PERIOD FEATURES: It’s probably inevitable, but mention that 70s icon, shag pile, and there are sniggers round the room.
However, it seems that this attractive, long looped, carpet style is having the last laugh because I hear we are back in love with it. After a naughties affair with wood flooring we are starting the big cover up. John Lewis say they’re selling a lot more old fashioned, wool, fitted carpets – and rugs are clothing bare boards.
History – It is thought that the long haired shag pile has been around in some form or another since cave men first started to make their dens more comfortable. It makes sense that goat fleeces would have made a cosy surface for Ancient Greek feet. Likewise it is believed that this type of carpet brought a touch of luxury to the floors of the early palaces of the Middle East, where a truly great carpet making tradition was to develop in later centuries. Its success in the late 60s and early 70s in Britain and America is associated with the hippy movement when long hair, beards and sandals went hand in hand with shaggy Afghan coats and the unorthodox looks, bright colours and sensual comfort of shag pile carpeting. Don’t put it on the stairs though – it looks lethal.