I just couldn’t get this stair runner out of my head. Honestly, thinking about how I could achieve the look of this stair runner myself for a reasonable cost consumed me for a couple of weeks. After doing a bunch of research and watching many, many tutorials on YouTube, I gave it a shot. I’m so excited about how it all came together.
Step 1: Measure stairs. To figure out how many rugs you’ll need, measure the depth of the stair tread and the height of the riser. Multiply the total by the number of stairs to get the total rug length needed.
Step 2: Decide on a rug width. Measure the width of the treads from end to end, or from end to banisters. Runners look best with a 2-3″ margin on either side of the rug. In my case, we decided on a width of 2′ 6″.
Step 3: Shop for rugs of the exact same width. This is the most tedious but more important part of getting this eclectic look. There are a couple of ways to do it. Decide on the style of the rugs and the general color palette. I think this type of look works best with Turkish, ikat, and traditional patterns. There is enough variety within these styles to get an eclectic look without looking too wild. I decided to purchase all my rugs through ecarpetgallery.com for a couple of reasons.
Step 4: Plan your layout. We arranged the rugs on the floor and decided we wanted the bolder patterns at the top and bottom of the stairs, with the simpler, less bold patterns sprinkled throughout the middle of the stairs. We decided that each rug would cover two steps, with the rugs making a “seam” where it was easiest to secure, at the base of the stairs.
Step 5: Set Guidelines. Measure each tread and place painter’s tape where each side of the rug should land. This helps keep the runners straight. Please do not eyeball it! I had to redo a couple of rugs because I thought I could maintain a straight line on my own. Mistake!
Step 6: Create individual rug pads. Each stair tread needs a bit of padding and grip to help keep it in place. I cut these individually.
Step 7: Tape into place. Tape rug pads down with double-sided carpet tape. This stuff is STICKY.
Step 8: Align the top and bottom. Align the top of the runner with the bottom edge of the first tread. We have two landings on our stairs—most likely, you only have one. If you don’t have a landing, starting at the bottom of the first tread creates a cleaner look.
Step 9: Staple the rugs in place.
a. Using a pneumatic staple gun, staple the runner in place at its top edge, approximately every 3 inches. Be sure to include staples on both of the outer edges.
b. Use a bolster chisel to pull the runner taut against the corner of the riser and the next tread. Staple against the bottom of the riser approximately every 3 inches, including both of the outer edges. If you’re using a striped runner, step back and check to make sure the stripes are straight before moving on.
c. Pull the loose end of the runner over the edge of the next stair tread and repeat b until complete.
Step 10: Trim rugs. Using a straight edge and base of the stair, run a very sharp utility/carpet knife along the rug. There will be some unraveling. Try to avoid further unraveling the rug.
Step 11: Trim tassels. Trim the tassels off the next rug you’ll be securing to the stairs per your design. Slide it under the trimmed rug above and push any extra fibers into the crease with a bolster. This creates a tight seam and makes a clean look.
Step 12: Connect the rugs: Staple a new rug to the top of the tread. Repeat steps nine – eleven until you’ve reached the last tread or landing.
Step 13: Secure the seams. To further secure the seams where two different rugs have been trimmed, run a glue gun or super glue deep into the fibers of the rug, leaving a thin application of glue. You can also use brass stair rods to keep rugs from unraveling.
If you have the capabilities and more patience than I do, take your rugs and a detailed design plan to a local carpet repair company. They can help you serge the edges of your rugs and stitch them together. You do run the risk of the seams not being perfectly aligned with your treads!
I hope this tutorial helped. I would recommend watching as many videos of runner installations as you can if this is your first time working with a staple gun (like me!).
BY Kate Arends - June 27, 2016
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.