Carpet Runner Stairs

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Stair Runner

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Stair Runner 1024 683 Marvin Wallace

Guide to Choosing the Best Carpet Runner for Stairs

If you can’t decide whether you should install a carpet on your home’s stairs or not then it is best that you install stair runners.

However, if it is your first time hearing stair runners, they are basically strips of carpet on staircases that will cover the middle parts of staircases rather than the full width.

Today, there are lots of carpet runners for stairs on the market that makes choosing the best and right one even more confusing and difficult.

To help you out, we have done all the hard work and come up with this article. In this guide, we will show you how to choose a carpet runner so that you will not end up wasting your money on the wrong product. But aside from that, we are going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of carpet runners, how to install them, and other necessary information.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

The Pros and Cons of Carpet Runners for Stairs


Wood Stairs with Carpet Runner


  • Safety

Yes, aesthetics inside a home is important. But, keep in mind that it is even more essential to keep disabled people, elderly, kids, visitors, and even your pets from falling down your tiled or stunning hardwood stairs.

Bare surfaces or floors tend to become more slippery compared to carpets since the fibers found in the carpet offer enough traction.

That being said, if you’re looking for a cheap yet effective solution to make your stairs safer, then consider investing in a stair runner instead of full carpet.

  • Aesthetics

In addition to the safety benefit, there is also a powerful aesthetic advantage to a stair runner. In fact, it draws attention to the attention whereas the bare surface beside it will act as an accent to the runner’s focal point.

On the other hand, stair runners are one of the best ways to add texture to your staircase. And who does not want a very soft underfoot as you walk up and down those staircases?

  • Eliminate Noise

Another reason why you should consider a stair runner is that it eliminates noise. These runners pad the staircases to the extent that there’s no longer much noise or sound created when somebody is moving up or down the steps.


One of the common drawbacks of a carpet runner for stairs is that it gets dirty and messy very fast, most especially if you or loved ones wear shoes upstairs. However, this one shouldn’t bother you since you can easily use it using a high-quality carpet cleaner and/or vacuum.

What’s more, if you’re planning to remove it in the forthcoming, you will need to apply a new finish to your stairs.

How Narrow or Wide Should Be A Carpet?

When you are in the market for a carpet runner, you can purchase a pre-made one that typically includes a pattern or get a runner that is specially made for your stair that is finished through broadloom. But nevertheless, the option you will pick will depend on the width of your stairs.

When the stair is 3ft wide or within a few inched of this width, it is recommended that you go for a 27-inch stair runner. With this width, you will have 75% coverage that offers physical security by providing you adequate foot room and comfort as if you’re not walking in on staircases.

However, if your stairs are wider, 4ft or 5ft wide for instance, a 32-inch to 33-inch stair runner is usually the perfect width.

Nevertheless, if you have custom staircases that are wider or narrower than the sizes mentioned above, then we highly recommend that you look for custom-made runners as well so that you will be able to pick a scale that will make sense for your home.

What is the Best Type of Pattern?


Staircase Carpet

When it comes to carpet runners, there are lots of patterns available out there. With this in mind, it is really tempting to think purely of which design looks most stunning to the eyes.

But it is worth mentioning that some patterns work perfectly in a flat surface like the hallway but do not go with folded environments like stairs. As a matter of fact, the counterpart may become more noticeable with curved or winding staircases.

Generally, when choosing a pattern for a carpet runner for stairs, we highly recommend that you opt for a non-geometric design unless your stairs do not have curving steps or are perfectly straight. Why? Simply because certain repetitive patterns like those of diamond, triangles, squares, as well as other shapes, will obviously look mismatched when the shape runs or end into angles.

To prevent this, it is best that you opt for a simple style such as abstract lines or flowers like you will see in an oriental rug as it gives better outcomes.

However, aside from the type, you should also consider the size of the pattern. As a general rule of thumb, opting for a smaller size is much better than the bigger ones. This is because the latter will be lost and at the same time look uneven since the carpet will bend through every stair.

Smaller patterns, however, will show off the design of every riser and tread nicely. What’s more, on a narrow stair, smaller patterns may help in making the stair look wider.

What is the Best Material?


Floor Rug Runner on Stairway

Two of the most common options when it comes to the material are sisal and wool.

1. Sisal

It is a natural material, meaning it doesn’t contain any chemicals or VOCs. With this in mind, you are certain that your family and surroundings are safe. Sisal, on the other hand, can naturally resist bacteria and viruses and very hardwearing. What’s more, this material looks unique and stylish.

2. Wool

Wool material is opaque. This means it can hide soil effectively and it even bounces back and recovers pretty well. But, sad to say, wool is susceptible to pet urine and orange juice. Not only that, wool can be easily dissolved wool.

Cushion or Underpad: Is it Important for Stair Runners?

Though a carpet runner is not as wide as a full carpet, it will still need a cushion or underpad.

When looking for a cushion, you should go for a thinner one so that the height of the carpet runner is not considerably raised above your stairs, take note this may pose safety hazards.

When it comes to underpads, choose one that is thick, maybe around 1/4-inch since it can offer a decent amount of support while keeping the carpet from flaunting. For stair runners, the best options are rubber pads because of their density and firmness.

Nevertheless, make sure that your cushion is quite narrower than the runners so that it will be able to grip the stairs snugly. In fact, this will also hide the underpad.

How to Install A Carpet Runner on Stairs



Step 1:

Start by measuring the carpet runner at the top of the stair in which the riser starts. You can use the end of the rolled carpet runner in order to outline where you would want it to be laid. Then, using masking tape, put a mark in the resting place. Keep on marking the resting position on every step.

Step 2:

Next, add the plush carpet padding in order to fit on your stair, make sure not to make up the pieces. If there’s excess padding, tuck it under the tread for the security of the carpet runner. Staple the cushioning in a lined structure to a secure setting. Repeat it to every step until you have completed all.

Step 3:

At this point, you are now all set to work your way down the stair with your carpet runner. Pull your carpet runner down to your stair, take note, it must be rolled out evenly on every stair.

After that, bring the boundary at the bottom of the stair in which you start the job. Put the edge of the carpet runner at a nook in which the riser and floor meet. You can start it by stapling close to the edge.

Step 4:

To make sure that it is fully protected, give your carpet runner a tug. The moment you have secured the location, you can already pull the carpet runner towards the tread. Make sure that the runner is tucked evenly in the wedged part. Also, check that there is no any bulging. And below the tread aligns the staples, you’ll need to repeat the pattern for every step.

Step 5

Lastly, once you have finished stapling the carpet runner on every stair, end at the base in which the floor and top stair riser meets.



Stair Runners

Stair runners can be a great addition to your home’s interior design. What’s more, it makes everyone safe from falling down the stairs. Nevertheless, if you have decided to give this a try, we hope that you will find this guide helpful.

If you buy something on this page, we may get a small share of sale at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products that we have used ourselves and feel are really useful, not because of the limited compensation from the links through our posts.

    Marvin Wallace

    Marvin Wallace is widely published and recognized as an expert in emerging technologies as well as a frequent speaker at industry conferences. You can visit him at

    All stories by: Marvin Wallace

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