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How To Refresh a Dining Room Table

Don't throw out old furniture -- it has great character. Instead, turn a dining room table into a new focal point for the room.

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To refresh the table, clean with a nonalkaline soap and wipe with a soft cloth. You can fix nicks and scratches too -- for dark wood, match the finish with colored shoe polish. For lighter woods, felt-tip markers and even crayons can hide small blemishes. Don't forget about the table legs and the chairs.

You can change the look of your dining room by using your table, chairs, buffet and artwork as the base and then going from there to create different looks. Try these ideas:

Slipcovers: What better way to change the look of dining-room chairs than by slipcovering them? And you don't even have to sew to make great slipcovers -- sheets, scarves or just lengths of fabric can be cleverly tucked and pinned to achieve a designer look for very little money.

Centerpiece: A different centerpiece can transform the look of a dining-room table.

Lighting: With all the options on the market, a different look is only a matter of investing in some new lamps. Remember to use a dimmer switch to set the mood -- always a plus in a dining room.

For a casual-chic dining room, try mixing chairs at the table. The key is to use chairs with similar shapes and materials. You can even mix in an upholstered chair.

Remember these three steps to changing a room's decor:
1. Pick a style and then work around your larger pieces.
2. Cover up what doesn’t work.
3. Have fun. If you don’t like it, change it again.

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