A $590,000 makeover for the White House’s State Dining Room

State Dining Room makeover

The new armchairs were modeled after those purchased by President Monroe in 1818

(Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

America, what do you think of your new dining room?

Michelle Obama has given the White House’s State Dining Room a makeover, seizing an opportunity to leave a lasting impression at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. before she and her husband take their final leave as president and first lady.

The $590,000 makeover -- paid for by a private fund dedicated to the upkeep of White House rooms that are open to the public -- involved new chairs and draperies.

All changes were approved by the Committee for the Preservation of the White House and in consultation with the first lady, according to the Associated Press, which spoke to White House curator William Allman for details:


New side- and armchairs were custom-made in North Carolina, finished off in a brown, grid-patterned fabric and brass nail heads. They were modeled after armchairs that President Monroe acquired in 1818 from a Washington cabinetmaker.

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If you like the look of the room, one way to try to mimic it for yourself at home might be with window treatments: The curtains are made of silk, with vertical stripes of ecru and peacock blue, and hung from carved and gilded poles.

“The blue in the draperies echoes the ‘Kailua’ blue that trims the modern-inspired china service the first lady unveiled in April and recalls the waters that surround President Obama’s home state of Hawaii,” according to the Associated Press.


The makeover has been in the works for quite a while, starting with custom-made wool rugs that were put down in 2012.

The blue-green rug design echoes the ornamental wreath elements from the room’s ceiling. There are actually two versions of the rug, so one can be switched out when it comes time for a cleaning.

Do you think Michelle Obama has a future as an interior designer?

I like a red dining room. Don’t you? I’m on Twitter @ReneLynch


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