How to Make a Stair Runner

A runner is an excellent way to add colour and interest to an otherwise boring set of stairs. It will cut down on the noise of feet going up and down the stairs as well as control dirt and dust from being transferred from downstairs to upstairs. A carpet stair runner is much more comfortable on bare feet than plain stairs and will save the surface of your tread from being worn down.

Measure the length of the landing at the top of the stairs and at the bottom of the stairs. Write these measurements down. Measure the depth of the first tread and the height of the first step. Multiply this by the number of steps. Add 12 inches for the extra inch of carpet that needs to wrap over the front of each tread. Add up all your measurements to get your total length of runner carpet needed.

Decide how wide you want your runner. Typically it takes up most of the steps, leaving just an inch or two on each side. If you have standard steps of 31 inches your runner will probably be 26 inches wide.

Go to the carpet store and choose a runner carpet that suit syour lifestyle and decorating likes. Tell the sales associate your measurements and he will cut the carpet to your specifications. Don't forget to get stair mats for the padding.

Bring your carpet up to the top of the steps with the pile facing downward. Place the carpet matting on the landing and cut it one inch in from each side of the measurement of the runner. Hammer down the runner at each corner with the carpet tacks, centring it with the stairs. Secure it every 4 inches with the carpet tacks.

Roll the carpet over the top of the tread and secure it under the lip with a carpet tack at each corner and then every 4 inches across the top. Push it down into the bottom of the rise with a blunt chisel and tack it along the bottom of the back of the step. Position the mat so that it is centred on the step and tack the stair runner over it on each corner and one tack in the middle of each side. Tack every 4 inches along the back of the tread.

Secure the rest of the carpet in the same way until you get to the bottom step. Cut the carpet to be just a 1/2 inch longer than the rise and then tuck the end under and tack it to the riser. If you are carpeting the bottom landing, position your carpet pad and then the stair runner over it as you did at the top and secure the carpet at each corner and every 4 inches.


Never cut your carpet until you are working on the last step.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Runner carpet
  • Carpet tacks (#6 by 1/2 inch)
  • Padding for each step and landings
  • Blunt chisel
  • Tack hammer
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About the Author

Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.