Vintage snack: Shag carpets in a kaleidoscope of colors and a range of furriness.

November 18 |

Ah, 1949-1985. A time when the carpet industry raked in the benefits of new polymers and a spendy populace. A time when it became vogue to cover floors — and sometimes walls — in long, luxurious carpet. Let's look back in wonder at the days of the shag rug.

This image from a 1975 issue of Better Homes & Gardens is almost a parody of the shag carpet trend. Look at the LENGTH of it! I'd be afraid I'd lose something in there.

Patterned shag carpet, not only on the floor but also on the wall! And is that chair in the foreground made of Muppet?

I like to imagine this woman just woke up from a nightmare in which her carpet was something other than pink shag.

And speaking of pink shag nightmares:

I know I've always wanted an all-shag-including-the-ceiling bathroom.

Now, in shag's defense, there's stuff like this Anthropologie rug out there:

And the carpet in our house is a short shag that's…not pretty, but really nice to lay on and easy to ignore. It's not all bad.

You've seen the evidence; let's put it to a vote. Shag carpet: yea or nay?

  1. I say YAY to shag! I've got a funky shag rug from Ikea and it feels most heavenly on my toesies.

    0 agree
  2. well, I was going to say nay… but then I saw that pink bathroom, and now it's more like DO WANT! Can you imagine drying off by lying down and stretching?

    6 agree
    • That was exactly what I was going to say! XD

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  3. Ick! It's fun to look at. It feels nice on the feet. But all the dirt and dust and general grossness that ends up stuck in a shag carpet forever – no thank you.

    6 agree
    • Ick for sure. In high school I had a summer job as a maid. One home owner paid me extra to pull up the old shag carpet in the living room. The carpet was clean (I vacuumed and shampooed it every week)but you do not want to know how thick the grim was underneath. I have never even rented a house that had carpet in it ever since.

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      • "how thick the grim was underneath" … best typo ever?

        6 agree
  4. This made me want a shag rug! Just a little spot of it in our bedroom would be really cozy. Maybe I'll try to make one from a carpet remnant or something. I don't like stepping onto the wood floor on a cold winter morning. I'll take a pass on carpeting my bathroom ceiling, though.

    0 agree
  5. I have always kinda wanted in on a wall. I have never been brave enough to try it, or mention it to my husband though. I agree with carpet being kind of gross in general, but at least I know it's my own grossness, and a wall is different.

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  6. I have to say nay! I have never liked shag rugs, and with my allergies I dislike them even more! I hate the way it feels under my feet, I never want to lie on it, I can't imagine what gets trapped in it, it's just all around yuck to me!

    0 agree
    • Allergies make me say nay, too. I prefer breathing over Muppet floors.

      1 agrees
  7. My grandmother had a green shag carpet and ever since that experience my biggest apartment hunting concern is NO CARPET OF ANY KIND. Shag gives me nightmares…

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  8. Yay! I have a purple shag rug in my bathroom and it matches the purple polka dots on my shower curtain! Plus, it's cold around here, and shag is a nice and warm fuzzy love on my toes.

    0 agree
  9. I think carpet is gross. I've seen it get pulled up and even very clean carpet hides some nasty secrets. But… I like shag! It may be icky underneath, but it's so soft and I love walking on it! I would totally do that shag rug, it's pretty.

    That pink shag bathroom looks… well, it's looks awful. But I keep getting the giggles when I think about using the walls like a towel!

    2 agree
    • I shit you not- my aunt and uncle had a bathroom with pink shag carpeting on the floor, walls AND ceiling. Also pink cabinets and white and pink tile on the wall by the tub. I'm pretty sure we have evidence of the pink madness in a picture of me and my cousins bathing. I remember even as a kid I thinking it was weird to have carpeting on the ceiling.

      Speaking of poorly executed shag-carpeting usage: it's probably gone now, but there was a bar we used to go to in St. Paul, MN that had green shag carpet on the walls. It got awfully grody before they had the smoking ban.

      1 agrees
  10. We once viewed a rental house with that exact bathroom, except green with mildew half way up the walls and huge clear windows so the people at the train station got a free show.

    Ended up living in a house with shag carpeting that had absorbed 45 years of smoke, had to wear our shoes the whole time cos it was so sticky.

    0 agree
  11. I only buy shag rugs these days. I probably wouldn't be down for a whole floor covered in shag, but give me a big, soft shag area rug and I'm happy.

    0 agree
  12. My husband and I bought my grandmother's 1974-built home in 2007. It has green shag in the living room, hallway and two bedrooms, and the other bedroom is orange shag. After borrowing a home steam cleaner for all previous cleanings, I Rug Doctor-ed it yesterday. The water I emptied from the tank was black – not muddy, not tinted, but BLACK. Yuck. And this is with vacuuming twice a week. I can't wait to get rid of that dreadful carpet.

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  13. That first picture…. you could lose CHILDREN in there! Household pets! You could hide weapons in it in case of a home invasion! It's so frothy, it almost looks like whipped dessert topping! I'd love a shag area rug, but I could never deal with wall-to-wall carpeting of any kind.

    2 agree
  14. Now, just because you don't like shag carpet is no reason to knock carpet all together. I think I'd be down for a shag rug at most, but carpeting is awesome if it's your own (i.e. single owner = you).

