Barack and Michelle Obama's living room is a lesson in timeless, simplistic style

The former first lady shared a rare glimpse inside their traditional family home – in exclusive Kalorama, Washington DC

Michelle and Barack Obama
(Image credit: GettyImages)

Barack and Michelle Obama left the White House in 2017 – but they haven't left the capital. Instead, the former First Lady and President of the United States moved northwest of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – to the chic Kalorama neighborhood – popular among ex-presidents, ambassadors, and other notable residents. 

Though the Obama family keeps much of their personal lives private, they occasionally share snippets of their $8.1m property – that they own alongside a home in Martha's Vineyard, south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. 

Most recently, Michelle shared a corner of their simple yet elegant living room – and it offers inspiration for decorating with neutrals and accessorizing with accent colors.

'Knitting has truly become one of my favorite pastimes, and I’ve enjoyed the feeling of slowing down and creating something from hand,' the former First Lady says.

Michelle is pictured in a cream armchair – surrounded by similar-toned curtains and a round wooden table. This neutral palette continues onto the flooring (where the Obamas have chosen an off-white carpet) and the painted walls. 

Despite the neutral backdrop – the room is by no means boring. Instead, Michelle and Barack have incorporated color through vibrantly-hued accent pieces that interrupt the earthy tones and allow them to add personality and interest. Most notably, the ornate deep red rug – and the purple flowers (seen on the table).

The power of neutrals will likely come as no surprise – however – Michelle's post is a reminder of their enduring versatility – which will impress in spaces of all sizes. It's a lesson that Mylands House of Color urges us all to remember when thinking of our next paint project. 

'Neutrals are endlessly versatile and often used either as a soft, calming look for the entire space or as background for stronger color accents,' – as is the case in Barack and Michelle's home. 

'Nuanced tones allow the introduction of subtle color to a scheme that is more characterful than white, without being too strong, whether it is used for the whole room or just accents such as woodwork on the doors and windows,' the experts add. 

Inspired? Paint aside, we're replicating our other favorite parts of Barack and Michelle's living room with these finds below. 

If you love the neutral, sophisticated style of this space, then team neutral living room ideas with the latest rustic wood finishes, and look at contrasting colors and textured materials.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.