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The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Ever since we moved into our house two years ago, I've wanted to add a runner to our stairs. They're really slippery, and they're also just really boring. So I decided to install a runner myself. And here's what I found out.   

 

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

It's really easy! This will only take a couple of hours, depending on the size of your stairs. But there is one caveat - it's easy for straight staircases. Once I got down to the curve in my stairs, things got cray. So here's the bottom line... if you have a staircase that turns, you might want to hire a pro (I'll explain why later). But if you have a straight staircase, read on because you'll wish you did this years ago. It's incredibly simple!!

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Here's what you'll need for your staircase runner:

 

Begin by measuring your stairs. Measure down each riser and over each tread using a flexible measuring tape. You'll need more rug than you think - I used 18 feet for a fairly small staircase. I bought these, which worked well because they're woven and double sided... and also easy to cut with regular fabric scissors. 

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Also be sure to measure the width of your stairs, because not all runners or stairs are the same width.

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Next, prep your stairs. Vacuum and then wipe with a damp cloth to make sure they're clean. Cut a strip of the non-slip pad to fit on each of the stair treads. Cut one strip of double-sided rug tape for the front of each tread, and one for each riser (as shown above). Leave the backings on the outsides for now, you'll remove them one by one as you go down.

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Starting at the top of the stairs, take the backing off of the first tape strip. Attach the top of the first runner to it so it fits snugly underneath the molding of the top step. Make sure it is centered.

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Staple along the top edge to secure the top of the runner. Shift the next rug section so it fits within the corner of the top stair where the riser meets the tread below. Remove the tape on the edge of the tread and stick the runner to it.

As you work your way down, staple in inconspicuous areas in each corner along the edges, to make sure the rug is completely secure. If the look of the staples bothers you, you could always use a small brush and paint in coordinating colors to paint the staples.

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Once you get to the end of the first runner, cut it so the end lands underneath the lip of the tread as shown above. 

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

If there is trim on the end of your runner, cut it off the next one and attach it in the same manner as you've been doing, so it sits snugly right up against the edge of the first one. Tuck any rogue ends into the crack, and use bits of super glue to attach the edge of the first runner to the edge of the second one. In the image above, I've added super glue and tucked in the edges on the right side but not the left. You can see it makes a bit difference. Continue sticking and stapling until you use up the second runner.

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Repeat the process when you attach the next runner. This time I attached them in the corner where the riser met the tread below. 

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

Here's where it got tricky. My geometry skills failed me, and I didn't take into account the fact that the riser that fell on the diagonal would be much wider than the ones that were straight. So I cut an extra piece to go on the left and adjusted the right side. It looks a bit wonky from this angle, but hopefully people will be so blown away by the cool runner pattern that they won't notice. So that's why I would recommend that you leave this to the professionals if you have a staircase that turns like mine.

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

I was thrilled with the way the straight section came out, and it looks so much prettier now! 

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

I can't tell you how many times I've almost slipped on these stairs, and my dog Charlie has definitely skidded down them once or twice. So I feel much better about the whole situation.

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
Photo: Faith Towers

It's a great way to add some color and pattern to an often forgotten area of the home!

The Easiest Way To Add A Stair Runner For Under $120
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faith-towers on Jan 15, 2018:

Thanks Chris! Mine has held up fairly well, but the edges have frayed a bit because it's a woven type of rug. I think if you buy something with a smaller weave and use extra carpet tape at the connection points, you should be okay. And as far as the backing goes... I don't think it matters all that much, as long as the rug is flexible enough to bend easily (some backings are very stiff). Hope this helps - good luck!


Chris on Jan 15, 2018:

Thank you for sharing this. I got an estimate for a runner installation on my hi-ranch stairs for $1,300, so I read this with interest. Re: the type of carpet to use, should I look for something without a backing? Yours looks almost like cotton cloth. Also, I'm curious how it has held up since you wrote this post - any issues that came up over the year?

Thanks again for the inspiration - the stairs look amazing!


isabel on Mar 01, 2017:

very helpful - many thanks. i had a local company install a runner about 10 years ago and i believe the cost was around $600. next time, i will do it myself!


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