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Which president had the best-looking Oval Office?

President Obama's Oval Office recently underwent a makeover, complete with new carpeting, wallpaper, sofas and a rug made of 25 percent recycled wood. Browse through images of the renovated room, and vote on your favorite presidential office below.

Photo Gallery: President Obama's new office
Photo Gallery: Oval Offices in history

By Abha Bhattarai  |  August 31, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Bill Clinton's design might not have been the most attractive, but it certainly was the most functional. It made cleaning up those tell-tale stains a breeze.

Posted by: hisroc | August 31, 2010 6:52 PM

THE PHOTO OF OBAMA'S OFFICE ABOVE WAS BEFORE THE RENOVATION, and therefore should be credited to W. Bush. Personally, that is my favorite, but I like Clinton's as well.

I truly dislike is Obama's new style. Very comfortable, modern furniture for a modern office, perhaps straight our of the Pottery Barn catalog (to go with Michelle's J. Crew wardrobe), but not what I would consider appropriate for the Oval Office.

Visitors to Obama's office should be energized by classic, bright colors and even intimidated by the artful and traditional furnishings which exude power, not find themselves tempted to relax on the comfy, brown sofas with coordinating pillows. The White House is full of traditional furnishings throughout, and the most symbolic and ceremonial office in the building should be consistent with that style.

Don't get me wrong...I'd love Obama's furnishings in my office, or more appropriately my family room. But not in the Oval Office.

Posted by: RambleOn | August 31, 2010 8:31 PM

The Bush Oval office looked fine sans the blue sriped chairs...

Given the economic challenges that so many are facing, to re-do at this time was sending a wrong message.

Whle I understand the need or desire to make one space their own - this was not the time.

Posted by: onthejourney | August 31, 2010 9:42 PM

In addition, agree with previous writer...

"hanging out" furniture does not belong in the Oval Office

Posted by: onthejourney | August 31, 2010 9:46 PM

Even in such a meaningless and silly exercise as voting on the decor of the Oval office, the Washington Post stacks the deck to favor Obama. Is it even possible to compare the overhead photo with the other snapshots of presidential desks? Aside from the incredibly garish Clinton rug, oh yes, Obama's office is the bestest, most prettiest, most popular office as befits our bestest, smartest, most popular president EVER!!!!!

Posted by: Michelle111 | August 31, 2010 9:48 PM

This may be the stupidest poll I've ever seen. Why do I even read this ridiculous website? I feel my brain cells shrinking...

Yay Obama! You can pick coordinating office furniture! Woo hoo!

The WaPo has fully solidified its standing as total clown journalism... Good grief.

Posted by: kate19 | August 31, 2010 10:02 PM


THE PHOTO OF OBAMA'S OFFICE ABOVE WAS BEFORE THE RENOVATION, and therefore should be credited to W. Bush. Personally, that is my favorite, but I like Clinton's as well.

Posted by: RambleOn | August 31, 2010 8:31 PM

OMG you are right. The photo is actually of Bush's office decor! So, now I wonder how many people actually voted for Obama's office because it was Obama and they were actually voting for Bush. The irony is delightful.

Posted by: Michelle111 | August 31, 2010 10:05 PM

Obama has it beat hands down. We see that the President try to maitain tradition, work within the limited space and try to convey their personal style. I can't wait for a president to get rid of that big old wood desk for a more sleek model. I did not see it, but I hope a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr is in President Obama's Oval set up. It would bless the whole room!!

Posted by: Lcolvin1 | August 31, 2010 10:10 PM

Yep, the photo credited as Obama's is actually the decor installed by George W. Bush. And the rug is not made from recycled WOOD, it's recycled WOOL!! Seriously, is this paper written by junior high students?

Aside from all that, I think the actual Obama scheme wins. It's subtly modern and a nice color palette but still presidential enough. However, the quotes on the rug are tacky. George W. had a much better rug.

Posted by: getjiggly | August 31, 2010 10:44 PM

Yep, the photo credited as Obama's is actually the decor installed by George W. Bush. And the rug is not made from recycled WOOD, it's recycled WOOL!! Seriously, is this paper written by junior high students?

Aside from all that, I think the actual Obama scheme wins. It's subtly modern and a nice color palette but still presidential enough. However, the quotes on the rug are tacky. George W. had a much better rug.

Posted by: getjiggly | August 31, 2010 10:48 PM

As long as he likes it, why do you care? It's his office.

Posted by: observator1000 | August 31, 2010 10:48 PM

My wife and I want do redo part of our house, but we just don't have the money now.

