There’s a very specific reason why the Oval Office is an oval

The White House also happens to be the seat of the United States government and the home of the President. The first stone of the White House was laid in October of 1792 and by 1800, John Adams was the first president to take up residence in the famed structure. (This is what it’s really like to work for the President, straight from the staff.)

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Images of the White House after Trump renovations
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Images of the White House after Trump renovations
The Oval Office of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Park Service employer paints the White House during a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The West Wing lobby of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Roosevelt Room of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Picture of Franklin Roosevelt is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The West Wing lobby of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The West Wing lobby of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Roosevelt Room of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential desk is seen in the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential chair (higher than others) is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A chandelier is seen outside the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Oval Office of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Oval Office of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A worker walks past the South Portico porch stairs of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A worker cleans the South Portico porch stairs of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The South Portico porch steps of the White House are seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Roosevelt Room of the White House is seen after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
New wallpapers are seen in the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential chair (higher than others) is seen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Presidential desk is seen in the Oval Office of the White House after a renovation in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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Three rooms in the first design of the White House were oval-shaped so that the president could take part in a greeting ceremony known as a “levee.” The White House Historical Association breaks down the details of the antiquated affair:

“Invited guests entered the room and walked over to the president standing before the fireplace and bowed as a presidential aide made a low announcement of their names. The visitor then stepped back to his place. After 15 minutes the doors were closed and the group would have assembled in a circle. The president would then walk around the circle, addressing each man by his name from memory with some pleasantry or studied remark of congratulation, which might have a political connotation. He bowed, but never shook hands. When he had rounded the circle, the president returned to his place before the mantel and stood until, at a signal from an aide, the guests went to him, one by one, bowed without saying anything, and left the room.”

The formal procedure was eventually done away with by Thomas Jefferson who viewed it as having too much of a monarchical feel to it. Although the Oval Office was built in 1909, it retained the oval design to mirror those first three rooms in the original White House. (Don’t miss these 12 other mind-blowing White House facts you missed in history class.)

Now that the shapes are all sorted out, onto the hues: Why are airplanes white, and why are barns red?

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A history of presidents, staff kicking back in the Oval Office
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A history of presidents, staff kicking back in the Oval Office
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (L) checks her phone after taking a photo as US President Donald Trump and leaders of historically black universities and colleges pose for a group photo in the Oval Office of the White House before a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence February 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 8: In this handout from the The White House, U.S. President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Washington, DC: With a familiar prop autographed by the 1982 University of Southern California football team, President Reagan, 71, duplicates his style at age 29 when he appeared as the Gipper in a film, Knute Rockne - All American. The president in the Oval Office in March 1982.
WASHINGTON - AUGUST 11: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) U.S. President Gerald R. Ford takes a call at his desk in the Oval Office on August 11, 1974 in Washington, D.C. The bookshelves are empty due to ex-President Richard M. Nixon's staff packing up two days prior. Ford stepped into office as president on August 9th after the resignation of Nixon. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/ Getty Images)
(Original Caption) The White House released this picture showing President Kennedy watching his 18-month-old son, John Jr., prancing about in the Chief Executive's office. Members of the staff said John Jr. emerged from his crawling stage about two weeks ago and began walking.
WASHINGTON, : U.S. President Bill Clinton(R) shows his batting stance to former St. Louis Cardinals baseball great Stan Musial (L) in the Oval Office 06 May, 1993. Musial presented Clinton with the bat and some other memorabilia. (Photo credit should read LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)
President Reagan tests out his new putter, given to him by recent U.S. Open winner Ray Floyd.
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 9: In this handout image provided by the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama plays with Sarah Froman, daughter of Nancy Goodman and Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, in the Oval Office on July 9, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House Photo via Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON - MARCH 3: In this handout provide by the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama examines the Resolute Desk while visiting with Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg recalling the famous photograph, her brother John F. Kennedy Jr., peeking through the FDR panel, while his father President Kennedy worked, in the Oval Office of the White House on March 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama is serving as the 44th President of the U.S. and the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the United States. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images)
Malcolm Forbes, Republican candidate for Governor in New Jersey, his wife, four sons and one daughter are greeted at the White House by President Eisenhower on whom they paid a call today. (L-R): Robert, 8, Timothy, 4, Malcolm Jr. (Steve), 10, Moira, 2, Mrs. Forbes, Mr. Forbes, and President Dwight Eisenhower.
WASHINGTON - MARCH 4: In this handout provide by the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama plays with a football in the Outer Oval Office of the White House on March 4, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama is serving as the 44th President of the U.S. and the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the United States. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images)
President Barack Obama practices with a golf club after the signing ceremony for H.R. 1243, the Arnold Palmer Congressional Gold Medal Act, in the Oval Office, Sept. 30, 2009. (Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House. (Photo by Samantha Appleton/White House/Handout/The White House/Corbis via Getty Images)
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