The Oval Office has undergone a transformation reflective of every president from William Howard Taft to Joe Biden.
With every President that has taken the oath of office since the beginning of the 20th century, America has seen a season of change and advancement to some degree. This is also true of the decor of the Oval Office, which has undergone a transformation reflective of every president from William Howard Taft to Joe Biden. On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the home warranty company American Home Shield set about researching the changes made by each administration and creating 3D renderings of each of the Oval Office's 20 looks over the years.
Here's a look at the evolution of the Oval Office from 1909 to the present day:
It was Taft, the 27th president of the United States, who first moved the seat of power from the Roosevelt Room to the room of the president's secretary during his expansion of the West Wing. He also remodeled the room to its now iconic oval shape.
Wilson only minor changes to the new Oval Office as he preferred to work in the Treaty Room.
Harding passed away two years into his administration. A poignant photo of the Oval Office dated August 1923 shows his leather desk chair and famous blotter adorned with mourning crepes.
Coolidge also preferred to keep the Oval Office as designer Nathan C. Wyeth envisioned for William Taft. "A marble mantel in the neoclassical style adds gravity and authority to the scene, while the fixtures are by celebrated lighting and metalwork company E. F. Caldwell & Co," states the American Home Shield website.
After the Oval Office was ruined by the White House fire of Christmas Eve, 1929, sitting President Hoover repaired and expanded the office in a colonial style, with butternut wood-paneled walls.
Roosevelt relocated the Oval Office to the southeast corner of the West Wing, where there was better natural light. After expanding it by two feet, he kept Hoover's 17-piece suite, which included a desk, "davenport, club chair, two large and one smaller wing chairs, two tables, swivel desk chair, two armchairs, two bookcases, a small table and three smoking stands of two sizes."
Truman became the first to have a rug with the Seal of the President. The crest was implied by cutting the pile to different lengths on a continuous blue-green color rug.
Eisenhower was one of just two presidents who did not make any significant changes to the decor of the Oval Office. He is, however, said to have destroyed the floor with his golf spikes, which he neglected to take off when returning from the putting green he established on the back lawn.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy invited French interior designer Stéphane Boudin to renovate and restore the White House. Although the Kennedys never got to see the finished job, Boudin introduced a new red rug, white sofas and pale curtains.
Johnson reportedly covered up Eisenhower's spike-prints with wood-grain linoleum and brought the Oval Office into the media age by installing a teletype cabinet and banquette with three television sets.
Nixon chose a bold combination of blue and gold for his Oval Office and brought the Wilson desk—which is currently being used by President Biden—into the office.
Ford dialed down his predecessor's gold and royal blue to a bright but mellow color scheme of yellow, baby blue and terracotta. He also installed the Seymour tall case clock that remains in the Oval Office today.
Although Carter kept Ford's decor for the most part, he added some personal touches of his own. He also brought back the famous Resolute desk first used by JFK.
Reagan waited for his second term before redecorating by adding a new rug with a sunbeam design atop a new floor in walnut and quartered white oak. He also added a 2-inch base to the Resolute desk to stop him from banging his knees on the drawers.
Bush Senior modernized the Oval Office with a steel blue and cream color scheme. He also displayed numerous family photographs and was the only president to have used the C&O desk in his Oval Office, after he grew fond of using it while serving as Reagan's vice-president.
Kaki Hockersmith's redecoration of the Oval Office for President Clinton was reminiscent of the Nixon era with the eye-catching blue seal rug.
Bush Junior echoed Ronald Reagan with his choice of a sunbeam-themed rug. Designer Ken Blasingame paired the rug with antique gold drapes.
President Obama was the first to choose patterned walls, opting for golden tan and light-beige striped wallpaper. The room also featured cool fawn-colored velvet sofas and neutral tones.
President Trump replaced Obama's wallpaper, opting for a motif of sea scrolls, leaves and floral medallions. He also chose to display the gold curtains that had originally been picked by First Lady Hillary Clinton for husband Bill's Oval Office.
President Biden opted to keep the Clinton drapes in the windows and brought back Clinton’s navy rug.