The 70s were a groovy era that set some trends that have stuck around like platforms and Star Wars. But maybe some 70s trends were not meant to stick around like shag carpeting. Or were they?
Shag carpet is made with an exaggeratedly long pile or length of carpet fibers. The result is an ultra shaggy appearance similar to an animal with extra long fur. Just like any other type of rug, these fibers can be made of various materials such as wool or acrylic. Although shag carpet comes in high and low-end versions, it’s usually associated with cheesy, lowbrow 1970s tastes when it was most popular.
At the height of its popularity in the decade that brought us lava lamps and bell bottoms, shag carpets were everywhere. Perhaps because of their bohemian appearance or resemblance to long hair, shag carpets are often associated with hippies. However, their extremely tactile and somewhat decadent look also made shag carpets popular in futuristic, disco style interiors. But most ubiquitous, shag carpets were often used for apartment complexes and middle-class home remodels used by ordinary people.
Since then, shag carpets have gone out of style in large part due to the difficulty in keeping them clean. The extremely deep pile tends to trap dust and stains more easily than other carpets. If not regularly vacuumed and cleaned, shag carpets can look frumpy or even dirty. As is often the case with sudden trends, much of the shag carpet used in the 70s was low-quality and hasn’t held up well.
All that said, it does seem shag carpet is no longer the butt of interior decorating jokes as it was in the 80s and 90s. If high-quality, routinely cleaned and used in small doses, shag carpet adds a tactile intrigue to otherwise minimal spaces and decadence to boho interiors.
Should shag carpeting make a comeback which you decide to explore, it’s important to vacuum at least once a week, if not twice. Get it deep cleaned every six months with spot cleaning as needed. As the fibers can trap dirt, be mindful of choosing lighter colors.