Art Deco Design: Deco Rugs and Carpets

Art Deco Design: Deco Rugs and Carpets

Art Deco Rugs

Art deco rugs were introduced to the world at the Paris Exposition of Modern and Decorative Art (Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes) in 1925. For that historic world’s fair, the buildings were decorated in art deco rugs and the style took hold.

Art deco designs featured bold geometric shapes, stylized floral patterns and other natural forms, often with juxtapositions of dark and light. Artists from around the world started to design rugs and textiles. Some of the most creative rug designs were created by Jean Michel Frank and Emile Jacques Ruhlmann of France.

These rugs continue to be popular with interior designers today, and you can create your own Art Deco look with these stylish Art Deco rugs. This page showcases some of the best deco rugs available to buy online and at reasonable prices. So if you are looking to create a new style for your home, think about using rugs as decor highlights. Although antique rugs from this era can be quite expensive, you can buy new Art Deco style rugs from $80 to $600. Scroll down to enjoy some easy online shopping.

Art Deco Style

Deco Design Characteristics

The Art Deco Style was influenced by the formalized lines of ancient Egyptian and ancient Aztec art, and it borrowed from neoclassical, modernism, art nouveau, cubism and constructivism.

This time period, just after the First World War, was also known as the Machine Age. For the first time, rugs began to be made my machine, and because they were not expensive like the traditional hand-knotted oriental rugs, they were seen as rugs of the people i.e. stylish designs that the common man could afford. A new market was started and art deco rugs gained increasing popularity in Europe and America.

Not all art deco rugs were machine made, but this was an option, and the world was ready for it.

Art Deco Rug

Deco Rug Design


Art Deco Rugs & Deco Carpets

Designs of the 1920s and 1930s

When it comes to rugs and floor coverings, Art Deco rugs encompass an infinite range of design possibilities. Other applied art movements defined one over-arching theme, while Art Deco embraced influences for all ages and from all over the world. These modernists designs were highly sought after and are still relevant and in demand today.

Rugs and carpets designed in the Art Deco era of the 1920s and 30s represent the best and most beautiful side of industrial design and globalization. By the late 1920s, the rugs and carpets that were produced were colorful and derived their influence from many areas, highly decorative Persian rugs being only one. Designers in rugs, as much as anywhere else where the style was being copied, rated the latest innovations in construction, design and color theory.

The people who designed and wove Art Deco rugs were innovators who paved the way for mid-century and modern designers, abstract artists and many contemporary design movements. At a time when commercial air travel was new and novel, designers, importers and carpet traders provided a vital link between east and west. The cultural diffusion that occurred in the early 20th century is ever-present in Art Deco rugs, even today. The creative atmosphere and historic design conditions of the era resulted in a colorful melting pot that combined influences from all parts of the globe.

Deco Rugs

In Summary

Art Deco rugs and carpets run the breadth of the spectrum in design from stoic masculine rugs with sharp geometric shapes to feminine floral weaves with contrasting colors and pastels. In China, the vibrant jewel-tone carpets manufactured for the explorer and entrepreneur Walter Nichols, are in a league of their own while rugs produced in the same era in England, Europe and Scandinavia were all pieces that led to the designation of the Art Deco or Art Decoratif term in the mid 1960s. British colonial influence in India led to the creation of many phenomenal Art Deco rugs there and they continue to present a combination of modernity and glamour.

In recent years, Art Deco rugs, along with other modernist design, have seen a resurgence. In many places, people are falling back on the reliable, often simplistic, forms to decorate their homes and with good reason: Modernist design fuses form and function into a single beautiful piece that is a work of art in its own right.

Children’s Stages and Theaters

Children’s Stages and Theaters

Building Theaters at Home

Whether it’s a tiny table-top sized puppet theater or a full kid-sized mock-up, it’s easier than you think to bring home the fun of a full-fledged “theater.”

A real theater is not necessary, but part of the fun of putting on a show can be all the fuss and fanciness of a real theater – the curtains, the lights, the costumes, the sound effects. Sure, some real New York actor started an actual theater in his as-is living room (so can you), but a little embellishment adds to the sense of dramatic occasion!

Makes a great family project too.

This Lens will talk about creating (or buying, that works) and using theaters in your home with your children.

(The photo is from Benjamin Pollok’s Toy Shop.)

A Full Kid-Size Theater

Easier than you think!
Romeo and Juliet and Balcony LEVELS – Often there is a feature in your house that just screams “Show Biz!” Maybe a step or two – a change in level – between, say, the entry and the living room. Set dining room chairs in a row facing this and the higher lever is now “on-stage.” If your stairs are nearby that’s a bonus – now there are multi-levels for more dramatic blocking and Juliet can stand up a couple steps for her balcony (a tall stool twined with roses works well too).

DOORWAYS & CURTAINS – If there’s a wide doorway or opening between two spaces, add a curtain and that opening – Voila! – becomes a proscenium stage. This could be done as simply as by installing strong hooks at the upper corners of the opening, then tying a nylon cord clothes-line-style between them. A couple bedsheets (with the cord pulled through the biggest hem) become a pair of Grand Drapes. If you sew, then hemming lengths of a light-weight velour (red!) would make even more satisfying theater curtains. If feeling lavish, you could add fringe at the bottom. A more permanent version of this idea would be to install a drapery rod and velvet drapes. If your house is old enough or your decor traditional, these may be decorative: portieres were once very popular, partly because they look nice, partly because they stop drafts. (In “Gone With the Wind,” Scarlet wears her mother’s green velvet portieres as a dress.)

