Restored table

Photo: ChiChi UbiƱa/Flea Market Fabulous

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The Water-Ringed Table

Tabletops take a beating over the years, but when Spencer saw this side table was missing its leather top, she only saw opportunity. She trimmed a scrap piece of wallpaper to the insert's size. The similar pop of color ties the table into the rest of the room, even if the wood is lighter or darker than the other furniture, Spencer writes. Her quick fix for other simply battered tabletops: Lightly sand, then rub with wood wax to polish and protect them from future coaster-less cups.

But Go Ahead and Toss: Any table with wobbly legs or at an awkward height—reinforcing and resizing the legs is often not worth the effort.