The iVillage Oval Office Makeover: Change We Can Believe In!

Decorator Michael Smith's makeover of the Oval Office was unveiled this week and, frankly, we're disappointed. There’s no sign of Barack Obama's youthful energy or Michelle Obama’s enviable style in this room redo. Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington dubbed the new look "The Audacity of Taupe" and we agree — the room makes us want to crawl under that big historic desk and take a nap!

That’s why we considered it our patriotic duty to give this makeover another go. Here are some changes we believe in.

(Above) We like wallpaper. We like stripes. But the new treatment in the Oval Office feels a little too similar to what most doctors have in their waiting rooms. We lightened and brightened with a pale grey, Belle Grove Valley Fog by Valspar. The shade is part of the company's Historic Colors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation collection, full of colors inspired by historic U.S. properties.

Next, we voted the dull brown couches out of office and brought in this jewel-toned tufted Chester sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Positively presidential, don't you think?

We suggest ditching the stuffy paintings and, instead, paying homage to the Founding Fathers with these silk Abe Lincoln and George Washington pillows ($60 each at Spitfire Girl). A God Bless America pillow adds a traditional touch. (price upon request at Run Run Studio).

For lighting, we opted for a pair of white ceramic table lamps ($175 each at Bellacor), which provide a nice sculptural element.


Obama’s new floor covering features famous quotes including "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." We advise the president to listen to those sage words from Franklin D. Roosevelt and try this bold Zigzag rug ($649 for 9' x 12' at West Elm) instead!

The mica coffee table weighs the room down – we replaced it with the Chloe ($299 at Pottery Barn). The table's small size and delicate flared legs give the space more breathing room.

Instead of reupholstering the arm chairs in leather, we'd use Celerie Kemble for Schumacher's Bleecker Fabric in biscuit. A modern take on classic fretwork, this fabric adds pattern that isn't too fussy.

Of course, we had to take care of First Dog Bo Obama. The presidential pooch can keep the commander in chief company in one of these Silhouette beds ($40 to $50 at Harry Barker).

To liven up Obama's desk, we chose the cheerful Enamel Bracket frame ($68 at Jonathan Adler), perfect for displaying a photo of Sasha and Malia! We also added Morris the Memo Donkey ($14 at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art store), which can be used to relay important messages from Michelle (or, you know, heads of state). And if the president needs to send a note, these Jefferson Memorial note cards ($20 for 10 at R. Nichols) make for memorable correspondence.

Chime In! Do you think it's appropriate to redecorate the Oval Office?

Like this? Read these!

-The Oval Office Gets a Makeover
-Presidential Pet: Bo Obama in Pictures
-Go Inside the Home of D.C. Real Housewife Mary Schmidt Amons

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