When your furniture gets scratched or dinged, a quick once-over with the best furniture touch-up markers can make it look new again. Top-rated markers come in a variety of shades to match your furniture, and dry in 30 minutes or less so you can apply multiple layers in one session. The most common formulas of touch-up markers are ink (sometimes called dye) or stain markers; ink works on many different types of surfaces including wood and vinyl, while stain formulas are just for use on wood. Both types of touch-up markers are buildable and blendable, so if you’re not sure which shade to use, apply the lighter option first and see how it looks once it’s dried — and feel free to mix colors to get the perfect match. For more specialized jobs (like touching up painted or leather furniture), there are pens designed for those specific types of touch-ups.
For most furniture, ink touch-up markers are truly a versatile workhorse, offering a mess-free fix for scratched up wood, vinyl, or laminate, and more. They’re true to color and don’t lighten or darken as they dry. This type of marker is editor-approved, too — editor Kori Perten has had major success using it to improve the look of the scratched-up pieces in her home. Stain markers, on the other hand, are essentially wood stain in a marker-style applicator. Because you’re working with a stain, the pigment sinks into wood so it won’t wear down as quickly, even after you wash or polish the furniture. While stains provide a more durable fix, they can be messier to apply and won’t absorb well into non-wood materials like laminate. They also dry to a slightly darker shade, so finding a match can be a little trickier. It’s worth noting that neither type of touch-up marker can actually fill in scratches or dings, so you’ll need to get a marker kit that also includes wax pencils if you want to smooth out the surface as well as restore color.
While ink markers are pretty versatile and might work for covering scuffs in leather or faux-leather furniture, there are also specialized touch-up markers designed to match shades of leather and blend nicely. If you’re trying to spruce up painted (rather than stained) furniture, your best bet is a set of empty brush pens that you can fill with your paint of choice.
No matter what type of furniture you’re trying to improve, the best furniture touch-up markers include a variety of shade options for an instant refresh. And best of all? All these sets cost less than $20.
1. A Furniture Touch-Up Kit With Ink Markers & Crayons
With both ink markers and wax crayons, this affordable touch-up kit from Escest can fill in scratches and restore color. Each of the eight markers comes with a wax crayon in a matching shade. There’s even a sharpener thrown in for the crayons.
If you’re covering over shallow dings and scratches, you can just use the markers, but if you have deeper imperfections, you’ll want to use both the markers and the crayons. Simply start with a light shade of wax to fill in the imperfection and then seal it with the same shade of marker. Add layers and gradually shift to darker shades until you get the perfect match. The ink dries in seconds, so you can do all of this and have your furniture looking almost brand new in a matter of minutes.
The eight shades available include white, gray, and black in addition to the five popular wood shades, so if you have more options to choose from if your furniture isn’t a typical wood tone like oak or cherry.
According to one reviewer: “My dining room table and chairs got damaged during my last move. The table top also had a lot of small scratches that caused the finish to crack. It was such a pleasure to restore the table and chairs using this product. If you look closely at the chair you will be able to see where I covered up the gouge. No, it is not gone, but the eye is no longer drawn to the imperfection. After finishing the dining room set, I went around to the rest of my oak furniture and filled in other little imperfections. Everything looks like new again. I highly recommend this product.”
2. An Affordable 6-Pack Of Ink Furniture Touch-Up Markers
For a super budget-friendly way to cover up shallow scratches, these Rejuvenate ink touch-up markers get the job done for less than $10. You get six shades ranging from a pale maple to a rich espresso. However, Rejuvenate also sells these markers bundled with shades of light and gray, or with a matching set of wax crayons for filling in scratches.
Whichever set you choose, all the marker shades are blendable, so you’ll be able to mix and layer them to achieve the right tone for your furniture. The pigment dries quickly (in 15 to 20 seconds, according to users) and works on more than just wood so it’s a handy multipurpose set to have on hand.
With such a low price tag for a variety of shades, it’s no wonder these markers have earned an overall 4.2-star rating after more than 9,000 Amazon reviews.
According to one reviewer: “As an interior designer, I can tell you that these are an important part of owning wood furniture, and they are better than the last set I had. Always useful to have on hand. And I recommend them to everyone with wood furniture.”
3. The Best Wood Stain Touch-Up Markers
These Varathane touch-up markers are filled with wood stain that provides lasting results — and it’s available in a bunch of different shades so you can buy just the one (or a few) that match your furniture. Each marker has a precision felt tip that helps spread the stain evenly and makes it easier to get into those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.
The Varathane stain should provide a rich, natural color that doesn’t need to be blended with other shades to match. If you know which stain was used to finish your furniture, just pick the marker in the same shade. If you don’t, use the convenient color group label on the product packaging to pick the stain marker that will best match your furniture. If it’s still too light after it dries, you can apply additional coats to darken it.
Speaking of drying, it does take about 30 minutes to dry completely, which is a little longer than most ink markers. But many users find the wait time worth it because it’s creating an actual protective coat of stain rather than just dyeing the wood. However, keep in mind that it won’t work for any of your non-wood furniture, including laminate designed to look like wood.
According to one reviewer: “It covers scratches, knots that have crumbled out a little bit, a repaired spot I used wood filler on and sanded, and the edges of the periphery of the table. The color is a great match for the walnut finish on the table. I've also used the pen for new chairs I bought that my cats scratched by playing with each other, and for a few minor spots that didn't have full color finish on them on the backside's crossbars. The touch ups look great.”
4. The Best Leather Furniture Touch-Up Marker
If you’re touching up your leather, faux-leather, or even vinyl, these Mohawk EZ flow markers are a must-have. They’re specifically designed to treat leather, so they soak into the material to provide color correction that won’t smudge or wipe off onto your clothes when you sit on your touched-up sofa.
The markers are sold individually in nine different classic leather shades so you can find something that will blend in with the existing color of your furniture. It should be super easy to use since the sponge tip only distributes dye when you push it down against a surface. As it dries, it soaks into the leather like a dye instead of staying on the surface.
According to one reviewer: “This stuff worked better than I could have imagined. It's easy to use and the color matched our deep brown sofa beautifully. I used two coats and couldn't be happier.”
5. The Best Option For Painted Furniture
If you have painted furniture, there’s no better way to get the perfect color match than to use the same paint used on the rest of the piece — and these refillable brush-tip paint pens by Slobproof make touch-ups super easy. You can use the included syringes to take some of the leftover paint from the can and fill your paint pen. Once filled, put the cap on and the paint will stay fresh for up to seven years. Whenever a cabinet or chair gets dinged or starts chipping, you can just grab your paint pen, and touch up the damaged area.
The pack comes with five pens and five syringes, but Slobproof also sells a two-pack if you don’t need so many, as well as a set that comes bundled with extra items for repairing drywall (like spackling paste).
According to one reviewer: “This was just what I was looking for to touch up little nicks and scratches on my newly painted kitchen cabinets. Easy to fill and very easy to use.”