8 Mid-Century Modern Shag Rugs

FD-05 from Fable by Loloi

When you think of shag rugs, you probably envision wall-to-wall shag carpeting in solid bright or earth tones from the 1970s, but there are many varieties of shag area rugs available today that maintain that mid-century vibe without the tackiness. Striped or patterned rugs, as well as solid colors and a slew of materials, textures, and shapes, help merge mid-century styles with modern sensibilities.

Shag rugs are the perfect blend of style and comfort, but can, unfortunately, be a pain to clean. You’ll need to leave your upright vacuum cleaner in the closet when it comes time to clean your shag rug because the pile is too deep for an upright to clean, and the beater bar may rip the fibers out of the rug. The benefits far outweigh the maintenance, however. Here are eight of our favorite shag area rugs.

Flokati Shag RugsFlokati from Greek Flokati Shag by NuLoom

Flokati shag rugs are usually a pure white color though they may be neutral, pastel, or dyed with more bright colors. This style produces the fluffiest-looking shag rugs and resembles a sheepdog’s fur, something you might find in a hippie “pad” in the 1960s. Typically made of wool with wool backing, Flokati rugs originated in Greece, though many modern rugs may be hand-loomed in Turkey.

Some Flotaki rugs have a comfy pile height of slightly less than two inches, perfect for most room’s beige and white color scheme, and are made of New Zealand wool. Sparse geometric patterns popular in the mid 20th century are also used for many Flokati rugs today.

Leather Shag Rugs

LSG511B from Leather Shag by Safavieh

Hand-knotted leather shag rugs have a distinctive look – rougher than other shag area rugs. From a distance, a multicolored shag may resemble a jumble of confetti. When you want to add a change in texture or a festive look to your space, choose a mid-century modern leather shag rug. They have a different feeling than rugs made from other materials so they may not be the best choice if you want a high-pile rug to warm your feet first thing in the morning.

Leather is sturdier than other shag rug materials, but you can’t use a beater bar vacuum to clean them. Take the rug outside and beat it. If that doesn’t get rid of dust and dirt, use the vacuum’s extension.

Polypropylene Shag Rugs

SG169B from New York Shag 1.18 by Safavieh

Polypropylene is cheaper than other man-made material used in shag rugs, like nylon. It’s stain resistant but has some problems with prolonged exposure to sunlight and heat. If you’re on a budget, you can get all the beauty and durability of more expensive rugs with polypropylene.

This affordable dark grey shag rug is made from polypropylene. It fits in with any décor, whether you have a subdued boho chic bedroom, want a neutral look for your living room or an area rug in your hallway behind your front door.

Wool Shag Rugs

Hand Knotted Fez Shag from Modella Wool by NuLoom

A wool mid-century modern rug has many advantages over other materials. Sure, it’s more expensive than synthetic materials, but you can get just about any style or pattern you want.

Noodle wool shag rugs got their name because they resemble pasta. The noodles may be one color or a rainbow mixture. These rugs are plush and cozy, but the tufts easily attract dirt and pet dander. The “noodles” come loose when you clean, and tend to yellow over time. If you buy one of these rugs, be prepared to spend extra time cleaning by hand or keep the rug in a spot that doesn’t get much foot traffic.

The thin fibers in a shaggy wool rug fit closer together and are easier to clean. Felted wool is used to create long shag rugs with piles as high as four inches and fibers that fall in a random pattern. If you want a carefree or boho look to your room, a long shag rug will do the trick.

Polyester Shag Rugs

CSG785D from Colorado Shag by Safavieh

Polyester is the most popular synthetic material used for shag area rugs. Options include shag rugs with faded vintage patterns that transcend the decades and look equally at home in your streamlined, modern apartment as it did in a mid-century home.

Some of the more colorful patterns appear on power-loomed shag rugs and are perfect for kids’ rooms, but you can use them anywhere. You can use a steam cleaner on polyester shag, but the material will not last as long as more delicate wool rugs.

Berber Weaves

Almeta Moroccan Shaggy from New Berber by NuLoom

A Berber rug is constructed by looping pile into an attractive design. This type of shag rug can be made of multiple materials and is often as thick and luxurious as fur.  Berber shags usually come in combinations of neutral grey, cream, brown or navy. The weaves may feature a crosshatch design that’s suitable for most rooms in your house.

Viscose Shag Rugs

Viscose is a synthetic rayon fiber manufactured by dissolving pulp with the aid of sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide. This creates soft, malleable fibers. Solid color viscose rugs are the most popular, but you’ll occasionally find a striped or geometric pattern, such as a hand-woven blue, grey, and black multi-stripe polyester/viscose blend.

Viscose shag rugs, like polyester and polypropylene, are fashioned from fibers that are mostly plastic. Therefore, you can steam clean these rugs without doing damage to the material.

Wilton Woven Rugs

TAN05 from Tangier by Nourison

Wilton Woven is a weaving method used to make rugs from many materials, including polyester, wool, and Polypropylene. There are three subsets of this weaving method – face-to-face, single frame or multi-frame construction, and they are designed to withstand high traffic areas. The rugs were first made in Wilton, England in 1741. The patterns in these rugs may resemble a loop design or velvet cut-outs. Wilton Woven shag rugs may have a loose brick motif found in many mid-century designs, solid colors or a bright paisley pattern.

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