Make the most of stair carpet ideas with colour, texture and the latest designs

brown stair runner on wooden staircase
(Image credit: Rachel Whiting)

Including stair carpet ideas in your home design plan can help bridge your hard surfaces downstairs with the soft, fabric of your bedrooms upstairs.

This high-traffic area will want a carpet that can withstand a lot, while also signalling that a space of sanctuary and sleep is just a few steps away. 

Granted, this is a tricky balance to make in the grand scheme of staircase ideas, but with some helpful inspiration and advice, you will be well on your way to choosing the right carpet for your stairway. 

Stair carpet ideas: What type of carpet is best? 

Wool carpets can be ideal for a staircase design as they can deal with a certain amount of high traffic and footfall. They're durable and come in a range of different colours and piles to suits individual homes. However, it's worth bearing in mind that wool, while feeling extremely luxurious, can be susceptible to pests.

An alternative is polypropylene manmade carpet but you will probably need to opt for a shorter pile to make sure it doesn't get easily flattened. It also isn't as luxurious and durable as wool but can be far cheaper.

This thickness of different types of carpet is essential to properly consider. When looking in stores or at samples, a good trick is to test its resilience by pressing your thumb into the carpet firmly and taking note of how quickly the pile springs back. The quicker it goes back to the way it was, the more durable the carpet will be. 

1. Think about hallway and landings as well as stairs

victorian tiles hallway with brown stair runner up stairs

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

While the stairs feel like a separate entity in a home, they actually connect two of the most important spaces: the hallway and the landing. One is a public space where guests are greeted, while the other is a private zone where we begin our bedtime rituals. 

Joining the two together can be a tricky concept, but using a carpet that will lead from one to the other without looking out of place will make all the difference. The stair carpet will begin adjacent to the hallway floor, so choose tones that will complement each other, while your stair flooring of choice can also be brought along the landing. 

Create a complete palette of hues, textures and styles for a unified design that looks and feels well considered, rather than slapped together for ease — apps like Pinterest or a physical moodboard will help with this. 

2. Blend style with practicality by checking the pile

blue stair carpet with white walls

(Image credit: Future)

Once you have an idea of the colour and style you are looking for from your stair carpet, closely consider the type of pile. 

The pile of a carpet is how the fibres are attached to the backing material — this is usually in loops, tufts or woven. For stairs, a loop pile is best as it will last longer and is often track resistant. Woven designs will also be able to retain its aesthetics for a longer period of time (rather than being trampled flat over the years) but they are usually more expensive. 

Find out how to measure carpet for stairs before visiting suppliers so you can realistically budget when looking at different products. 

3. Think about a charming stair runner

modern staircase with brown stair runner

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Stair runners go well with wooden staircase ideas and can be incredibly charming, especially in renovations, giving the feeling of comfort a carpet brings without taking away from the wood design.

While this style has traditionally been seen in older homes, modern interiors are embracing the practicality and contemporary designs now available. 

Stair runners can be all one colour, have piping or lining to add a dynamism often lacking in stairways, or even a pop of colour or pattern that won't be overwhelming in such as narrow space. 

4. Consider natural fibres for stair carpets

white hallway with brown stair runner with cat

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Natural carpets made from materials like wool and bamboo are usually a more sustainable eco flooring choice and are great for stairs thanks to their durable but comforting feel. Sisal, jute and seagrass are also beautiful choices but won't offer the same level of softness. Jute is usually softer but is often not recommended for stairs as it isn't as durable as sisal.

Wool blends are also a good choice to consider for these spaces, while more man-made materials like Polypropylene with a longer pile aren't always ideal for high traffic areas like staircases as they get easily flattened and therefore aren't as durable.

5. Choose to go without a stair carpet

modern renovated hallway with wooden stairway without carpet

(Image credit: David Barbour)

Once you pull up your carpet for replacement you might in fact choose to forgo one at all. Restoring original floorboards and stair treads is a fairly simple DIY job and can really make a renovation project shine. 

Contrasting older exposed flooring with a modern lick of paint or well-executed panelling, as in this Victorian home, will make the space feel finished, rather than forgotten. Do however bear in mind that painted stairs can be more slippery than carpet especially if your staircase is steep.

6. Opt for drama with a coloured stair carpet

black stair carpet in white renovated hallway

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Many people choose calming, softer colours like creams and whites as they can work with most painting styles as trends change but the stair carpet remains the same.  

However, going for a bolder carpet can do much the same if you choose the right family of colours and can last the test of time longer as spills, and mud stains don't show up as much on darker carpet.

Navy, black and grey are solid choices and can be updated when the times comes. Remember, you interiors should reflect you and your personality. 

7. Try out a pattern for your stair carpet

striped black and white carpet on stairs in hallway

(Image credit: James French)

Adding a patterned stair carpet is a neat way of adding more personality into a hallway that can be used simply as a transition space. 

A clever use of stripes, for instance can make a hallway and stairway wider or longer as needed while a geometric pattern can instantly modernise a tired space. 

8. Get accessories right when adding a stair runner

white staircase with grey stair runner and brass rod

(Image credit: Pushka Home)

Finish a stair runner carpet with a well-suited rod. These rods not only keep the runner in place, but add an extra visual layer to the design. 

These days rods can be purchased in classic chrome and brass colours, as well as more modern rose gold and matt black. These metallic finishes can be matched to staircase lighting ideas and door handles in the hallway and landing for a continuous theme. Black Country Metalworks have a fine array of stair rods or you can find them easily on Amazon too.

This stunning design would be timeless in any home — note how the stair treads, runner, trim and rod are all different but work in harmony together. 

Amy Reeves

Assistant Editor Amy began working for Homebuilding & Renovating in 2018. She has an interest in sustainable building methods and always has her eye on the latest design ideas. Amy has interviewed countless self builders, renovators and extenders about their experiences for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. She is currently renovating a mid-century home, together with her partner, on a DIY basis, and has recently fitted her own kitchen.