The development and properties of reflective coatings for the x-ray offset mirror systems of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) free-electron laser (FEL) are discussed in this manuscript. The uniquely high instantaneous dose of the LCLS FEL beam translates to strict limits in terms of materials choice, thus leading to an x-ray mirror design consisting of a reflective coating deposited on a silicon substrate. Coherent wavefront preservation requirements for these mirrors result in stringent surface figure and finish specifications. DC-magnetron sputtered B4C and SiC thin film coatings with optimized stress, roughness and figure properties for the LCLS x-ray mirrors are presented. The evolution of microstructure, morphology, and stress of these thin films versus deposition conditions is discussed. Experimental results on the performance of these coatings with respect to FEL damage are also presented.© (2009) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.