Presidential Oval Office Rugs

The Presidential Oval Office Rugs Over The Years

In honor of Presidents’ Day on February 17, 2014, we’re going inside the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, through the West Wing and into the Oval Office to uncover the most stylish and memorable carpets, including a few designed by first ladies.

It is important to note that not every new US president does not necessarily get a new presidential Oval Office rug. The design and replacement of the Oval Office rug are not automatic with each new president. While presidents do have the option to make changes to the decor and furnishings in the Oval Office, including the rug, it’s not a standard practice to replace the rug with each new administration.

Typically, presidents have the opportunity to make alterations to the Oval Office’s interior design, including selecting a new rug, to reflect their personal tastes or to convey a particular message or theme. Some presidents choose to keep the existing rug, while others opt for a new one. The decision to change the rug or not depends on the preferences and priorities of the incoming president.

The Oval Office rug is just one aspect of the overall decor, and presidents may choose to make various changes to the room, such as adding or removing artwork, selecting new furniture, or rearranging the layout. These changes are often symbolic and can convey the president’s values, priorities, or personal style. However, the extent of these changes varies from one administration to another.

President Obama’s Oval Office rug

When President Obama moved in, he selected an understated taupe rug surrounded by quotes from Lincoln, Kennedy and both Roosevelt’s. There was also a quote attributed to Martin Luther King, except an astute reporter realized that it came from pre-war abolitionist Theodore Parker. Oops!

Presidential Oval Office Rugs by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Presidential Oval Office Rugs

The AP recently published an article that describes the changes President Obama is making to the Oval Office, one of which includes a new rug. According to the article, Michael Smith (a regular collaborator with Nazmiyal Collection Of Antique Rugs) of California based Michael Smith Inc. interior design company is the mastermind behind the changes.

President Barack Obama Oval Office Rug Nazmiyal Antique Carpets

President Barack Obama Oval Office Rug

The new rug in the President’s oval office in the West wing of the White House, includes quotes along the border from famous Americans and a central medallion displaying the Bald Eagle, the national bird of the United States, and replaces the yellow sunbeam design rug from former President Bush’s Oval Office.

President Bill Clinton’s Oval Office rug

Bill Clinton, who had an elegant navy carpet during his White House years drawled, “I love that rug” while visiting presidential pals.

President Bill Clinton Oval Office Rug Nazmiyal Antique Carpets

President Bill Clinton Oval Office Rug

President George W Bush’s Oval Office Rug

George W. Bush’s $62,000 sunburst rug drew many compliments. The radiant sunburst Presidential Seal rug with graceful botanical borders. The design was developed by first lady Laura Bush and inspired by Reagan’s similar sunbeam carpet.

President George W Bush Sunburst Oval Office Rug Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

President George W Bush Sunburst Oval Office Rug

President Gerald Ford’s Oval Office rug

Gerald Ford’s carpet was a White House icon used by three presidents. This elegant golden-yellow carpet was punctuated with blue rosettes in an open, almost Asiatic repeating pattern crowned by neoclassical borders.

President Gerald Ford Oval Office Rug nazmiyal

President Gerald Ford Oval Office Rug

President Harry Truman’s Oval Office rug

Harry Truman’s presidential seal carpet was equally successful. His glaucous blue rug was the first to display the Presidential Seal.

The design was created in relief with pile of various lengths. Eisenhower used the carpet, and it was brought back by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s after a brief appearance in the Kennedy Oval Office.

President Harry Truman Oval Office Rug Nazmiyal

President Harry Truman Oval Office Rug

Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan’s Oval Office rugs

Before 1945, green was the traditional color of the Oval Office rug, which has always matched the shape and size of the room. Pat Nixon was the first create a design for her husband’s office, and she picked a robust royal blue.

Dark blue and soft neutral tones are the most popular colors for this frequently changing space. In the White House, change is the constant. The only question is what happens after these distinctive oval rugs make it through a term in the White House.

President Richard Nixon Oval Office Rug Nazmiyal

President Richard Nixon Oval Office Rug

president ronald reagan oval office rug nazmiyal

President Ronald Reagan Oval Office Rug

Does every new US President change the area rug in the oval office?

It is a common tradition for incoming U.S. presidents to make changes to the decor of the Oval Office, including the selection of a new rug. The Oval Office is the official workspace of the President of the United States, located in the West Wing of the White House. As each president takes office, they often make changes to the interior design and decoration to reflect their personal style, priorities, and the tone they wish to set for their administration.

Changing the rug in the Oval Office is a symbolic act that allows the new president to put their own mark on the space and create an environment that aligns with their vision and values. The choice of rug design, color, and motifs can carry significant meaning and messaging. Some presidents opt for rugs that feature historical quotes, iconic American symbols, or designs that highlight specific themes important to their administration.

While many presidents choose to change the rug, it’s not a strict requirement, and some may decide to keep certain elements of the previous decor if they resonate with their goals. The decision to change the rug is part of a broader process of transforming the Oval Office to reflect the new president’s unique approach and priorities.

The Yellow Oval Room is grandly decorated by one of Nazmiyal’s favorite designers, Michael Smith, featuring a beautiful Oushak rug

President Obama recently gave the public glimpses into his private residence in The White House. Of one of those private rooms, the magnificent Yellow Oval Room stands out. It sits on the second floor of the White House, and was decorated by Michael Smith eight years ago when Obama first came to office. In the middle of Obama’s yellow oval room sits a large antique carpet, a magnificent Oushak rug picked out by one of Nazmiyal’s favorite designers, Michael Smith.

Yellow Oval Room Decorated by Michael Smith featuring a large Oushak Rug by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Yellow Oval Room Decorated by Michael Smith featuring a large Oushak Rug

Michael Smith, a Los Angeles based interior designer has mentioned how he’s been influenced by the Obama’s lifestyle. He worked to decorate the rooms so that it reflected their love for books, refined tastes, and to also pay homage to the proud history of the White House. To do so he decorated the room in a way that it would exude comfort, charm, and the Obama’s passion for ‘bringing new voices into the national conversation’.

Michael Smith interior designer for the Yellow Oval Room by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

Michael Smith interior designer for the Yellow Oval Room

As per Michael Smith’s famous touches, he mixes the immense history of the building with the Obama’s progressive spirit. Undoubtedly one of Mid-Century Modern best designers, the rich beauty of Smith’s homes have a historical approach with a contemporary design. The Yellow Oval Room is decorated with diverse art, from abstract work to contemporary, and Smith and Obama worked together on the room mixing bold modern art with a marvelous Oushak rug. Read about the beauty of decorative antique rugs.

Yellow Oval Room features an Oushak similar to this, with rich gold and deep rusted greens by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs

The Yellow Oval Room features an Oushak similar to this, with rich gold and deep rusted greens

Out of all antique rugs, Turkish rugs are artistically woven in a much larger scale, making them perfect in large rooms. Out of Turkish rugs Oushak Rugs are revered for their soft-pastel tones, extremely decorative patterns, and soft high quality material. Decorating the Yellow Room with an Oushak was an excellent choice. See above image for a similar rug woven with rich gold and light green tones.

This interior design blog post about the Presidential White House Oval Office Rugs throughout history was published by Nazmiyal Antique Rugs in Manhattan, New York City.

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