Posted by: georges2 | August 31, 2010 11:35 PM

For those posters who think the photo at the bottom (President Obama’s office) is the same as George W. Bush’s, you need to look at the two photos a little closer. Here are just a few of the differences. Obama’s office has striped wallpaper, off-white wainscoting, the rug is close in color, but has dark blue around the seal and the edges of the rug and doesn’t have starburst rays going from the seal to the edge of the rug (like Bush‘s), and the background on the seal is off-white, not beige. I think the whole effect is wonderfully understated elegance!

Posted by: over65wtfem | September 1, 2010 12:35 AM

Clinton's renovation was hideous. Bush I's seems to be the most restrained among them. The new design would be better without the decidedly unattractive sofas.

Posted by: rwb1122 | September 1, 2010 12:48 AM

I realize I'm in the minority, but I preferred Clinton's office. It looks more Presidential. And, though I voted for President Obama, his redecoration of the Oval office looks as if it came from the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog. Not very Presidential. I wish he'd stop trying to be an Everyman and begin being the President. He never has been, nor will he ever be Everyman. He wouldn't be where he is today if he were.

Posted by: plotdot | September 1, 2010 2:28 AM

Clearly, Reagan had the most "theatrical" appearance but that is to be expected. He probably had some set dresser from Hollywood come in to do the job.

I think Obama's office is just too bland. There is no "there" there.

Clinton's office is probably the best if you consider that Reagan's office looks like a stage set.

Posted by: mehrenst1 | September 1, 2010 3:24 AM

Someone said it looked like a hotel room. I agree. No Class.

Posted by: melindaleekolb | September 1, 2010 5:14 AM

I despised most of his policies, but Bush Jr. had the nicest office. Understated but not boring.

Clinton had the ugliest.

Obama's is ok. A bit boring.

Posted by: TheHillman | September 1, 2010 7:56 AM

Well, I had to vote for Obama's design because the rest didn't give any good shots of the room.

Btw, that bright blue rug fits Bill Clinton's Arkansas roots just perfectly (snicker snicker).

Posted by: forgetthis | September 1, 2010 8:51 AM

When I visited the WH a long time ago, I fell in love with the Gold (Vermeil) Room. I like both Obama's and Bush '43's offices because I love the light gold tone-on-tone variations. That's the kind of thing I want to do in my own living room. Reagan's backdrop looks like either a funeral parlor or a high-class brothel. Never did like that blue rug in Clinton's. Can't tell about JFK or Ford. And no feeling one way or the other about Bush 41.

Posted by: destinysmom | September 1, 2010 9:40 AM

Perhaps President Obama will visit the Oval Office now that it has been redecorated. Maybe the neutral colors will unclutter his mind and allow him to make the correct decision to get our troops out of Afghanistan--his nonsense war of choice. Maybe it will bring back memories of his campaign promises to end the war. Is Iraq really over. I think not!!! I think more attention should be placed on fixing what is wrong with America instead of redecorating. In the past two days 27 of our precious troops died in Afghanistan and how many more wounded and maimed for life? I don't think interior decorating should be leading the news headlines. It doesn't matter what the office looks like because after 2012 someone else will be sitting at that desk.

Posted by: dawsonrl | September 1, 2010 10:01 AM

ok first. the picture of obamas office is NOT done before the renovation. if you notice the difference in wallpaper. plus the WP ran a story about his new office yesterday that included those new couches, the new walnut table and the bowl of apples on the table. so yeaaaaah. should pay a little more attention to that. Also, how are you supposed to really pick the best when the only two decent photos are of Clintons office and Obamas office....

Posted by: ak53 | September 1, 2010 10:02 AM

An addendum to my previous posting. The number of troops killed in two days is 29. Too many young lives lost and too many families destroyed. So very sad. Iraq was started because Bush wanted to avenge his Daddy, the senior Bush. However, Afghanistan is Obama's mistake. Bring our troops home!! Yes we can. He said he would.

Posted by: dawsonrl | September 1, 2010 10:08 AM

Seems like this story is more appropriate for a brain-dead, low-brow, network TV broadcast program like "Inside Edition." ... Besides, the photos are clearly selected unequally. It is glaringly obvious that the best photo angle is listed as Obama's, and intended to give Obama a biased advantage. Don't the WaPo editors have anything better to present as news?

Posted by: GOTBRAIN | September 1, 2010 10:13 AM

Please get rid of the boring plant on fireplace mantle. Kennedy had a model of a frigate (according to the movie, Thirteen Days). I know plant has been there thru a lot of presidents...enough.

Posted by: marpaw | September 1, 2010 11:46 AM

I really don't give a S### lets talk about jobs

Posted by: mernatti123 | September 1, 2010 11:54 AM

The pictures here don't really do the office justice, so comparing between them here is difficult. The White House Museum gives better pics of the old offices:

http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/west-wing/oval-office-old.htm

Saying which is best is also hard (Obama, Dubya, and Reagan have very similar offices; Obama's being a bit more casual contemporary, which I think works well today but don't know how it would stand up in future looking back) but I can easily say which are the worst in recent history:

1. Gerald Ford - Jimmy Carter (Carter sadly did not update Ford's). The flower pattern carpet looks like something from an old lady's house.

