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Category:  Decorating
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Handling Furniture Imperfections

By Pamela Cole Harris

Any of us that have children or who live with those who received an extra helping of the awkward gene, know what it is to discover furniture nicks, dings and other marks on a daily basis. Since banning the offenders from the room is impractical (and besides, you love the offenders more than the furniture anyway, don't you?), you need a few tips to help you deal with those little imperfections. No! I'm not talking about the kids, because you know down deep - wayyyyy down deep - they are perfect! I'm talking about the furniture!

1. Disguise scratches in your wood furniture with shoe polish, crayon or felt tip markers. A tan crayon or marker is perfect for light woods, while a red-brown is great for cherry. You may have to experiment a bit to find a perfect match, but the right color will make that scratch disappear! (But if your table is so scratched that you are considering setting the kids down with a big box of crayons and telling them to color all the pretty white patterns, you might consider getting a new one!)

2. If your kids have chewed up all the crayons, you might consider using a tea bag or rubbing a piece of walnut or pecan on the marred surface.

3. If your darling child has left his/her glass of kool-aid on the table (even though you have TOLD them 1,000 times to never do that!), you can make a paste of salt and mineral oil to take out the white rings or water marks. Be sure to rub in the direction of the grain and dry immediately! Then apply your favorite polish.

4. For cigarette burns (this had BETTER NOT be from the children!), rub the offending spot with a paste made from fireplace ash and lemon juice! (I had a low-fat salad dressing one time that tasted just like this!)

And if all this fails, consider telling everyone that the piece just has "character!" Collectors pay thousands of dollars for old furniture with lots of imperfections - in fact, the more the better! Just think of your home as a Furniture Distressing Factory!

Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and decorator for thirty-five years (YIKES! Has it been that long?). She is the author of "Home and Garden Design Tips", a free weekly syndicated home and garden content service for your website. Get the code at And while you are there, sign up for her monthly newsletter! And visit her other sites at and .


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Related Links | Decorating Basics | AccessoriesBudget and Small SpacesFurniture |
| Room by Room | Seasonal | Decorating Styles | Walls | Windows |

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