Where to find colorful shag carpeting today: Shaw Carpet’s Disney “Magic Shag”!

Emily-Morrow-and-Retro-Carpet-SwatchesWall-to-wall shag carpeting — like Sarah used in the living room of her round house — was hugely popular during the 1960s and 1970s. In the height this decorating trend, shag carpeting could easily be found in a variety of bright colors. Today, however, due in great part to the color-averse mainstream, finding bold colors of shag carpeting isn’t easy. That’s why we were thrilled when Sarah told us her source, Shaw Carpet’s Disney Magic Shag line. Above: The photo from our exclusive interview with Emily Morrow, head of design for Shaw, on the history of wall-to-wall carpet. 

orange shag carpet

Roundhouse Sarah’s living room

shaw-flooring-orange-carpetThe Magic Shag — great name!!!! — line is available in 31 different colors — including magic pumpkin — the orange that Sarah used in her living room. The line was conceived with children’s spaces in mind, but many colors in the collection would also work wonderfully in a retro mod living room, bedroom or rec room.

shag-carpet-colorsOf the 31 color choices, the six colors above — magic pumpkin, outrageous orange, pixie purple, poisoned apple, pink power and blue lightening — are the brightest and most retro-licious of the bunch.

hot pink living room

Photo courtesy of listing agents, Tom and Henry Edelstein.

Upon first seeing that hot pink shag, my dream of recreating the time capsule living room in this 1962 house in Minnesota seemed just a bit more in reach.

Anyone else suddenly feeling the need to find a room for some flower power shag carpeting?

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  1. lynda says

    Oh my! Such memories! I bought a 9 x 12 area rug by Karastan with the green/blue combination shown in the first picture in 1966. It was nylon and of course went with our blue, green and turquoise floral sofa and chair!
    We sold the “look” and moved on to a burnt orange/beige/brown look in 1973 for our new house. (no shag) I can see how some would like this for teen or kids bedrooms. In 1977 moved again and opted for all hardwood, and no carpet.

    • Robin, NV says

      Your story mirrors the history of flooring as described in the interview with Emily Morrow. The design pendulum tends two swing from one extreme to the other – wall-to-wall shag to hardwood floors. I wonder how the pendulum will swing next? Drab, neutral interiors to exuberant and colorful? I hope so.

  2. Janet in CT says

    When I got out of college, I redid my bedroom at home and had an avocado green, orange, gold and brown shag rug put in, with yellow bedspreads, golden yellow pin-up lamps and mushroom pictures. I am sad I don’t have one single picture of it; it was quite stunning and so cheerful. My mother didn’t like it and redid the room ten years later but I still have the gold pin-up lamps, the yellow twin bedspreads and the mushroom pictures. The multi-colored brownish rug in the picture above underneath all the samples is the exact same rug in the master bedroom of the 1957 ranch we just bought. Sorry to say I am not a fan and it is going to be removed. It doesn’t look that worn and seems to have lasted well, but just isn’t what I want in there as I am going with pastels. That shag came in all different lengths and some were ridiculously long and tangly. I do recall back when they were popular hearing how in California and the southwest, you “raked” the rugs, not the leaves. For years we had the carpet samples in the basement at the store, and the one I had came in about eight different and wonderful color combinations, like various pinks and purples or greens. Sure wish I had saved them.

    • Jay says

      I had the same color shag carpeting in my basement when I moved into my 57 ranch. A prior owner finished the basement in the 70s. I moved into the house in 2002 and kept it a few years before tearing it out. Already 30 years old it hadn’t worn well and if you have pets (me) well ewh! I just had carpet laid in my living room and hall, I was surprised at all the colors available, albeit toned down.

  3. Jeanne says

    Here’s an idea that I’ve done in the past. If you don’t want to commit to having the carpet installed (and have hardwood floors), you can purchase a piece (9 x 12 for example) and have the edges bound and use it as an area rug (put a rug pad underneath). I’ve done this with a commercial floral pattern carpet/rug for my home.

    I love the colors! Home Depot had the line when I was there recently. Amazing that sample-after-sample at the store was all neutrals and I found this one sample card with actual colors.

    • says

      I second the area rug idea – our house has all hard surface flooring throughout (wood, tile) which we love. There are always some areas where you need or want a carpet, and getting a bound rug is a great way to accent without installing permanently. Additionally you can use the area rug to delineate a space or area in a larger room, making it a design element instead of simply the flooring.

