What is Claw & Ball?

Claw & Ball is a decorative motif featuring a claw, paw, or talon grasping a ball, typically used in furniture legs.


Claw & Ball refers to a classic design element often found in furniture making where the foot of a piece, usually a chair, table, or stool, is carved to resemble an animal's claw or talon gripping a spherical object, commonly a ball. This motif is rich in history and symbolism, originating from ancient Chinese designs where the dragon's claw would grasp a pearl or gem, symbolizing power and protection. The motif was widely adopted in 18th-century England and America, especially popular in Chippendale furniture styles, showing the influence of Oriental motifs on Western design.

The design is not just a beautiful aesthetic detail; it is also believed to represent strength and stability, often featured on pieces of furniture that denote status and sophistication. Applying the Claw & Ball motif in contemporary designs can add a touch of historical elegance to modern interiors, creating a unique blend of old and new. This motif is a testament to the craftsmanship involved in furniture making, showcasing intricate details that can transform a simple piece of furniture into a work of art.


In interior design, the Claw & Ball motif is commonly found on the legs of antique or antique-style tables, chairs, and other pieces of furniture. It is also prevalent in historical and traditionally styled interiors, adding an element of classic sophistication. This motif is especially favored in settings aiming for an elegant, period look, indicative of the Georgian, Victorian, or Colonial eras.


  • Is the Claw & Ball design specific to a certain period?

    Yes, the Claw & Ball design is particularly associated with the 18th century and is a hallmark of Chippendale furniture, though it has origins that date back further in Chinese design. It continues to be used in traditional and antique-style furniture today.

  • Can the Claw & Ball motif be used in modern interiors?

    Absolutely. While traditionally associated with antique furniture, the Claw & Ball motif can be incorporated into modern interiors as a statement piece or a nod to classic design elements. It adds an interesting contrast and historical depth to contemporary settings.

  • What types of furniture commonly feature the Claw & Ball motif?

    The Claw & Ball motif is most often found on the legs of chairs, tables, stools, and sometimes beds. It is particularly prevalent in furniture pieces that are designed to convey elegance and status.

Practical Application

When incorporating the Claw & Ball motif into your design, consider the overall style and theme of the space. For a cohesive look, pair it with other traditionally styled elements or use it sparingly as an accent in a modern setting to create a focal point. Carefully crafted Claw & Ball furniture can add a timeless elegance to any room, blending seamlessly with both contemporary and classic decor.