Hey friends! It’s Angela from Home Décor Chat, from my little 1910s bungalow in Charlotte. Today, we’re chatting about one of my favorite décor dilemmas – should you install stair runners in your home?
The stairs were a significant eyesore when I first moved into this old house. The bare wood was scuffed and worn, creaking loudly with every step. As much as I love the charm of the original wood, the stairs needed some TLC.
Enter the stair runner debate!
I wrestled with the idea of attaching stair runners for months. Would they improve the look and feel of our home, or would they just create more hassle with installation and upkeep?
After plenty of research (and a few flea market treasure hunts!), I finally decided to install stair runners. And let me tell you, I’m so glad I did!
Today, I’ll give you the full low-down on stair runners – from functionality to style inspo and everything in between. Grab your coffee, and let’s dive in!
- 1 What Exactly Are Stair Runners?
- 2 The Best Things About Stair Runners
- 3 Designing Your Dream Staircase
- 4 Installing Your Runners: Should You DIY?
- 5 Must-Have Tools & Materials
- 6 Step-By-Step Installation Guide
- 7 Maintaining Your Stair Runner Investment
- 8 Final Thoughts: Give Stair Runners a Shot!
What Exactly Are Stair Runners?
For those unfamiliar, stair runners are rugs that run vertically up a flight of stairs. They typically extend from edge to edge of each step, covering the entire tread width.
Stair runners come in many materials – carpet, sisal, wool, jute, vinyl, and more. They can be installed wall-to-wall or just down the center. They can be solid colors or bold patterns and designs.
The purpose is to add a stylish touch while protecting your stairs from heavy foot traffic. Scuffs and scratches will no longer ruin your beautiful stairs!
The Best Things About Stair Runners
Okay, before we get into the installation details, let’s discuss the benefits. Why add stair runners in the first place?
After living with them for a while now, I can confidently share my favorite perks:
One of my top reasons for finally installing stair runners was to reduce slip-and-fall risks. Those old wood stairs were steep and slippery – not an ideal combination.
Stair runners add significant traction underfoot, especially if you choose a textured material like wool or sisal. The tactile surface and added cushion also prevent injuries if falls occur- a significant win for accident-prone folks like me!
Keep It Down!
Have you ever lived in one of those old, creaky houses where you can hear every footstep? We have, too, and it drove me up the wall!Stair runners are a game changer for noise reduction. The padding underneath absorbs sound and dampens vibrations caused by walking. No more creaks and squeaks ruining the calm.
Kind on Your Feet
Going up and down steps multiple times a day can damage your joints. But stair runners provide a cushion for your feet as you walk, reducing strain.
I love how much more comfortable it feels underfoot – especially first thing in the morning when I wake up!
Designing Your Dream Staircase
Now that we’ve covered function let’s move on to the fun stuff – style inspo! When selecting a stair runner, you’ll want to consider:
Patterns & Colors That Wow
Stair runners are the perfect opportunity to add eye-catching style to your staircase. Have fun playing with bold colors, lively patterns, or textures!
In my home, I chose a punchy ikat print in coral and navy blue shades – it instantly livened up the space. Go wild with your runner and make those stairs a statement all their own.
Finding The Right Fit
You’ll also want to choose a color palette and design that complements your décor. Nothing is worse than a staircase that clashes with the rest of the home!
I recommend pulling colors and patterns from surrounding rooms. For example, my runner incorporates navy blue to match the living room’s accent wall. You can also try fabric swatches in different spots to visualize the runner in the space.
The texture and feel of your stair runner are just as crucial as its visual appeal. From plush wool to natural sisal, the materials impact the look, durability, and maintenance.
I chose a wool and viscose blend to soften underfoot and prevent slipping. But options like sisal, jute, or seagrass add organic texture. To decide, do some in-person touching at the store!
Installing Your Runners: Should You DIY?
Alright, you’ve selected the perfect stair runner for your home. Should you attempt installation solo or call in a pro?
I’m usually all about DIYing my décor projects. But stair runner installation involved more nuance than expected. Here are my lessons learned:
The Challenges of DIY
- Stair dimensions need extreme precision for a tailored fit
- Securing the pads and runner evenly takes patience
- One slip-up can lead to tripping hazards
- My lack of experience caused some frustrating redos
Benefits of Hiring a Pro
- Protect your stairs from improper installation
- A pro has the skills to fit unique staircase shapes
- It speeds up the process significantly!
- Offer peace of mind knowing it’s installed safely.
So, I ended up hiring a professional after my DIY attempt flopped. It cost more, but it was worth it for perfectly fitted runners on my tricky curved stairs.
However, DIY is very doable for straightforward staircases! Try it yourself first, then call in backup if needed.
Must-Have Tools & Materials
If you do want to tackle installation yourself, you’ll need a few supplies:
- Tack strips – I prefer metal over plastic for durability
- Staple gun – for attaching pads and anchoring runner
- Utility knife – for trimming runner edges
- Padding – I used 1/4” thick felt
- Double-sided carpet tape
- And, of course – the stair runner itself! Shop in person for the best feel.
You’ll also need exact measurements of your stairs’ width and length. Add them up to determine how much yardage you need. Allow for a few inches extra, just in case.
Safety gear like gloves and glasses is also an intelligent call for installation. Those utility knives are sharp!
Step-By-Step Installation Guide
Once you have all the gear, here’s an overview of the installation process:
- Clean stairs thoroughly – remove all debris, grime, and old adhesives
- Measure stairs and purchase runner to fit dimensions
- Attach metal tack strips using a nail gun or hammer
- Cut padding to size and adhere to stairs, covering the entire tread
- Cut runner to exact length based on measurements
- Apply double-sided carpet tape to tack strips
- Press and smooth runner starting at the bottom, working upwards
- Use a utility knife to trim edges; install trim pieces for a polished look
- Secure runner using a staple gun – be sure it lays flat and tight
- Enjoy your gorgeous “new” staircase!
Some essential tips I learned:
- Take it slow and steady to ensure proper alignment
- Be extremely precise with measurements and cutting – trial and error is expected!
- Use sharp blades for clean cuts and minimal fraying
- Apply even pressure when smoothing to prevent bumps or ripples
It certainly takes some patience, but it is worth it for stairs that look AND feel amazing.
Maintaining Your Stair Runner Investment
Once those babies are installed, you’ll want to keep them looking fresh for years. Here are my tips:
- Vacuum frequently – especially in high-traffic areas
- Blot spills immediately before they set
- Spot clean stains gently – avoid harsh scrubbing
- Consider periodic steam cleaning for a deeper refresh
- Watch for tears, lifting edges, etc., and repair them promptly
With proper care, your stair runners should last 5-10 years. Prompt cleaning and mending any damage are essential.
If stains or wear eventually take over, simply replace the runners and enjoy a quick decor update! The investment pays off in the long run.
Final Thoughts: Give Stair Runners a Shot!
Well, friends, that wraps up my Stair Runner 101 guide – whew, that was detailed! If you made it this far, pat yourself on the back! 😉
I hope I’ve shown you how stair runners, when done correctly, can completely transform the look AND function of your staircase!
My best advice is: Don’t be afraid to try it in your own home. Start simple with a primary natural fiber runner, or go bold with color and pattern to spice things up.
There’s no better feeling than walking up beautiful, soft steps daily. Your feet will thank you!