When your furniture becomes damaged, the temptation is to either try to fix it yourself, or to throw your hands up in despair and assume the piece is beyond repair. Sometimes those responses can be correct, but it’s critical to know when you can fix it yourself, and when it’s just too far gone for home remedies. Home furniture repair can be effective if the damage is slight, but if you attempt to make a big fix at home, you can ruin a valuable piece.  Here are some tips to help you determine which furniture disasters are DIY fixes, and which need professional help.

This furniture might be too old for a DIY fix
This furniture might be too old for a DIY fix

When DIY Furniture Repair Makes Sense

You might attempt to repair an inexpensive piece at home, rather than throw it out, because it has some sentimental value. Fixing your grandmother’s kitchen table, or the headboard of your child’s bed, might fall into this category.  At-home repair of more expensive furniture can also be successful, if the damage is slight and of the kind that can be easily fixed. Think, a couch with slight scratches, or a wooden table with white water rings. If the damage is beyond these simple fixes, however, it’s best to take an expensive piece to a furniture repair shop like Dr. Sofa, the furniture surgeon. A good rule of thumb: if the repair requires tools such as a hammer or stapler, it’s better to leave it to the pros.

Easy Furniture Fixes

Say, for example, that you recently moved, and your well-meaning but untrained friends left minor scratches on your leather sofa. You can dab olive or orange oil onto a cotton ball and lightly rub it into the scratched area (though you should always test on an inconspicuous area of the sofa first, and read this primer on sofa care when moving, for next time.)

By the same token, say that your dog suffered an episode of separation anxiety and chewed minor scratches into the leg of your wooden table. If the damage is minor, there are several quick hacks to hide it: you can buy a special furniture touch-up pencil from the home improvement store, but even a regular child’s crayon in a matching color will do the trick for minor scratches. You can even take a nutmeat (such as a walnut, pecan or Brazil nut) and rub it into the scratch to blend it in.

But say that you threw a dinner party, and one of your guests put his drink on your wooden table, creating a white ring. If you get to the ring fairly quickly, you may be able to rub it out with a rag and a little dab of mayonnaise. Put a little dollop of mayo on the rag and rub it lightly into the ring. With persistence, it should come out. There are lots of articles on DIY furniture tips, so be sure to do plenty of research before taking a stab at it yourself.

Of course, if your furniture is damaged beyond these simple fixes, it’s best to take it to a professional furniture repair shop, like Dr. Sofa.

Preventative Furniture Care

You can prevent the need for these interventions with a few simple protective measures. You can keep upholstery from drying or fading by placing it well away from windows, skylights and sources of heat. Keep pets and children out of rooms with expensive or vulnerable pieces, and perform routine cleaning and maintenance to keep your furniture in its best condition.

Do you have before and after pictures of repaired furniture? Share them with us below!