If vintage sculptured and textured carpets were visible — carpeting that had three-dimensional carved or twisted patterns with “surface interest” — you can pretty much bet you’re looking at photos from the middle of the 20th century.
By the 1970s, the bloom was off the rose, and many people were replacing the fancy cut and patterned wall-to-wall carpeting with something new.
What were the hippest homeowners buying? One of the big retro home decor crazes of the seventies was shag carpeting — thick and plush flooring with yarn 1 to 3 inches long. (Want a refresher? See dozens of styles of retro shag carpet here.)
More traditional flat-weave carpet styles also regained popularity, as did other floor options like vinyl, tile, and hardwood.
Sculptured rugs the biggest style trend (1949)
From House Beautiful Magazine – March 1949
These 4 pages show you 15 different sculptured rugs, their pile patterned like bas relief.
All such rugs used to be hand-carved to custom order — and only for the feet of the well-heeled. But custom design inevitably trickles into popular-priced merchandise. Now commercial carpets are cleverly woven to look sculptured.
Sculpturing means the creation of a three-dimensional pattern by varying the height of pile. Contrasting color often emphasizes this (right). Second pattern from top (above) is hand-carved.
Sculptured rugs fill the bill wherever plain carpet would be monotonous, and pattern too busy.
Burgundy patterned wall-to-wall carpeting (1949)
Vintage gray textured carpet with a hot pink sofa (1949)
Textured & patterned retro Bigelow carpets (1946)
Old-fashioned textured rugs and carpets from 1948
ALSO SEE: We are (surprisingly!) obsessed by the vintage wall paneling in these 58 mid-century rooms
Vintage Mohawk textured carpet in purple (1949)
Gulistan fashion sculptured & textured carpets from 1949
Old pink floral Gulistan textured carpet (1949)
Purple Mohawk brand sculpted vintage carpet (1949)
ALSO SEE: Get down with 70 groovy vintage vinyl floors from the ’70s & ’80s
Vintage Fernmist Green leaf-pattern carpet (1949)
Socialites/rich housewives show off their carpeting
Young America “at home” with Masland Broadlooms
Mrs John DuPont Irving in Delaware
Mrs R Stuyvesant Pierrepont, Jr. in Westbury, Long Island
Mrs Orson Munn, Jr. in New York
Retro pink carpet from 1949
Textured carpets are the new favorites (1951)
Article from LIFE – Apr 9, 1951
Well over 50% of the carpets sold today are textured, i.e., not smooth but having surface interest. Almost all types of textures now on the market are shown on this page.
This kind of carpet is the solution for families with children, pets and neighbors who tramp in and out of the house in all weather. They do not show dirt, footprints or seaming as readily as plain carpets do, and need less vacuuming. Many new textures have been developed during the past five years.
ALSO SEE: The first vintage vacuum cleaners & the history of the famous Hoover Company
Today, refinements in the looms permit multi-height pile to be woven directly into the carpet. Other new textures are gained by using vinyl to coat and shrink part of the yarn or by cleverly using color and design to create a three-dimensional illusion.
There are textures for all tastes and decorative styles: modern, cottage, country-casual or city-grand.
Choosing carpet colors
Choosing the color of a carpet is not as easy as it may seem. Since all carpets gray down a shade or two after about six weeks’ use (cleaning may not restore the original color), carpets should be picked which will be exactly the right color after dimming.
ALSO SEE: 140+ vintage 1950s wallpaper samples for some real retro decor inspiration
Carpet styles available (in 1951)
THREE-DIMENSIONAL carpets, woven of two levels of looped pile, are among the handsomest new textures.
ILLUSION of three dimensions is given by design and color. Carpet was woven on improved Axminster loom.
HAND-CARVED CHENILLE is the Rolls-Royce of textures. Pattern is cut with clippers into surface of rug.
COTTON AND RAYON are combined in this carpet with a geometric modern pattern. It is by Cabin Crafts.
NEEDLEPOINT effect is given in this three-dimensional carpet. Texture can look old-fashioned or modern.
SHAGGY LOOPED PILE has been in demand for five years. Wool, cotton or rayon looped pile is available.
PLAIN VELVET in solid colors, the most popular carpet in ’30s, has, during five past years, lost out to textures.
HARD TWIST is the carpet that began texture trend in late ’30s. It is still extremely popular, wears very well.
SCULPTURED LOOK is acquired by the combining of plain and twisted yams. Block patterns are important.
LOOPED AND CUT pile is one of the textures made possible by the perfect arrangement of knives on loom.
CARPET CUT-OUTS around radiators and fireplaces do not need binding if the carpet has the new plastic-treated back. New back also makes it possible to cut out soiled spot, apply patch with plastic tape.
