Choosing a Stair Runner: Some Inspiration and Lessons Learned
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we were so lucky to move into a house that was in great shape when we started. But there were a few things I wanted to change.
Our Entry Hall Foyer Before:
We ripped up the floor tile and laid down hardwood floors, painted the walls a warm gray and lacquered up that bannister with some Pitch Black paint.
And finally, a year after moving in, we replaced that wall-to-wall carpet with a stair runner:
The carpet is called “Fillmore” in Linen by Stanton Carpets.
It took me a long time to find the right runner! What is it about stair runners – it’s so hard to find the right material and the right pattern, am I right?!
I started off by swearing I was going to go with a sisal stair runner. I mean, look at this beauty:
Via House Beautiful
Or this! Isn’t this rug just fabulous? I love that it lends some interest through pattern and texture but you can still go crazy with colors nearby and not worry about clashing with the rug:
A “dragon tail” sisal rug. So creative! Of course, I can just see my one year old trying to eat the nail heads.
I decided AGAINST sisal because it’s slippery! I had heard from enough “carpet experts” to dissuade me. Images of slipping with the baby in my arms gave me the shivers. My beautiful sisal stair runner will have to wait for a future house…
A close cousin of the sisal stair runner would be the grain sack. I thought about it… but I just couldn’t imagine grain sack material would hold up under my young family’s feet!
But wouldn’t it be great for a set of “back stairs” or a beach cottage?
I actually think this Chevron stair runner is divine – polished and mature and really packs a design punch! I would readily encourage a client of mine to use it. But for me personally, it would be too much Chevron – already have the same rug in my family room.
Have you seen the leopard print stair runner trend lately? I love that it’s a little edgy but still traditional.
Here’s a great leopard one – if this photo is familiar it’s because this is the editor of Real Simple. This photo is always next to her “editor’s letter”:
I absolutely love this look. When in doubt, PAINT! This is great for a back staircase or a casual, funky house.
There are all kinds of DIY stair runner options out there. This really caught my attention – made from small IKEA rugs:
I don’t know if I’d ever have the guts to put a bright green rug on my staircase, but isn’t this fun?
Maybe when I’m in my “Auntie Mame” phase later in life.
I saw this photo and my heart stopped. This is IT!!!
Here it is again, in gray! Yippee!
I was certain this was the stair runner for me.
But even if you think something is going to be PERFECT for your home, you HAVE to see it in your own space because…
…these rugs looked awful!
I brought a bunch of samples home – the charcoal, the navy and the gray…. The colors were too much, too saturated for my space. How could they be so beautiful in the pictures and totally not right in my own home??
Same thing with the David Hicks Honeycomb pattern which I adore, pictured here:
So, I ended up satisfying my urge for a graphic print, but went way neutral. Lighter than I ever thought I’d go.
New stair runner, paired with my beloved black lacquered banister:
Some takeaways from my stair runner hunt:
– Bring home samples, and bring home a LOT. Bring home a wide range of colors and patterns – stuff you don’t even think you would ever use. You might be surprised!
– Go quality. I love a good bargain, and I love budget budget budget. Why pay $600 for a side table when you can pay 60?? But when it comes to your front stair case, don’t cheap out. Not only does it set the tone for the rest of your house, a more expensive material will likely be more durable than something cheap-o.
– Be realistic. I had my heart set on sisal. But the material just wasn’t realistic for my needs – I needed something not slippery for teeny toddler feet or for moms carrying babies. Same goes for choosing color! I went super light but we are a “no shoes indoors” family. If you wear shoes in your house, you can imagine the beating your rug will take. You will likely have to go darker than I did!