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8 best kids’ tables and chairs that will encourage learning and creativity

From chalkboard tabletops to animal theme designs, these charming sets bring plenty to the table

Zoe Phillimore
Friday 28 May 2021 14:01
<p>Make sure your chosen set is the right size – little ones should be able to sit with their feet firmly on the ground</p>

Make sure your chosen set is the right size – little ones should be able to sit with their feet firmly on the ground

Kids’ imaginative play is a delight to watch. A simple chair and table can become all kinds of hiding places, homes or, more traditionally, a place to get creative or eat.

And gone are the days of bright plastic furniture – thankfully, furniture designers have turned their skills to kids chairs and tables, with many on the market now looking gorgeous.

Not only do they look great, many children’s tables have clever extra elements such as chalkboard tops, storage and customisable finishes.

However, not all tables and chairs are made equal, so when selecting yours be sure to compare the size against your child. We found the sizes vary enormously from one set to another and, ideally, your child wants to be able to sit with their feet planted firmly on the ground.

A backrest on the chair helps make things more comfortable if they’re going to be sat for any length of time and the shape of the table needs to fit into the space you have – round tables look fantastic, but fit into corners less well.

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Along with our mini testers, we spent hours testing these chairs and tables. We used them for eating, crafting and playing. We looked at how our children naturally interacted with the furniture and also any innovations that made the table really stand out. And of course, we looked at how easy the sets were to put together and how durable they were.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best kids’ tables and chairs for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Dandelion toddler table (£88) and animal chairs (£50)
  • Best for style – OYOY Living Design rattan table (£105.03) and chair (£105)
  • Best for durability – Nofred Mouse chair (£129) and table (£129)
  • Best multifunctional set – Magis me too little flare table (£310.80) and little big chair (£190)
  • Best chalkboard table – Plan Toys table and chair (£139.95)
  • Best affordable set – Liberty House toys cat and dog table and chairs set (£48.16)
  • Best for older children – Flexa Dots table (£109) and stools (£59)
  • Best for younger children – Little Helper wooden funstation duo kids table and chairs set (£89.99)

Dandelion toddler table and animal chairs: From £50,

Best: Overall

You’d be hard pushed to find a cuter table and chairs than this. Testers young and old fell in love with the adorable fox and deer chairs, which have a nice high back, so provide excellent support for little ones and feel really durable. Both the table and chairs are made from MDF with solid birchwood legs and, vitally, they’re all easy to wipe clean. The table has a hidden compartment in the middle for tucking away craft supplies. The basket of this compartment is made from fabric, so even with legs tucked under the table there won’t be any banged knees. Both the chairs and tables were a breeze to assemble – it took one person about 20 minutes. The table is a wide diameter compared to other round tables we tried – but this size table means it will see your child right through their early years.

Buy table now £88,

Buy fox chair now £50,

Buy deer chair now £50,

OYOY Living Design rattan table and chair: From £105, and

Best: For style

A seriously Instagrammable option, this table and chair won’t detract from your interior design if you have trendy tastes. The table is a rectangle, meaning it doesn’t jut out into the room too much if you have it against a wall, and gives ample elbow room for little people engrossed in play, craft or eating. The chair has a cute yet subtle rainbow design integrated into the back, and has a nice wide seat that our four-year-old tester seemed very comfortable on. It was quite a lightweight option, so perhaps worthy of more gentle souls who know to treat a good bit of furniture kindly.

Buy table now £105.03,

Buy chair now £105,

Nofred mouse chair and table: From £129,

Best: For durability

Too cute for words, this mouse chair and table is the perfect balance of style and function. The chair has a really wide oval seat, which our three testers absolutely loved (and fought over), and happily sat on for ages. The table is also oval, and has clearly been thoughtfully designed to look good in your home. Indeed, the table could make a perfect side table or small coffee table when your children have outgrown it, as it’s incredibly well made and built to last. We were also impressed with the rubber feet on the table – it saved our ears and wooden floors from hours of scraping. It’s probably better for younger children, as we found our tall four-year-old tester was slightly cramped on it.

