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Vintage rugs are decorative heavy textiles that were created at least 30 years ago. This general category is very diverse and includes floor coverings from all over the world, the Orient and Occident alike. When putting vintage carpets on the timeline, we can assume they were made after the year 1920. Antique carpets, on the other hand, were made before that date. This division is rather conventional because the border between an antique rug and a vintage rug is fluent and shifts over time. One day, all vintage carpets will become antique. Another way to categorize vintage rugs, which is probably more accurate, is to link them to the birth of Modernism – this method of categorization prompts the use of the term mid-century rugs.

The most recognizable styles of mid-century rugs are:

  • Mid-Century Modern – created in the middle of the 20th century, authentic vintage rugs are real treasures of design. Mid-century rugs should not be associate with minimalism but rather with simplicity and functionality. Made out of high-quality materials, very often playful in terms of color and shape, at least as long as they can still serve they function, they are considered truly iconic by designers and tastemakers alike to this day.
  • Scandinavian – The heyday for Swedish vintage rugs has begun in the first half of the 20th century and lasts until today. These northern textiles combine excellent workmanship, practicality and beauty, following the philosophy of Scandinavian design. Both enthusiasts and expert of decorating appreciate their unmistakable charm.
  • Arts&Crafts – The distinctive style of antique Arts and Crafts rugs and carpets is defined and characterized by serpentine curvilinear and naturalistic floral patterns executed in a rich, dense palette. Rebelling against their rigid Victorian backgrounds, and the dehumanizing mechanization of the Industrial Age, proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement sought to re-establish the link between the artist and the craftsman, and art and industry.
  • Moroccan – Moroccan vintage rugs are characterized by bold colors and tribal aesthetics, carrying geometric rather than figurative designs. They have been extremely popular since the mid-20th century due to their naïve charm and unique appearance that fits perfectly into contemporary décor trends.
  • Art Deco – Art Deco rugs are the embodiment of the modernist progressive thought with the preservation of the finest weaving traditions and centuries-long techniques, providing Deco rugs with a classic and luxurious feel. Art Deco vintage rugs combine the ancient craft with rather contemporary aesthetics, incorporating such iconic design influences as neoclassicism, constructivism, cubism, minimalism, modernism or art nouveau.
  • Chinese Deco – Art Deco influenced rug production in China resulting in a unique style which nowadays is known as Chinese Deco. Unlike its European version, Chinese Deco does not shun nature-inspired patterns as it largely builds upon antique Chinese rug design full of figurative representations of fauna, flora, the elements, symbolic motifs and mythical creatures like the mighty dragon or powerful phoenix. It is, nonetheless, more spare in terms of pattern density and more radical in the use of colors compared to traditional Chinese rug design.

Vintage Rugs and Modernism

Modernism emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. It marked a major transition from the era of Victorian salons, full of conventions and social distinctions, to the age of café society, which was focused on fixing all of the ill-fitted aspects of the world. This striving for change resounded strongly in design. Pomp and excess were left behind to make way for a new concept of beauty. All of this was carried over to mid-century rugs – along with every trend in architecture and art, which were also reflected in vintage textiles.

Different Types of Vintage Rugs

In contrast to antique rugs, vintage rugs usually have ‘lighter’, more contemporary designs. They reflect the socio-cultural changes of the 20th century, echoing a new way of perceiving art, craftmanship, design and their role in everyday life. Instead of opulent, intricate patterns, vintage carpets often have experimental forms and simpler motifs – their designs are mostly abstract and geometric. The message behind each vintage rug design is very different, depending on the country and particular movement from which it originates. Thanks to their modern appearance, which combines tradition and progress, vintage carpets easily match with both classic and modern interiors.

No matter your preference for color, texture or style, Doris Leslie Blau offers the widest selection of authentic vintage floor coverings for sale in New York City and other parts of the world. We pride ourselves on bridging the gap between art, design, and architecture by making rugs a key element of interior design. Our mission is to ensure superior quality while providing the highest standards of service. Visit our New York City Gallery and experience the magic and mystery of weaving masterpieces for yourself.

Please visit our vintage rug showroom in Manhattan:

Vintage Rug Showroom at Interior Arts Building
DLB @ Interior Arts Building
306 East 61st Street, 7th Floor
Manhattan – Upper East Side
New York, NY 10065
Antique Rugs: 212-586-5511
New & Custom Rugs: 212-752-7623