    The el cheapo hardwood floors in our rental are always getting dented, scraped, etc. and there are practically always dust bunnies. At my parents house, the berber (sp?) carpeting takes a beating and keeps being warm on your feet. Also, stuff doesn't get broken as easily if you drop it, you can lay on it without feeling like your hair just picked up all dust/dirt particles in the vicinity, etc. Of course it does hide dirt more, but hey – it hides dirt more! ;-) I have to note, though, that my parents house still has a ton of wood in it including the floors upstairs which are also the ceiling downstairs so that makes a big difference too.

    Anyway, my point is: just because you don't want a carpet that could consume small mammals without even trying, it doesn't mean that all carpet is bad. :-D

    1 agrees
    • Oh definitely. We have all wood and tile floors in our house and we wish we had some carpet! Carpet doesn't scratch and doesn't show every dust particle. Without kids or pets, stains wouldn't be a big problem for us. I'd just have to vacuum, whereas now we have to both vacuum and mop. Carpet just wasn't practical for the aesthetics of our little one-story house with an open floor plan, but otherwise I'd definitely have it in at least the bedroom. Next time around…

      0 agree
    • Yeah, I'm a berber girl all the way. I like my floors solid, so berber is a nice tight carpet with very little give and lots of warmth value. A well maintained carpet can be a joy. However, the polyester carpet in the bedrooms in our home will eventually have to be replaced. It just feels plastic.

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  15. Yay to a very small shag rug…but nay to shag carpeting.

    (Actually, nay to all carpeting. It does not mix well with my allergies and asthma and hatred of vacuuming.)

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  16. Yay to shag EVERYTHING! Oh sigh, I have a husband who draws the line. I guess that's a good thing…

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  17. I say yay to shag! I would love to have a shag rug in my compy room. I don't think I'd want a whole room carpeted with it, but I think a rug of shag would be nice. Also, our carpets are like an oatmeal colored berber, so I think a shag rug would be a nice texture variation.

    0 agree
  18. The bedroom I had until I was 10 had bright purple shag carpet, and I cried when my parents replaced it with the most boring grey berber ever before they listed the house for sale. I now have a teal shag rug by my kitchen sink, but nothing can compare to the awesomeness of the purple shag floor.

    0 agree
  19. I had the most AMAZING pea green shag carpet in my bedroom as a teen! It was this carpet that covered the bedroom and walk in closet of my great uncle's home. When the house was about to sell, my mom and I ripped it up and installed it in my room–which had rose colored walls! XD
    The carpet must've been AT LEAST 30 years old at the time. When we moved, we pulled the carpet up and stored it at my grandmother's house, which sadly burned in a fire. Otherwise, I'd still be rockin' that carpet in some capacity.
    When I was a wee tot, our trailer had brown shag carpet that was decidedly less fabulous.

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  20. Heck yes! I have a bunch of shag rugs that cover my floor and I'm in LOVE with that bathroom. I would probably have to have a bunch of vents installed to make sure there was no mold problems but I still totally love the idea.

    0 agree
  21. FURRY WALLS! (Get Him to the Greek, anyone?)
    While I'm not a fan of wall-to-wall carpet in general (I grew up with hardwood and I'm allergic to dust), I do love area rugs. I have a shaggy flokati rug that I adore, though I must agree – shag collects all sorts of horrors, and vacuums struggle with the fluff. Even the washing machine can't get all the crap out of it.

    0 agree
  22. My grandma's house still has a couple of rooms carpeted in the blue/green shag she had installed when my late mother was a teenager. I always thought it was awesome! Her house has radiant heat too, meaning that there are no vents and the heat comes from the floor. It was rad to visit her in the wintertime and lie around on the warm floor.

    0 agree
  23. I've gone off carpet for various reasons, but I still love area rugs. I may get a mini shag rug to put next to the bed so I have something soft to put my feet on when I get up.

    The house I grew up in had shag carpeting in the bathroom in various shades of blue. Mom had it replaced after someone doing some work on the house commented on her Smurf vomit rug.

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  24. Eh, no to shag. Even when we had carpet, I liked a short, dense carpet. Now that we have hardwoods, we still only have short-haired wooly rugs. Even with the dust bunnies, wood is still just way easier on our allergies. Although, in my allergy-free dreams, I would love one of those fake bear rugs showed on here once.

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  25. yay to SHORT shag! It's what we have in the living room, dining room, hallways and all bedrooms. Although, it did used to be in two of the four bathrooms, and man did it stink whenever the toilet overflowed… I never did understand the point of putting carpet, shag or otherwise, in the room where it was most likely to get wet and stink. :P

    0 agree
  26. I have a giant shag rug in my bathroom, in place of a bathmat. It feels amazing on cold, wet toesies. I'm sure it gets gross, so I just throw it in the washing machine every couple weeks.

    0 agree
  27. I'd say yay, in moderation… wall to wall, or on the walls or ceiling, SO crosses a line.

    0 agree
  28. A reluctant Nay. The one short shag rug I have is IMPOSSIBLE to clean dog hair from. Unless you want to crawl from end to end plucking for hours. Pup vs. shag and the pup won.

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  29. I say yea to shag in small quantities! I have this awesome shag rug in my bathroom and it's awesome to dig my feet into as I'm getting ready in the morning/to go to bed at night. Kind of like a mini foot massage! If I could afford one, I'd totally get a large (6×8?) white shag rug for my bedroom, though.

    They do get dirty and collect things pretty easily though so it's better having one that's easy to throw in the wash whenever I need to.

    0 agree
    • Although I have to add that my parents house had an orange-red shag carpet in the family room when we moved in 22 years ago that was pretty atrocious. That was the first thing to go when we redecorated!

      0 agree

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