Are you ready to transform your staircase? If the answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right place! Installing stair runners on your staircase is the perfect way to add a little extra color or pattern to your space, creating a warm, welcoming look for anyone that passes by.
But there are some key things to know before going all-in on a stair runner. Like: Should you do it yourself, or hire a pro? What type of rug works best as a runner? How do you figure out the right length? We’ll break down all of that and more—keep reading for all the deets!
Why install stair runners?
They add warmth and polish. Simply put: Stair runners look great! Stairs are often an overlooked spot when it comes to decorating, and many people don’t think about adding a rug or other decorative elements to their staircase. But we’re all for it, and think a stair runner is the perfect way to add character and designer-approved polish to your space.
They cover up damage or unsightly stairs. Has everyday wear and tear scratched up your stairs? Instead of doing costly cosmetic repairs (you should definitely repair anything structural), cover it up with a stair runner! It’s an easy way to give your space a facelift without major construction.
They prevent slippage. Worried about kids, pets, or guests in your home slipping on your extra-slippery stairs? Keep them safe and add a stair runner! This will prevent unnecessary falls and give you peace of mind every time someone takes the stairs.
They eliminate noise. One of the major benefits of adding rugs to your space is that they help absorb extra noise—especially if you have non-carpeted floors. A stair runner will help with this too, softening the noise of footsteps coming up the stairs and eliminating echoes.
Should you DIY your stair runner or hire a pro?
If you know your way around a tool box and have time to dedicate an afternoon to installing a stair runner, then you should consider installing it yourself! When you break it all down, it’s not too daunting of a project. And we have the perfect project if you’re ready to take it on! Check out this amazing DIY by Carli Alves of @madebycarli. She breaks down all the tools you need and exactly how to pull it off.
On the other side of the coin: If you’re not super handy with tools or have a curved, non-linear staircase, you might consider hiring someone to install it for you. We also suggest doing this if you have a thicker, stiffer rug, which will be difficult to maneuver and staple down. Your local carpet or hardware store should be able to help you out!
What type of rug makes a good stair runner?
In general, you’ll want to choose a rug that’s durable—and the styles and materials here are picks that will stand up to the test of time (and all that foot traffic!).
Flatwoven rugs with no pile. Look for natural fiber rugs made of materials like jute or sisal or flatwoven rugs made from cotton or wool. These styles are extra durable, and their flat weave will make them easy to install on the stairs.
Outdoor rugs. Rugs from our outdoor collection also make great additions to the stairway. They are typically flatwoven, and because they’re made to withstand the elements outdoors, make durable options for indoors too.
Low-pile rugs. If you’re not going for a flatweave rug on the stairs, try to choose a rug that’s as low-pile as possible. You can find the pile height of your rug on its description, and we recommend sticking to below a quarter of an inch or so. Rugs with higher, thicker piles will be harder to install and create a stiff look over your stairs.
We’d also avoid using shag rugs and rugs with fringe or other embellishments on the stairs, which can catch on feet and cause you to fall or trip.
How many stair runners do you need?
Stairs might seem tricky to measure, but it’s easy, we promise! Start by measuring your treads (the flat part of the stairs) and the risers (the vertical part). Then count how many of each treads and risers you have. Multiply each of these numbers by their corresponding measurement, then add the two figures together. Be sure to account for the measurement of the nose (the lip, or that part that juts out of each step) as well! Once you have all these numbers added up, this is how long of a runner you’ll need to cover your stairs.
It’s normal for your stairs to need more than one runner. So if that’s the case, don’t worry! Just buy an extra runner (or more, if you need it) until you meet the correct length.
A Few Extra Stair Runner Tips
Think about the pattern. In terms of patterns that work for stair runners, you have a few options. You can choose a rug with a continuous, all-over pattern, which will feel seamless if you have to transition into an additional rug on longer stairs. Or, you can choose a rug with a centered, contained pattern (like medallion patterns). With this last option, you’ll be able to see where the first runner ends and where the second begins if you need more than one. Which works and looks great! But it creates a slightly different look and is something to keep in mind before buying.
Consider the surrounding areas. Some stairways are tucked away, some are the centerpiece of a home. If yours is more of the latter, be sure to think about what areas your staircase touches, and pick out a rug that will blend in beautifully with all those areas.
Use a rug pad. We always, always recommend using a rug pad under any rug you roll out in your home. That extends to your stair runner as well! Be sure to use a rug pad in your installation process, which will help keep the rug in place and protect the integrity of your stairs.
Add embellishments. Craving some extra, designer-approved polish in your stair runner look? Consider adding stair rods on top of the finished product! Stair rods bring in a custom-designed look and are perfect for bringing your space to the next level (literally!).