Setting the Kids’ Table

Steal these tips and ideas for a family-friendly gathering


When Nicole Richie throws a holiday soiree, wee guests get just as much consideration as the grown-up attendees. Take, for instance, her kids’ table: Set with thoughtful accents that are cute and functional, it’s interactive play center that’ll keep tots amused long after their plates have been cleared.

“Nicole wanted to echo the style of the adult table in a kid-friendly way,” explains Joss & Main’s Christiane Lemieux, who helped the House of Harlow 1960 creative director style the children’s area. “She loves to include kids in the overall festivities, and felt the kids’ table should have the same level of sophistication as the rest of the party, just in a kid version.”

Inspired? Here’s a look at the details that make Nicole’s kid-pleasing setup shine.

A craft paper “tablecloth”

Nicole topped a simple kids’ play table with plain brown craft paper and wrote the evening’s menu right on top. Not only does the paper help keep sticky messes at bay, it gives the young diners license to doodle and play tic-tac-toe during dinner.

Pencils, markers, and crayons

Grouping writing instruments in mixed containers blends function and form–and makes a far more interesting centerpiece for kids than a bunch of flowers.

Fabric markers and white napkins

Tell kids they’re allowed to draw on their table linens, and they’ll be so excited they’ll forget all about starting a food fight.

A handful of creativity-inspiring toys

Sheets of stickers and small animal figurines give kids something to fiddle with and trade before and after dinner.

A paper garland around the table

A decorative flourish in kid-friendly materials helps to incorporate the children’s table into the evening’s festive decor–even if it doesn’t last until dessert.