Shag Carpet: Actually, when I was in college, shag was a dance, shag was a haircut, and shag was a style of carpet. This blog post is about the floor covering. 

I redecorated my living room recently, and one of the things I did to give space a bit more contemporary feel was to replace my traditional floral oriental rug with a deep, plush and beautiful shag rug. Technically speaking, it’s a broadloom carpet style that I picked out at the store and then paid to have cut and bound into a rug. It’s a quick and easy way to get an area rug made in any size you like, and with so many choices available these days in broadloom carpet styles and colors, it really worked for me.

I love the way my new rug looks. It’s comfortable to walk and sit on and is easy to vacuum. 

Speaking of vacuuming, the first thing I did was buy a vacuum from the Carpet and Rug Institute’s list of Seal of approval tested and certified high-performance machines. I chose a canister model with a suction-only attachment because using a beater bar on a deep-pile rug will tangle the yarns and make them look fuzzy. (CRI has a technical document on vacuums for high-pile carpets on its website that has more good info on this topic.) I chose a commercial model vacuum, actually. It cost more than most residential vacuums, but it is built to last and is very powerful. Great attachments, too.

The last time I had a shag carpet was in 1977 when I was in college. I had my own apartment in the Vinegar Hill district of Charlottesville, Virginia. The apartment was quaint and charming, in an old house with high ceilings and an old footed bathtub. The previous tenants had installed white shag carpet in the bedroom and it looked fabulous in parts of the room, but the well-worn footpaths – like from the living room to the kitchen – those were matted down flat as crop circles.

Luckily for me, carpet fibers have changed dramatically for the better in the past 36 years.

And one thing is certain, shag is back in style. What is the history of this iconic floorcovering and why do people love it so much? I asked Emily Morrow, director of color, style, and design at Shaw Industries and here is her reply:

“The origins of shag carpet go back to the 1960’s when homes were taking on a new feel and a “casual California style“. Carpet and rug styles were changing and evolving quickly, as techniques in the carpet industry were changing. Pop culture was also influencing the tastes of homemakers of the 60’s, when television shows and movies gave consumers a glimpse of what their own homes could and should” look like.

The popularity of mid-century modern design has grown within the past 3 to 4 years, and we are seeing style elements from this era return. The simplicity and contemporary lines of the style appeal to a generation of new consumers and homeowners who did not live through the trend in its original heyday but like the nostalgic effect it offers. Mid-century modern furniture styles continue to work their way into American homes, partly because of their ability to blend easily with other styles as well as their affordability when compared to traditional pieces.”

As a final note, I had my shag rug professionally cleaned and it looks great. When the crew came last week to clean my carpets, I had them clean the rug as well. It looks great and was completely dry by the time I got home from work.

Now that I have the rug, maybe the haircut is next!