22 February, 2018

Presidental Oval Office Carpets and Rugs through the Ages

President George Bush Oval Office Rug

Oval Office Rugs – If you were the president of the United States, you’d have the power to make any space your own, especially your office. In the White House, it turns out, that, changing the Oval Office rug is the best way to say that you’ve taken over.

In honor of Presidents’ Day on February 19, we’re going inside 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.

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!

George W. Bush’s $62,000 sunburst rug drew many compliments. Bill Clinton, who had an elegant navy carpet during his White House years drawled, “I love that rug” while visiting presidential pals.

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. 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.

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.

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?


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