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How to Add a Runner to Stairs

How to add a runner to stairs…

Easy instructions for adding a runner to your stairs

While having the basement finished, I decided to work on a project that I have been wanting to do since we moved in here. I had seen several ideas for the project and couldn’t wait to start. I found the perfect all weather runners, gathered my supplies and got started. I know I make it sound like I jumped right in and got it done. But to be honest the rugs hung around the dining room moving from one corner to the other for a couple weeks. I think I was a little nervous about this, from making things line up to wondering if the rug would really stay in place? It’s been in done for about a month and it looks perfect! The rug tape and staples are holding up great!

Stars before the makeover with runners

The treads and risers are pine, just a way to go to the unfinished basement, nothing fancy.

Prepping the stairs for a makeover

Here’s what I did:

  1. Clean the steps. They’ve seen a lot of traffic and dirty paws.
  2. Stain the sides. Measure your rug, so you know how much to stain.
  3. Paint the risers, I used the same color as the trim: SW Eider White
  4. Add heavy duty double sided carpet tape on the treads. I started at the top and did them all at one time.

How to prep your stairs for adding a runner

Steps with runner rugsAdd the runner:

  1. Start at the top, I used my air staple gun (can’t live without it!).
  2. Wrap the rug tightly around the front of the tread and staple good all the way across and down. Be sure to check your pattern, if it’s like mine, so you keep it straight and level.

It took two runners to cover my stairs. I cut the first one so that it ended under a riser. I used double sided carpet tape and staples to connect the two.

How add runners to your stairway

How to add a runner to your stairs

I saved money and got the look that I wanted. My stair project was inspired by several that Rhonda from Southern Hospitality has done.


Saddle Stitch All-Weather Runner from Home Decorators

Sherwin Williams Eider White Paint

Antique Walnut Gel Stain

Pin it for later, you may have some stairs that need a runner one day 🙂

How to add a runner to your basement stairs



  1. Debbie, Once again you have come up with the easiest way to make anything. I like the stair runners very much. Saving this to my “RR” file. Thanks very much.

  2. Looks great! I have stairs to my basement that need a runner, thanks for the great tutorial!

  3. Looks great! You wrote you used 2 rugs, how did you transition from the first to second?

    • Thanks! I ended the first rug under the riser. I started at the top and used as much of the first rug as possible, I cut and stapled under the riser and started the new rug at the top under the riser, stapling and taping to make sure it was secure. I hope this answered your question.

  4. Hi Debbie, What size staples did you use? Can you see the staples? Did you staple into the angle between the riser and the stair tread? Thanks!

  5. Hurrah! Finally I got a webpage from where I be capable of truly obtain valuable data regarding
    my study and knowledge.

  6. Great job
    I can’t believe how much you do
    Love all your posts

  7. How do you clean the runner? We have carpeting now, and it’s such a pain to clean. The vacuum is hard to use on the stairs, so I’ve been trying to figure out something that could be swept down with a broom.

  8. Hi! Love the carpet choice. Is it the grey/champagne or the black one? It’s hard to tell. Thanks so much. The stairs look great!

  9. Hi Debbie,
    Is that indoor/outdoor runner?? Also is it slippery???

    thank you


    • Hi Diane,
      It is indoor – outdoor. No, it’s not slippery, it’s like having carpet on your stairs.

      • Debbie, two questions, i see a heavy duty piece of equipment at the bottom of the stairs, is that your air stapler gun? (Just making sure i dont need something that big) and please how do you measure how much runner you need to buy. Where did you buy your runner, i love the colors and design.
        Im not an expert with stain, what color and brand os the one u used . Thank you so much for your patience with my Qs ive never done a big project like this.

        • Hi Catalina, I listed the exact colors and brands of paint and stain used and also a link to the rug at the bottom of the post. I used a small air compressor and my brad/staple nailer. A manual stapler would be hard to use with as many staples needed. I used a tape measure from top to bottom, bending it around the stairs to measure the length rugs needed. I used 2.
          I hope this helped.

  10. Looks great! Replacing the runner going to our upstairs has been on my list for a long time. Since an air staple gun is needed and we don’t have one, I might get this project accomplished faster if my husband has an excuse to buy a new tool. 🙂

  11. OMG It looks awesome! Gotta do the same to my unfinished basement steps. Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

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Debbie Westbrooks
Founder of Refresh Restyle
Fun, messy, and lover of all things DIY. Let's connect on Facebook and Pinterest!
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