post off: how should michelle obama decorate the white house?

Last week, the folks over at AOL Home asked me for ideas on how the two presidential nominees should decorate the White House. I had a few suggestions for the Obamas, including a vintage Hawaiiana lamp, some Display It Smart Pot Barn teen furniture for the Sasha and Malia and a sustainable dog house for their future pet. But now that it’s official, and they’ll be moving in the grand mansion in January, I’d love to come up with some more ideas. I mean, can you think of a house that’d be more fun — or challenging — to make into a home? Having young girls makes it all the more special. This gallery at will give you some idea of what her predecessors did. But I want to hear from you! What do you think the Obamas should add to the White House decor? — Angela M

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You might consider changing the title of this post. Michelle Obama graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She’s a lawyer, has held public sector positions in Chicago city govt, was Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies and is currently Vice President for Community and External Affairs, and serves on the Board of the Directors at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She was vital to her husband’s campaign. If the Obamas redecorate the White House, they’ll do it like they’ve done everything else: together.

Angela M.

Hi Maven… thanks for your comment. You’re right, that is something that I considered. But oddly, I do think it is one of the duties expected of the First Lady — like picking out a China pattern. Even Hillary made some domestic decisions — like hiring a chef. Considering how hands-on Michelle likes to be — the article in today’s NYTimes talks about that — I would bet she will be making some decisions — rather than just hire someone to do it for her.

Believe me, I think she’s an awesomely smart woman and will have a great many important things to do. But this is a home decorating blog! And we’re just having some fun…

However she does it, I hope she doesn’t spend millions of dollars.


I think they’ll probably go with a style similar to their Hyde Park home: a traditional base with a global touch. Nothing too crazy or bold, but definitely not musty-dusty either. Cozy and homey for sure. :) I would love to be a fly on the wall when they do the girls’ rooms. How fun!

I just hope it’s not in the same style as the dress she wore Tuesday night.


I’m a lawyer, and I think it would be a privilege to redecorate the First Family’s White House living quarters. The Obamas apparently plan to be there for eight years, so I’m sure that they want it to reflect their tastes. In every interview with Michelle Obama that I’ve read, she seems to have gone out of her way to emphasize that her priority would be her family if her husband were elected. Is there something about decorating that is beneath her? I don’t quite understand Maven’s indignant comment. Odd.


I think urban chic or what I’ve seen referred to as new traditional.

Mary T

I do understand where Maven is coming from, but I’m a pretty smart lady myself — and I like to decorate. Heh.


Perhaps an insect theme?

One room should be dedicated to all of the amazing Obama art that was made this year. A bit self-indulgent, I know, but hey…he’s the President.

Also, I was pursuing the archives of the White House interiors over the decades, and it’s really been lacking post-Jackie O. The current Bush “aesthetic” is beyond super stale. Let’s update it with some modern, eco-design — stat! And throw pillows! Man, does that pad need some good throw pillows.

Mary T

Ooo, Tula — maybe they’ll bring back the solar panels that were installed during the Carter administration.

Ms. Ricky Winn

Perhaps Michelle could save a few bucks by using her inaugural ball gown as a bed spread. You can drive through the N. Ga. mountains and see chenille bed spreads for sale, hanging from clothes lines, made from fabric exactly like that of Michelle’s ‘designer’ dress. Yawn.

Angela M.

Ouch. Can’t believe you didn’t like her dress, Mrs! I thought she looked stunning. But I’ve been a fan of Isabel Toledo’s for years. It’s so great to see her getting some recognition at that level. But… I suppose, you could look at it from a Sound of Music-drapery-dress perspective.

Mary T

I completely loved her inaugural ensemble, however. Plus it was lined in cashmere for warmth, and I loved the contrasting gloves.