Ideas for updating a ball & claw foot oak dining table

Written by j.e. cornett
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Whether your ball- and claw-foot oak dining table is a treasured antique or a flea market find, all it takes is a little creativity to turn it from boring to gorgeous. Breathe new life into this traditional table style just by adding new chairs, a coat of paint or a few accessories.

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A New Seating Arrangement

One of the quickest ways to update any dining table is to change the chairs.

While traditionally styled dining tables such as ball- and claw-foot dining tables often came with spindled chairs, find dining chairs in coordinating finishes that deviate from the spindle style, giving your table a fresh look while still retaining its overall traditional style.

If your style is less traditional, it's easy to update your table with chairs that have a more modern look. Try using chairs painted in bright colours, metal or wrought-iron chairs or even resin or plastic chairs.

A New Finish

You can also change the look of your table by giving it a new finish.

Most oak ball- and claw-foot tables have a light to medium wood finish. If you'd like to retain your table's antique look, consider refinishing the table with a darker stain, which can give the table a more aged appearance.

If you're willing to make drastic changes to your table's appearance to update its look, painting is your best bet. Painting a traditional table white, black or even a bright shade will allow it to mesh with several decorating styles, including shabby-chic, transitional or even modern. A white table with chairs in bright colours looks great in a modern dining room, while a black table and chairs are perfect for transitional decor. For cottage or shabby-chic styles, consider painting the base of the table white or cream and painting the frames of the chairs to coordinate.

A New Look

If you want to update your ball- and claw-foot dining table without making painting or purchasing new chairs, don't overlook the difference that new accessories can make.

A new tablecloth can hide a battered tabletop while also making the table blend with the room's decor. If you wish to disguise the table's base, buy a tablecloth that is slightly larger than what's needed for the table's size. The added drape shadows the base, making it virtually disappear, especially when the chairs are around the table. Add slipcovers or seat cushions to the chairs to complete the look.

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