How To Fit A DIY Stair Runner And Enhance Your Staircase And Landing-Easy Step By Step Instructions

Here I am, back again, with another money saving DIY Project! My DIY Stair Runner! What I wanted to create, was a classically timeless stairway and landing that would compliment my Victorian House, and add some style to an otherwise boring staircase.

Combining a traditional runner carpet, oversized art and some old world charm. I turned my stairs and landing from dull to charming in just 2 days!

how to fit a stair runner

Why Choose A Stair Runner?

Apart from the fact they look bloody fabulous!…How can I put this, stair Runners, when done well, give the impression that you have a few bob! Even if you don’t !

In short, they look expensive, they add class and they provide buckets of character to old and modern homes alike!

stair runner

So satisfying!

The best DIY projects are the ones that aren’t subtle! The projects that make you stop and admire your handy work, this is one of those projects!

I knew what I wanted, and I knew I would have to do it myself in order to afford it! Installation of Stair carpet runners doesn’t come cheap! A friend of mine had one one fitted and it cost her a small fortune!

I didn’t want to pay someone for their labour, when my labour was Free! I didn’t know the first thing about fitting a stair runner, but I knew I could learn! How hard could it Be??? Famous last words hey ;o)

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Down The Rabbit Hole!

Turns out.. it’s quite straight forward! As long as you have the right tools and the right products!

I fell hard down the You tube, Pinterest, google Rabbit hole! When I finally emerged, I was Kelly the Carpet Fitter! Ready and fully prepped for the job!

I had watched countless videos and observed many different techniques. I had gathered a wealth of Information and decided it would be a doddle! Let’s go shopping!…

What did I want?

I have a soft spot for bold, eclectic, old world, traditional interiors! My style is most definitely maximalist by nature.

I like the stuff, the Nik Naks, the curio’s, the patterns and textures…yet, I am not precious about it! My kids stampede through the house as elegantly as a herd of baby elephants would!

The Stairs are one of the most used areas in my house. My kids are up and down them 50 times a day! Which not only causes wear, but leaves the odd mark and stain behind too! (They think I don’t know when their sneaking food upstairs! Which is always evident by the trail of crumbs they inevitably drop on the stairs!)

I decided on a traditional, patterned runner carpet! It would hide the odd mark, disguise wear, and make the stairs a focal point rather than a seamless connection between the ground floor and the 1st and second floors.

How To Fit A DIY Stair Runner

how to fit a diy stair runner

First, let’s get a little organised and list the things you’ll need!

1. Pry Bar & Tack Remover I bought this Amazon Basics Pry Bar/Nail Puller 4 Piece Set. Believe me, this little kit is worth its weight in gold! If your removing old Carpet, gripper rods and a million staples and tacks, you will be supremely grateful you bought this kit beforehand!

2. Hand SanderThis Electric Mouse Sander is perfect for getting in the corners of each step.

3. Gripper Rods and nails– For holding the stair runner to the stairs and avoiding dangerous rucks. Buy here or reuse old gripper rods like I did

4. Carpet Tape- For securing the runner rug on the surface of each stair. I used this Extra Strong Double Sided Carpet Tape 

5. Bolster Chisel– Helps you drive the carpet runner onto the grippers. Buy Here

6. Carpet Tack nails– Extra reinforcement for keeping the carpet runner in place. Buy here

7. Hammer- Use alongside bolster Chisel and Carpet Tacks

8. Wood filler if needed

9. Optional Underlay

10. Stair Runner Carpet– Here is The Green Traditional Runner Rug I chose

11. French Chic Wax and Paint-For the stair treads French Chic Browning wax, French Chic Creme de la Creme Lazy Range

12. Carpet cutter

How To Measure Stairs For A Carpet Runner

Measure each tread (the step ) and riser (the flat vertical part connecting each step) individually. Make a note of each measurement as you go. Measure the length of all the landing areas and add together.

*For Reference, I ordered a 9 m x 60 cm continuous length of Runner carpet, which was enough for 2 flights of stairs and 2 landing areas.

Step 1

If your stairs and landing are already carpeted, remove it. This is where the Amazon Basics Pry Bar/Nail Puller 4 Piece Set comes in handy!

Step 2

Pry off any Gripper rods (gently if you intend to reuse them like I did) and remove any tacks or staples from each stair with the tack remover. I had hundreds of the little buggers to remove, believe me, a tack remover is an essential bit of kit!

Step 3

If you need too, fill any unsightly gaps or holes with wood filler and let it set and dry.