Barbizon sculptured & textured carpets from Alexander Smith (1950)
For its gentle elegance… for the grace of its design, subtly described in wools of two contrasting textures… for its harmonious colors, from lyric half-tones to vibrant deep-tones… for the luxury of its soft rich pile underfoot… Barbizon has become one of the most coveted of broadlooms.
ALSO SEE: Did married couples really sleep in separate beds back in the ’50s?
Vintage Firth sculpted carpet (1950)
Retro red wall-to-wall carpeting with a geometric pattern (1950)
Vintage decorator Jacques Fath sculpted carpet (1950)
Rich sculptured effects on green Bigelow carpet from the 1950s
Rich cultured effects you’ll find in carpets costing plenty more! Made of finest imported wools. Bigelow-treated to keep “lively” through years of service.
Two-texture effect formed of smooth wool yarns plus hardtwist yarns “Permaset” to stay twisted, even under hard wear and wet shampooing.
ALSO SEE: 50 mid-century modern carpet styles from the ’50s & ’60s: Vintage wall-to-wall flooring in all its glory
Vintage 1953 Mohawk carpeting, including textured & carved styles
Vintage Gulistan textured green carpet (1954)
Dramatic vintage Saracen by Holmes textured carpet (1954)
1950s Wunda Weve textured carpeting in brown
Come in to the welcome of Wunda Weve: A great open hearth, the spinning wheel by the fire, and Wunda Weve in a sweep of rich, warm color make a room that is irresistibly inviting . . . delightfully different.
Wunda Weve’s luxurious texture, its glowing colors, its practicality will set the decorator in you dreaming. And why not? With Wunda Weve, it’s easy to have charming picture book rooms of your own.
DON’T MISS: Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz show off their dream carpet (’50s & ’60s)
1950s Magee textured carpeting styles
Penn Kord… luxurious, high-pile blend of will and Tufton rayon in random surface design… yarn treated with Retardex, the new soil repellent; retards normal soil, resists dirt.
Available in Dryad Green (shown in background), French Rose (in bedroom), Earth Beige (in living room), and seven other decorator colors.
Textured chevrons on blue Downs brand vintage carpeting (1958)
ALSO SEE: What did a 1950s suburban house look like? Feast your eyes on this fab prefab home built in 1958
Vintage fifties Aldon broadloom carpet with pattern (1958)
PERMA-CREST broadloom with Imperial styling, inspired by the CHRYSLER built Imperial
This luxurious new carpet is the most practical you can buy. Even ink and food stains whisk away with amazing ease.
Fading action of sun and salt water fight a losing battle against Perma-Crest’s locked-in color, too. Expensive? This room was carpeted for about the cost of a TV set.
Beige vintage textured wall-to-wall carpeting (1958)
Carpet’s a great help to a young man going places.
ALSO SEE: Vintage baby gear from the 1950s: Playpens, strollers & more
Vintage Alexander Smith sculpted and textured wall-to-wall carpeting (1960)
Alexander Smith sculptured carpet (1960)
Illumination… a never-before color achievement in carpeting, highlights and enriches me natural depths of this masterfully sculptured Wilton.
As nature itself interlocks single hues to create a new Living Color, so, too, the yarns of this magnificent carpeting blend together in color effects with new vibrance.
Here is the myriad-tinted, shimmering beauty of a topaz turned in the light… the total yet ever-changing look of a sun-sparkled sea.
This play of light and shadow, of color-within-color adds a breathtaking new dimension to one of the most beautiful and luxurious wool carpets you could ever wish to grace your home.
Cabin Crafts old-fashioned carved carpeting (1960)
ALSO SEE: See 125 vintage ’60s home plans used to design & build millions of mid-century houses across America
Vintage DuPont sculpted I-Beam shape carpeting pattern (1960)
Textured forest green Bigelow carpet from the mid-1960s
Bright green 1960s wall-to-wall carpet in a living room
Neutral colors of vintage Cabin Craft textured wall-to-wall carpeting (1960)
MORE: See vintage kitchen carpet from when it was popular home decor in the ’60s & ’70s
Brick red Kodel carpet (1968)
Retro sculpted and textured carpets – Blue and yellow (1969)
Vintage Roman Brass color – orange textured sculptured carpet (1969)
DON’T MISS THIS: Vintage shag carpets: The super-popular deep & plush carpeting from the ’70s
Oh how I hated these textured carpets, because you could never successfully vacuum them clean! I’d have to go back and forth over and over from different angles, then end up picking off string and fuzz by hand from the lower areas of the carpet. What a pain!!
Thanks for posting this! It was interesting. I am trying to find info about the textured carpet that was in the house I grew up in.