25 Stair Runner Ideas That Deliver Function and Flair

These durable and stylish options will help you choose the right stair runners for your style and space.

Staircase mirror gallery

Werner Straube

Stair runners are unassuming masters of form and function. They keep you from slipping and protect your stairs from wear, but they can also take your decor to the next level. The right runner complements the style of your space and adds to it with contrast, pattern, or color.

Choosing a stair runner is a fun opportunity to lean into your style, but it can also be nerve-wracking. After all, this is a semi-permanent item in your home you'll use daily. To help you decide, we've gathered runners in all styles, materials, and patterns and in traditional and modern homes. Many of the runners featured are made of durable natural fibers, such as jute, cotton, and wool, but we've also included some painted stair runners, which are a quick and affordable way to add personality to your staircase.

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Traditional Stair Runner

Traditional stair runner

Werner Straube

For a historic home, a stair runner with a border is traditional, and the extra detail complements the highly decorative style of these homes. For color inspiration, look to other permanent elements of the home, such as architectural features. The deep brown of this carpet nods to the brown granite fireplace surround.

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Modern Minimalist

Modern farmhouse entry

Jared Kuzia

If your style is simple or minimalist, this stair runner idea is for you. The subtle variations in color and texture add so much interest to the space without distracting from the unpretentious overall scheme. The rug is almost solid black but the blend of black and white fiber and changes in weave create a look with a lot of depth.

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Durable Stair Runners

white staircase with wallpaper and stair runner

Brittany Ambridge

This simple, thick-weave runner is not only durable (and affordable), but it also suits the scale and architecture of this room. Further, it's neutral enough to work with most styles of decor, meaning, you won't regret this choice years down the line.

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Diamond Pattern Runner

Staircase mirror gallery

Werner Straube

On a highly detailed staircase like this one, opt for a patterned runner to complement the look. Here, a dark diamond pattern grounds the grandly decorated stairwell and nods to the lacquered black handrail.

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Widening Stair Runner

white staircase with blue stair runner

Emily Followill

If your staircase features different tread widths, you have two options: Gradually increase the width of the runner to suit the width of each tread, or use one size of runner measured for the narrowest part of your stairs. On this curved staircase, they used a widening runner to highlight the grandeur of the space. In either case, we recommend either hiring a professional or measuring at least twice to get your sizing correct.

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Combine Decor Styles

Classic staircase

Tria Giovan

A carefully chosen stair runner can bring the different styles in your home together. This traditional cotton runner with brass stair rods fits into the classical architecture of the home, yet the graphic black and white pattern reads modern enough to complement the modern art on the wall.

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Paint Your Stairs

Painted staircase

Jay Wilde

A bold center stripes has a huge impact on this simple staircase, and the painting technique is simple: Each stair gets split into three equal parts with the center portion painted black. This look is high-contrast and geometric, but it would be easy to recreate with a more subtle color palette, too.

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Printed Stair Runner

Traditional home entryway

Emily J. Followill

In a traditional or historic home, a printed runner will work well with the other decorative features in the home, such as intricate millwork. In this case, a formal but sweet diamond pattern in a muted teal color complements the dark stain of the stair treads.

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Herringbone Stair Runner

Foyer staircase

Jonathan Mark Denby

If your style is traditional but not frilly, consider a suiting-inspired pattern like herringbone for your stair runner. Herringbone can add a grounding or masculine touch to your decor, which in this case provides nice contrast to the delicate details of this staircase.

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Add Contrast

Striped stair runner

John Zimmerman

A striped stair runner makes a graphic statement and fits right into a bold black and white painted room. Incorporating a beige, rather than a white stripe is smart move for disguising dirt, and it adds unexpected depth and sophistication to the look.

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Bold Borders

Spiral staircase

James Nathan Schroder

The fresh, white border of this runner makes the carpet stand out against the dark staircase. Choose a darker, lower contrast border for a more traditional look.