Step 4

diy Stair runner
  1. Sand the stair treads (just enough to rough up the surface of your stairs in preparation for painting) The time it takes may vary, depending on the condition of your stairs.
  2. Paint the edge of the stairs with French chic, Creme de la creme. I left the centre unpainted, it felt wasteful to paint an area that would be hidden by the stair runner. Allow to dry before applying the wax, see full method below…


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  • Apply 1-2 coats of french chic Creme de la Creme to the stairs and allow it to dry completely
  • With a waxing Brush, Apply evenly 1 coat of wax and allow to dry for half an hour- for a lighter wood look you may find 1 coat is sufficient. But for a darker wood effect apply a second coat after half an hour has passed 

TOP TIP *** If you have worked with wax before, you know that it is standard practice to buff off excess wax to make the finished surface more durable…I didn’t do that, I found after the second coat of wax, the treads were exactly how I wanted them. No Buffing Required! *There is no wear to the far edges of the stairs and landing, so it did not require buffing.

**For High traffic furniture like dining tables and bannister rails, buffing would be advisable.

Step 5

1. Measure the width of your stair runner and cut the Gripper rods to size, you want them concealed beneath the runner rug. My runner rug was 60 cm width, I cut the rods to 55 cm long.

2. Attach one gripper rod to the bottom of each riser, approximately 1” up from the tread, checking that the pins facing down towards the tread and the gripper is centred, so that it does not stick out at either side of your runner.

3. Place another gripper onto the step, making sure that the pins are facing toward the riser (the vertical part of the step). Leave a finger’s width between the gripper and the riser before you nail it into place. See below picture for guidance.

Step 6

Stick double sided tape to the edge of each step and landing areas, be generous. See below

DIY stair runner

Step 7

1.Work from the top of the stairs. Position the carpet so it’s central

2.Peel the backing off the double sided tape. Place the runner on top of the taped area and press down to secure. Hammer Carpet tack nails discreetly around the runner edge to hold in place.

3. Unravel the runner a little and pull the carpet taut towards the gripper rods. Position the bolster chisel at the back of each step . Use the bolster chisel and press/ hammer the carpet into the gripper rods, tucking the carpet between the grippers snugly to secure.

Remove the backing tape off the double sided tape on the tread and press the carpet firmly on top to attach. Use Carpet tack nails as needed, to secure further

*Repeat all the above steps for each subsequent tread.

5. When you reach the bottom step, fit in place and cut away the excess.

Diy stair runner

Step 8

Fit the runner carpet on the landing areas using double sided tape and carpet tacks to secure in place. This part was simple, I didn’t attempt to cut and glue corners to make a fluid runner, I just simply laid it in place so the edge of each runner met at the top of the stairs.

diy carpet runner
diy carpet runner
diy carpet runner
Landing leading to the linen room

Step 9

Optional extras– Staircase clips or stair rods. I bought some antique carpet clips of Ebay to finish off the staircase…I think they add a little old world character!

carpet clips

These Vintage Stair clips are for decorative use only, they don’t hold the carpet in place or provide any support. No screws needed, they simply slide on.

Staircase And Hallway/ Landing Decoration

Now to dress it up! High ceilings and vast walls is an opportunity to get creative! An opportunity to showcase the art that I love!

The wall paint I chose was deep sage from Wilkos


diy tapestry

The Artist of this piece is unknown, but it is believed to have been created back in the 16th century (1550- 1570) The Original tapestry was made from Wool and silk and depicts a lone stag in a field of flowers fruits and birds. An elaborate border containing 8 ladies, flowers, fruits and leaves frames the scene.

I chose this piece because it is gentle, calming and peaceful. It doesn’t overwhelm or dominate, it simply belongs, it becomes part of the interior space without intruding upon it. It is also incredibly beautiful!

DIY Stretched Canvas

First buy the tapestry! I bought the FEUILLE DE CHOUX WITH A STAG off Ali Express for the grand total of £1.22

DIY Tapestry

The cheapest way to fill your walls with oversized art is by buying cloths or tapestries and stretching them onto frames yourself. See my Bathroom, dining room and victorian hallway for more ideas..

To make your own DIY Tapestry simply build a frame with a central brace (to prevent flexing) then pull the fabric taut onto the frame and staple in place.

The Unicorn Rests in a Garden

unicorn tapestry

Again The artist of this piece is unknown, but is one of The seven individual hangings known as “The Unicorn Tapestries,” made in the South Netherlands around 1495–1505. Beautifully detailed works of art dating back to the late middle ages, they were originally woven from wool, fine silk and silver and gold gilded thread.

The seven Original tapestries depicts the pursuit of the elusive magical unicorn. “The Unicorn Rests in a Garden” depicts a tame and content Unicorn lay beneath a pomegranate tree and surrounded by wild orchid, bistort, violets and thistles.

I have long loved ‘The Unicorn Tapestries’ and I wanted to have an example of their beauty in my home. I love the mythical and magical element that the unicorn represents and I love the botanical boldness of the flowers and trees.

This tapestry is a head turner and it evokes an immediate response as soon as I see it. In short, it makes me smile!

The cloth ‘Unicorn Rests In A Garden’ Tapestry was bought off Ali Express and cost £12.54

The Other Pieces of Art were a selection of Preloved pictures off Ebay and a framed Canvas William Morris print




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