BED CURTAINS – This idea works well at a child’s bed, where a footboard and draperies make an easy puppet theater. (I knew one much-loved puppet theater that was the foot of a lower bunk plus gingham curtains – perfect.) In the book “Little Women,” Jo and her sisters performed their plays using the curtains of an old four-poster bed.

Curtains are always popular with junior thespians. If you have drapes covering a big patio door, have the actors do their acting on the patio, while the audience sits inside looking out. Or vice versa depending on whether the play is set in an interior or exterior. Do both! Make the audience move as real theaters do when performing “House and Garden.”

SCREENS – A pair of folding screens could make sides for a theater (mini-wings). You could paint these with theatrical motifs like Comedy and Tragedy masks. Would the kid version could be Smiley and Frowny Faces?

Do a little research on grand historic theaters to get ideas. (Researching with the kids might be a good lesson in history, architecture, and in library/research skills too. Then you get the messy fun of painting!) If very ambitious and with older children or teens, you could together design and build these “wing” screens. It would be easy with thin plywood and a scroll saw to give the wing-screens either the architectural profile of an old theater – then paint on the architecture – or to cut tree shapes for a more pastoral look.

Most ambitiously, perhaps for Scouts of a church youth group, you could create a whole demountable mini proscenium built from traditional theater flats of fabric stretched on 1×4 wood frames and painted.

Impromptu Theater!

Wonderful Cardboard! (from After all this planning for a theater at home, don’t forget how much fun – how creative – a spur-of-the-moment activity can be.

If your family gets a nice new appliance, throw away the new refrigerator or dishwasher and play with the box1 Cut out holes in it for a puppet theater and use socks straight out of the drawer with eyes etc. quickly pinned or sewn on. Or turn that box into the gingerbread house for a retelling of Hanzel and Gretel. I bet you could draw or paint on all the “candy” needed for that… or paint pop bottle caps and glue those on as “candies” or… Your imaginations are the only limits!
Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

Books on Theater for Kids

Here’s some material to use on-stage. Theater is all about story telling!

This is a great time to encourage your kid to make up stories, to take old stories like fairy tales and retell them as little stage dramas, to go looking (and reading) for new stories to tell.

Theater Buildings

A cultural history lesson (disguised as fun)
Shakespeare’s Globe Theater Researching theater buildings could be both fun and, well, educational. It will help in designing and decorating your at-home theater. Look at books and the internet for historic theaters like Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.

The Globe is particularly worth discussing. There’s the Shakespeare connection, of course. Even quite young children enjoy the story of “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” with it’s feuding fairies, it’s silly mortals running around, and the goofy guy with the donkey ears. Easy to slip in a history lesson here, filled with fascinating characters like Queen Elizabeth I and events like the discovery of America. (Try acting out the wreck of the Spanish Armada at bath time. Sink some duckies!)

The Globe Theater is also interesting as a building, with its construction of timbers infilled with brick and mud and its straw roof. A cannon shot during Shakespeare’s “Henry VIII” set fire to the thatch roof – another fun fact! (Perfect opportunity for Mom to perform the ever popular no-playing-with-matches speech.) This historic theater has been recently rebuilt – a interesting example of archeology and a potential field trip.

Visiting a local theater, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a good children’s theater and/or a historic theater in your area, would make a great (slightly less expensive) field trip. When you go, have a contest to see who can spot the most how-theater-works items off of the stage: notice the lobby; the box office and ticket collector; the program and what’s in it; the way seats, aisles, and balconies are designed; the many fire exits (fire has always been a problem in theaters even without cannons); the way the curtains, if any, work; the sets and lighting; the costumes. And the performances and story.

Or research the great opera houses of Paris and Milan. (More great field trips!) Talk about the Paris Opera House and the story of the Phantom. Play music from the musical. (There really IS a subterranean lake under the Opera. Really, truly.)

Assemble a Prop Box

Prop Box You can’t play theater without props and costumes!

First find a big box – or maybe two marked “Props” and “Costumes” in florid lettering.

Now fill the “Costume” box with Mom’s old shoes and party dresses for princess-wear and Dad’s ties or lumberjack flannel shirts. Add hats, red hoods and hero capes, shopkeepers’ aprons, fishermen’s hats, striped witchy socks, and anything else interesting that you can scrounge (scrounging is half the fun).

Then fill the “Prop” box with plastic swords and goblets and crowns, astronaut helmets (is that costume?), wood-choppers’ rubber axes and light sabers, baby bottles, toy animals, three bear-sizes of bowls with plastic porridge and other fake food including a poisoned plastic apple… plus all the other intriguing clutter that kids need to swash and buckle with.

Creating these theatrical trunks could be a lot of fun – and using them even more so!

(Remember in the book Little Women the contents of those sisters’ theater trunk? Most treasured was a pair of tall leather boots for the heroes to wear. For my kid, it was a pair of my boots from college – tall red leather with miles of laces – that became beloved pirate wear.)

Historic (and violent!) Puppetry

Puppets of Palermo (You might want to look this over before your kids do.)

This puppetry troupe from Palermo, or one very like it, visited Dallas years ago. My kid and I saw a performance. This is AUTHENTIC Medieval-style puppetry – which means Monty Pythonesque whacking with wooden swords and carved wooden limbs getting hacked off. My kid loved it! But I definitely saw some moms covering their younger children’s eyes.

The following website has a video clip (full of funny puppet beheadings etc.), interesting photos of puppets and workshops, and a link to Palermo’s marionette museum.