      In recent work renovating our downstairs family room, I did exactly this – I picked up a remnant in 12×14, had it bound and used that. It cost about $225…really a steal: http://www.houseonrynkushill.com/2013/10/16/family-room-before-and-after/

      In the picture there is a blue and green shag carpet…back in the early 90s I lived with my parents in an apartment that had that carpeting. Coincidentally it also had metallic wallpaper, too. :)

      • Robin, NV says

        That looks great Doug! I also like your metal desk. I want one for our den and the local thrift store had one for $3 but I realized that it would never fit through the door to the den. Darnit!

        • says

          That desk is a half-finished project on it’s own. I originally was going to remove the powder coat and take it to bare metal (and then protect it)…but it was at the time a more difficult of a task than I anticipated so I only got partway finished. The desk was free – it was left outside of an office down the street when I lived in a downtown loft apartment, and one night with a bunch of friends over drinking they decided they would carry it back from where it was sitting to my house (about three blocks.) No small feat since the desk weighs about 300 pounds and is very unwieldy.

          It will eventually go away at my current house, though. When I re-do that downstairs floor (it isn’t level) I am going to investigate having a larger built-in wood desk\work area fit into the space. I guess it would be up for grabs then! 😀

          • Robin, NV says

            Yes, ulimately it was the size and weight of the desk that made me decide against it, despite the $3 price tag. My husband and I weren’t even sure how to get it into a pickup to bring it home. 300 pounds is a fair estimate of the weight of the thing. But I think they’re just so darn cool looking.

    • Jay says

      Yes, i just did just this. I didn’t want to have the wall to wall in the dining room as well as the living room. Had an area rug bound that was the same as the living room. Had I put more thought into it, I might have chosen an all over pattern. Anyway, I am satisfied with the effect. I worried about what the hardwood was like underneith so I started ripping the old carpet up in front of the kitchen door an the corners of the dining room. Didn’t want any surprises the day of install.

  4. Lynne says

    I have two shag area rugs in what we have named “the triangle room”, whis is a fairly recent remodel of a laundry room into a breakfast room. I got them from a little shop in the mall called The Rug Rack.

    VERY affordable, and there were several different color choices. I got the orange and brown mix. Oriental Weavers, Sphinx Loft is on the back label. I don’t know if they are available anymore or not. I’ve had mine less than a year.

  5. flyingethan says

    Three years ago I had a very hard time finding shag carpet. I was re-carpeting my entire house which I had recently bought. When I would ask employees at different carpet stores if they could get shag carpet only the older folks new what I was talking about. Even then I would get the raised eyebrows look and was told that went out with the 70’s. Finally I did find the shaggiest shag that I could find at the time. I was trying to find avocado green carpet and I found something that was pretty close. I also used brown in one room. Over three years later I am still very happy with it. Who would’ve thought that three years later it’s getting easier to find. Not to mention that most people are seemingly becoming aware of the term shag carpet.

    Another observation. Three years ago this was being called frieze carpet. Now I am noticing that the term shag is being used more and more.

  6. Mollye says

    I grew up in the 1970’s in houses that had shag carpet and I’ve always liked it. Our first house had bright orange with brown and yellow shag in the den. The second house my family lived in had brown shag in the den and on the stairs and hallway. My bedroom had yellow shag and my sister’s bedroom had purple shag. My husband would never let me put shag in our house now, but I’m so glad it is still being made.

    • Allison says

      I’m with you Mollye–

      Thats the one place my husband refuses to go– colored carpet. What a shame, I would love to put in some of that poisoned apple!

  7. tammyCA says

    It’s funny how I think these bold shag carpets are cool now…having lived with rooms in shag wall to wall carpeting I wasn’t too thrilled with it (I lost stuff in it…sewing pins/needles the worst!).

    Our home has original hardwood floors throughout, which I love (dh never has..he loves carpet). I actually like both but with messy kids & dogs hardwood is better. I do miss that feeling of sitting/lying on carpeted floors and I remember how ceramic knick-knacks didn’t break falling down on soft carpet…guess there’s pros and cons for everything. :)

  8. JKaye says

    My only experience with shag carpeting was when I moved into an apartment in 1979, and it had wall-to-wall dark brown shag in the living room and bedrooms which attracted lint. My roommate’s boyfriend hogged the couch (mine) and ate all the food (mine), so I moved out after a year into my own apartment with hardwood floors. No more vacuuming and unwillingly sharing food. I think I could enjoy the orange shag, but in someone else’s house.

