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Braided Rag Rugs: An American Craft That Lasts

Forged from leftover fabric scraps, this is one DIY that has endured through decades.


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A staple of early American decorating, braided rag rugs were a simple fix for bare floors. Not only could their handmade designs bring color and warmth underfoot, but they could do so without breaking the bank.


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In the 1930s, these charming rugs were often paired with maple furniture, colorful curtains, and traditional prairie prints. They became even more popular as the Great Depression set in, when leftover scraps of clothing and fabric were used to create these humble home furnishings.


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Sewed together by hand, there's no limit to how big or small these handmade rugs can be. And "if you pick your colors cleverly, you'll have something to be mighty proud of for years" (Better Homes & Gardens, Oct 1942).


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Are you looking for that finishing touch? A braided rag rug can be just what you need, whether it's tying together a variety of colors in your living room or filling that empty floor space.


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Even with the rise of Mad Men mod, these affordable home furnishings could be found adorning laminate floors, adding a homey touch to an otherwise polished appearance. They were "as practical [then] as they were in the log cabins of our forefathers" (Better Homes & Gardens, February 1960).


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Recycling was all the rage at the height of the hippie era. Along with leftover rags and fabric, our editors also encouraged women to turn worn-out pairs of panty hose into braided bath mats or small rugs.


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Homeowners became more inventive in the 1980s and began using easy-care bed sheets to fashion sturdy rag rugs. Neon and pastel color palettes were favored at the time, as opposed to the moodier shades of the 1970s.


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Fringe was a new addition to the decidedly American rag rug. Used both inside and out to dress up basic floors, these braided rugs brings a rustic, cabin aesthetic to any room.


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Bold colors, geometric patterns, and unique shapes cropped up everywhere in the early 2000s, giving a fresh feel to these traditional floor coverings. No matter if you own a downtown loft or a countryside ranch, you're sure to find a rag rug design to fit your style.


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The latest rag rug design range from multicolor boho to carefully crafted stripes and patterns, with neutrals and brights alike. Wherever your toes tread, this hand-braided craft will surely follow.