The Vintage Home #9: Shag Under Foot Once More

Lost in Shag

My understanding is that shag is making a comeback.  I have this on good authority - my spouse, who watches HGTV every night.  They've also just put a shag rug in the break room in the building where I work.  I never thought I'd see the day where the once maligned shag would find its way back under our feet.

I'm not sure I understand why it's making a comeback.  I loved it back in the day, but it was awfully hard to keep clean, and would become matted.  It was also absolute hell on a vacuum cleaner.

But then, I remember how you could sink your feet into it and they would completely disappear under the deep comfortable shag.  Ahhhhh. 

Lost in Shag

I was shocked to learn of shag's return primarily because it is so intimately associated with the 1970s.  Like lava lamps and egg chairs, they sometimes pop up in people's homes due to their kitch appeal rather than an intrinsic allure.  It's interesting that shag is popular on it's own merit, and not from kitch or nostalgic charm.

Here's a few images from the 1970s featuring our friend, the shag. I specificly chose pictures of shag in use rather than ads or catalog scans.  So, on with the glorious shag!  

I think the shag carpet compliments the dairy cow comforter and ABBA poster perfectly, don't you? 

music lessons

Music lessons on shag: I wonder it affected the room's acoustics. 

grooming lesson

That steel chair looks about as comfortable as a grocery cart.  She'd be better off taking a seat on some shag.

Remember that wallpaper with giant blown-up photographs? My uncle had one of a scenic mountain range.  This city skyline wallpaper would get old after about two hours, I'll bet.

Also, I'll bet this guy moving the recliner is about to make this carpet live up to its name.  I can't help but wonder, given the sexual revolution and all, if a big reason for shag's popularity was it was nice for shagging. Just a theory..

party at the wall of shag

I've saved the best for last. I know this image is skanky, but I would be remiss to keep it from you.  Here we have a seedy little disco party with SHAG CARPET ON THE WALL!!  Oh, baby.  It doesn't get any better than this, folks.

tackiest party in history


  1. Also remember, that with shag, a "carpet rake" was a MUST!!

    I actually bought one a few years ago at an auction to use on my medium pile carpet, not quite the same though!

  2. The black reclining chair is like one we had, only our was... BLUE SHAG! Man that was one comfortable chair.

  3. Thanks for another great contribution to 1970s scholarship. In the 1970s a neighbor took bits of salvaged patches of shag carpet in all of these bright colors and made a patchwork carpet out it - covering the whole house. They were numbing blinding circles or swirls of orange purple, red, rust, pink, avocado. As kids we wanted to play on it but weren't allowed since it was in a "formal" living room. Sure wish I still had polaroids from then. It is memories like that that keep some of us wondering about that time! lol

  4. In the 1970's my best friend's girlfriend had a van. We installed blue and white shag carpeting on the floor and walls in the back of the van. It looked great.

  5. Actually, it seems shag rugs have remained available through one retail source or another over the past 40 years. I remember seeing them in the Spiegel catalog during the 90s. However, according to my mother (who had one) they are super disgusting as food gets trapped in them and they're a bitch to clean.

  6. My ex-boyfriend had a white shag rug that I was fortunate enough to "experience" it, HEH HEH HEH. But when he moved, he sold it.
    I wasn't aware it was making a comeback. He happened to have one because he's a retro nerd like me. :P

  7. As for the bottom two pictures, if you check out the girl in the leotard, it ain't just the wall that's sporting some shag carpeting. Especially the bottom pic.

  8. Oh, and in the cast of the bottom pic, it looks like the carpet doesn't match the drapes in either case.

  9. I fail to believe that picture of the two girls with the guitar is 70'. They are just imposters. Look at the picture below that. That's the real deal!