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Hallway Runners For Every Budget And The Rules You Should Know

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend who had just purchased a runner for his entry that was umm… not quite right. Frustrated at the idea of having to return it and not wanting to repeat the same mistake, he asked “what are the rules??” To be honest, I didn’t know off the top of my head. Sure I have a general sense of what looks right (and doesn’t look so right), but what were the steadfast rules? I did a quick search and realized that we hadn’t ever really touched on this topic. We honestly don’t even have that many photos from our makeovers for visual cues either. I had no idea how potentially necessary this post was!

Naturally, I went to the team, did a little research, and together we came up with a handful of rules and things to consider.

The Rules/Things To Consider:

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: caitlin’s long, dark hallway makeover (and the Perfect paint color that worked With all 3 of her bold wallpapers)

Have at least 3″ between wall and rug on each side

So this one clearly depends on how wide your hallway is. Your standard runner sizes are between 2′ and 3′. So for example my hallway is 46″ wide which means I will likely get a 3′ wide runner, leaving 5″ on each side of the rug. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go any wider or too much thinner. Scale-wise I think it works great. But if you have a much skinnier hallway that doesn’t give you a 5″ opportunity on each side option because it would make your rug look crazy thin, then something around 3″ is going to visually do the same thing due to scale. Yeesh, that sounded like an SAT math equation.

Basically, avoid having your runner look like wall-to-wall carpeting unless that’s the look you want.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: how we styled our living room to sell

Front Legs Of Furniture Should Sit On Or OFF The Runner (NO Touching, Okay?)

It’s all or nothing, baby. Legs on or off. And if you choose “off”, give at least a few inches between your runner and your furniture piece (console, bench, etc) so they don’t touch at all. If you don’t and they do touch it’s going to look unintentionally crowded. I am sure there are expectations but generally, this is a good rule of thumb.

Your Runner Shouldn’t Be The Exact Length Of Your Hallway

Nope. Let it be a little shorter and centered to the length of your hallway. Just like how you want to give the sides breathing room, you also want to give the top and bottom some space too.

photo by tessa neustadt | from: how we styled our living room to sell

If You Have A Door That Opens Up To Your Runner… Consider The Pile Height

I could be wrong but I feel like most bedroom and bathroom doors open in towards their rooms so this likely isn’t an issue for runners going into those kinds of hallways. BUT, for doors like my friend has, an entry door that opens into the house, rug thickness is something you want to consider. Nothing is more annoying than a door catching on a rug every time you open it.

Of course since for him that’s the only door in his hallway with that issue and it’s at the top of the hallway, he can just have the runner start just beyond the point where the door fully opens.

Do You Want One Long Runner Or Two Shorter Ones?

Do you have an extra-long hallway? Will it cost you too much money to get one that can go the distance? Using two (or even three) runners is a great alternative. Just be mindful of where the split happens. You don’t want to have it in the middle of a doorway where the potential to trip is much higher…

If You Choose Two Runners Have Them Match Or Be “Siblings”

What does “siblings” even mean? Well, it means that your rugs should be the same style/material and in a similar color palette. They need to look like family. Well, family that gets along. For example, mix two different Morrocan rugs, two different Persian rugs, or two different striped jute rugs, but don’t combine a Moroccan rug with a Persian rug in the same hallway.

Use Rug Tape Or A Rug Pad

Runners usually are lighter in weight and smaller AND are usually used in high trafficked areas. This means they can move out of place super easily. A rug pad is great to give some extra plush, keep it steady, and helps with noise. But if you can’t use a rug pad because it will make your rug too thick for a door to open or you don’t like the idea, then rug tape will easily keep that sucker in place.

photo by david tsay | from: the reading nook

Rug school is over! It’s the weekend! SYKE. It’s Thursday but we’re close. The good news is, weekend or not, you can still shop if you have been searching for your perfect runner. I’ve categorized them based on price since I think that’s how most people shop. At least that’s how I shop. Keep in mind that there are a variety of color and size options for a lot of the runners I pulled. So if you like something but you wish it was say blue, you might be in luck if you click in. Happy running:)

