday and it took about an hour for me to put the whole thing together myself (I have previous Ikea furniture assembly experience). I don't like that it has a 'microwave' but our daughter loves the higher shelf to open and close, and we call it an oven. I also don't love that it is not entirely made out of wood (but it is mainly), but my daughter is not putting her face on it regularly, and it doesn't smell at all like off gassing, it overall smelled like wood to me. I also don't love that it is mass produced, but I let that go and made the best decision for us. Their website is: www.ikea.com