Five Clawfoot Coffee Tables To Dress Up Your Living Room

Furniture with clawed feet – where the bottom of a table’s legs taper out into a round, claw-like shape – was a style popularized in the 1700’s. There are many variations clawed feet can have, and it’s a style that has aged well and is sure to remain a timeless piece in your home. For this reason, here are five clawfoot coffee tables (and how to make them work in a modern living room).

Traditional or Timeless?

Clawfoot tables come in a wide range of styles, some with a more ornate, traditional feel than others. Though you’ll likely see a few common themes in the detail work (like florals and seashells), how intricate the design is can make the finished piece look more or less formal. If you want a table that errs on the side of transitional, less is more in terms of woodwork; you want the little intricate bits to draw the eye but not blow the rest of your furniture out of the water.

Choosing The Right Table Material

Dark woods – like mahogany or cherry – are a typical choice for clawfoot coffee tables. That’s also the color table you’re most likely to find while browsing. That said, another way to make your clawfoot table stand out is to go against the grain. Painted, mirrored, metal, or even colorful resin interpretations of the classic clawfoot will give the look a totally different feel. Play your cards right, and this iconic antique staple can even feel bold and modern.

Picking Your Tabletop

The type of tabletop you choose can also make a big difference in the finished look of your coffee table. Light marble is the most popular choice – and admittedly a good way to help lighten up a dark wood. But it’s far from the only option; thinking outside the box is a good way to help fine tune the finished look. Glass, wood, and darker stone will not only give you a fresh and unique finish, but they’re also easier to keep clean!

Lighten Up The Look

Marble Topped Coffee Table 116AM from PolRey
Marble Topped Coffee Table 116AM from PolRey

Of course, clawfoot coffee tables made with dark wood and dark tops will inevitably have a very hefty, masculine feel. If that’s not what you’re looking for, it’s worth leaning into a different sort of tradition: pearlescent white, hand painted, or gilded wood finishes can help bring out a more feminine feel, make the table a better fit for tea time than a Victorian library. Keep in mind that adding a little shine or color to the woodwork will let you get more mileage out of less – so be careful not to go overboard.

Thoughtful Pairing

Traditional clawfoot coffee tables are often bundled with sets of extremely formal, antique-style living room furniture. But you don’t have to have wood-trimmed, button-tufted sofas to enjoy the look of a classic table. The key to making “traditional” into “transitional” is right there in the word: you need to take care in how an antique-inspired table transitions into the rest of your room. Matching or contrasting colors, the level of woodwork and finish on the wood, and even your accessories can help make your new table feel at home.

As a final note, think about the height you’d like your table at when you’re next to it. Most coffee table surfaces end up level to around knee height when you’re sitting on the couch. When shopping online, it can be hard to eyeball the size of an object from the pictures. So be sure to do a comparison between the listed measurements and a family member’s knee height. If you know exactly what range of numbers you want, it will save you a lot of time while shopping.

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