The Beauty of Carpet Stair Runners (14 Elegant Options)

There are rugs that are designed specifically in order to protect your carpet or flooring from getting road rash. Hallway runners are long, rectangular rugs that you can place in any area with a lot of traffic. Not only do runners protect your flooring from wear and tear, but they can also make a huge design impact on a narrow space. In order to find a welcoming, dirt-resistant rug that can handle life in the fast lane, keep these hallway runner tips in mind.

A stair runner is a strip of carpet fitted to the middle of your staircase. Unlike the fully carpeted option, runners aren’t as wide as your steps — leaving some of the wood visible at the edge of each step. Like a rug on a hard floor, you get the simple and stylish look of paint or varnish combined with the quiet comfort underfoot and stylish woven patterns that only carpet can offer.

A stair runner is a piece of carpet that doesn’t cover the entire width of the stair. It is typically installed over hardwood or tiled stairs. Runners come in virtually all colors and patterns and are also available in different widths.

If you are searching for the right floor covering for your stairs, a stair runner could be the classic, yet creative, the solution you have been searching for. Choosing suitable flooring for stairs can be tricky. They rise up above eye level as you walk in through most hallways — literally staring you and your visitors in the face. That’s why it is important to get the design, material and fit just right.

Carpeted stairs add warmth and texture to the home and may also help with noise control and fall prevention. Today’s homeowners can choose between fully carpeted stairs, with carpet covering the entire stair riser, or runners, which cover only a portion of the stairs, leaving the edges exposed to reveal the surface of the staircase.

You want to be sure to choose a durable carpet style because your runner will work hard! Stairs get a lot of use and suffer a lot of impact with the added force of gravity as feet descend stairs. Any style of carpet can be used on stairs but nylon and wool are the most desirable for runners. Both choices tend to be very durable and offer the most high-end look.

Another thing that should be considered is a carpet pile. A high pile carpet will show wear more quickly than a low pile carpet. Purchase the highest quality and highest durability carpet you can afford! This will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to replace the carpet as soon as you would with a low-quality product. Don’t forget the carpet pad! Your pad should be slightly narrower than your runner so it is not visible from the side of an open staircase.

From a style perspective, this really can depend on the customer’s taste as well as decor in adjoining rooms – there is no one size fits all. Some people may prefer multicolored. Some may want a more traditional/oriental look; others may want a more contemporary modern look; others may want a simpler one color or tone on tone look. Some people like borders; others do not.

Runners are not the simplest carpet to pick out because they need to be practical (i.e. be able to hold up to the traffic) and they often open up into other areas of the home (e.g. living room, dining room) which may already have area rugs and maybe painted different colors. You also want to look at the color of the carpet vs. the wood stain color. It is generally best to contrast the color rather than to blend in with the color of steps.

It is important to look at whether you have simple straight boxed steps, or if your steps change direction and/or have curved or pie steps. When your steps turn, this creates some additional complications when picking a pattern. With pie steps, the patterns will not line up, nor will pre-cut runners with borders – the geometry just doesn’t work. In these instances, it is better to choose a carpet with a smaller pattern and a broadloom carpet that can be cut and custom bound on site.

Types of Stairs

The first thing to consider when looking at adding a stair runner is the stairs themselves!

  • Straight Stair Runner: A typical straight stair runner has 12-13 steps. Bringing in photos and basic measurements of your stairs is a great place to start. There are many pre-made stair runner materials as well as carpet remnants that are perfect for straight sets of stairs.
  • Stairs with a Landing: The second most common type of staircase with 12-15 total steps, with a small landing in between. Some sets have multiple landings, and these often require professionals to come for a site visit to measure the stairs and the landing. However, when coming into the showroom to browse materials, photos of the stairs are typically enough to provide an estimate.
  • Stairs with Pie Turns: It always requires a measurement prior to installation. Professionals can typically quote based on the photos but the installation team must measure the steps. This is to ensure the carpet is cut at the right angles. In cases of larger patterns, it also ensures everything matches up.