Buy table now £129,

Buy chair now £129,

Magis me too little flare table and little big chair: From £190, and

Best: Multifunctional set

Our children absolutely loved this innovative table, which is designed to encourage creative play. The legs are hollow and transparent, with holes in the top so you can slide drawings into the leg to decorate them, or just fill the legs with different objects like our kids did. If you want to cover over the legs, the table comes with four orange cups that sit inside the legs and act as containers for pens, pencils or whatever you want. The circular design on the top encouraged conversations about numbers and allowed our children to invent games. The little big chair is sold separately, but works really well with this table – it’s an adjustable height, so it can grow with your child, and it has a nice supportive back. This table is large – you can easily fit four school-aged children around it – and while the price is high, this is really well made, and was the most exciting table we tried according to our mini testers.

Buy table now £310.80,

Buy chair now £190,

Plan Toys table and chair: £139.95,

Best: Chalkboard table

A beautifully designed piece of furniture, the gorgeous curving contours and solid feeling on this set made us wish they made this in adult sizes. The top is chalkboard, which our mini testers loved for scrawling chalk drawings on, and there is a shelf under the top for storing art supplies or whatever else your kids want to jam in there. The chair is shaped to fit a child comfortably, with a nice high back that curves around. The tabletop is made from planwood, an eco-friendly product made from recycled rubberwood sawdust, and the rest of the table and chair is made from rubberwood. It feels very durable, and was incredibly easy to put together – it took one person five minutes to unbox and assemble. We thought this was really fair value for both the table and chair, as it’s really well made and includes both table and chair in the price.

Buy now £139.95,

Liberty House toys cat and dog table and chairs set: £48.16,

Best: Affordable set

This friendly little table and chairs brought a smile to our children’s faces. The whole set has a gentle sheen to it, meaning it’s easy to wipe clean. We found it really easy to put together – it took one person about 10 minutes from start to finish – and once it’s together it’s really sturdy. The height on this set is on the taller side, so maybe better for two years and up, although our 18-month-old testers took a shine to the cute animal faces on the chairs. We thought this was brilliant value, as you get two chairs and a table in the set, which is sold together.

Buy now £48.16,

Flexa Dots table and stools: From £59, and

Best: For older children

Probably the most solid (and heavy) table and chairs set we tried, these products definitely felt sturdy. The tops of the stools and chairs, and around the bottom of the legs, come in a matt dusky pink – however, it is quite a muddy pink, so be warned it might not fit the bill if you’re after candy colours. Somehow our testers managed to scratch the paint with little trouble, so this is certainly a set for children who aren’t going to drag their furniture around too much. However, we did appreciate the felt stoppers on the ends of the legs, which stopped the horrendous scraping sound and saved our wooden floors. The height of this set is higher than most – perfect for our four-year-old tester. We liked this for a small space, as the stools tucked completely underneath the table.

Buy table now £109,

Buy stool now £59,

Little Helper wooden funstation duo kids table and chairs set: £89.99,

Best: For younger children

This little chair and table set gave us nostalgic vibes of our days at school, with its natural maple wood finish and more institutional feel. There’s a little plastic pot that slots into the table top, which our kids loved filling with all manner of toys, but it would also work for its presumably intended purpose of pens and pencils. This set is on the smaller side, and was perfect for our 18-month-old testers. As soon as they saw it, they immediately sat down and started drawing calmly – a real rarity for them. We found it easy to wipe clean, but it was probably the most difficult of all the chairs and tables to put together (that being said, it’s still relatively straight forward). The set is quite boxy, but for that it feels solid and durable, is pleasingly compact and a great option if space is at a premium.

Buy now £89.99,

The verdict: Kids’ tables and chairs

The GLTC dandelion table and fox and deer chairs rated very highly for cuteness, durability and design. If you have the budget and space, the Magis table and chair was the stand out winner for encouraging creativity and imaginative play with our mini testers.

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For more thoughtful designs, check out our best kids’ wooden and plastic-free toys, from toolboxes to toy cameras

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.