If you have kids then you know finding a durable and “ouch-proof” coffee table can be a challenge. We have tried many styles over the years and I’ve also observed designer friends with children over the years as well. With all that experience, I’ve learned the best kid-friendly coffee tables AND simple ways to style them.
1. Rectangular Wood
A durable option for a kid-friendly coffee table will always be something made with wood, and I especially love our Modern Farmhouse Herringbone Coffee table. Because I built it and finished it, I know what to use if touch-ups are necessary, and if something devastating happened to it, I know it can be re-built easily and inexpensively. But we have had this coffee table for 4 years now and I’ve only needed to touch up the legs with paint a couple times.
Because this coffee table is long and skinnier, I like to either have a tray (with books and beads) and a vase, or a group of 3 objects. Below you can see I used a planter/vase, stacked books, and a small bowl. All of these items are pretty indestructible if small children come around playing with stuff (or they are too heavy to move).
My friend, Carli, made this beautiful rustic coffee table (go to her site for the DIY) and styled it similarly: stacked books, a vase, and a small decorative object.
Eureka from My Cozy Corner, used a larger wood coffee table, which by itself is pretty indestructible. The corners are sharp though, so if you have toddlers, maybe pass on this design. The finish is varied so it hides marks well, and because of the large size, she was able to put a several stacks of books, a vase with greenery, and a low bowl. Still– most of these items are not breakable, and this type of wood coffee table will stand the test of time.
2. Round Wood
A round wood coffee table is a great option for all age children, because there are no sharp corners! Round coffee tables can be trickier to style, so I suggest keeping it simple. In my front room, I used a low woven bowl or basket and place a few decor items inside.
My friend Alma styled hers using 4 groupings: a glass vase with a candle inside, a stack of books with a decorative object on top, a low bowl with an air plant in it, and a candle. By using 4 groupings on a round table, the objects feel more balanced because of the placement. Notice the visually lighter objects are opposite each other as well as the visually heavy objects.
Julia from Chris Loves Julia Blog, used this solid round wood coffee table in her basement. This is a popular design for children because it is sturdy, fits in tighter spaces (perfect for a sectional sofa), and has plenty of top surface area for a grouping of 3. She uses a low planter with greenery, a stack of books, and a sculptural decor object.
3. Leather Ottoman or Bench
We just recently were gifted a leather ottoman from Article for our basement living area and I am in love with it. It is an oversized ottoman with a very firm filling so while the leather will soften and show signs of wear over time, the shape will remain. I was surprised to learn how easy it is to clean as well! A common concern when using any sort of fabric on a coffee table is cleaning spills. However, I was able to clean some food spill marks with just a damp rag and it left no water marks!
Because this ottoman serves triple duty as a seat, foot rest, and a coffee table, I wanted to style everything on a tray that is easily moved. I chose a larger round tray with a smooth bottom (steer clear of woven trays as they can scratch leather).
Even though I am using a tray, I kept my objects in groups of 3: a stack of books with decorative beads, a small planter (with a faux plant because it’s our basement), and a candle. I still have a bit of room to hold a drink if needed.
Leather ottomans don’t have to be oversized to work great as a coffee table. Below is an example of a leather tufted bench that is perfect for smaller spaces but still allows adequate space for a low planter and a tray or basket which are both easily moved if you want to prop up your feet. I love the dark color which hides marks or dirt easily and the metal legs which give a visually lighter feel to the space.
4. Hammered Metal
If you have an eclectic, bohemian, or even contemporary style in your home, a hammered metal coffee table is a fantastic choice for a kid-friendly coffee table! It is very durable but not too heavy to move around. They are easily cleaned and with no sharp edges, they are a great option for children of any age.
I like how this designer used 2 round metal coffee tables side-by-side in a larger room to serve the purpose of 1 big coffee table. The shiny brass finish adds texture and the unexpected shape gives this room a ‘collected’ feel. The styling objects of a taller faux plant and book are kid-friendly and can’t really be damaged if they are messed with, and I love that she only styled one table leaving the other free to use as a drawing or playing surface, or place a tray with drinks and snacks.
Here is another example of using 2 coffee tables, but this time the tables are two different sizes and heights. The same finish and grouping keeps it feeling a cohesive and the styling is very simple and effective: a single planter.
Gold Hammered Metal Coffee Table
Silver Hammered Metal Coffee Table
5. Woven – Round or Rectangular
Another great material for kid-friendly coffee tables is anything in the natural woven variety. They are soft and forgiving for a toddler who might bump around them, but can be smooth enough to place a cup, or at very least a tray or books to give a smooth flat surface for a cup. The texture and warmth that a woven coffee table adds to the room is a huge bonus.