Type of Material for Stair Runners

  • Wool: It is the most frequently used and most recommended material. It is naturally durable, soft on the feet, and will last many years on your stairs. There are thousands of wool options for any style stair runner. The flatter the wool, the better it will hold upon your stairs. It is important to keep in mind that wool is typically the most expensive material. The more color or pattern, the higher the price tag.
  • Wool Blends: They are also great for stair runners. Wool is often blended with a synthetic material like polyester or nylon to add some strength while maintaining the softness of the wool. Blending the material also often decreases the price, which is another benefit of a wool blend.
  • Synthetic (Nylon, Polypropylene, Polyester, etc): Synthetic materials are made to stand the test of time. Because of their makeup, they are often easier to dye as well. If you are looking for a stair runner with a solid texture but a pattern or color, synthetic materials are often your best bet. They are typically easy to spot clean and will last as long if not longer than a wool rug. The price point for most synthetics is also usually lower than a 100% wool rug. The most important thing to consider is the thickness of the rug and how it will look when installed over the stairs.
  • Natural Fibers (Sisal, seagrass, jute): While seagrass is not recommended for stair runners due to its hard texture, sisal and jute are great alternatives for stair runners. Sisal and jute stair runners can add a natural, casual look. These natural fibers are typically on the lower side of the price range as well. The main drawback is the ability to spot clean, as sisal rugs often leave water spots.
  • Materials to Avoid: Silk, linen, thick plush carpeting

The Things to Think About When Choosing Your Stair Runner Carpet

  1. Function: Durabilitylevel should be high.
  2. Staircases can get the rough treatment, so you need to fit a carpet that can take the hits and still go on looking beautiful. Fortunately, you do not have to guess which carpets are tough enough. Take a look at our range of carpets online or in-store. Carpet also cushions your every step and as a result, softens the sounds you and your family make when charging up and down.
  3. Form: consider striped carpet for stairs
  4. You want your stair runner to last a long time. But you also want to pick a carpet with a style that’s as enduring as it is durable. Whether fitted as a runner, or full width, striped carpet is always a popular choice. That’s because stripes work well with the angles of a staircase and you achieve spectacular results. You can experiment with a wide range of patterns and styles and you can even upload a picture of your own home.
  5. Fitting
  6. Measuring and fitting carpet in the most economical way can be tricky, even more so when it comes to stairs. Some companies have created a helpful fitting guide to steer you through your project. They offer a professional floor fitting service where one of their experts will turn up and take all the measurements for you.

Reasons Why You Should Add Carpet Runner on Your Stairs

A carpet runner goes on top of your hardwood steps. Unlike wall to wall carpet, carpet runners cover most of the step but still show the hardwood on either side. They are bound on the sides for a finished look. Carpet runners serve 2 purposes;

  1. They make the stairs safer and they help prevent slipping.
  2. They add a decorative element.

Wood or tiled stairs can be quite slippery, which can present a danger, especially when there are children, pets, or people with mobility issues in the home. Adding a runner reduces the danger by providing a safe place to walk on the stairs, not to mention the added comfort of the soft carpet underfoot. In addition, carpet absorbs noise much more than hard surfaces do, so adding a runner will make trips up and down the stairs much quieter.

Finally, a carpet runner adds style. A staircase featuring a runner creates a beautiful focal point in your home, but you have to be sure to select the proper runner. There are two options for choosing a runner on stairs: a pre-made runner, usually featuring a pattern, or a custom-made runner, often made out of broadloom.

How Wide Should the Carpet Runner Be?

