Our favourite stair runner ideas could transform your staircase — for as little as £129

cream carpet runner with cat
(Image credit: Tapi Carpets and Floors Ltd)

With the right stair runner ideas, the look of staircases, hallways and landings can be completely transformed. 

Including some kind of carpet or runner into your staircase ideas not only works well on a visual level, but it is also a very practical idea as it makes your stairs more comfortable underfoot. Plus it adds a level of soundproofing which will be most welcome in family homes, where the sound of children thundering up and down stairs can be deafening at times.

Here we take a look at a range of stair runner ideas to suit all kinds of staircases, from those that will really refresh and update a tired flight of stairs to designs that will add another dimension to a new, modern staircase. 

Why are stair runner ideas needed?

While stair runners and carpets are not essential when it comes to staircase design, there are several benefits to finishing your flight off in this way. The advantages of stair runners include: 

  • Offers soundproofing
  • Warmer underfoot
  • More slip resistance
  • Safer if anyone should fall on stairs
  • Can add visual interest to the rooms they lead off 

1. Keep it fresh with a monochrome stripe

black and white stair runner

Simple black and white stripes suit all types of staircase design.  (Image credit: Carpetright)

You really can't go far wrong with a simple black and white striped stair runner. This is a design that can work with pretty much any style of flight and will suit those after modern staircase ideas just as well as anyone updating a period staircase.

Here, a plain wooden staircase has been given an instantly fresh and interesting look with the addition of Carpetright's House Beautiful Portobello Carpet In Magpie, which costs £36.99 per m2.

2. Use your stair runner to add a pop of colour

brightly coloured hallway with multi coloured stair runner

Using a stair runner is a great way to inject colour into a hallway.  (Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Whether your hallway ideas are already a riot of colour or you are after ways to add a bright boost to an otherwise neutral scheme, your stair runner can help. Designs are available in all kinds of patterns and shades, and those that are a little colour shy should like the idea that this is a way of introducing bolder shades that could seem overwhelming on walls. 

In this eye-popping hallway, paints from Annie Sloan, in some seriously zingy tones, have been combined with a stair runner in similarly bright but contrasting shades for an eclectic overall look that bursts with individual character. 

3. Add a rustic touch with natural carpet materials

sisal stair runner in rustic hallway

Use natural materials such as coir and sisal for an organic, rustic look.  (Image credit: Dunelm)

When it comes to types of carpet, there are all kinds of materials to choose from, from natural to manmade. 

Anyone keen to boost their home’s green credentials, should consider natural fibres such as sisal, coir, jute and seagrass, all of which offer an attractive and sustainable alternative to synthetic carpets — plus, they contain fewer chemicals.

Here, a Herringbone jute border stair runner from Dunelm, costing from just £129, has been used, tying in perfectly with the exposed brick wall that runs alongside the staircase. The whole thing comes together to create a wonderfully rustic, earthy look. 

4. Use matching stair and hallway carpet

stripy hallway carpet and striped stair runner

Bring the look together by matching hall and stair carpets.  (Image credit: Carpetright)

If you are keen for a cohesive look in your hallway, use the same carpet for your flooring and your stairs. This is also a great way to make a small hallway seem bigger and is also useful in distracting the eye so should be considered by those after narrow hallway ideas or with a steep staircase.

Here, the period staircase and wall panelling has been painted a creamy, neutral shade and is paired with Carpetright's AW21 Residence Striped Carpet in Tabasco. By keeping the walls and stairs simple, the expanse of stripes doesn't overwhelm the space.  

5. Highlight a period staircase with a simple runner

Georgian staircase with stair runner

Keep your runner simple on striking period staircases to allow them to shine.  (Image credit: Bisca)

If you are lucky enough to have an original period staircase that is something of a wow feature then you need to be careful that the runner you add to it won't detract from its elegant form and details. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of runners around that are super simple in their design and so are perfect for all kinds of staircase styles. This beautiful staircase, by Bisca, was designed to be in keeping with the grand formality of Georgian times and features rich timber and hand-forged uprights. The plain grey runner works beautifully with the creamy tones of the natural stone. 

6. Re-use original carpet clips

hallway with striped stair runner

If you find original stair carpet clips in place, use them with your new runner.  (Image credit: Paul Arthur)

Original stair carpet clips can add a lovely decorative touch to your staircase when used in conjunction with a stair runner. If you are renovating a staircase and find some still in place then do take the time to spruce them up and reinstate them.

If you don't have stair carpet clips it is possible to buy new ones and these come in all kinds of styles to suit all ages of staircases, from those designed to replicate original Victorian designs to those that are more sleek and subtle in their appearance — perfect for contemporary staircases. 

In this Edwardian cottage renovation, the old stair carpet clips were being used over a tatty old carpet. They were removed while the stairs were painted and fitted with a new striped runner before being refitted. 

7. Match hallway tiles with your runner

grand entrance hall with encaustic tiles

Pick out shades in your hallway flooring and mirror them in your stair runner design.  (Image credit: Tapi Carpets and Floors)

When choosing a stair runner, be sure to take the rest of your hallway decor and design into account — the space needs to be designed as a whole if you want it all to work well. 

The most obvious place to start is with the hallway flooring ideas you have used. Picking out patterns or colours used in your choice of floor covering, whether that is carpet, tiles or something else, and selecting a runner that can in someway mirror these details, is a great idea.

Here, the blue, grey and cream of the hallway floor tiles are echoed in the stair runner, made from Tapi Carpets and Floors' Morocco, a textured loop pile carpet from the Tapi Home Sweet Home collection.

8. Let the staircase shine with a neutral stair runner

white staircase with neutral stair runner

Featuring simple white panelling, this staircase has been perfectly matched with a neutral runner.  (Image credit: Neville Johnson)

Even if you are keen that your carefully planned out staircase design is not detracted from by a stair runner, there are designs out there that enhance, rather than overpower. Opt for a plain runner, in a neutral shade such as cream, beige or grey.

This simple yet stunning staircase, from Neville Johnson, inspired by American house design, features fresh white panelling (a great option for anyone after stairway wall ideas) and reassuringly chunky dark wood treads which are still visible beneath the sandy tones of the stair runner. 

9. Use smart stair rods to keep your runner in place

chrome stair rods and grey stair runner

Stair rods make the perfect finishing touch to your staircase.  (Image credit: Pushka Home)

Smart, simple stair rods are the perfect way to complete any staircase — and really enhance the look of a stair runner. Although they were designed to hold runners in place, they actually really have more of decorative function.

These Knurled Silver Stair Rods from Pushka Home are made from brass and can be specified with either a plain or knurled end cap in a modern design. They work well with traditional and contemporary staircases alike and are available in a gold, silver, antique gold and black finish. They can be cut to size on site. 

10. Co-ordinate the wall colour with your runner

hallway with blue wall panelling and patterned floor tiles

Perfectly coordinated colour schemes make hallways calming spaces to step into.  (Image credit: Tapi Carpets and Floors Ltd)

The best hallway decor ideas are calming and restful, uncluttered and should set the tone for the rest of your home. They should let you breathe a sigh of relief as your step through your front door from the outside world. 

For this reason, a nicely coordinated approach to colour schemes works really well in entrance halls — and your choice of stair runner should take this into account. 

In this gorgeous hallway, the powdery blue wall panelling, pretty patterned tiles, creamy walls and fresh white stairs are all offset beautifully by the stair runner made using Tapi Carpets and Floors' Flatweave Classic carpet collection in Chalk, which features a herringbone design.

Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.