Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Homes Inspired by Icons: The Sophisticated Style of Jackie Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy
Photo by Sacheverelle via flickr. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0.


Beyond her image as a fashion icon, Jacqueline Kennedy was also a brilliant interior decorator. Her appreciation of the finer things in life influenced her as she led the restoration of the White House to its old grandeur. Her stylish additions to the presidential residence in the 1960s continue to be hallmarks of her timeless elegance. You, too, can bring Jackie’s iconic designs into your home with these ideas on the Balsam Hill blog:

The Welcoming Allure of the East Sitting Hall

The East Sitting Hall
The East Sitting Hall via The White House Museum


Among the most remarkable changes made to the White House interiors was Jackie Kennedy’s complete renovation of the East Sitting Hall. She chose a classic minimalist aesthetic. The fresh and clean atmosphere exudes a laid-back and welcoming aura. The green upholstery and drapery, for instance, reflect a natural color that is soothing to the eyes.

Classic minimalism is about highlighting individual pieces, such as furniture, light fixtures, and artworks that exhibit traditional elegance, without adding too much visual weight. You can place furnishings with rich details and still keep the overall layout of the room open.

A traditional foyer
Traditional Entry by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators RLH Studio


The predictable nature of a classic minimalist setting results in a calmer and more welcoming atmosphere, such as the one seen in this classic entryway. Dark hardwood floors, black and white tile floors, and pristine white walls achieve this modest but elegant look. A traditional crystal chandelier and a center table that uses family memorabilia as accent pieces give the space a charming antiquated feel.

The Exuberance of the Oval Room

The Yellow Oval Room
The Yellow Oval Room by GearedBull via WikiCommons


Another unforgettable change during Mrs. Kennedy’s time is the work she did in the Yellow Oval Room. The vivid colors of red, yellow, and gold offer a look of efflorescence. And because the room retains classic lines in the furniture and draperies, the integrity of the style is not compromised but enhanced. The area serves as a wonderful backdrop for occasions that are slightly less formal and is ideal for catching up with colleagues and friends.

Traditional Porch by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators RLH Studio


To capture the cheerful yet sophisticated ambiance of the Yellow Oval Room, create a balance of vibrant patterns and solid colors. Introduce pieces that don simple, classic lines, but make sure to keep quaint little surprises as well.

The floral chair and basket weave carpet in this classic minimalist home offer interesting vine details, while the green pillows and ottomans give a wonderful burst of color. The green and beige palette continues throughout the room, even in minute details such as the window treatments. As a statement piece, the chandelier ( although not crystal) provides a distinct garden atmosphere with a weather vane theme. Its metal composition and sphere-like lines achieve a classical simplicity.

The Regal Charm of the Treaty Room

A traditional dining room
The President’s Dining Room via the Devoted Classicist


During the Kennedys’ stay at the White House, the First Lady took inspiration from traditional European designs in reinventing the presidential dining room. Devoted fans of Jackie Kennedy can recreate this regal atmosphere in their own homes.

A traditional dining room
Traditional Dining Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators RLH Studio


Painting your walls white and installing a mural reminiscent of the Vues d’Amérique du Nord in the White House is a marvelous start. The murals serve as a conversation piece. Dark wood furniture also gives the space a refined look. To elevate the regal ambiance even more, hang an ornate chandelier and place a stylish patterned rug that echoes the same detailing.

Bring Jackie Kennedy’s sophistication into your own home with these marvelous design ideas from the Balsam Hill blog.

About the Author
Dagmar Obert is a designer with over two decades of experience transforming homes into spaces that reflect comfort and elegance. Her sophisticated style emanates from her love of color, forms, and textures. From her choice of fabric to her selection of accent pieces, Dagmar pulls together the look of a room to deliver a statement of class. Surrounded by family and friends, Dagmar takes delight in turning her own home into a venue where wonderful occasions are made more memorable. Her how-to guides and inspiration articles on decorating and entertaining provide readers with unique ways to create the perfect setting for life’s cherished moments.
  • Alice

    I just love Jackie’s style. Thanks for showing me how to incorporate them into my home!

  • BalsamHill

    Hi Alice! Thanks for stopping by our blog. We hope to inspire you with more decorating ideas this 2014.