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stair runners

Stair Runners

Turn your staircase into a showcase with our curated selection of beautiful and durable weaves in a range of patterns, colors, and fibers.

A stair runner is a timeless design element that increases safety, dampens noise, protects wood flooring, and cushions your feet every step of the way.

Need advice? See our FAQ below or contact us for help at any stage of your project.

Image: Medina | Bark

stair runners
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A stair runner is a rug or carpet that is installed on your stairs and usually runs the full length of your staircase, from the top step to bottom step. A stair runner typically does not extend the full width of the stair tread, leaving a few inches of the flooring exposed on either side. Some staircases have wall-to-wall coverage, meaning the carpet fully covers the width of the treads and risers for the entire length of the staircase.

A stair runner has numerous benefits, including anti-slip safety, sound absorption, hardwood floor protection, and comfort underfoot. Plus, installing a stair runner is a great way to add a fun design element into your home. Your staircase might be tucked away and non-descript, or you might have a grand staircase in the entry way. Either way, adding a custom stair runner can create a beautiful focal point and a lasting impression.

The best carpet for stair runners complements your design style, your lifestyle, and fits into your budget. And wool is definitely a top candidate for a stair runner. A wool carpet stair runner insulates for sound and temperature, provides a layer of softness, and is available in a wide array of styles and colorways. For some, a wool stair runner might be too expensive. But the fact that wool is incredibly durable and has natural stain-resistance means a wool stair runner can last for years with proper maintenance. See Silverton or Leighton for examples of wool stair runners.

Here are a few things to consider when considering the best material for your stair runner:

Do you have pets or kids?

If your home is bustling with playful energy, opting for an easy to clean material is smart. Wool is an excellent choice, thanks to its durability, cleanability and insulating properties (for both noise and warmth). Our exclusive SynSisal® is also a great option for high traffic areas. With its stain-resistant ECONYL® fibers and gorgeous sisal-look, a weave from this collection makes a smart and classy stair runner.

Do you love natural fibers like sisal, jute, seagrass or coir? 

It can be hard to choose which natural fiber is best for a stair runner. There is some debate about natural fibers being OK on stairs. Some say sisal is too slippery, but others say they have not had a problem. And although sisal very durable, it can stain easily.

For homes with light traffic, a sisal, jute or seagrass stair runner adds an organic element, sound insulation, and protects the stairs. Our Contract Coir is a coir-sisal blend that is ready for heavy traffic on stairs.

Do you want an easy-to-clean stair runner? 

As mentioned above, wool is a cleanable, classic choice. But modern synthetic materials like a polypropylene from Terasa, nylon, poly silk, SynSisal® or even vinyl are great choices for staircases too. They provide stain-resistance and durability, plus colorful options and a wide variety of patterns. 

What color carpet is best for stairs?

As a general rule, darker colors hide dirt and stains better than lighter colored carpets. High traffic levels in your home might warrant a darker carpet. But your design style informs this choice as well. Are you looking for contrast against your wall color or the color of the stair treads? Or do you want something that will blend harmoniously?

Whether you design in a natural palette, with bold colors, or are looking for a simple grey stair runner, we have options. Synthetics, like Tidepool or Brisbane, have warm or grey tones, and weaves like Beaufort or Silverton are multi-colored, hard-wearing options. Of course, natural fibers like seagrass carpet or wool (see Carmel) offer a range of neutral colorways for stair runners, with wool offering more color-drenched choices. 

Do you need a stair runner for a commercial setting?

If you need a stair runner for a commercial setting, a stair runner crafted from our sisal-look SynSisal® collection or our Hospitality collection fits the bill.

Order samples of your favorite weaves to see them in your space and to show to your installer. We offer Free Shipping on Sample orders!

A subtle pattern can shine on a staircase, but precise, bold geometric patterns can be difficult to visually line up. Not all staircases, especially in older homes, are straight or level. If you choose a weave that has a pattern or distinct lines, we highly recommend that you have it professionally installed. Leighton shows an excellent example of a professionally installed wool stair runner with a grid-like pattern—installing this weave on unlevel stairs or by an amateur installer could result in a less than ideal final look.

Contact our team of experts for help selecting the best weave for your project and for recommendations on how to work with your installer.

Woven Vinyl is a great option for runners on outdoor stairs and is the material of choice for boats and stairs on boats. And though many polypropylene rugs are considered indoor/ outdoor safe, we don’t recommend using polypropylene in a permanent, outdoor stair runner application. Outdoor rugs made from polypropylene or poly silk should not be left outside and exposed to the elements for extended periods of time.