1. Windsong Indoor/Outdoor Plaid Scatter Rug | 2. Amber Geometric Stripe Wool Kilim Easton Area Rug | 3. Vintage Distressed Rug | 4. Navy Blue And White Geo Luxor Indoor Outdoor Rug | 5. Annandale Rug | 6. Quinton Tufted Rug | 7. Pine Brook Diamond Persian Style Rug | 8. Multicolor Abstract Wool Agadir Floor Runner | 9. Jute Stripe with Tassel Fringe Rug | 10. Natural Jute Moroccan Style Kas Rug | 11. Reseda Hand Woven Striped Jute Cotton Rug | 12. Black and Cream Jute Rug | 13. Norwalk Washable Striped Rug | 14. Scalloped Runner Rug | 15. Alfonso Red/Orange Area Rug

I love the modern traditional look of #1 and #9 but you can’t go wrong with a classic woven rug like #5. If you are looking for a real pop of color then #6, #8, and #15 are right up your alley. But how cute is #2?? And lastly, Caitlin currently has #14 in her kitchen and loves i.! 10/10 (and look at that price!)

1. Graduated Dot Rug | 2. Kamran Coral Rug | 3. Wool Checkered Moroccan Berber Runner | 4. Jamestown Stripe Indoor / Outdoor Rug | 5. Outdoor Adde Navy Rug | 6. Jamila Santa Fe Rug | 7. Inavi Blue Indoor/Outdoor Rug | 8. Wanderer Shag Rug | 9. Mali Indigo Indoor Outdoor Rug | 10. Hudson Stripe Rust Orange Rug | 11. Tattersall Black Indoor/Outdoor Rug | 12. Moroccan Diamond Plush Rug | 13. Floral Blue Rug | 14. Jute Wave | 15. Malta Blue Woven Wool Rug

For a little more do-re-me you know I love #3. It’s got my name written allll over it but also really digging #4, #8, and #15. I equally love those tassels on #6 and think that #14 is whimsical, simple but super chic and practical. What more could you want from a runner?

1. Moroccan Rug Runner | 2. Poppy Multi Woven Wool Rug | 3. Konradin | 4. Acoma Rug | 5. Amman Runner | 6. Flatwoven Adama Rug | 7. Zlatina | 8. Blanchette Hide Runner | 9. Loki Woven Jute Rug | 10. Harwich Natural Woven Jute Rug | 11. Colorful Berber Kitchen Runner Rug | 12. Otti Rug | 13. Momeni Tofola Rug | 14. Naum | 15. Anice Black Hand Knotted Oriental-Style Runner Rug

I think that a runner is kinda a fun place to really bring in some pattern which a ton of these guys are nailing. For my neutral lovers, feast your eyes on #4, #5, #9, and #12. For my color fans, how awesome are #2 and #11? But if there were ever a runner that would be called kinda sultry it’s #13. Just saying.

1. Antique Worn & Skinny Wool Runner | 2. Cairo Runner | 3. Kazan Hand-Knotted Rug | 4. Beni Ourain Moroccan Runner Rug | 5. Antique Sarab Persian Runner | 6. Antique Caucasian Shirvan Rug | 7. Oakmont Hand-Knotted Rug | 8. Atlas | 9. Hand-Knotted Tiala Rug

Not cheap, but incredibly stunning. There are only 9 and I love them all equally. I do have a mini version of #4 though and I really love it if someone is thinking about it:)

Hope this was helpful and if any of you have any real-life reviews of any of these puppies let the class know.

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Sara’s Living Room Reveal

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2 years ago

I have a short and narrow hallway – 2.7m x 90cm (or 1062 x 35″) hallway and I wanted a runner to fool the eye into thinking it was bigger, but everything was too big. In the end I got five carpet tiles (50cm wide), taped them together on the back side and cut the final one down to 30cm. The joins are invisible and the length (2.3m) and width are perfect.

🥰 Rusty
2 years ago

Creative solution!👍

2 years ago

I couldn’t find the size I needed either, so I went on where you can build your own rug with tiles! You can have them cut the tiles too into 1/3, 1/2, or 1/4 tiles too to really customize the length and width. They send you sticky tape to attach them from the underside, and it works great. It’s a pricier option, but I was able to take advantage of a sale.

2 years ago

How would you handle an L-shaped hallway

2 years ago
Reply to  Gina

Or one that is T-shaped! I have been trying for years to figure out if it needs one runner or two, and of what size.

