Finding the perfect floor adornment can be tricky (and pricey), which is why we’ve called on an interior guru to help us with one of the fiddliest of them all – the stair runner. As well as adding some extra padding, protection and safety to your steps, the runner can be understated or a real design element in its own right – one glance at the stylish abodes pictured is proof. From where to buy them and how much it will cost you to timeless styles and final flourishes, these ten tips from Letty White-Spunner of Jane Churchill Interiors will ensure you get it just right.
What’s a stair runner likely to cost?
The cost of a stair runner really depends on what kind of carpet you want, how many stairs you’ve got (including landings) and how much you’re willing to spend. For the carpet itself, you should expect to pay anything from £50 per square metre to upwards of £200 per square metre. As with all interiors, the more time and money you spend, the longer something will last.
Can you do it on a budget?
You can but you shouldn’t! If you imagine where the most footfall is in the house, then any kind of stair carpet has to be long lasting and durable. You need to make sure whatever you choose is heavy-duty domestic carpet; scrimping on this is just going to mean you’ll have to replace it after a couple of years.
Should there always be space either side of the rug?
This is entirely up to you. A patterned or a brightly coloured runner would look best with a space either side, especially if you consider any other colours or patterns that have been used nearby. It’s more important to think about proportion and functionality.
What happens at the end and top of the stairs when the runner comes to an end?
There are a couple of options here and it really depends what kind of stairs you have and what look you want. You can either end the runner at the bottom of the bottom riser and at the top of the top riser; it’s then up to you whether you continue onto the landing or not. Or you can end the runner under the first/last lip but there’s a risk of this looking a little gappy.
Should it always be fixed with a bar?
Not always. Fixed rods are great if you want a traditional look or if you’ve got a plain carpet and want to jazz it up a little bit but you can also staple runners, which is often more secure. Or do both – the staples should be invisible so you can always use rods as an added decorative feature if you want to and contrary to what you might think, you can still use rods on curved stairs.
Do you buy carpet and get it made or do you buy an actual premade runner?
Either. If there’s a particular carpet that you’re desperate for then it would need to be cut to size and its edges properly bound. Alternatively you can buy one. Whatever you do, just make sure it’s the right size and that whoever’s fitting it knows exactly what they’re doing!
Fixing a stair runner isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds but it’s definitely worth getting someone to do it for you. Wherever you buy your carpet, the supplier will either be able to fit it for you…or recommend someone who can. In terms of where to go, Tim Page and Roger Oates both have great ranges of carpets.
What's your favourite style?
Personally, I think stair runners are a really good way of experimenting with pattern and/or colour. I love natural wood stairs with a cream or beige runner or painted wood with a bold-hued carpet or bright stripe. A sisal stair runner with a black edging over dark or painted wood would be top of my wish list as it looks so smart but it wouldn’t be practical for everyone.
How do you work it into the rest of the space?
Think about colours and patterns that you’ve already got on walls, floors and furniture. Even if it’s very slight, a subtle theme really makes a difference and remember to keep your household in mind. Varnished stairs are jolly slippery if there are endless sock-wearing children charging up and down.
Anything else we MUST consider?
Yes…underlay. Without underlay, you may as well have a slide.