Ideas for carpeting stairs

Updated March 23, 2017

Homeowners have many options when it comes to carpeting their stairs. The method used for carpeting depends on personal style and preferences, as well as the structure of the stairs. If carpeting the stairs yourself, choose the option that best fits your abilities to install carpet, as well as the durability of the finished project.


Before laying down the carpet, place padding on each step. This provides cushion on the stairs and helps avoid slipping and instability of the carpet when it is installed. Choose dense pads instead of the standard soft foam pads to prevent the carpet from wearing out prematurely.

Make sure that the length of the carpet is enough for the whole staircase to be covered. A continuous carpet running down the entire staircase is ideal, and obvious cuts or gaps may look unpleasant. Moreover, having gaps pose greater risks of the carpet becoming loose or damaged.


You may choose to carpet the whole width of the stairs or install a runner. For stairs that have hardwood finishes, it is ideal to use runners to show off part of the wood and add to the aesthetic quality of the staircase. Stair runners are easier to install as well.

Consider the appearance of your house as you select the design and colour of the carpet. Different colours and patterns fit different home styles. For modern homes, solid carpets with more neutral colours can look best. On the other hand, houses with period styles can be accentuated with heavily-patterned carpets.


Use tack strips that are specially made for stair carpets to ensure durability. For decorative alternatives, use stair rods. Consider the carpet material as you secure it in place, and be careful not to damage it with the staple gun.

When you install the carpet or runner, start from the bottom part of the stairs and work your way up. Make sure the carpet is well-fitted and placed on the tread and the riser. For stronger support, use glue on all the edges, applying it before you secure the carpet with a tack strip.

You can secure the stair carpet or runner using one of two methods. You may use the waterfall option, in which the carpet goes from the bottom part of the riser to the edge of the next step, creating a gap between the carpet and the nosing of the stair step. Another installation option is upholstering the carpet and making it touch the length of the riser before wrapping the nosing of the next step. The latter method requires a longer runner or carpet but may provide a more secure installation.

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About the Author

Rhonda McDowell launched her freelance career in 2008 by ghostwriting an e-book on health and gardening. Now, she writes primarily for eHow and enjoys delving into financial topics such as bankruptcy and foreclosure.