We highly recommend that you work with a professional carpet installer. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a professional:

  • Accurate Measuring: the correct measurements ensure that you order the proper amount of materials, including the carpet, rug pad and borders as needed.

  • Angles & Curves: an experienced installer knows how to navigate the turns on a landing or the angles of a curved staircase for a professional look. 

  • Pattern: if you have chosen a carpet with a pattern, then a professional installer is even more important. Lining up the pattern as it cascades down a staircase is tricky.

  • Style: a professional can help you decide on the style of installation you want. For example, do you want waterfall style or Hollywood (aka French Cap or upholstered method)? How much, if any, flooring do you want exposed on either side of the runner?

  • Transitions: your installer can guide you to the best options for transitions, edges or borders, if needed, at the top or the bottom of your stairs.

  • Shipping: rolls of carpet are heavy and cumbersome. In many cases, the carpet can be shipped directly to your installer, saving you the hassle of receiving and storing awkward, heavy rolls.

If you are a handy person and decide to do the installation yourself, we recommend reading our blog post Flat Weave Carpet Installation - Everything You Need to Know. It is full of guidelines and tips that will guide your project to success. Also, Stair Runners: Our Customer’s Most Frequent Questions offers general guidelines for measuring your stairs.

Contact our customer service team for local installer recommendations.

If you ordered broadloom and the material will be cut on site, you should speak with your installer about your finishing options. Some carpets are constructed such that a cut edge is all you need for a fabulous finish (see tretford® Roll). If you want a serged edge or a cloth border, either your installer will recommend a local company to finish the edges or you can order a stair runner with the border of your choice through us. 

If your staircase is narrow, adding a cloth border to your stair runner might make the stairway feel even more narrow, as if you were walking on a narrow path. To visually expand the width of your staircase, consider a simple serged edge or install the carpet wall-to-wall.

We recommend a rug pad or underlayment for your stair runner. The extra cushion of a rug pad will increase comfort, absorb sound, and increase the lifespan of your carpet. Also, a rug pad protects your floor, especially if the rug has a latex backing (latex is known for sticking to hardwood floors).

Choose a thin yet dense rug pad that can stand up to the traffic while not raising the height of the runner. The rug pad should be narrower than the width of the runner so that it is not visible on the sides. Your installer will advise you on the best kind and the amount you need.

1. Select Your Weave
  • We strongly encourage ordering sample swatches before placing an order. This way you discover how the fiber(s) feel and how the color changes based on the lighting. Once you have narrowed down your selection, show the samples to your installer. They may have insights to help you make a final decision.

  • Based on the tips above, browse our offerings to find the best carpet for your needs and lifestyle. Wools, natural fibers and synthetics all have a place in the home and make fantastic stair runners.

Need help? Contact our team of experts for step-by-step guidance. We recommend setting up an account first for a record of your favorites!

2. Measure Your Staircase

Now that you have selected a weave and have samples in hand, set up an appointment with a professional carpet installer. Your installer will take measurements for your project, accounting for variables like landings, curves, or banisters, and advise you on how much material to order. Develop a timeline for the project, including the lead time needed for delivery of goods, preparation, product acclimation and installation.

Rolls of carpet are heavy and cumbersome. Create a plan for delivery! Our Shipping & Delivery page offers helpful guidance for project planning.

3. Place Your Order

From your selected weave’s webpage, click the “Order Your Rug” button and follow the prompts. Depending on your project needs and the specifications of the weave, you will either choose to “build” a custom rectangle runner or purchase the required amount of broadloom (to be fabricated into a custom stair runner or used wall-to-wall on your stairs).

Take note of the expected delivery timeline.

4. Plan for Delivery

Be sure to coordinate the arrival of the carpet with your installer. Carpet rolls can be large and heavy and a 48-hour acclimation period is recommended. Be prepared to receive the delivery curbside or contact our team of experts to arrange for Enhanced Delivery. You may also be able to have your stair runner or carpet delivered to your carpet installer’s warehouse.

5. Install and Enjoy your Stair Runner!

General installation guidelines that provide helpful tips are available for all of the weaves that we sell. However, for a stair runner project, an experienced stair runner installer is the best source for installation guidelines.

For maintenance, be sure to consult our care guides.