18 Feb Interior Design of the Oval Office Through The Years
The Oval Office has had many different looks through the years. Let’s take a quick stroll through memory lane to check out the interior design of Oval Offices from past presidents.
The Obama Oval Office featured a modern and streamlined design with a color palette of taupe and warm brown hues. Vertical striped wallpaper leads the eyes up to the bright, airy ceiling above. The traditional rug with presidential seal is made personal to Obama with select quotes around the rug’s perimeter by famous Americans like President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. American painters Norman Rockwell (The Statue of Liberty) and Childe Hassam (The Avenue in the Rain) hang on both sides of the famous Resolute desk.
A classic and light decor graced the Oval Office of George W. Bush. The pale gold rug with sunbeam design paired charmingly with antique gold drapes. Paintings of Texas landscapes graced the walls.
Bright, vivid blues, reds, and whites made the Clinton Oval Office pop throughout his 1990’s tenure. Gold curtains with blue trim framed the windows and matched some of the chairs in the room. A bronze bust of Benjamin Franklin, among others, sat watchful eye over the work of the Oval Office’s occupant.
A baby blue rug paired with light blue & ivory drapes set President George H.W. Bush’s Oval Office in less regal and formal colors than his predecessor, Ronald Reagan. The more demure design matched the first President Bush’s personality perfectly. Unlike many President’s before and after who used the famous ‘Resolute Desk’, Bush opted to use the C&O Desk and was the only President to use this desk. The C&O desk, built around 1920, is one of four desks built for the owners of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O). It was later donated to the White House by Chesapeake and Ohio’s successor, CSX Transportation before being used by a certain Vice President as his personal desk; Vice-President Bush. The desk, along with the Vice-President got a promotion after the 1989 Presidential inauguration.
President Reagan added earth tones and an art collection of bronze saddles to bring the American West to the east-coast Oval Office. Opting to keep the dramatic golden-hued draped from the Ford and Carter administrations gave Reagan a familiar backdrop alluding to his previous acting career. Reagan made use of the Resolute Desk in contrast with his successor President H.W. Bush.
Oval Office Facts
The Secret Service are stationed outside the Oval Office when occupied by the President. Even though not physically present inside, the elite security force is able to monitor the President’s movement and location in the room due to weight-sensitive pressure pads under the carpet.
Some things never change: The presidential flag remains to the president’s left, and the United States flag is always on the president’s right.
During the 1800’s, most Presidents worked and lived in the same room.
President Taft had the very first version of the Oval Office built in 1909. It was constructed from the former office space of the President’s secretary. Since part of that room was already round, it was simply made into an oval thus giving us the iconic room we all know and love.
Oval Office Dimensions:
- Long Axis: 35′ 10″ (10.9m)
- Short Axis: 29′ (8.8m)
- Height: 18′ 6″ (5.6m)
- Line of Rise: 16′ 7″ (5.0m) the point at which the ceiling starts to arch