Taking care of your shaggy rugs

Distinctive in appearance and design the shag or shaggy rug is part and parcel of the 1960s decade here in the UK. Shaggy rugs were the interior designers’ delight of the 60s, with every home across the country having at least one as part of their interior design scheme.

shaggy rugs

The main stay of any home in the 60s and into the 70s, the shaggy rug came in a variety of ‘odd’ colours…

But, they fell out of fashion… for decades, the shaggy pile rug remained in the doldrums of interior design, seen as passé and old hat. In recent years, however, this style of rug is once again enjoying a resurgence; people and designers are realising how much a deep pile rug of this kind can add to a room. And so once again, The Rug Retailer have a range of shaggy rugs from which to choose.

But where did the deep pile rug come from? It wasn’t invented in the 1960s, it simply became popular then…

A step or two back in time

Historians believe that the origins of the shaggy rug lay in the Middle East and Asia. They were thought to have the height of luxury and opulence – two characteristics they have today – gracing the floors, beds and walls of palaces and other, palatial properties.

However, you could take steps all the way back to ancient Greece, where shaggy rugs were thought to have been made from goat ‘fur’. In all honesty, no one has concrete proof of where and when shaggy rugs first made an appearance but whenever they did, they were seen as sumptuous and ever-so-slightly-decadent.

So many shaggy rugs…

Materials and fibres is not something that is confined when it comes to a deep pile rug; essentially, this style of rug compromises longer-than-usual yarn, creating a deep pile that you bare feet can sink into, the delight of the soft fibres caressing between your toes.

They can be made from most materials, from cotton to wool, even leather in some cases. But a ‘true’ shag type rug had a look of wear, a slightly haggard appearance.

Britain and America fell in love with this style of vacuum shag rugs in the 60s, and hence will probably be forever associated with the hippie culture, the relaxed way of life fitting perfectly with a deep pile rug that is soft, no harsh corners or edging, no formality.

They are making a comeback!

For decades after the 60s, shaggy rugs as a style lay dormant. The interior designs focussed on minimalist, hard, crisp, clear lines – the complete opposite to what the deep pile rug was all about. No one thought about it; not many invested in them and so it remained, lost for a time, out of favour with the designs trends and fashions.

But then, something changed. Consumers and designers realised that for too long, luxury and sumptuous had been denied but of course, the 21st Century needed to add its own design twist to the revamped and once again, loved shaggy rugs.

Just take a look and you’ll see the different choices of materials that make these rugs, from the traditional dishevelled look through to the luxury of silk. Use them well and this style of rug can lift a room; in a blink of an eye, it can add a layer of texture and warmth that no other style of rug can.

Are they for everyone?

Yes they can be; depending on the fibre from which it is made, the shaggy rug, despite its flimsy, wafty appearance can actually be as tough and durable as other rug styles and finishes.

modern shaggy rugs

The modern shaggy rug comes in a variety of materials and colours, as well as shapes

You will, of course, need to look after it – and by this we mean cleaning, like you would do other rugs and soft furnishings in your home.

Dirt can build up in its fibres – when you vacuum shag rugs, there are a lot of fibres to shaggy rugs, which can make them ‘difficult’ to clean… twice a week, spend some time with the nozzle of your vacuum, sucking up any build up within the fibres. This will re-invigorate the rug making it looks flouncy, fluffy and luxurious once again. Like long haired dogs, you can get rakes too, to combe through the fibres of the rug to remove loose fibres. Rugs of this nature can lose fibres in the first few week, simply as part of the process of making them.

Why opt for shaggy rugs?

They are a conversation starter. Everyone likes the feel and look of this style of deep pile rug – who wouldn’t, after all, enjoy the pleasant sensation of something so soft beneath their bare feet? There are so many designs, colours and fibres to choose from that the shag rug is back. And it is here to stay.

Erin Emanuel