September 2nd, 2010
02:18 PM ET
4 years ago

Oval Office makeover widely criticized

The makeover of the Oval Office has been widely panned in press reports and on the blogosphere for being too casual.
The makeover of the Oval Office has been widely panned in press reports and on the blogosphere for being too casual.

Washington (CNN) – The makeover of the Oval Office has been widely panned in press reports and on the blogosphere for being too casual and for its bland color palette but White House press secretary Robert Gibbs doesn't expect President Obama to weigh in anytime soon.

Related:The Oval Office gets a makeover

"I have not heard him give a review on the reviews," Gibbs said, when asked what the president thought about his new office at Thursday's press briefing.

A design team swooped in and in less than 10 days – while the president and First Family were away on Martha's Vineyard – transformed the president's office from a traditional and somewhat formal setting to a more modern family-style room.

There's a new signature oval rug, leather desk chair, two overstuffed light brown couches, a walnut and mica coffee table with modern lines, two blue ceramic lamps and blue accent pillows on the couch, reupholstered furniture, and handmade striped wallpaper.


But history did not go out the door in this redesign. The president held onto the historic Resolute desk, paintings, and other art work he added when he came into office.

Usually every president puts his personal stamp on the Oval Office with a redesign early in the administration. Up until now, President Obama has been working in an office designed for then-President George W. Bush, complete with formal cream floral couches, traditional furniture, off-white walls and a sunburst oval rug.

Obama's newly designed rug was produced and donated by Scott Group Custom Carpets, the same company that designed the former President Bill Clinton's Oval Office rug. Obama's rug is wheat-colored with accents of cream and blue. Lining the border are historical quotes that were handpicked by President Obama, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and four former presidents.
In an apparent effort to head off criticism, the White House pointed out that all of the materials and furniture came from U.S.-based companies, and that taxpayers won't foot the bill.

These kinds of projects have always been funded by the White House Historical Association, with money from the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

The White House would not reveal the final price tag, but said it is comparable to what the two former presidents spent on their Oval Office makeovers.


Filed under: White House
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Every President has an Oval Office makeover, in good times and bad. Do I like the way it looks? Doesn't matter. I don't have to work in it. Must be a slow news cycle. This news is several days old.

    September 2, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Joe

    Here's proof that Obama is not a Muslim. If Obama really was a Muslim, he would have much better taste in carpets and access to the best.

    September 2, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Rob

    People will find anything to complain about the President!! You know what and this is from a black man i wish President Obama would do 1 term and then get the hell out !! The Glenn Beck's of the world can have there ' COUNTRY' back!!!!!!!!!

    September 2, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Brandon in VA

    WOW! Seriously?! Critiquing how the President likes to decorate his office?! GTFOH!

    I swear we'll eventually see a story about people critiquing how Obama passes gas. I can hear it now "Well his are silent but deadly; that means he isn't trustworthy. If he were a real American he'd let it rip like a trumpet playing Reveille!" Get a life people.

    September 2, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. ctDem

    What's the big deal . . . not paid for with public funds, comfortable & unpretentious. Now that there are cable TV channels dedicated to design, everyone's a critic? Bland colors happen to be fashionable right now, so shut up about this!

    September 2, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Doraine Gordon

    Who made the decision on all the colors? It is too drab and showed up real dark on tv. I think it needs to be brighter and more cheerful. All those bland colors are depressing.

    September 2, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Angi's mom

    It's the president's office, not the media's, not yours, not mine. He can decorate it any way he wants.

    September 2, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. reese

    I'll be happy to foot the bill for the moving team in 2012

    September 2, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. Whatever

    Who is complaining?!?! LOOKS A LOT BETTER!!!!!

    September 2, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. carlos

    ok.. perhaps a bit bland – but really – is this news worthy? Who gives a hoot? Maybe people are up in arms because there are no confederate flags or animal heads hanging from the wall..

    September 2, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Dale

    Some people are really reaching for something to criticize now...

    September 2, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. TONY

    I'm just glad there are not any African masks hanging on the walls. Or, if there is, they didn't mention them.

    September 2, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. Robert

    Would people have preferred he go with something extremely extravagant and expensive?

    September 2, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5