Whether you’ve moved one too many times or you happen to have an overly enthusiastic pet, furniture leg damage is common. And in many cases, this is not a bad thing. But, you may not want to spend the money on replacement furniture legs.
Furniture is meant to be used—and while we may prefer our investments to last for a long time, dings, scratches, dents and other marks are inevitable. And while some of this wear and tear can’t be buffed out by any professional, there are a few things you can to do fix your furniture up without having to replace it.
That’s why we’ll be breaking down the top six ways you can clean up those furniture legs with a little bit of time and a whole lot of elbow grease. With the right materials and approach, you can make sure that your furniture will last far beyond its intended lifespan.
Using Wood Putty
More so than most other ways to fix up furniture, wood putty is highly versatile and easy to use on just about anything you need to repair. Wood putty can fill in scratches, dents, and more in wood furniture and across most furniture legs. All you need to do is be a little proactive.
First, head to your local hardware store and be sure to pick out the wood putty that matches the color of the wood in your home. If possible, take a sample with you to make sure you’re getting the precise shade you need.
If the shade that you want isn’t available, don’t worry—you can easily find options online, or mix wood putty to make the shade you need. Simply pick up two or three shades and begin experimenting with small amounts to get near the color you desire.
Next, head home and simply rub the wood putty into the indentation. You may need more putty for longer scratches and bigger holes, but generally speaking, this will get the job done.
Sometimes, you can plug a hole, but the scratch on the leg of your furniture may be so big, that even the putty looks out of place. To correct this, you can try staining your furniture.
Sealing the wood putty into the wood with staining is a good way not only to cover up an unsightly scratch but to completely redecorate your home. Done correctly, your guests may be wondering when you purchased new furniture—only to discover that all it took was a little bit of effort on your part to get things shining once again.
Did you know that crayons now come in hundreds of hues?
If you’re trying to work out a smaller mark and don’t want to invest in wood putty, then perhaps a crayon will do the trick! We know it sounds a little crazy, but bear with us. It may just save you an extra trip to the store.
To make this work, be sure to clean your work surface and allow it to dry completely. Then, take a match or lighter and heat the end of a crayon matching the shade of your furniture legs until dripping.
Then you can rub the crayon’s soft wax into the affected area and watch as the untreated wood exposed by the scratch or scuff completely disappears! While this method is unconventional (and a little dangerous), it certainly can work in a pinch, and for some, you may not need to purchase anything new to do it!
Are loose table and chair legs getting you down? You may be able to avoid catastrophe in the future by using a drill, a few screws, and some leftover brackets.
First, turn over the furniture and find the loose leg. You may be able to tighten the screws and fix the problem without any further issue, but provided this solution does not work, it’s time to add some brackets.
We recommend adding brackets with the horizontal end facing inward. In any case, just be sure to start a few pilot holes with a power drill before going in. Wood can crack and split under pressure, and pilot holes will help you get those brackets in without incident.
You may also want to purchase flat brackets or brackets in the same color as your furniture if you fear that they will be visible to your guests. Although hopefully, once you’ve fixed the leg of their chair, they’ll be more focused on whatever lies ahead of them.
Clamping Down Veneer
Angular legs may be made out of a veneer that will peel over time. The veneer may have fallen completely off—exposing one side of wood underneath to anyone nearby.
The solution? Wood glue and a few clamps.
If possible, remove the leg in question from the furniture and set on a table. First, clean out whatever may be lurking underneath the veneer, such as debris or pet hair, and apply the wood glue. Next, use books, bodyweight, or clamps to bear down and force the wood glue to begin its work.
After a few minutes, you should be able to replace the leg as if nothing had ever happened. Just make sure to clamp evenly to avoid any unplanned hassle.
Is your furniture scratching up the floor or is one of the legs a little longer than the other?
With the furniture still standing, see how many washers you can fit under the leg before the furniture stops wobbling. If washers are too big, use old playing cards for a more precise measurement.
Once you’ve found the correct number, you can cut the old playing cards into the shape you’ll need to be flush with the legs. Then, use the short nail to fasten the washers, cards, or both underneath the furniture.
Once you’ve done that, you can cut your felt or fabric into the same shape and glue to the bottom of the leg. You can also do the same with the other legs to ensure that this piece of furniture won’t be scratching your floors anytime soon.
Using Wood Filler
Some gashes and dents are just too big for the wood putty to handle. And in these cases, you’ll need to get some wood filler and get to work.
To repair deep gashes, we recommend removing the leg from the furniture and getting to a flat, even surface. Next, lay the leg down and overfill the gash in question with the wood filler.
After you’ve allowed it to dry, use a sharp knife to cut away the excess wood filler so that the mixture is exactly where the wood should have been. Then, all you’ll need to do is sand everything down and paint away that gash.
An afternoon’s worth of work has saved you the hassle and cost of replacing the leg entirely. And if you’re precise with your cutting and painting, nobody would ever be able to tell there was a gash.
While our top six DIY tips here were primarily for those working with wood, they can just as easily be applied to furniture made from plastic or similar substances. The key is to use paints and fillers to your advantage. Damaged furniture on the legs specifically is often far out of sight of guests. Take advantage of that fact and perform your work so that everything looks good when looking down upon it. You can easily hide your mistakes on the bottom of your tables or chairs.
DIY furniture repair is also a great way to become familiar with the basic tools of wear and tear repair—and specifically with wood glue, wood filler, and wood glue.
Once the mystery is gone from these three substances, and you’ve become familiar with how each works, you’d be surprised how many stains, bumps, and gashes you can remove from woodwork across your entire home.
Regardless, we hope that our DIY tips here have helped inspire you to get to work on your furniture and make sure they’re looking as good as new. Just be sure to use products as intended and feel free to experiment.
Much of the joy of performing basic repair jobs at home is uncovering new ways to accomplish the same task. Plus, having the opportunity to repaint and stain your furniture will allow you to complete a color palate in a room or put a modern spin on aging furniture.