It will depend on the width of your stairs. It really depends on how much of the wood tread and riser you want to be exposed to. The majority of stair runners are 27″ or 30″ wide. If you have a stair landing, you should continue the runner and exposed wood on your landing.
For stairs that are approximately 3 feet wide, a 27-inch runner width is suggested. This width allows for good coverage so that you don’t feel like you are walking on a narrow strip, and is not too wide to overpower the stairs. For wider stairs of about 4 feet or 5 feet, a 32- or 33-inch runner is a good option, as it will leave a nice amount of floor showing on either side and will not be diminished by the size of the stairs.

If you have a custom staircase that falls outside of the standard sizes listed above, your best bet would be to have a runner custom made, so that you can tailor it to your specifications to allow for an appropriate scale.

Types of Runner Pattern

Patterned runners are beautiful, and come in a limitless choice of colors and designs. You only have to be sure that the pattern will work on the stairs. Some patterns are more effective on long, flat surfaces, such as a runner in a hallway, and don’t work as well when they are bent and folded over the stairs. If you have a curved or winding staircase, this is even more of a concern.

Unless you have a straight staircase with no curved steps, we caution against using a precise pattern on stairs, such as a diamond, square, or other geometric design. Even on straight staircases, matching up a linear pattern can be difficult. If the pattern is off even the slightest, it will stand out conspicuously, and the overall effect will be spoiled. If you have your heart set on such a pattern, be sure to have it professionally installed by someone who specializes in staircase work.

Non-geometric designs, such as abstracts or the floral designs commonly found in Oriental rugs, are a good choice of pattern for stairs. These designs don’t require the same precise matching as geometrics and therefore create an attractive finished look.

With a runner, you don’t want to go too light or too dark. Dark shows all the lint, while light-colored carpeting shows dirt and scuffs. If there is a moment to have some fun on the stairs, go for it. Bold geometric contrasting patterns. They can be dizzying, and make stairs hard to navigate—you can’t figure out where your next step is.

Another thing to keep in mind with a pattern: If you need to match the pattern so each step looks the same, you could end up with a lot of waste and increased cost.

Pattern Size of Runners

For the scale of the pattern, it is best to go small on a stair runner. Large patterns will be lost and will look too uneven as the carpet bends over each stair. Smaller patterns will nicely showcase the design of each tread and riser. On narrow staircases, a small pattern can help the stairs to seem wider, as multiple patterns repeat trick the mind into seeing a bigger expanse.

A stair runner is a great place to incorporate a patterned carpet because it is a small space, which means it requires less of a design commitment. Including at least a subtle pattern is also a great way to hide wear and tear on your runner. It is best to go with a small pattern on the stairs because a large pattern gets lost.

Custom Runner

Perhaps you would prefer a runner with no pattern, or with a more subtle design (such as one created by a cut and loop style). In these cases, having a runner made out of broadloom is your best bet. The runner can be cut to your exact specifications and finished on the sides by binding.

Having a runner custom made out of broadloom can often be less expensive than purchasing a pre-made runner. It does not require a large amount of carpet to cover a staircase, so you may even be able to purchase a discounted remnant and have it made to your size.

Under Padding: Is it Necessary?

Despite the fact that the carpet runner is a small piece of carpet, it still requires a cushion or underpad. The best cushion for under a runner is very thin so that it doesn’t raise the height of the runner by much. It should also be dense, to adequately support the runner so that the carpet doesn’t flex too much when walked on.

A pad of one-quarter-inch thickness is ideal for under a stair runner. Rubber pads are a good option for under a runner because it is firm and very dense. The cushion should be slightly narrower than the runner, to allow the runner to sit tightly against the stair, and ensure the underpad is not visible from the side of an open staircase.

How Much Does a Stair Runner Cost?

That depends on your choice of carpeting and the complexity of installation. A standard-size runner is your most cost-effective choice, but the labor always costs more than the material. The add-ons include padding, edging, and then the installation itself. If you have curved steps or landings, for example, pie-shaped pieces are needed to fit them. And to get the job done right, you will want to hire experienced installers. That way your runner is sure to wear well and to enhance your home.

