Installing Your Own Stair Runner

One good and satisfying DIY project is installing your own carpet runner on your stairs.  With so many great runners out there, you can really make a design statement.  You can go bold with color, or stick to neutrals.  You can add stripes (one of my favorites) and geometric patterns, or stick to a very simple pattern.  My absolute favorite runners are the Indoor/Outdoor ones from Dash and Albert.  I buy mine through Helen Thomas Simply Smashing, a store in my town (they ship anywhere!).  These rugs are durable, yet not too thick, making installation a DIY project for sure!

Installing a runner is a half day project and when it’s done, it’s instant gratification!  I have installed runners in my own home, and I’ve done it for friends, and each time, it gets easier.  So now I’m going to share my approach to installing a runner and I hope that you will use this post to help you install your own.

To get started, you first need to get your materials and prepare your stairs.  Here is what you will need:

  1.  Your carpet runners.  Check out these Indoor/Outdoor rugs from Dash and Albert.  Be sure to measure the entire length needed by measuring the step depth and height.  Add those two lengths together and multiply by the number of steps, then add 10%.
  2. A carpet pad that you will cut into rectangles to be placed on top of each step.  A felt rug pad is perfect as it has a non skid bottom.  Or you can use a traditional ‘waffle’ style pad .
  3. An air compressor.  Borrow one from a friend or rent one from a local rental shop if you don’t have one.
  4. A pneumatic stapler and staples.
  5. Tape Measure
  6. Scissors (strong enough to cut the rug)

Preparation of your stairs is up to you.  You can simply clean them if you like them the way they are, you can paint the risers white, or you can paint everything white!  Whatever you do, your stairs will look fantastic!

Step One:  After your stairs are all prepped, and if you are using a pad, you will want to cut the pad so that it’s just a tiny bit shorter than the width of the rug, and about 2 inches narrower than the depth of the step.  Staple the rug pad in place, or else it will slip around under the rug.  One staple at each corner and one in the middle along the top and bottom are perfect.

Step Two:  After the pads are stapled down, it’s time to start the rug.  You will want to start at the top, at the top of the last riser.  Put the finished edge of the runner up against the floor (or up against the molding if there is any) at the top of the riser.  Use your tape measure to ensure the rug is centered on the steps!

Step Three:  The next step is to staple the rug where the riser and the step meet.  Start at the middle and work your way out to each edge placing your staples a few inches apart from each other.  Make sure you do not stretch the rug!

Step Four:  Now you will wrap the carpet over the nose of the step and staple up underneath it.  Again, start at the middle and staple out towards each edge.  Use the weave of the rug as a guide to make sure you are keeping the rug straight across and double check that the rug is still centered on the step.

Step Five:  Continue this process until you reach the bottom step, where you wrap the carpet under the nose.  Once you get there, you will want to extend the rug to the floor and cut the rug about 3 inches longer than that, as you will be folding the rug where it hits the floor so that you have a nice neat edge to staple to the bottom of the riser, where it meets the floor.

Step Six:  Lastly, you will want to staple down the edges of the rug on top of each step.  This will prevent those sides from coming up.

Now there you have it.  A plain set of stairs to a stylish set of stairs in just an afternoon!  Have fun and be sure to post your finished project on Instagram and tag us at #greenparkstudios.



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