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My vintage dining furniture marks easily – how do I protect it?

The question

I have a vintage dining table and sideboard that mark easily and need refinishing. What can we do to make them more resistant?

The answer

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Call in the refinishing professionals. Used to fashion floors, handrails and boats, teak is durable.

However, the finish you choose makes a big difference. A matte finish can hide dust but stains more readily, whereas a glossy finish resists spills. To maintain a matte finish, you need to oil it regularly.

And you still have to be vigilant to avoid marks. (We can't ask our guests to remove their watches while dining. Nor can we stop people from placing drinks on the sideboard.) Here's an idea: Place a sheet of glass on top of both the table and sideboard.

Short of never entertaining, all you can do is protect the surfaces and hope for the best. Then again, you could always retire the teak set to the garden and watch it develop a patina.

Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace's new e-book, Dee Dee's Rules, is available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail

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