5 Easy Ways to Preserve Dining Room Furniture

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The dining room is no longer reserved solely for mealtimes, and people now use the large open space for everything from crafts to playtime. While utilizing the room for so many things is a great use of space, the intense traffic can lead to intense wear and tear on the table and chairs. There are several ways to extend the life of dining room furniture for several years and save a little time and money, too.


While they may seem more decorative than protective, an inexpensive table cloth can catch the brunt of the abuse that would otherwise be placed upon a dining room table. There are two main types of table clothes used: plastic and cloth.

Plastic is inexpensive and easily replaceable, but it also doesn't look as elegant and isn't as sturdy as its cloth brethren. However, any liquid or food spilled will lie on the tablecloth instead of being absorbed by it. A wash cloth will take care of everything, and you never need to wash the cloth in a machine.

On the other hand, it can be prone to melting and tearing. If a hot pan is placed on the table cloth, or if candle wax drips onto it, then the heat can melt a hole through it or cause it to look disfigured. If a liquid was to spill on top of the hole, it could slip under the table cloth and onto the actual table. Depending on the liquid and how long it goes unnoticed, it may damage the tabletop.

Cloth tablecloths, whether standard cotton or something more exotic, can add valuable protection, but they also require considerable care. Most cloths absorb any spills and can stain easily, which means they must be taken off and washed regularly. However, they are also more resistant to heat and will not melt if exposed to high temperatures. It's best to have several cloth tablecloths on hand, so when one is in the wash, another can take its place.

Glass Covers

Many people have tabletops that they don't want covered by tablecloths because of the beauty of the natural wood. They can choose to have a fitted glass cover that will add protection as well as allow people to see the natural wood's beauty.

Like plastic tablecloths, these are easy to clean and resistant to heat, but they are more expensive than a standard tablecloth by several hundred dollars. This is especially true for glass covers that are created custom cut to fit a particular table. Another pitfall is that the glass can chip or break. If the dining room is used for play or crafts, or if a large baking dish falls on the glass, then it can cause it to break. This is not only dangerous, but also very expensive to replace.


A much less expensive option for protecting your dining room table is to refinish it every few years. The table comes with a finish that protects it for the first several years of its life, but that finish can deteriorate over time due to heat, abrasiveness and just normal wear and tear. There is not much that can be done to keep it from happening if the tabletop is exposed, but by adding a new finish every few years, you can greatly extend the table's life.

The old finish must first be stripped off before the new finish is applied and allowed to dry. This creates a protective barrier that keeps the wood safe and adds luster to the table.

As with tables, dining room chairs can also take a beating, and their cloth seats and backs make them a magnet for stains. Chairs are likely to need replacing before the table, but a few tricks can keep them looking like new.

Chair Covers

Chair covers are a cloth or clear plastic coverings that fit over the chairs and protect the original fabric. Any potential stains either lay on top of the plastic or are absorbed by the cloth covering. These are the equivalent of tablecloths for chairs.

Plastic covers don't need to be washed, but they do need a simple wipe-down regularly. Cloth covers, on the other hand, should be washed regularly. Furniture stores often have matching tablecloths and chair covering selections, so the patterns will not look out of place.


Chair fabric can take damage over time and become an eyesore to look at and sit on. It can get to the point where the fabric should be replaced through reupholstering. This requires taking the old fabric off and replacing it with a brand new fabric.

This can make the chair look brand new, but if only one chair is being reupholstered, then it will need fabric to match the others in the group. The only time a completely new fabric should be used is if all the chairs are being reupholstered.

Any of these methods will easily extend the life of your dining room furniture, so you get the most out of each piece and save money on buying a new set.

Last Updated: July 21, 2011
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About Brock Cooper Brock Cooper is a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com. 

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