We describe measurements of the X-ray reflectance in the range 2-10 keV of samples representative of coated silicon wafers that are proposed for the fabrication of the X-ray evolving universe spectrometer (XEUS) mission. We compare the reflectance of silicon samples coated with bare Pt, with that for samples with an additional 10 nm thick carbon over-coating. We demonstrate a significant improvement in reflectance in the energy range similar to 1-4 keV, and at a grazing incidence angle of 10 mrad (0.57 degrees). We consider the resulting effective area that could be attained with an optimized design of the XEUS telescope. Typically an improvement of 10-60% in effective area, depending on photon energy, can be achieved using the carbon overcoat.