Marash Luxury Collection 25′ Stair Runner Rugs Stair Carpet Runner with 336,000 Points of Fabric Per Square Meter

This runner is very rich-looking. They truly are beautiful. The fibers in these durable Turkish rug runners are specially treated for added resistance to mildew, abrasion, and sunlight. Each stair runner is constructed of heat-set Olefin with a luxurious 336,000 points of fabric per square meter, a pile height of 8 mm, and a width of 26 inches. You won’t need any aftermarket work done before installation. Vacuum regularly. Clean spills immediately by blotting with a clean sponge or cloth. Periodic dry cleaning is recommended. Made in Turkey.

iCustomRug, Decorative Area Rug and Carpet Runner for Stairs Hallway, 8 Patterns – Customizable Lengths, Non-Skid Rubber Back, Stripe Red

iCustomRug, Decorative Area Rug and Carpet Runner for Stairs Hallway, 8 Patterns – Customizable Lengths, Non-Skid Rubber Back, Abstract Black

True Bullnose Padded Padded Carpet Stair Tread Runner Replacement Dog Cat Pet Style Comfort Safety

If you have a hardwood staircase and you don’t want your carpet installer to nail tack strips to the treads to hold down a staircase runner, this product is for you. The pads have a slightly sticky backing and when you press it in place, it holds very well. The standard bullnose sizes are made for a 10″ deep tread to fit 1″ thick stairs (or less), with a rounded front nose, but if your steps are different, you can order them “Flat” which means they will be a rectangle without a front bullnose wraparound.

Carpet Stair Treads Set of 13 Non-Slip/Skid Rubber Runner Mats or Rug Tread – Indoor Outdoor Pet Dog Stair Treads Pads – Non-Slip Stairway Carpet Rugs (Gray) 8” x 30″ Includes Adhesive Tape

These stair treads are basic, nice, and get the job done. They are low profile, and they feel more like a thick, heavy felt than they do straight carpet fabric. These treads are subtle, not overwhelming in color or size. They do a good job catching any dirt but vacuum easily. They are also easily removable for deeper cleaning if need it. The treads do need floor tape or rug grip to stay in place; to which the rug grip will be a bigger project then you would think. But at the price and customer service, it should not be a deterrent!

Carpet stair treads non-slip rug 13 pc set can transform any slippery staircase treads into a slip-resistant surface, ensuring the safety of kids, friends, and family – be it hardwood or ceramics. Wood stair treads carpet design offers desirable traction, encourages dogs & cats to confidently take stairs, and muffles the sound produced with each step, while also protecting stairs. It can be easily removed while leaving no residue behind and is safe for vacuum or damp cleaning.

Antep Rugs Safe Steps Collection Non-Slip Area Rug Stair Tread (7-Pack, Grey, 9″x26″)

It works well on are hardwoods. It is easy to clean and it grips the stairs great. Antep Rugs manufactures and imports high-quality area rugs from Turkey. A growing name in the home-fashion world, Antep Rugs produces an impressive range of colorful floor rugs designed to complement any room like a work of art. It is a durable machine-made and pet-friendly product. This durable area rug is designed for comfort and style.

Antep Rugs Safe Steps Collection Non-Slip Area Rug Stair Tread (7-Pack, Red, 9″x26″)

Elogio Carpet Stair Treads Set of 13 Non-Slip/Skid Rubber Runner Mats or Rug Tread – Indoor Outdoor Pet Dog Stair Treads Pads – Non-Slip Stairway Carpet Rugs (Brown) 8″ x 30″ Includes Adhesive Tape

These stair treads are the perfect size and texture for a stairway. These are neutral brown with a nice pattern. They come with tape backing to make sure that they are non slip for safety. It comes with plenty of tapes and the tape is strong. They really stay in place, they are soft and look great on the stairs. It comes with 13 treads in a pack and the tape is included. Without the tape placed on the back, they are not non-slip, so the tape is a must use in order to ensure that the tread doesn’t slip off the step. These are great!
It immediately enhances the safety-quotient of stairs without spending fortunes on complicated renovations. Reliable application using the included adhesive carpet tape – secures the stair mats firmly on the stair surface and offers extra grip in addition to the stair treads’ non-slip bottom.