  9. Brian T says

    I wish the pendulum would swing back toward SOME color choice. Last year I wanted bright carpet for a dark room with only one tiny window, and it was impossible to find anything worth having. I did see the Disney book at one store, but then they said “Oh, we don’t carry that anymore.” I ended up going with a color called “beach glass.” In the store I was able to convince myself that the aqua flecks would really show up, but in reality it might as well be just another gray. It’s fine, and I like it, but it’s far from what I was hoping for.

    Unfortunately, since the last color-crazed era of the 60s and 70s, the economy has changed thoroughly in a way that doesn’t bode well for choosing interesting colors in duarable goods. In 1965, it wasn’t outlandish to hear of people retiring after working somewhere for 40 years. I think people stayed married longer and stayed in their jobs longer. which means staying in houses longer. With today’s increased mobility (whether desired or obliged by job seeking), people are far more skeptical about the thought of staying in the same home forever, and they are so hypnotized by “resale value” and the myth that nobody will buy a home if it contains colors. At the same time, I think people are less likely to commit to picking a modest home they can afford and then sticking with it. There’s a lot of pressure to trade up and buy something bigger and fancier even if you don’t “need” it.

    That said, it wouldn’t kill manufacturers to make colorful products more easily available for special order, for those of us who want them.

  10. Mary Elizabeth says

    I think when you ran the interview with Emily Morrow I told this story: but there are new people on the site every day, so here goes, newbies:

    The larger gold/brown,orange/white sample at the bottom of the photo at the top of this story shows the same carpet that was installed in the basement stairway and the play room of the condo I lived in for almost 30 years–it was built in 1978. I used to call the color “Orange Tabby,” because we had a wonderful easygoing cat of that coloring, Pocket, who would go down into the basement and virtually disappear into the carpet. We had to be careful walking down stairs, too, because he might be asleep on one of the stairs and we wouldn’t see him. Also, since Pocket’s hair balls were the same combination of color, when he upchucked one we wouldn’t see it and step in it. But a little spritz of carpet cleaner took care of that. It never showed stains from anything the cats or the children did down there, but we would steam clean it once a year or so to remove the dirt.

    It was cheerful and soft for the kids to lie on while reading, playing, or watching TV, but it did go out of fashion almost as soon as it was installed. My husband tore it out after the last child left home and replaced it with a blue-gray carpet similar to Doug’s. Sad, but looking at it always reminded me of our by-then-deceased Pocket, so taking it out was bitter-sweet.

  11. Mary Joan Florence says

    I grew up in the 70’s and part of the 80’s in a split-level suburban home with blue-green shag carpeting in the lower level. And yes, we raked it.

  12. Scott says

    This is GREAT news. I grew up with living room, hallway, and staircase dressed in avacado shag and it really makes me nostalgic.

    I’m currently pinch hitting with some smallish IKEA shag rugs but for the most part the colors weren’t quite what I wanted. This new range has everything I’d been dreaming off, a true avacado, orange, and even a few kicky combinations I’d not even thought of.

    I have hardwood floors but the chance to spec out custom room size rugs in the colors I wanted is something I’ve been dreaming about. My dogs love the shag rugs too I love how I don’t have to always be worried as the shag is so forgiving.

    I’m just thrilled to see this.

  13. hannah says

    My ex’s Uncle (in-law) invented the shag rug rake. *hand to heart* <3

    I figure a good compromise (if you have pets and, umm, potential upchucking issues) if you're kitsch enough – do a WALL in shag carpeting!

      • Barb S. says

        Hannah, yes, great idea!! I was lucky to get some long shag a few years ago – blood red… and I cut it up into squares and made a checkerboard wall with carpet & mirrors. It looks so cool!!!

      • hannah says

        Hi Pam,

        I really don’t have much more of a story. It was just a comment my ex made while we were driving over to their house for a family gathering. This was back in the late 70’s or sometime in the 80s. My ex and I split in 1990 – and I’ve not spoken with him in about 14 years.

        Now, interestingly enough, I just did a Google search on their names, and the city I know they lived in then. Their first names (Mort & Treva) are unique, and tied together via the address that came up for both of them. Seems they’re both still alive, and must be in their 80’s + by now. I haven’t talked to them for 30 years, so I’d have to have a few cocktails under my belt if I dared to call them. :)

        I did try some searches on the shag rake + his name in different combinations, and nothing comes up.