2. Bill Clinton. Sorry, liked him as president, but the office was overdone. (Nixon's was pretty bad for similar reasons, probably the same overcompensation psychology at work...).

3. George H. W. Bush - Powder blue is, again, too old lady.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | September 1, 2010 1:28 PM

It seems that every president feels a need to change the decor of the Oval Office. A president should only be allowed that privelage if they make it to a second term. Besides, Mr Obama has already spent way more than his share of the taxpayers money. He should be billed for the changes! If a nationwide poll is being taken, maybe the questions should be; How many Americans can afford to do remodeling at this time?

Posted by: Hadley3 | September 1, 2010 1:41 PM

Rambleon wrote: THE PHOTO OF OBAMA'S OFFICE ABOVE WAS BEFORE THE RENOVATION, and therefore should be credited to W. Bush.-------
Sorry but the picture is of the new Obama office.

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | September 1, 2010 2:11 PM

Soon we will be able to remove everything which is red, white and blue, including the flag from the Oval office. Then we will have achieved one of the goals of Liberation.
Interior Decoration is expensive, and so are Obama's eight vacations. Even his last business trip overwhelmed the British with 500 helpers servicing him, many armored cars, tons of electronic equipment, and six doctors. More than the Queen,they said.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | September 1, 2010 2:16 PM

Gerald Ford didn't use the Resolute desk?

Posted by: fnar1 | September 1, 2010 4:32 PM

I never liked "beige", and I never will. If that's the best you can do, paint it white and call it a day.
For obvious reasons, the Oval Office has never been an ugly room, or poorly furnished. I do prefer to see more expression of color, and the personal tastes of the POTUS.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | September 1, 2010 5:14 PM

Obama's looks like the furnishings came from Pottery Barn.
Glad to see the rug that W looked under for WMD (while our soldiers were being shot and killed in sweltering Iraq, something the paranoid with fear for himself Bush would NEVER submit himself to) but I don't like the new one either. Glad we taxpayers didn't have to foot the bill ...

Posted by: mimosa1 | September 1, 2010 6:35 PM

JFK had the best looking Oval Office by far! The nautical theme, the tasteful yet simple chairs, rocker and glass New England lamps on the walls made his office look best. The only bad thing his team did was to install that hideous red rug in there, but since it was installed while the President was in Dallas, it never got used by him.

Most of the Midwesterners to occupy the WH (Truman, Eisenhower, Clinton [if you count Arkansas as 'midwest' and not 'southern'] and Obama---have had hideous design choices, IMO. Obama's latest decor choices of striped walls make the office look smaller than it already is, and if you've ever stood in it as I have, it's not that big. Clinton's decor was the worst, perhaps followed by Carter's, which for some reason isn't featured in the voting choices. LBJ also is not included. His "decor" was also absolutely HIDEOUS, with multiple Tee Vees installed in cabinets so CornPone could watch multiple channels at the same time.

Taxes paid for decoration (within certain bounds) are taxes well spent, considering the function that this office serves our head of state. I don't begrudge a little spending for good style that speaks well of our national image.

Posted by: BuddyLove | September 1, 2010 8:33 PM

They all look ok but I just have a special place in my heart for JFK. It's great I lived to see an African American President but it's nothing like being a young black girl surrounded by racism/hate to hear a young hot President say this is my country and I a responsibility to the USA. Kennedy changed a generation but in time some of those people had their brains fired on drugs and went home to their rich parents and now we see them as Law Makers even Presidents.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | September 1, 2010 10:47 PM

There are a few problems with the pics above besides the ones I noted previousle:

1. The pic of Dubya's Oval is early in the administration as he is using Reagan's rug (his sunbeam rug had a blue Seal, not the tan one).

2. H. W. Bush is also shown early in the Administration, using the Reagan pattern.

For a few other folk's questions:

- Carter didn't redesign the Oval, he stuck with Ford's design
- Kennedy for most of his term used Eisehower's Oval, with the addition of the Resolute desk and minor decorative items. He was in the process of remodeling it when assassinated.
- The Resolute desk was the Oval desk of choice of Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Dubya, and Obama (FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower shared FDR's desk, Johnson had a new desk built as the Resoute was too small for him, Nixon chose to use Woodrow Wilson's desk (which ended up being the wrong one), Bush I chose to keep his desk from the VP's office)

Posted by: kreuz_missile | September 2, 2010 12:54 PM

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