These are ideal as kids and pet stair treads. Stair treads carpet set not only ensures safety but act as stair protectors preventing any scratches or damage to wooden stairs. Soft and cozy stair tread, stair runner or stair rug design that feels comfortable to both humans & pets – however, heavy-duty stair treads prove durable and ideal as both outdoor & indoor stair treads. Work equally well as wood stair treads, tile nonskid stair treads or decorative stair treads.

Gloria Rug Stair Treads Carpet Non-Slip – Stair Runners for Wooden Steps Non-Slip – Rubber Back Stair Rugs – Pet Dog Carpet for Stairs – Stairway Carpet Rug – Set of 7 Navy Floral

The treads have non-slip backing so in theory, you shouldn’t need to tack them down. The pattern is nice enough. They will keep you from slipping on hardwood stairs, and give your stairs definition so you know when the last step. These carpet strips will look great, keep the stairs warmer and quieter. Better than carpet because they are washable! Better than bare wood because they are slip-resistant! These grip as if they are glued down, but lift easily when you want them to!

It contains a durable rubber backing that helps prevent slipping or sliding of the rug and holds rug into place. Perfect to prevent small children and pets from falling or slipping on stairs. These stair treads are made to last an extensive amount of time in your home its indoor and outdoor skid-resistant material will be perfect for any sitars in your home or outdoor setting.

Gloria Rug Stair Treads Non-Slip – Outdoor Skid Resistant Stair Set of 7 (8.5″ x 26″) Beautiful Floral Design Stair Mats with Rubber Backing, Brown Floral Design

Ottomanson Ottohome Collection Leaf Design Stair Tread, 7 Pack, Brown

They look very nice. Thin enough to toss in the washer. Thick enough to protect the stair. It is perfectly convenient for your busy home or office with kids, pets, visitors and heavy traffic areas like in the kitchen.

RugStylesOnline Millenium Stair Tread Treads Greek Key Design Indoor Skid Slip Resistant Carpet Stair Tread Treads Greek Key Design Machine Washable 8 ½ inch x 30 inches (Set of 13, Meander Brown)

Millenium Collection indoor stair treads offer polypropylene – olefin soft low pile machine made construction with skid slip-resistant rubber backing which works on most hardwood, marble, etc stairs. These stair treads are exclusively made in Turkey by Rug Styles. Competitive pricing meets with great quality. In order to secure the stair treads in place, double-sided carpet tape required which is not included the package. It is machine washable without detergent. It is easy to clean and wash.

Oak Valley Designs Carpet Stair Treads – Style: Bayside Charm (35″ (Single), Bayside)

The bullnose detail makes it looks like they were professionally installed. The “wrap-around feature” provides a finished look on your steps that have a cove molding. The non-slip adhesive ensures that the treads stay in place. Super easy to install, the lip fits well around each step, they come with some adhesive, which so far was sufficient enough to hold them in place without nails or adhesive tape. The carpet is of good quality and looks very nice. They are also quite attractive. Overall you will be very happy with this product.

Ottomanson Homeline Escalier Collection Stair Treads, 8.5″X26″, 7 Pack, Brown

If you are trying not to damage your wood floors with carpet tape, then they work very well. These are not attractive, but they are affordable and help y all get down the wooden stairs safely. They stay in place pretty well on. These are the right size and color. They look good and will be easy to clean. It is designed with a rubber back to provide a safer surface for you and your pets. You may want to use double-sided rug tape, which is not included, in order to secure the tread even more. It provides safe traction and stability on any floor type including hardwood tile stone and marble stairs and steps.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like history and reading about carpets. I like to play soccer too :)

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