The office where the president of the United States works is called the Oval Office, a reference to its unusual shape. But before 1909, the president worked in a different part of the building. It was President William Howard Taft who relocated the presidential desk to the Oval Office to work closer to his aides.
In smaller ways, new presidents have changed the look of the office to reflect their own taste. The Oval Office has seen new furniture, paintings and decorative objects. President Trump has made some decisions already, and he may change the decor further in the coming months.
A president’s changes sometimes stick and are adopted by a subsequent officeholder. (For instance, Trump has kept the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. added by President Barack Obama.) Other changes, including some listed below, are only maintained during a president’s tenure. Features that have remained constant are the presidential seal in plaster relief on the ceiling, the white marble mantel from 1909, and the two flags behind the president’s desk — the U.S. flag and the president’s flag. Most presidents hang portraits of some of America’s founders on the walls. Here are some signature items from a handful of presidents:
Based on reporting by freelance writer Kathleen Murphy.