Stair Runner Ideas

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

Why add a stair runner?

There are a number of reasons for adding a runner to a staircase. One of the most common and perhaps obvious reasons is safety. 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 must be sure to select the proper runner.

There are two options for choosing a runner on stairs: a pre-made runner or a custom-made runner, often made out of broadloom.

Runner Width

When considering a staircase, a common question is how wide the carpet runner should be. The answer to this will depend on the width of your stairs.

For stairs that are approximately 3 feet wide, we would suggest a 27-inch runner width. This width allows for good coverage so that you do not 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.

Type of Pattern

Patterned runners are beautiful and come in a limitless choice of colors and designs. Be sure that the pattern will work on stairs. Some patterns are more effective on long, flat surfaces, such as a runner in a hallway, and do not 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, are a good choice of pattern for stairs. These designs do not require the same precise matching as geometrics and therefore create an attractive finished look.

Pattern Size

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 pattern repeats trick the mind into seeing a bigger expanse.

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Having been in business for over 50 years, we understand every detail matters all the way down to the transitions. We make a point to give you our impartial advice and ensure a final result you can trust to look and perform beautifully for years to come.

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