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Five common mistakes to avoid with a white coffee table

Updated on September 4, 2013

A white coffee table is not just meant for coffee but also for setting food on, the newspaper, or magazines. The color white is chosen for its natural ability to blend with other colors easily.  Also, with white being able to reflect light the best, it is common to have a “light-colored” theme in your house to provide a bright, spirit-lifting experience.  Often found in the living room or where the television sits, a table helps to complement other white furniture and walls throughout the room and provide a sense of upper-class to the mixture.

However, a white coffee table also has its disadvantages as well.  Avoiding these costly mistakes can be easy and sometimes hard but that is the price on pays for living a bit more expensively.  Some prefer to not even use the table for coffee to avoid stains at all cost while others will give strict rules to use a coaster whenever a drink is placed on the table.  With many mistakes to make, it is good to know which of them are the most common and what can be done to mitigate these risks.

Use Coasters

Possibly the most common of them all is not using a coaster.  A modern white coffee table made from metal might not be such an issue; however, veneer and particle fibers that some tables are made out of can bubble up and be ruined with the slightest amount of water or other liquids.  While even the most solid and hardest of woods can still be stained with a coffee ring.  White, in particular can really show the stains unlike a non-painted or clear-coated wooden table.  With this mistake being well known, the solution is also well-known.  Use coasters to prevent a liquid ring from damaging the table.  Put the drinks on them at all times and be sure to use coasters that either soak up the liquid completely or have a nice ridge to block anything from running off the coaster.

Clean and Protect

Regularly clean the table to remove dust and debris from foods, pets and dirt.  Protect the table with some type of cleaning oil that not only makes it easier to clean again in the future but protects against deep scratches, scuffs and fading.  A huge mistake is to neglect your furniture and let all these harmful substances ruin the finish off of the wood.  It will wear down quickly and look anything but “high-class”.  Following these steps regularly can also help avoid making other, possibly even more costly mistakes.

Repair Scuffs or Chipped Wood Immediately

If you happen to buy an antique white coffee table, you may want to avoid this step because the history is in those scuffs and scratches.  Other than antiques, repairing new scuffs or chipped wood is important to avoid making them worse.  Once a piece of wood is chipped off, the longer the repair takes the harder it will be to repair it.  The piece that falls off will be lost and dirt will be smudged into the exposed wood making any glue harder to adhere.  Using a white paint marker or even better, some quality white paint can be used to remove deep scratches and hard to remove scuffs.  A clear protecting coat should also be applied after these steps.

Use it for what it’s made for

Not so common compared to using coasters but still a problem with the something like a round white coffee table.  Some use it for playing cards on while other families try using it as a plate.  These tables are typically not made to withstand harsh uses like these and the paint will wear off quickly.  It is important to use these tables for “light-use” like setting things on or keeping your feet relaxed.  Even in situations like using them as a foot rest can be damaging if you always wear your boots in the house.  Avoiding costly repairs is easy for both round and square white coffee tables alike; use it for coffee and the newspaper and there is nothing to worry about!

Paying Too Much for a Used Table

Another common mistake is paying top dollar for a typical white table when the only thing it is useful for is, well, setting your coffee on while watching the morning news.  Used furniture can sometimes be sold for original value due to its heritage or long-lasting craftsmanship.  However, used coffee tables of any color should never be priced over a few hundred dollars as the practicality of it is honestly very narrow.  Shop around online and at local furniture stores to compare prices with anyone else willing to sell one to get an idea of a fair price range.

Whether it is a pure white or a black and white coffee table that you are looking to protect, there are many common mistakes to avoid.  White being a very bright color that reflects more light than any other color, it is very common to have in the home and also is very common to attract ugly coffee stains.  Avoiding this mistake and four others should be a little easier with this helpful guide and I hope you have gained useful knowledge from it and inspiration to think of many other ways to protect your valued furniture from expensive damages.


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