How to Install a Stair Runner Yourself!
Adding the finishing touches to your home renovation is the fun part. Choosing colors and updating fabrics can really add some personality to your living space. Some projects are easy enough to undertake in a weekend, such as adding carpet to your stairs. Here are our tips for how to install a stair runner yourself.
Choosing your stair runner
Installing a stair runner is a relatively straightforward project if you plan it well. Choose your favorite stair runner from our range. Think about the color you want and whether it will have a pattern. Light colors will show dirt much easier, so think carefully, especially if you have kids or pets. Alternatively, consider a stain resistant runner, such as this Boloria Democracy DIY Carpet Runner. Patterns can require an extra level of care in installing the runner as you will need to make sure it matches exactly.
It’s also important to think about what your runner is made of. Stairs are high-traffic areas, so whatever material you choose, it should be able to withstand a lot of feet over the course of a day. Wool is a great natural choice as it’s very durable. There are also lots of good man-made options. How it wears is an important consideration, as is how easy it is to clean once it’s in place.
Before you start
Gather the equipment you need. In addition to the stair runner, you’ll need underlay or carpet padding, a measuring tape, sharpie or pencil, staples (1” and 1/2”) and a staple gun. Finally, you’ll need a good pair of fabric scissors and a carpet tucker.
The first thing you need to do is thoroughly prepare the stairs. Give them a good cleaning, and if you need to paint the staircase or banisters, do it before you start and allow time for the paint to dry.
The next step is to find the middle of the stairs. Don’t assume that the center of each stair is the same distance from the wall all the way down, especially if you have an older property. Take your time, measure each one, and mark the center with your sharpie or some painter’s tape. Your eye - and the eye of every guest in the future - will be drawn to an error if you misalign the runner, so it’s better to spend a little more time and get it right.
Next, you'll need to measure your stair runner, and then the padding. You probably want the underlay to be about 1” narrower on either side to allow you to staple the actual runner to the stair without any padding showing. Don’t forget to allow for any rounding of the step in your measurements.
When you’re sure of your measurements, you can start cutting. Then, step by step, measure the carpet padding and center it. Once you’re happy it’s right, staple each one in place with the 1/2” staples. Check that each stair is perfect, with an equal distance on either side, before you move on to the next stair, and be sure to staple from the center outwards so you don’t leave yourself with bubbles.
Start the runner
Once you’re completely happy with the underlay, it’s time to move on to the runner itself. Start at the top, and make sure that first step lines up perfectly because that stair, over all others, will show any mistakes or mismeasurements. Lift the riser and staple it in place before replacing the riser.
Our top tip for each step is to start in the middle, which you already marked before the underlay, and work outward. Start level, and then work your way down either side, and treat each stair as its own entity. If you start to get an angle, it will travel from stair to stair, and by the bottom, it will look very obvious. Staple along the back, then down either side, and finally along the front of each step before you move down. Staple down either side the of the riser, too.
If you find that one runner won’t make it to the end of the staircase, finish at the bottom of the nearest stair and trim the edge before starting a second runner. Be sure to match the pattern, if applicable, even if that means trimming the new runner a little.
Once you get to the end of the stairs, trim off any excess runner and fold it under before you staple the neat edge and finish the stair. If you’re careful and take your time, installing a stair runner yourself should be relatively straightforward.