What is Ball & Claw?

Ball & Claw is a type of furniture leg that resembles an animal’s claw holding a ball.


The Ball & Claw is a classic and ornate design element that has its roots in ancient Chinese furniture design and became particularly popular in 18th-century England and America. This distinctive feature is most often found on the feet of tables, chairs, and other types of furniture. The "ball" is typically a spherical shape and the "claw" is sculpted to resemble the talons of a bird or the paw of a lion or dragon, indicating the piece's influence from mythical and royal symbolism.

Incorporating this element into furniture design serves not only a decorative purpose but also symbolically, to convey strength, power, and a connection to the natural and mythical worlds. Over time, the Ball & Claw motif has been adapted into various styles and periods of furniture, including Chippendale, Queen Anne, and Federal styles. Its intricate craftsmanship and dramatic appearance make it a focal point in pieces that feature it.


Ball & Claw feet can be found on a variety of furniture pieces, including dining tables, chairs, desks, and even bathtubs. They are particularly prevalent in classical, antique, and traditional design themes, but modern reinterpretations can be found in contemporary decors as well.


  • Is the Ball & Claw design limited to specific types of furniture?

    No, the Ball & Claw design can be applied to a wide range of furniture, including tables, chairs, desks, and bathtubs, across various design styles.

  • Are all Ball & Claw designs the same?

    Although the basic concept — a claw holding a ball — remains constant, designs can vary greatly in detail, with different interpretations of claws and balls based on cultural and stylistic influences.

  • How does incorporating Ball & Claw elements affect the style of a room?

    Incorporating Ball & Claw elements adds a touch of elegance and grandeur to a room, prominently featuring in classical, traditional, or antique-themed decor. However, modern adaptations can also blend with contemporary designs.

Practical Application

When selecting furniture or decor featuring Ball & Claw elements, consider the overall theme of the room. These pieces do well in spaces that aim to convey a sense of history, sophistication, or detailed craftsmanship. They can be striking statement pieces in a mixed-themed setting or contribute to a cohesive antique or traditional theme when paired with other similar elements.