If Junior put a mug of hot chocolate on the coffee table or a well-meaning guest forgot to use a coaster, don’t panic just yet. Water rings can, on occasion, be fixed at home. Before you get to work, assess the value of your furniture. If your piece is of significant monetary or sentimental value, it’s best to consult a professional before attempting to fix it yourself.
If you want to give it a go, treat white water rings on hard-finish furniture (caused by air pockets that form when the finish pulls away) by first letting the affected area dry. Then, work paste wax (To buy: $7, amazon.com) into the finish, rubbing briskly with a soft cloth.
For dark rings (caused by damage that has penetrated the wood) on waxed, oiled, or hard-finish pieces, you’ll probably need to dial a professional to sand the spot and refinish the entire surface.
If that stubborn stain just won’t budge, review the pros and cons of different types of wood before making your next big furniture purchase.