Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

DIY stair runner project complete!

We recently did a project I've been intimidated by for a while: installing a runner rug on our stairs. Well, it turned out to be one of the easier DIY home projects I've done! And it only took a few hours. It looks great, and our stairs are so much safer now!

DIY wool stair runner

Choosing the runner rug

The first hurdle of this project was choosing the rug. I like the look of a black/white stripe, but it might be a little too preppy for this house, and I was afraid of the stripes looking off if I didn't install it perfectly. I did some research and found wool is a great material for a stair runner because it won't stretch as much as cotton or jute, so I looked for sort-of black and white but not really striped runners. I found this one on sale for $60 for 8'. I measured our stairs (rise and run, times the number of stairs, plus the landing) and ordered three 8' long ones.

So, my supplies were:

  • Three 8' long runner rugs $180 total
  • Three runner rug pads (similar)
  • Carpet tape $5.50
  • Air compressor/pneumatic staple gun (borrowed from my dad)
  • 1/2" long staples $@0 (plus a few longer ones at the end where it's doubled up--you'll see)
  • Sharpie to color the staples black

Stair runner tutorials

I'm not going to give you a full tutorial because there are thousands out there! Well, not really, but this seems to be one of the more popular DIY home projects and a bunch of my favorite bloggers have already done great tutorials! I also used this one from a popular rug manufacturer--gives the basics. Here are some others you can read for more detail once you read the basic steps.

I followed the same steps of this basic stair runner installation process.

First, I cut the runner pads to the right length. I used a runner pad I had, which is unfortunately several inches narrower than the runner. I decided it's fine though.  Then I added three strips of carpet tape to each one. I did all of that watching TV before starting the project. Then when I had the time (not toddler naptime, due to loud air compressor, but Jason available to watch the kids), I just peeled the backing off the tape and stuck the pads on.

I sharpied the back of the staples so they'd blend in with the black of the runner.

To get the runner into the angles of the stairs, I used a flat pushing device (leftover piece of laminate flooring was the first thing we found). Then just stapled! I did one every few inches from right to left, then came back and added some in between once I had made sure the runner was straight.

I started with the two stairs above the landing, then added the landing piece going down, then cut the one at the top later. That way I could just tuck it in to the landing piece.

I put all the joins just under the lip, where they kind of hide in the shadows.

I almost ran out!, but had enough to piece the bottom stair but not the riser. I also had to trim at the end to make it narrower and fit around the door casing at the bottom of our stairs.

I whip-stitched the cut edge with some of the black yarn that had unwoven from the cut edge. 

I debated which way to put the runner here--factory-finished edge up or down? But went with down because I thought turning it under and stapling would be much harder to do smoothly on the underside of a stair nose. So I did it this way, and turned it under and stapled with longer staples to go through all the layers.

I wish I had a 100% finished photo with the good camera and natural light but it's so dark this time of year, it's really tough. Also I want to change out that door handle soon! 

But here's some pretty after photos at the top!

We love having comfy, basically carpeted stairs and it feels SO much safer walking down them while holding a tiny baby, or walking up or down with a toddler. 

Otto's been asking for his picture taken when we get to the landing after I did it once when he looked so cute. So now Jason and I both have a bunch of photos of him here in various poses. :D

Appropriate that we are closing out 2020 with this project, since we started the year replacing our stair/landing balusters, also for safety reasons. Before that, we had removed the old carpet on these

Next, I do want to replace that 90's brass doorknob, and we recently installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs I'll share about soon too!

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