2 years ago
Reply to  Amy

I think for a T-shaped you could use three, buy three identical and cut two for the short arms

2 years ago

If anyone has a rug with corners that keep curling, these solved our problem on a thin, wool rug that kept catching in the Roomba:

2 years ago
Reply to  Kj

Awesome!! Thank you!!! Purchased.

2 years ago

Love this! My hallway is 25 feet long (and 5 wide!), with no doors opening out into it (so no clearance to worry about). I’m particularly interested in a vintage rug, but anything around 20 feet seems unusual. How short would look too short? I don’t love the two runner look for this hallway – there’s no obvious breaking point, so I think it would look disjointed.

2 years ago
Reply to  Julie

There’s always the option of having it professionally cut and then restitched together, if one you love is just too long for your space. I’ve seen that done on rugs that were perhaps too worn in one spot.

2 years ago
Reply to  Katie

I will definitely keep that in mind!

🥰 Rusty
2 years ago

Jess, this is great!
It covered all aspects so well snd I appreciate the differeng ptice points too.
IKEA has some drool-worthy, affordable runners too.

2 years ago

This is so timely! But I have a question: If you are doing a runner in an upstairs hall that leads to stairs, and you’d also like to do a runner on stairs, how do you do that? Order a number and sew them together? Should you even have the hall runner connected to the stair runner? Will that make it more slippy for little kids? I am so confused!

2 years ago
Reply to  Erin

My stair runner and upstairs hall runner are the same material, but two separate pieces. The stair runner ends at the top of the stairs, and then there are a few inches of wood flooring before the hall runner begins (the hallway ‘T’s’ off the stairs, if that makes sense)

I have two kids and a dog and no one slips. Hope that helps!

2 years ago

I like the look of a runner, but what about vacuuming? Can anyone speak to that?

2 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

I usually use the brush attachment for the runners and floor bits that show so that the edges don’t get frayed by the rollers.

Decoratively Challenged
2 years ago

What if you have double front doors with side windows? Should the rug be to the length of the windows or just the double doors?

2 years ago

Just did this with FLOR and wondered why I didn’t do it sooner. I have a 33’ hallway so I was challenged finding one long enough or two that were affordable. Basically gave up until I order Flor tiles for another room and didn’t like them there. (Black antelope, “do re mi”, I believe it’s called) FLOR also cuts the tiles so you can get the exact width you want. Takes a little work on your knees for putting them together, but it looks great in the end!

2 years ago
Reply to  Misty

My daughter did the same thing – used FLOR tiles for even an area rug in the living room. It looks great and wears beautifully. She had a puking cat and ordered a few extra tiles in case the rug couldn’t be cleaned satisfactorily, but FLOR tiles clean easily.

2 years ago
Reply to  Char

I just got a FLOR tile rug for our upstairs hallway and LOVE it! You really can’t see the seams if you stick the pieces together tightly!

2 years ago

But how do you get the rug tape off your floor when you want to switch it up? 😅 Dealing with this right now and it’s so tough!

2 years ago

Any chance of a similar post for stair runners?

2 years ago
Reply to  Cre8ev

Was thinking the exact same thing!!!!

2 years ago

This was very helpful! For those of you with unusual sized hallways, this company can do custom orders as well. They also have a lot of ready made ones, for example like this:
I don’t work for them or anything, but they’re an awesome small business supporting traditional handmade weaving and I own a few rugs from them. Very quality work for the price!

Karyn Meadows
2 years ago

I have a question about runners? Should they match color or pattern of other area rugs that are nearby??

2 years ago

What about a large square or round hall? Do you have some advice for different shapes?

2 years ago

How do these rules apply to kitchen runners? I have a newly renovated kitchen that is lacking warmth and a rubber could help. Does the runner go right up against the cabinet toe kick in front of the sink or does the 3” rule still apply? Also, I assume the runner shouldn’t be as long as the kitchen…so…two-thirds as long as the kitchen?

Andrea Kenner
2 years ago

If you have pets that run up and down the hall the time (as ours do), then Ruggable rugs are a really good option! They don’t slip around like some other runners do, and you can pull up a rug cover and throw it in the washer when needed. (Like, for example, when a cat decides to vomit on it.)