Refinish or paint my clawfoot solid oak table?

by Debbie

I have a clawfoot oak table that I'd like to either refinish in a darker color or paint part of it and keep the top wood grain. Anyone have any creative ideas?

This picture shows it with the leaf in. Without it is a 54" round table.

  18 answers
  • I like the idea of refinishing the top and painting the legs, Debbie. I once did a table that way. Here's a link:

  • Rose Broadway Rose Broadway on Sep 24, 2018

    Years ago they used to leave the top wood grain (that's how I did mine), but it seems more popular now to paint the whole table. It's just what looks the best to you. Have fun with it, Debbie! Here's a few videos on the two differences.

  • Pat Rios Pat Rios on Sep 24, 2018

    I like the idea of painting the base and re-staining the top. I've painted the base in several colors, including bright blue and black, but the most classic is antiqued, distressed white, in a farmhouse style. Check out how I did this one.

  • Sue Michalski Sue Michalski on Sep 25, 2018

    I never like to paint beautiful wood. Your table looks to be in very good condition. If all you are looking for is a darker color of wood tone, there are a lot of different shades of oak stain and finish out there. I would think you should be able to give a light sanding and then apply a coat or two of your darker stain and finish. Then you have not destroyed the character of the wood. I always paint as a last resort.

    I know it will be beautiful whatever you decide.

    • Debbie Debbie on Sep 25, 2018

      It really is a beautiful table. The reason I’m wanting to change it up is because we’re moving to a log home with wood walls, wood floors. I may try staining the bottom a darker color and the top a shade or two lighter? I don’t have chairs as yet. That may help me make my decision too.


  • Maria H Maria H on Sep 25, 2018

    This is a personal choice. For myself, I think the claw base too beautiful and ornate to be painted. I would stain. If you like the two-tone effect, you could apply a darker stain on the base and a lighter on top, where it's easier to sand down the old finish to pure oak color.

    Also, when I look at the interior decor of your room, I think that a rich wood remake will fit better. Looks more high end as a whole.

  • Ann Ann on Sep 25, 2018

    good answers-refinish-you have a wonderful table

  • Bijous Bijous on Sep 25, 2018

    Hi. It's a very nice table. Lots of memories, I'm sure. Consider leaving the top and gel-staining the base along with the legs of your chairs. Gel stain is a great product. Give it a try; I think you'll really like the end result. Happy DIY'ing!

    • Debbie Debbie on Sep 25, 2018

      I've Not heard of gelstaining. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

  • Lisa13 Lisa13 on Sep 25, 2018

    I have a table lik this I sanded it and painted it red it

    looks good

  • Lauren Liebherr Lauren Liebherr on Sep 25, 2018

    Do both! 🙌🏻❤️

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  • Gloria Gloria on Sep 25, 2018

    There is a paint product online (and in limited locations) called ReThunk Junk. I really like what they've done to furniture, distressed or not.

  • Terra Terra on Sep 25, 2018

    I agree with Lauren … Stain the top and paint the base :)

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  • Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz on Sep 25, 2018

    Please don’t paint beautiful wood, refinish.

  • Robert Ballester Robert Ballester on Sep 25, 2018

    I would definitely REFINISH. Why paint over such a beautiful table.

  • Pamela Pamela on Sep 25, 2018

    I say refinish the top, paint the sides and bottom.

  • Eileen B. Eileen B. on Sep 25, 2018

    Definitely refinish the whole table. Sand it, put 7 applications of satin polyurethane

  • JudyH JudyH on Sep 25, 2018

    Paint or stain the base black. Strip the top to get rid of the yellowish stain and retain in a nice cherry. Put a lighter colored circular rug underneath (unless you have toddlers!!)

  • Michelle Lynes Michelle Lynes on Sep 26, 2018

    I’d refinish you could go with a darker stain on the base of the table and lighter on top. I’ve got a love for seeing the wood grain. And stripping paint is a pain in the butt.

  • Susan Harris Seeley Susan Harris Seeley on Sep 26, 2018

    I WOULD NOT paint this table unless it’s in bad condition.

    once painted, you will never be able to strip the paint off completely, if you change your mind. You won’t be able to get the paint out of the grain of the wood