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Shag Area Rugs: Colorful, Comfy, and Fashionable


A blast from the past! Everything old is new again, and when it has a rebirth like the shag area rug, which has come back a superior version of its 60's and 70's former self, then we have something great to get excited and talk about.


The shag area rug was part of the pop culture that made Andy Warhol, Twiggy, Vidal Sassoon, and Disco so popular. These rugs are an icon of that era. They've come back to us very strong, very popular, smacking of retro, but different.


What makes a shag rug distinctive is its "shagginess". It's made by an unusual process in which fiber loops are left intact, and carpet strands are pulled to create a soft luxurious pile. These rugs have a high shaggy pile.  They skip the shearing process entirely. The length of the strands can vary between 1 and 4 inches. This process, combined with the materials used is what makes these rugs sooooo soft underfoot and so popular with "uber hip" and contemporary young adults. Popular amongst urban adults and college students, who are fashion and price conscious, these rugs fit the need for warm, cozy floor covering in an apartment or new home. They offer unlimited pizazz on a limited budget. So cozy, you'll want to take a nap on one, at least wiggle your toes in one, just once.


The color choices are amazing! There is a assortment of brilliant "retro" colors, like lime green, chartreuse, fuchsia, sizzling orange, saffron yellow, cobalt blue, turquoise, and multi-colors. If you're feeling in a more subdued mood, there are rich tranquil earth tones plus white as options. They offer a virtual decorating banquet!


To name just a few of the materials used to make shag rugs, they are as follows:


1. Chenille: usually cotton, but sometimes made from acrylic, rayon, polyester, and olefin. Chenille is very soft and is often used in blankets and throws.

 2. Flokati: the king and queen of the "shag area rug" tradition, the flokati is made of 100% wool. An authentic flokati is 100% New Zealand wool. Traditionally, flokati's are white, off white or gray, but they can be dyed brilliant colors.

3. Felted: the strands of wool are felted, or made compact and tight through a heat and moisture process. The result is a very soft feeling rug that is less prone to shedding.

4. Leather: strips of leather are attached to a sturdy backing material which makes the shag rug, "rugged".  Sometimes leather is combined with other materials resulting in a very soft feeling rug. A leather shag rug is pricier than cotton or wool.


There are many more options and materials used, such as acrylic and rayon ribbons, and combinations of materials.


A very popular color trend is "Pink": hot pink, pale pink, fuchsia. 


We suggest that you use your shag rug in a low traffic area of your house, such as a bedroom or living room. They are great in your children's rooms because kids love them. They like to lie down on them.


Don't try to spot clean your shag rug. Take it to a cleaner. Be very careful vacuuming it too. Use an attachment, the hose, or the regular vacuum wand. If it's a small area rug, take it outside and shake it out. Some flokati's can be washed, but we suggest dry cleaning them.


If you have a contemporary home, a shag area rug can add great warmth and personality to your decor. They can be incorporated beautifully in more transitional settings too. Just use your own common sense and natural decorator flair.


-Joan Saloomey


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