    • Kelly Wittenauer says

      When I was a child in 1969, my family took a vacation to Florida. One of the hotel rooms we stayed in had shag carpet on the floor, that continued up one wall. There was also a large window with electric push-button operated draperies. Very groovy to an eight year old.

  14. Kim Campbell says

    We had the red. My folks remodeled the basement with black leather furniture, wrought iron, cork wall, and spanish type accessories.

    • Kay D says

      My parents built in 1971. Gold shag in the living and one bedroom, red/ black combo in another, and almost a bright blue in the master! We had one of those rakes. I am thinking it might have come Fuller Brush?? Mom also adored her Kirby vacuum, in spite of it’s weight.

  15. tammyCA says

    I’m remembering now my childhood friend’s bedroom was red/pink shag carpeting…the whole room painted furniture, walls everything was done in reds and pinks (even a red t.v. set)…like a valentine room. I thought it was so cool!

  16. Roundhouse Sarah says

    Love it! But you guys already know that ; )
    It’s so soft and cozy in my sunken living room. It is a bit more expensive as far as carpet goes but if you want bold colors I guess it’s the price we have to pay. Plus I had to buy soo much more than I needed since the room is round and of course they only sell squares…
    Also readers, please note that ‘poisoned apple’ is much more of a chartreuse than it is avocado green. Always order samples.

  17. Tut says

    I’d totally do shag, especially the sculptured stuff like that brown sample underneath everything in that top photo. We had an area rug of medium-long shag in orange/pink/purple, kinda like that small sample on the left of that photo. That blue/green is totally cool, as is the extra-long moss green.

    The Shaw stuff doesn’t really look all that shaggy. Maybe it’s just the sample photos and the fake images that shows it in that bedroom.

  18. Barb S. says

    I’m glad you posted this! Recently I got the idea to put some pink shag under a round bed I have. I thought I would get it cut into a circle and bound, but I had no idea if anyone was selling it. Thanks for the tip!!

  19. Kelly Wittenauer says

    When we moved in June 2005, my then 14 year old son asked for dark blue shag carpet in his room. Actually had no trouble finding it in suburban Chicago. Local store carried it.

    Not sure, but think it was the Disney line that offers a green similar to Pam’s color of the year – they call it Mod Green. I came very close to buying a room size rug in it for our basement guest room. Hubby & son nixed that, said it would be too much since one wall is painted that color. Ended up ordering a more sedate beige with blue, green & gold flecks, but still a shag.

  20. Kelly says

    I love the large piece beneath all of the smaller samples, and I’m trying to find that on the Shaw Carpet website but am not finding it. Do you happen to know which one that is? I’m hoping that’s not a vintage remnant. I would do the same as some others have described – get a large piece and have the edges bound.

    • pam kueber says

      main photo with emily? vintage remnant, i am pretty sure. click thru the link or the photo to get to the original interview

  21. John K says

    I was crazy about shag carpeting in the 1960s when I was growing up. Hey, hey, we’re The Monkees had shag carpeting in their bachelor’s pad on their TV show and I wanted my bedroom to look like that. Mom and dad said NO WAY. My bedroom wound up with a tasteful, low pile sculptured carpet in two shades of medium to dark brown and it was nice. I got over my desire for shag carpeting and I don’t think I would use it in my 1963 home today. I love my original hardwood floors and so shag carpeting for me remains a childhood memory.

  22. Joe Felice says

    Did any of us think we’d ever live to see the day when shag carpet was back in style? Or that we would actually LIKE it? I mean, who knew? I do find it attractive, but most of the folks call it friese’ today. And we know we love color!

  23. Lynda says

    Had bright celery green, very long shag carpet when I lived in my Eichleresque home in Camarillo CA during the 70s. Never tired of it and still miss that house so much!

  24. Erin in Ohio says

    Oh no!
    I’m ready to buy some carpet, and Disney Magic Shag has been discontinued. I’m going to contact Shaw on Monday, but if anyone has any other tips for tracking down discontinued carpet, I’m listening!

  25. Sean in New York says

    Oh No!

    Disney Magic Shag has been discontinued! Please help with any other information regarding wall to wall shag carpeting.


    • pam kueber says

      I don’t know… selections are constantly changing… I think you’re going to have to slog thru the online catalogs of the various makers to see what’s available right now. Good luck!

  26. Jason says

    What is that pattern of carpet beneath the swatches in the top photo called (the brown one)? I have similarly textured carpet in my home that desperately needs replacement.

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