Shag carpeting was all the rage during the 1960s and 70s. In those days, people went for fluff and shaggy looks—in their hairstyles and in their homes—reflecting the kind of bohemian, carefree lifestyle that was very new and at the height of fashion.
We are not exactly sure why the shaggy carpet fad ended; but these days, shag is making a resurgence, big time! Today, however, rather it is not wall-to-wall shag that is popular. The appeal is for shaggy area rugs to adorn almost any room in the house, providing a feeling of warmth and comfort all year round.
Today’s shag rugs are easy to clean and care for: partly because we have learned how to better care for them, but also because they now come in a wider variety of easy-to-care-for fibers, natural and synthetic, than ever before.
Just what is a Shag?
Shag rugs have a deep, uneven pile that is an inch thick or deeper. Originally and still handmade in the Middle East and Asia, shag rugs were first made of goat’s hair. The rugs got their name from their natural shaggy appearance which adorned the floors of the rich and less wealthy alike.
Today’s shag area rugs are made in a variety of colors, from solids and subtle hues to bold designs with lots of fringe. They are a perfect addition to the home with their soft, plush feel.
What are Shag rugs made of?
While traditionally made of wool, today’s shag is made from a variety of fibers and blends. Here are a few:
- Flokati: This iconic, high-pile, ivory rug is the style most people think of when they think of shags. As in yesteryear, today’s Flokati, a traditional Greek hand-woven shaggy, is still handwoven of wool, including the backing. Mostly made in Greece (as in ancient times), they have a beautiful natural, off-white coloring that now is often dyed to create a variety of attractive colors including gray, black, milk chocolate, and dusty rose.
- Other Wools: Whether in Flokati fashion or other designs, wool remains one of the more popular shag rug materials. Wool rugs are either made in shaggy design with fibers close together, or of a looser noodle weave twisting the woolen fibers into noodle shapes.
- Wool blends: 50:50 cotton wool blends are hand-loomed in India making for a gentle, soft, and comfortable area rug blend.
- Synthetics: Polyester and other synthetics offer something important that natural rugs don’t: ease of cleaning like never before. Most synthetic shag rugs can be placed in the washing machine. While they may not last as long as their woolen counterparts, synthetics are often a more affordable option.
Shag is the perfect area rug for the bedroom
Shag is not only acceptable but welcomed in most rooms of the home, even the bath. But perhaps one of the most perfect places for a shag area rug is atop a tile, wood, or laminate floor in the bedroom.
Shags are inviting, comforting, and warm. Even in summer, who wants their first morning steps to be taken on a cold, hard floor? Shags are about luxury. What better way to start the day than stepping onto a soft, cozy rug?
Choosing the appropriate size
Shags work uniquely well in any size, whether you want to supersize your softness or provide just a hint of texture. If you’re going to go big and cover your whole floor, make sure that the shag sits no closer than approximately 18 inches from the wall. Smaller sizes can help define a nook, work space, or simply catch the eye when layered over a colorful or natural fiber rug.
In the bedroom, you will want the legs at the foot of the bed to fall upon the rug. A separate, smaller shag can also be placed in a reading area next to the window. Make sure at least the front legs of the chair, and an ottoman, if you use one, land atop of the rug.
Like most area rugs, shags come in a variety of sizing from a smaller 2×3-foot option to larger 9×11-foot sizing. Shag is also available in runners, generally 2.6 feet wide and measuring between 6 and 12 feet in length.
Some of our favorites
There are literally hundreds of different shag area rug options to choose from. But we have a few favorites to share.
- Silky Shine Solid Shag Area Rug: with a combined silky and shaggy texture, this rug is actually made of polyester. It exudes elegance and glam yet is quite affordable. The Silky Shine Solid is hand-tufted in India and available in pearl white, silver, or baby pink.
- Fluffy Speckled Shag Area Rug: If you like plush, fluffy comfort, you will love this one. The Fluffy Speckled Shag is also a hand-tufted polyester with high pile comfort. Easy to care for, this one remains near the top of our list. It is available in ivory or gray.
- Moroccan Diamond Shag with Tassels Area Rug: Our third pick is another polyester. Notice a theme? We enjoy the ease of cleaning poly affords. When looking for a more dramatic rug, the Moroccan Diamond Shag, made in Turkey, may fit the bill. It is available in red, blue, or gray to accommodate almost any decor.
Preparing for and what to do when your new Shag rug arrives
Make sure you have cleaned your flooring well before you roll out your new shag rug. When your new rug arrives, check the packaging to make sure it wasn’t torn or damaged during transit. If all seems OK, then carefully open the packaging, and remove it along the length of the rug.
Unroll your new shag rug and check for any creases. If there are some, reverse roll the rug to alleviate them. If your rug is synthetic, you may notice an odor. This off-gassing is normal. It is a good idea to air it out before use by hanging it outdoors for a day or two.
Long term care for your Shag rug
To vacuum your new rug, and for cleaning in the future, avoid a beater bar or roller bar. If your upright machine has a beater bar, use the hose with a flat brush, an upholstery brush, or a shag rake instead. Choose the slowest speed in your vacuum. Start in the middle of the rug working toward the edges. Use care to avoid snagging any fringe.
After your rug has seen some use, shake it out to loosen up the dirt. Layout the rug upside down and vacuum the back, then turn it back over and vacuum the top. If your new shag rug is synthetic and doesn’t have a rubber backing, you can toss it in the washing machine. Use cold water and the gentle cycle.
For a wool or wool-blend shag, mix a gentle detergent solution, such as Woolite, and gently scrub your rug. Follow with a clean rinse and blot up excess moisture. Hang your rug up to dry allowing air to circulate around the rug.
Shag is back and more affordable than ever. Shag rugs are comforting, stylish, and will match almost any style of home from country to modern. So, just what are the best shag rugs? Whatever fits best in your home and with your lifestyle. You can enjoy the everyday comfort of shag while being ready to entertain with a look most will envy.