Why You Need To Get Stair Runners (& How To Pick)

If you’re anything like us, then we love all things home improvement, especially when it comes to carpets, rugs, and runners! A new carpet or rug can completely transform your space, and brighten up the room.

Why You Need To Get Stair Runners (& How To Pick)

One of the trends taking the world by storm right now is stair runners. Gone are the days where your carpet would just run up the stairs and into the upper living area.

Now, more and more people are opting for stair runners because of the style and sophistication that they bring to your staircase. 

If you are considering a stair runner, then there is a lot to consider. So, in this guide, we’re going to talk about what stair runners are, why you need to get one, types of stair runners, and how to pick one, so you can make the most informed choice! With that in mind, what exactly is a stair runner?  

What Are Stair Runners?

A stair runner is exactly what it sounds like. It runs up your stairs, but unlike carpet, it does not cover the entirety of the stairs, only a certain part of the width.

These runners are mostly used on hardwood or tiled stairs, so you can see the natural feature of this material on either side of the runner.

The stair runner therefore only covers the part of the staircase that you walk on, and can come in various materials and patterns to draw the attention to the staircase. Stairs are often a focal point in our homes, so why not spruce yours up?

While these runners are usually installed on stairs that are already made of wood to provide comfort and safety, many people are now removing the carpet already on their stairs, prepping and painting the wood (Also check out How Do You Paint A Carpet), just to get a stair runner! 

In short, a stair runner is a strip of carpet that is installed on the middle part of the staircase. The runner typically just covers where you will step, leaving the sides free to show off a tiled or wooden staircase. 

Why You Need To Get Stair Runners

Stair runners have a variety of purposes. They can reduce noise on wooden stairs when people use them, protect the hardwood, and provide more safety, as wooden stairs can be slippery or unstable. Wooden stairs can also echo when used, which can be disturbing for some people. 

The main reason people choose to get stair runners is because they like the aesthetic look it gives. However, stair runners can protect hardwood from becoming worn or damaged, especially in high traffic homes. It can also prevent scratches, marks, dents, and claw marks from pets on the wood. 

In addition, it is much softer, warmer, and more comfortable than walking on a cold hardwood staircase. It feels nicer underfoot, and prevents trips, slips and falls! What’s not to love?

Types Of Stair Runners

There are two main types of stair runners- waterfall and Hollywood stair runners. Waterfall stair runners do what the name suggests, they create a waterfall effect by cascading down each step. 

With waterfall stair runners, you will have the carpet attached to the edge of the tread, which provides a clean look for patterns. It sort of falls over the nose and onto the next tread.

In comparison, Hollywood stair runners are when the carpet is tacked down onto the staircase, and wrapped over the edge of the tread for a more clean cut, tailored style. 

How Do Stair Runners Stay In Place?

Stair runners can be taped on, stapled on, or kept in place with rods. To install a stair runner, you can use the tape edge (on some styles) and press this along the top of the stair riser, pushing it against the nose of the stair. Then, line it up, and press it in firmly. 

You can then use a staple gun to keep the runner in place, and staple each side so it doesn’t move. In addition, you may want to use rods for your stair runner. While these are largely decorative, it can also help it from moving.

You can find rods in a variety of styles:

Best Stair Runners

Luxury Bergama Stair Carpet Runner

Looking for a luxuriously patterned stair runner? This is the one for you. It is low pile, making it easy to vacuum and clean, and fits most standard staircases. It is made from 100% heat set Olefin, and has a wonderful underfoot feel.

Despite being plush, it is highly durable, and comes in a range of complimentary colors from gray, ivory, kashan gray and kashan ivory.

Well Woven Custom Size Beige Geometric Runner

Geometric designs are so popular at the moment. This beige pattern is intricate and detailed, but not too eye-catching that it will overwhelm your home. It’s a custom size runner, so you can choose the perfect dimensions for your staircase.

What we love about this one is that it is made from stain resistant pile, making it easy to keep clean, no matter how many kids or furry friends you have running around! 

