Sample any movie set in the 1960s or ‘70s and chances are good you will see scene upon the interior scene that includes snapshots of shag carpeting. This plush-pile type of carpeting that screamed sunken living rooms with fire pits and disco balls overhead was loved by millions. For a while. You may not know that (historically speaking) shag carpet dates back to Ancient Greece in the form of the “flokati” rug, made from even longer piles of sheep fiber. So what made shag carpets go the way of bag-sized cellular phones? After all, at one point, this plush style of carpeting was so popular that it graced the walls of celebrities’ homes.
Truth be told, you can sometimes have too much of a good thing. Design trends in the 60’s and 70’s found everyone (including the hippie culture) experimenting with their artistic-adventurous side, making the design world go a little crazy for a while. Study those old movies and you’ll also see hideously bright-colors (including shag carpeting in orange and other loud hues) included in rooms perhaps they should not have ventured, like bathrooms. It wasn’t long before the once-beloved carpeting style got a reputation for harboring unhygienic elements with its high pile, thick strands and easily crushable nature, making it hard to clean and looking more matted than plush (owners even used carpet rakes at the time to get it to fluff up).
While true shag carpeting is no longer a craze, it’s younger brother, the frieze carpet, is gaining in popularity. Generally constructed of thinner fiber strands than traditional shag carpet, frieze is characterized by long fibers that have high twists, contributing to its durability and making it less flat in traffic pattern areas. Carpet experts say that while a standard carpet strand is most durable on its side not its top, the frieze’s long, high twist strands that lay on their sides make for a very durable carpet. The long, loose strands also help to conceal stains which make it perfect for high traffic areas.
Frieze carpet is commonly found in multi-colored designs which heighten its ability to hide stains, making it perfect for homes with kids, pets or high traffic areas, also great for stairways because its long fibers hide seams and also give added traction underfoot for safety.
The carpeting industry in general has suffered some slings and arrows, evidenced by the rise in popularity of wood, tile, vinyl, and other more resilient flooring. While consumers make the case that carpet is difficult to maintain, stains easily, and stores harmful particles that can cause allergies, carpeting is still often the choice for bedrooms and formal areas that get less foot traffic, adding warmth and soft landings. Shag carpeting? Today you’ll find it popular in area rugs (often laid down in front of fireplaces) enabling you (and your dog) to roll around in its plush pile.
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