Art Deco Chinese Rugs

Chinese Art Deco Rugs

Nichols Chinese Art Deco Rug, 1920 - Image source:

Characteristics of Chinese Art Deco Rugs

The most recognizable rugs from the 1920s and 1930s are Chinese Rugs made by Walter Nichols.

These Nichols rugs, as they came to be known, were primarily made during the Art Deco movement in the early 20th Century.  They were usually made of wool and silk and depicted floral designs in very rich, bold colours like magenta, turquoise, emerald, canary and ruby.  They either had a very thick border or none at all.

Nichols specialized in a mechanized wool spinning technique that produced a very thick strand - ideal for rugs.  He was inspired by the works of many Art Deco artists and began to incorporate some classic deco motifs into his designs.  Nichols rugs became wildly popular in the Art Deco era - they were luxurious and exotic - the epitome of Art Deco style.

*Walter Nichols Art Deco Rugs - All images courtesy:

To learn more about Walter Nichols Chinese Art Deco rugs, visit Rahmanan Rugs.

Tips For Finding and Choosing An Art Deco Rug

Authentic Art Deco rugs are highly coveted due to their extreme rarity.  Even though Deco inspired rugs are readily available at many modernist retailers and suppliers, a vintage Art Deco rug made in the 1920's or 1930's is hard to come by.

Antique French Art Deco Rug - Image source:

They are available for viewing in some museums and art galleries, however purchasing one for your own home may be a bit more difficult.  You can scour the online auctions like Ebay or look in antique stores to find an Art Deco rug.  Some online antique stores, like, may also have a small collection of Art Deco area rugs and carpets available.  

To help you find an authentic Chinese Art Deco Rug or a Deco Area Rug, here are the characteristics you should look for...

Top 10 Characteristics of Art Deco Rugs

  1. Bold bright colours - rich red, bright blue, emerald green, canary yellow, royal violet - for a lively and energetic statement
  2. Monochromatic colour schemes in beiges, pale blues and charcoal gray - for a more subdued modern flair
  3. Black and white - a zebra rug will do the trick
  4. Depicted geometric, angular patterns like zigzags, squares, sharp angles, sunbursts, chevrons
  5. Egyptian symbols and motifs - pyramids, birds or hieroglyphics
  6. Hand-made using wool, silk or a combination of the two
  7. Very thick and plushy - luxurious in feel
  8. Chinese Art Deco Rugs will have a floral motif that is slightly asymmetrical
  9. Look for wool rugs made by Paule Leleu and Walter Nichols
  10. Symmetrical and repeating patterns - lines, sweeping curves, squares

Vintage French Paule Leleu Art Deco Rug - Image source:

Art Deco Inspired Rugs

If you can't get the real deal, look for a rug inspired by the Art Deco style.  Most rug retailers will carry pieces that contain some Deco elements.  Look for the same Art Deco rug characteristics as I mentioned above - geometric patterns, bold colours and luxurious feel.  

Modern Art Deco Inspired Leather Rug - Image source: Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting

I personally prefer the authentic Art Deco rugs as opposed to the revival - the new style is somewhat lacking in character.  However, I do like the revival pieces when they are made as an homage to Art Deco, as opposed to trying to 'knock-off' an original piece.  Artistic inspiration can come from anywhere and often artists cannot help but interject elements of their favourite artistic style into their pieces.  Nevertheless, copying something identically with the intention of passing it off as the real deal, lacks integrity it in my opinion.

So my advice would be to look for Art Deco rugs that contain a few elements or characteristics of the style, rather than a tacky replica.

Art Deco Inspired Geometric Rug - Image source: Safavieh

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