Happy new year! I am so excited for this fresh new year and kicking it off big with my first completed project, my 2 day entry makeover. If you missed the before and after photos take a look here.
It went from builder grade blah to Wow! I have been wanting to give this space a lift but as I have mentioned we are looking to move in the near future and I didn’t want to spend too much or do anything too drastic. Paint is magical and can totally transform your space! I also knew I wanted a stair runner. It serves multiple functions- safer, adds design value (think texture, color and pattern) and protects the steps from wear. This project is much easier than you would think and a beginner could absolutely complete it! I will break down the planning, shopping and installation below, as well as link everything I used. If you decide to give it a try I would love if you’d tag me so I can see and share it!
Before you dive in shopping for rugs, you need to measure and plan. Boring, but super important! Typically a runner leaves 3-7 inches of wood on either side of the runner. This all depends on your stair size. If they are larger then you would want to leave a larger space on each end, same principal applies if they are smaller. 3-4 inches is typically the sweet spot. I had originally planned on 3 inches but as I searched for runners I ended up with 2 inches on either side (more on this soon). If your stairs widen at the bottom measure off of the top or the most narrow steps. This will create a uniform look. An easy way to ensure a level and precise measurement is to use a small piece of tape and mark where each end should lay. This will save you from measuring each stair as you go.
Next you need to measure to figure out the length of the runner needed. To do so I measured the riser (the back of the steps) and multiplied that by the number of rises + measure of the step x the number of steps = surface of steps. Make sure to include the bottom and top riser. I also recommend adding an extra 1-2 feet just in case you measured wrong or if you need to turn the ends under. So for my measurement I had 17′, so I added 1 foot and order an 18′ runner. Now you don’t have to use only one, you can multiple but will have to match up the seams to avoid showing. I have seen this done before and it is not an issue but just to note another step you’ll have. I will talk a bit more about this below as well. One other item to plan is the rug pad, you can use your step measurement for this. This will tell you what size pad you’ll need if you want to add that as well. I ordered a 2′ x 12′, and I only had to make easy cuts. (Note- the pad does not have to be the entire runner length, mine is shorter). I measure the length of the step and cut out 12 for each step.
I knew I wanted something very durable and indoor/outdoor so that daily wear wouldn’t be a problem. I also knew I wanted something with texture, pattern and slight color to give a beautiful design moment to the entry. Dash and Albert by Annie Selke is a wonderful brand of very durable and quality rugs. I ended up with a blueish-gray geometric pattern that is indoor/outdoor use. As I was shopping I was looking for a size that would allow 3 inches on either side but this one was so perfect that I did not mind sacrificing an inch. This is all a preference to you, but the look and price was higher priorities for me. I added a shop the look below that you can click for exact products. I also added a few other rugs that I think would make beautiful runners. I also added an electric stapler with the accurate size staples needed.
I started with the individual rug pads and laid them in the center of each step. Then I took the staple gun and stapled into the back of the step straight down, 4 times. Do not staple at the front of the step, you want to conceal the staples and be out of reach when walking up the steps.
Then we started at the top of the riser upstairs. You want to pull the edge up tight to the top of the riser and staple it up into the wood. See photo below for reference.
Once you have the top riser stapled, pull tightly down and staple at the back of the step. We put 6 staples across for each, but you can eyeball it to see if it needs more. You will then pull tightly again and staple into the top of the riser under the lip of the step. The step should be defined as you see above. You will repeat this process all the way down- staple the top of the riser, pull tightly, staple the back of the step, pull tightly, repeat. If you only have one rug you will do this all the way down and end the runner just as you started it, stapled into the riser. If you are using multiple you will need to make the seams match by bookmarking it to one another and stapling together. I would advise you do this under the step at the top of the riser. This would be more inconspicuous then at the back of the step. Also will not create an extra staple line. Something to note- if you have an unfinished edge or don’t want a border to show (as mine does) you can slightly fold under a bit of the edge at the top and bottom of the stairs.
Other Details and pricing:
I linked all materials needed above- runner, pad, staple gun and staples. This cost me a total of $453. The runner and pad = $406, the staple gun and staples = $47. Sourcing and installing myself easily saved hundreds of dollars and it was fun to develop new DIY skills. This can be done by a beginner but would be beneficial to have a second pair of hands, at least in the beginning, to help you pull the runner tight.
I hope that answers any questions you might have, but if I missed something let me know and I will address it for you! Let me know if you decide to give it a try!
Thanks for reading, happy DIY’ing!