Woven Coffee Table, Round Woven Coffee Table
Many times, these woven coffee tables have lids with storage inside so you can store toys! This is a great feature and if you use a woven ottoman, it can be a seating option in a pinch as well. My friend, Fariha, used this woven ottoman in a playroom which is a great play surface since it is lower, can be used to prop your feet upon, and it also can be styled as a coffee table with books and a small vase.
Lauren from Blesser House Blog also used a woven coffee table trunk in her living room. She has 2 young children and chose this material specifically because it is softer when bumped into, it stores toys and books, and she styled it with objects that can get played with and not ruined.
Natural Woven Basket Coffee Table
6. Clear Acrylic
I love the how kid-friendly a clear acrylic waterfall coffee table is but also that it is a stylish and unexpected choice. Clear acrylic definitely has a vintage modern feel and is highly functional while being virtually non-existent for visual weight. Jessica from Domicile37 has this clear acrylic coffee table in her kid’s play room. I love how she kept the styling simple with a single tray and a group of three items: faux plant, a small bowl, and a cup.
Cassie has 3 kids including a toddler and her clear acrylic coffee table has served her well. She slid a leather pouf under it which adds a little more visual weight, but reasonable for the size of the room. Plus for a family room, its nice to have fun seating that can be tucked away. The styling is simple and again uses unbreakable objects.
Clear Acrylic Waterfall Coffee Table
Below, Angela also tucked a couple of leather poufs and they blend in with the bold pattern rug. This room is full of style and vintage touches, but is also very kid-friendly!
7. Rattan – Round or Rectangular
Giving another nod to vintage style with a bit of a coastal vibe, is rattan coffee tables. Whether you have a round or rectangular rattan coffee table, this is a great material that is kid-friendly. It is similar to a woven coffee table, but less visually heavy without sacrificing sturdiness.
Brooke kept her kid-friendly styling groupings to two– one plant and one large vase of candles on top of a book. This coffee table styling is a more practical option since it allows more space to play or draw or look at books. I love how the corners are all rounded, which makes it a great option for a toddler!
Rectangular Rattan Coffee Table
8. A Pair of Upholstered Cubes
A pair of upholstered cubes is a versatile kid-friendly option to serve as a coffee table. When pushed together you can place a tray across them to hold books or a vase. What I like the most is how easy they are to move around for additional seating, to prop your feet up, or for fort-making! 😉
If you select a lighter-colored fabric for the ottomans, make sure to treat the fabric with a protectant so it will clean up easily.
Stripe Upholstered Ottoman Cube
When breaking up a larger room into several smaller seating areas, a pair of upholstered cubes is the perfect solution to a space-conscious coffee table that is kid friendly. The edges are soft and forgiving, and with a sturdy and firm fill-material, you will have so much versatility that will last for years if taken care of.
One thing to keep in mind if using a woven seagrass tray, is to make sure it has a very smooth underside so it doesn’t catch a thread on the upholstery material.
9. Round or Square Upholstered
The last option that I love is similar to the round leather ottoman I mentioned earlier, but uses just regular fabric. Like anything upholstered, the fabric is soft and ouch-proof when you bump into it. A darker material is easier to hide dirt, and this option is– again– versatile! Use it as additional seating and a comfortable place to prop your feet.
A tray is a must-have when styling almost any kid-friendly coffee table but especially an upholstered coffee table. It gives you a smooth flat surface to hold a vase, a cup, and other objects, but it also make it easy to remove if you need to clear the surface.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned some fantastic options for a kid-friendly coffee table and how to style them. Let me know if you have any questions!
Mary Evans says
Excellent ideas for coffee tables especially if you have children. I did not know there were so many options. THANKs for a most informative and pretty post today.
Suz W says
All so pretty, Rachel!!! We love our industrial-style table with wheels in the living room so we can move it around for dance parties and such!
That is such a great idea! Thanks for chiming in Susan!
Love your design and you are very talented ! I enjoy seeing your web and inspired me ! Thank you !!
Hi Rachel – I’m very inspired by your decor ideas! Where is the ceramic tray from in your basement/leather ottoman option? Or a similar product?
It is a Capiz shell inlay tray I found at HomeGoods. Similar ones I’ve found online are pretty expensive so I would check out At Home Stores and HomeGoods/TJ Maxx.
Hi. Thank you for all these tips and getting me to think about coffee tables from a different perspective. Where are the round baskets from that are under your rectangle table? I love the idea for added storage.
I got them at target a few years ago. I’ve seen very similar ones at World Market!