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

Oval Office makeover widely criticized

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/02/art.ovaloffice.jpg caption="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. Laverne

    The office looks just fine. When you haters become president then you can decorate the oval office to your liking, until then just shut up and by the way STOP trying to compare and make him out of presidents before him. He is an individual and deserves to be his just that!

    September 2, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. anagram_kid

    He will be in this office for another six years so I think it is OK to make it more to his liking.

    September 2, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. Gary

    Okay so I like the Bush oval office better, maybe it looked more formal and Presidential.

    September 2, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Katherine in Virginia

    get over it! I think the Oval Office looks great – much more masculine than the Bush frou-frou! Obama works in here, he has meetings in here – they need to be comfortable in their surroundings to be productive – why should he have to work in Bush's florals – didn't he inherit enough bad stuff from from Bush – does he have to put up with his leftover office duds, too? Geesh.

    September 2, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. anagram_kid

    “…all of the materials and furniture came from U.S.-based companies, and that taxpayers won't foot the bill.” I wonder how many of the usual Obama Basher posters will overlook those details?

    September 2, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Mike

    From what I see in the photo, I think the office looks great.

    September 2, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Duck Fallas

    300 "Hide the cigar" jokes- GO!

    September 2, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    What a wonderfully absurd topic for discussion. The whole freekin country must be on acid.

    September 2, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Looks great!

    I like it – i thought Bush's candy-colored decor made the oval office look like something out of disneyland. The color scheme makes the room look warm and appealing imo.

    September 2, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. tess

    as bland, colorless, cold and devlod of warmth and feeling and class as it's new occupant – i'd say a perfect fit

    September 2, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Shirley in California

    I personally think its beautiful but if I may add a suggestion – why not place a small blue rug and some blue vases just to add a little more color. Anything is an improvement from the way it used to look. I'm so glad that big, ugly, loud yellow rug is gone. Now on to the betterment of this country.

    September 2, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Kinte

    I was surprised it took this long ... half of the 1st term is almost over.

    I like the earth tones and warm colors. I'm sure thos people that typially prefer cold colors ... like blue... will whine about this change ... Oh well !!

    September 2, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. terry,va

    Great!! Obummie's on vacation at Maratha's Vineyard spending MANY thousands of taxpayer dollars and while he is gone he spends untold thousands of dollars fixing an office that doesn't need anything. This shows you the SPEND mentality he has. American's don't go on vacation 6 times in less than 8 months and they certainly don't fix stuff that don't need fixing.

    September 2, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Spiderlegs

    Also an American Flag, conspicuously absent in previous appearances.

    September 2, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Liz in Alaska

    I don't get it! "Panned" the redecorating that happens EVERY time a new Presidnet comes into office. I'd like to know exactely what is wrong with this picture? I could barely tell a difference between the old Bush Oval Office and this newly redecorated Obama Oval Office. And that's exactely the way it should be.

    September 2, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. seebofubar

    Why bother, It will just have to be changed again in another 2 yrs when this fool is out on his ear.

    September 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Ric

    Looks TERRIBLE... but at least he spared us the fake gold trim guys like him love!!!

    September 2, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    What's missing is, is a 'corner' and a 'straight-backed wooden chair' with 'conical dunce cap' for John Boehner to sit in and wear when appropriate. A bar of ivory soap should be handy at all times.

    September 2, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. Dennis

    Glad to know there is money to do this.

    September 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Lisa P

    The more I look at it the more I think it strikes a nice balance between formal (the striped wallpaper, for instance) and comfortable. It's a relaxed yet lively room, a good place to get some brainstorming done. God knows we could use it!

    September 2, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. stormerF

    Spend,spend,spend,while the Economy goes south. I guess it doesn't feel that way when you are spending the Tax Payers money,and borrowing more than you have to spend.

    September 2, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. genevieve

    too bland. anyone have the name of the designer(s)?

    September 2, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Trythefacts

    I am so happy that I can pay for this with my tax dollars yet can't afford to update my own residence. Obama has no concern for the Amereican citizen unless they pay taxes.

    September 2, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Snow

    It looks like someone threw up in there. The only thing worse is the shower curtain obama stands in front of when he gives his waste of time speeches.

    September 2, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Beverly - NYC

    As long as the President if comfortable in the office, who gives a flying fig who likes or does not like the decor. He lived with the Bushes tastes for 18 months, long enough in my book. Give him a break, not everything is open for discussion.

    September 2, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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