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Jute Stair Runner

Entryway staircase

Sarah Dorio

An oatmeal colored jute runner adds a touch of warmth to this otherwise cool-toned foyer. It helps connect the black-and-white tile floor with the natural wood handrail and stair treads, and it makes room for other warm elements in the room, such as the wooden picture frames.

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Playful Patterns

Bold foyer

Katie Charlotte Fiedler

This small foyer brilliantly combines color and pattern. A small-scale pattern on the runner complements the colors and larger pattern in the wallpaper without competing. Everything in a coral, blue, brown and black color palette also helps the room look cohesive.

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Modern Stair Runner

Modern staircase

Dustin Peck

A modern geometric print is just what this Victorian-era stairwell needs to fit in with the rest of the room's eclectic style. Using a simple, two-color scheme ensures the look isn't too bold for the traditional architecture of the home.

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Choosing a Runner Color

White entryway

Nancy Nolan

A stair runner is a great place to bring some color into your decor, especially in an otherwise neutral room like this one. The warm blue in this lattice-patterned runner complements the cool blacks and warm tones in this formal foyer.

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Noticeable Neutrals

Neutral staircase

Emily Minton-Redfield

While designed in a mostly neutral color palette, this staircase area has an ecclectic feel, thanks to the mix of furniture, art, and accessories. The runner adds to this, pairing a more modern geometric pattern with the traditional details of the staircase. The neutral color scheme ensures it will look timeless until it's time to replace.

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Large Striped Runner

Cottage staircase

Dana Gallagher 

Done in a traditional woven cotton, this striped runner looks classic and cool in this small cottage. Stripes are versatile and traditional runner patterns that can lean traditional or modern, so they're a great option for anyone who frequently switches up their design style.

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Painted Stair Runner

Painted stair runner

Robert Brinson

Painting a runner is an inexpensive way to get a fun look that's exactly your taste. Here, the kelly green runner coordinates with the frames of the gallery wall lining the stairs. The trick to making this look last is using a durable porch paint that's made for wear and tear.

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Subtle Pattern

Entryway staircase

Karyn Millet

Choose a pattern runner with a subtle color palette to be period appropriate without going too bold. This low-contrast print fits into the ornate style of the home without drawing a ton of attention.

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Use Stair Rods

Classic staircase with stair rods

Stacey Brandford

Stair rods are pieces of external hardware that keep a runner in place. They can be used instead of or in addition to staples or other adhesives. This is a way to add more interest and historic detail to the look of your stairs.

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Repeat a Pattern

Traditional home foyer

Karyn Millet

Repeating a pattern you have elsewhere in your home is an easy way to choose a runner. The gray diamond pattern of this runner echoes the same pattern on the foyer floor, but in a smaller scale and more subtle color palette. This creates a fun harmony and ensures a cohesive look.

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Classic With Contrast

Foyer furniture

Edmund Barr

A colored border on your runner is a low-stakes way to bring color into your room without taking a huge risk. This casual jute runner needs a little dressing up to fit into this grand foyer, and the deep navy border not only does that, but it also references the blue in the wallpaper and the pillows.

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Modern Contrast

Modern stair runner

Emily Followill

If you're up for it, the stair runner is fun place to take a risk in your decor and can make a home feel layered. Here, sumptuous fawn-print carpet nods to nature and adds a modern statement to this stairwell, contrasting the intricate railing.

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Nautical Striped Runner

Nautical staircase detail

Joseph Keller

A jaunty cotton runner in a vibrant stripe fits right into the nautical look of this stairwell. This style of thick-weave cotton rug is durable, and it also increases grip, which is a necessity on older, steep staircases like this one.

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Provincial Style Runner

Farmhouse entryway staircase

Anthony Masterson Photography

If your style is more delicate, look to this sweet diamond-pattern runner that conjures French Provincial style. The muted gold carpet and subtle pattern fits into the blend of farmhouse and French styles in this foyer.

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