Chenille is a very soft weave which makes for fuzzy, soft fabrics and carpets. It’s not so much the kind of fiber used but the unique way in which it is woven or tied. If you want to visualize what a chenille area rug will be like, then think of what a caterpillar looks like, or what small furry pipe cleaners are like.
Now imagine short strands of mohair or wool laid out flat, this would be the rug pile, and now place some yarn and twist it together so that the edges of the two strands will be at right angles from the core. It’s essentially a soft bottle brush or a pipe cleaner r a caterpillar, right? If the yarn is silk or soft wool or mohair, it will not be bristly but cozy and fuzzy and very soft.
Now imagine the right angle fibers that create the double pile effect are left long. That’s a chenille pile shag rug. Some f the newer chenille rugs are also made of fine acrylic or rayon, and even from olefin, although the best quality and softest rugs will be made of natural fibers. Although the best will also be hand twisted or tufted, there are machines that made chenille rugs too.
The biggest drawback to chenille rugs is that exactly what makes them so soft, namely the added fibers at right angles, is what makes the weave delicate and susceptible to shedding. This has somewhat been helped by a process of melting nylon to the tip of the yarn at the base so as to attach to the backing, but all chenille area rugs tend to shed a little or a lot depending on the quality.
If chenille shag rugs are what you want, be aware that after a time, if placed in high traffic areas, these fabulous shag rugs may get some bare spots.
The good thing about these rugs is that they can usually be hand washed and dried flat or tumble dried in a dryer on low heat. They shouldn’t be hung because they are prone to stretch.
There are great colors available in this type of shag and most rug manufacturers have a selection of chenille to choose from. For super soft shag there’s the Chenille Blue Shag Rug, hand-woven of natural chenille fibers, that is not only super shaggy but super soft and could be a good choice for a kids rug.
Really, Really Shaggy Goat or Sheepskin Shag Rugs
The ultimate shag rug is not woven but comes straight from sheep or goats. Some may be what you know as a sheepskin, with the leather hide as backing, and some may be woven or tied versions onto other backings. Some of the best and shaggiest area rugs are the flokati rugs that originated in Greece. But now there are many variations on the traditional Greek flokati goatskins and sheepskins that still use the same name.
The true flokati is very expensive (probably over $200 for a small to medium size), but there are good imitations in wild and fun colors and shapes for a lot less. For example consider the flokati round area rug for under $27. It comes in super funky pink shag rug, purple shag rug and black shag rug for the same price. The white shag rug version comes in sizes and shapes that start at $33.00. A medium white shag rug in flkati design is between $60 and $75. A Flokati white shag rug that’s quite large and will cover a good sized living room floor will cost between $290 and $390.