I’m not sure what could be more boring to talk about than your typical carpet runners for stairs. They are the Chapstick of beauty products. The Tupperware of dinner parties, typically so not exciting. But after months of living in the mountain house on the weekends and enjoying the benefits of the wall-to-wall carpet and especially the quiet and safety of the plush carpeted stairs, Brian has asked me to dive deep into the topic of stair rug runners and see if we can make this work. He and I both know that a carpeted stair is not in the cards for this house, but a stair runner? Sure, I’ll give that a shot.
As a reminder, here’s the “before” of the staircase, which you see right as you open the front door. We’ve ripped out all that beige carpet already, so the stairs are currently just wood.
After hours of pinning and even going on Instagram and using hashtags to help me search (#stairrunner), I found a few that I liked. The thing is, most of the ones I stumbled across fall into a couple of different categories, not all of which are right for this house. The vast majority of the photos out there lean much more traditional, and this house is a bit too modern/mid-century for something like that to feel appropriate. That said, let’s take a look at the different categories so you can get a sense of what I mean.
First, the more traditional patterns, like herringbone or stripe à la Dash & Albert.
Part of me wonders why I would ever NOT like that? It’s so classic. But you have to remember that our house is much more modern and the mid-century architecture doesn’t lend itself quite to traditional finishes or fixtures so well. But I also think that the style is so transitional and when kept simple (no binding), it’s hard not to love.
Same here…blue and white chevron-y base with stripes? On the surface, it reads very EHD, but, is it enough?
Here’s another very Dash and Albert-y runner (I think this is actually by Burritt Bros). If you’re not totally sure what I mean by “Dash & Albert-like”, think simple, traditional-ish woven patterns like herringbones, chevrons, stripes and diamonds (like the above).
That bold stripe is certainly classic but fun and yet I think it’s still too much for me in this house. But maybe not!? We have a black island after all.
I love a seagrass or sisal to look at, but not to actually stand or walk on. It’s a great exfoliant on weeks where you don’t have time for a pedicure, but on the other weeks, my feet are not big fans of that natural fiber (I realize this is controversial). Brian Henderson’s feet are actually running for Congress on a “no sisal ever” platform and it’s gaining traction. Please take a moment to digest the number of puns included in that last sentence. It’s important to me.
I have never owned leopard anything, and while I understand its ability to act as a “neutral” as so many people have propagated over the years, I neither love or hate the print. It’s just not me and I think the leopard pattern’s inherent desire to be “sexy” turns me, well, off.
I do love a classic plaid, but again, is it “rustic/refined/Scandi/California/mountain/lake” appropriate? It feels more cottage-y or traditional lake house, less mid-century or Scandi. But for the kids’ rooms, couldn’t that be so cute?
Kilims & Eclectic Vibes
Now, I LOVE the above, but again, not totally sure it’s right for this house. I also love that it is a color that would surely hide things well. Brian and I have been in a big do-we-or-don’t-we wall-to-wall debate for months now and one of my complaints is the potential dirt it’ll collect, so I can’t imagine something with a nubby texture like this WOULDN’T be a magnet for particles.
You have probably all seen this image above before (designed by Commune) but it was the first one to really execute this vintage-rug-as-stair-runner concept so well. This would be more appropriate in our current house in LA, which doesn’t have a stair runner but is more traditional. That leads me to the next question though: If I’m not lamenting my lack of stair runner here, why are we so convinced that our life would be so terrible up in the mountains with naked stairs? Would my children still grow up to find love and fulfilling careers if they are denied the comfort and sound diffusion of a stair runner in their summer cabin?
Is this a moment to do something classic and safe or is doing something more exciting actually the right move? Do you make the stair runner a “moment” or just do something quiet and simple? Last night while I was spacing out, Brian asked me what I was thinking about, and I smiled and repeated that last sentence. These are the thoughts happening all the time.
I’m definitely interested in doing something special, but there are many risks involved and it needs to fit into the overall style of the house.
All Black Runners
I started finding really simple black carpets and am very intrigued by this prospect. While typically I veer more toward lighter tones, I obviously know that a white stair runner is not best for my dirty family.
There is something so cool and chic about this simple dark tone, no pattern. It’s minimal and would take the house toward the more edgy Scandinavian contemporary chalet vibe that I originally intended for the house before I remembered I was married to Brian “Mountain Man” Henderson.
Fresh & Cool (A.K.A. Something a Little Different)
Lastly, I finally found a few patterns that I did like. These are more geometric which feel appropriate for the style of the house and architecture. None of these are EXACTLY right but I’m liking what they are doing to the space and I could even see them in the bunk room and stairs to the play attic.
I think it’s playful without being too loud. In a more neutral color palette (like black and white), it does what I want it to do—make a fun statement—while not veering the house into the wrong direction.
This one, that I started the post with, was the first one that got me excited to dive into this world and while its vibe isn’t totally right, if it were on our stairs, I’d be pretty proud.
I’m very surprised by how much I love this black and cream stripe, but I would probably lose the yellow binding for our house despite it being pretty great here.
- Do you believe in stair runners? Is the architectural sacrifice (i.e. steal attention from a gorgeous wood staircase) worth the comfort and sound benefits?
- Do they work better only in more traditional homes? I didn’t find any that were in a more mid-century house…but ours is a mountain cabin so its not a true midcentury house either.
- If you have a runner, are you super happy with it? Do you wish you had done it differently? Do they stain as easily as I think they will?
- Are there any to stay away from or certain things to avoid?
- Do you know of any good sources for more modern patterns like the last few? I can NOT find any online and I don’t know if this is something I can customize easily.
Once again I’m grateful for your input. I wouldn’t be able to live a true day without asking the opinions of others … 🙂