Westerly Stair Runner Rugs Marash Luxury Collection Runner

Looking for something truly detailed, that will make your stairs a focal point in your home? Go for the Marash Luxurious runner. This one is standard size to fit most staircases, and made of 100% heat set Olefin.

With a luxurious underfoot feel and a plush design, this stair runner is durable, stain resistant, sunlight resistant and simply beautiful to look at. 

Cosy Homeer Edging Stair Runner Treads

Not quite sure if you want a permanent stair runner? Why not go for these simple treads to get you started. You can see how you feel about the stair runner look, and take it from there.

These non slip stair treads stick on to the steps, are easy to apply and remove, and won’t leave any marks. What have you got to lose? 

How Do I Pick Stair Runners?

There are many things to consider when choosing the right stair runner for your home. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors. 

Runner Length

You will need to measure the length of your stairs from top to bottom, including the risers, top risers, treads and sometimes even the landing. You can calculate the length by totalling the number of steps (including riser & read) and multiply by 19. Then divide by 12 to get the feet and add 8” for each additional riser you need. 

We do recommend choosing a runner with at least 6 inches extra in length, just to be sure. You won’t want to fit it to find that it’s a little on the short side. 

Runner Width

When choosing a stair runner, you have to think about the width of it. How much do you want to see of the hardwood either side? In addition, if you have a very wide staircase, then you will need to find a runner that can cater to this.

Most stairs are about 3 feet wide, so a 27 inch width would do just fine. You can also find stair runners at 32 or 33 inches wide, which would suit wider stairs at 4 or 5 feet across. If yours are much larger, you may have to choose a custom runner. 


There are so many patterns to choose from, from plain block colors, to florals, geometric, luxurious, diamond, square, stripes, you name it! Oriental style rugs are also very popular for stair runners.

However, unless you have completely straight stairs, we would recommend not going for something highly linear patterned, as fitting the runner and matching the pattern can be so difficult. Floral or oriental patterns are far easier to fit as they don’t need precise lines to match up. 


Another option is to only carpet the treads- which is where you stand on. This leaves the riser on the stairs uncovered, and you will see the wood. Therefore, only where you step will be covered, which gives a more minimalistic look. 


Decorative rods are very popular for stair runners. These are metal rods or ropes that are fitted to the back of the stair. It doesn’t quite keep the runner in place, but it can really provide a sophisticated look. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have some queries about stair runners, then check out our handy frequently asked questions section!

Does Your Stair Runner Have To Match Your Carpet?

Choosing a stair runner style depends on what look you want to achieve.

While the stair runner and your carpet doesn’t have to be the exact same, it is a good idea to have them matching up or coordinating so that they don’t clash too much or look misplaced. 

What Length Stair Runner Do I Need?

In order to find the right length stair runner, you will have to complete some calculations. For instance, we have a hack for you.

Simply take the total number of steps on your stairs, including the riser and tread, and multiply this by 19”. Divide this by 12 to convert your answer into feet, and add 8” for each riser you have. 

What Material Is Best For A Stair Runner?

This depends on your personal preference, however, we would say synthetic blend materials are best for homes with high traffic. These materials, such as nylon or polyester are easy to spot clean and vacuum, while also being highly durable. 

What Stair Runner Materials Are Best For Homes With Pets?

We recommend choosing a flat weave wool, loop pile, or cut pile carpet style for your stair runner if you have pets in your home. 

Do You Need A Pad Underneath A Stair Runner?

Yes, you will need a pad underneath the carpet/stair runner as these are typically made from very thin materials, and will not give you much support. The pad itself goes underneath the stair runner, and will need to be slightly smaller so it remains out of sight. 

Keep in mind that you won’t want to get one too thick as it could raise the height of the stair runner by too much. It simply needs to support the runner, and keep it in place, while offering you a bit of extra plushness to stand on. 


To summarize, stair runners are an excellent choice for your home. They provide comfort, safety, and can prevent unwanted noise.

With this guide, you can find out exactly how to choose a stair runner, what types there are, and everything else you need to consider when purchasing. So, why not go for it? You won’t regret it!

Johnathon Gooder
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