How to Choose the Best Carpet for Stair Runners

Montauk Stair


A stair runner carpet is a strip of carpet that runs along the center of the stairs, leaving the edges of the wood flooring exposed. This design is both functionally superior and aesthetically pleasing compared to wall-to-wall carpeting or bare stairs. Installing a stair runner carpet allows for personal expression and is a simple, affordable way to enhance your home’s decor. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best carpet for your stair runner.

Why Choose Carpet for Stairs?

There are many benefits to installing stair runner carpets. Most notably:

Enhancing Safety

Wooden stairs can be slippery and dangerous, leading to potential falls and injuries. The carpet provides much-needed traction, reducing the risk of accidents. Non-slip materials like nylon or polypropylene are excellent choices for stair runners to maximize safety, especially in homes with children or elderly individuals.

Elwood House 015
Elwood House 015

Noise Reduction

Carpet absorbs sound better than wood floors, making stairs quieter. This can be particularly beneficial in households where people frequently use the stairs.

Aesthetic Enhancements

Stair runner designs can transform your staircase into a visual centerpiece. The contrast between the carpet and the exposed wood can create a striking effect. Bold designs, such as stripes or tartan prints, can add a touch of flair to your home decor.

You can customize the length and size of your carpet stair runner to perfectly suit your unique style and home interior. Whether you prefer a modern, minimalist look or a more traditional, ornate design, there are countless options available to match your vision.

Montauk Stair
Montauk Stair Runner

Protecting Your Stairs

Stairs endure heavy foot traffic, leading to wear and tear over time. A modern stair runner carpet can protect the wood from scratches and other damage, prolonging the life of your staircase while maintaining its appearance.

8 Tips for Selecting the Perfect Carpet for Stair Runners

1. Choose the Right Material

The most popular materials for stair runner carpets include cotton, wool, sisal, jute, and man-made fibers like polyester and nylon. Here’s a quick comparison:

MaterialDurabilityEase of CleaningAppearanceComfortPrice
Man-made FibersHighEasyVariedModerateLow-Moderate

Wool, renowned for its durability and luxurious texture, stands as a superior choice. While synthetic fibers boast easy maintenance and durability, wool has its natural resilience and premium feel, making it a great stair runner option, despite its slightly higher cost.

Read more: Materials & Techniques

2. Evaluate Durability and Quality

Durability is crucial for stair runners due to the high foot traffic they endure. Synthetic fibers are very durable, but wool carpet runners offer a good balance of durability and luxury.

3. Stain and Soil Resistance

Choose a material that resists stains and is easy to clean. Often, wool will repel stains unless they are exposed to stains frequently or for longer periods. They are easy to clean; hence stains can be removed more effectively. They are also sustainable, long-lasting, and low maintenance.

4. Ideal Thickness and Pile

The pile, or thickness, of the carpet, should be below half an inch (12mm pile). A medium to low thickness ensures durability and safety while providing adequate traction and comfort.

5. Color and Style

Opt for darker or speckled colors that hide dirt and stains. Dark colors provide a pleasing contrast with light-colored hardwood, enhancing the visual appeal of your staircase.

autumnal 3
autumnal 3

6. Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your stair runner looking fresh. Vacuum the carpet at least once a week and consider professional cleaning every 6-12 months.

Read more: Care & Maintenance Carpets

7. Consider Your Installation Method

There are two main methods used to install stair runners: Waterfall and Hollywood (also called upholstered, contoured, or French capped). Both styles work equally as well but have very different aesthetics that go best with different home decor schemes. The Waterfall method allows the carpet to fall naturally over the stair edge, while the Hollywood method wraps the carpet around the edge for a more tailored look. We’ll help you choose the best style for your home and install it for you.

Elwood House 005
Elwood House 005

8. Carpet Pricing Per Square Foot

The cost of stair runner carpets varies by material and design. Wool is the most expensive, while jute is the least expensive. Investing in a high-quality carpet is worthwhile, given the prominence and frequent use of stair runners in your home.


Choosing the right high-quality stair runner carpet involves considering materials, durability, thickness, colour, and installation methods. By keeping these tips in mind, you can select a carpet that enhances the safety, appearance, and longevity of your staircase. For the best results, consider working with professional carpet experts like the team at TSAR to ensure a flawless installation.

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