Upcycle Woven Table Runners Into a Durable Stair Runner

Wooden steps are beautiful but can be slippery and cold underfoot. Add warmth, softness and safety by installing a stair runner. Using inexpensive woven table runners, this project is a snap to do yourself. 

How to install a Stair Runner

How to install a Stair Runner

Wooden steps are beautiful, but they can be slippery and cold on the feet. Add some warmth, softness and something for the feet to grip by installing a stair runner.

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Materials Needed

  • 1/4" felt runner pad with rubber backing
  • pneumatic staple gun and compressor
  • woven cotton runner (it may be necessary to piece two or more together)
  • 5/8" staples
  • ruler or tape measure
  • sharp scissors

Cut Runner Pad

With sharp scissors, cut the rug pad to cover tread and bull-nose edge of each step. Note: It’s not necessary for the pad to run up risers and it would add unnecessary bulk.  Position each runner pad on each step (Image 1), using a ruler or tape measure to ensure each pad is centered (Image 2). Insert 2-3 staples into each pad to prevent it from shifting when runner is being installed (Image 3).

Begin Runner Installation

Start from the top step and work downwards. Keep tape measure or ruler handy to ensure runner is being installed straight and centered on steps. Pull runner tight around the bullnose edge of each step and secure to the underside of the overhang with a row of staples (Image 1), then pull the runner tight down the riser and staple it into the corner (Image 2). Depending on the type of staple gun being used, it might be necessary to shoot the staples in vertically, if the nose of the gun will not fit into the corner. Tip: It's normal for staples to be visible upon close inspection; however, try to camouflage staples in rug design, if possible.

Disguising a Seam

If it's necessary to splice two rugs together to make one, continuous runner, cut off first rug just under bullnose edge, leaving about an inch for overlap (Image 1). Staple the next rug over cut rug to hide raw edges and continue installing the runner as described in step two (Image 2). Note: To prevent mistakes, remember to measure twice and cut once!

Ending Installation

At bottom of steps, cut off excess runner, leaving enough rug to fold raw edge and staple it to underside of bullnose overhang (Images 1 and 2). That's it; you're finished! Step back and admire your handiwork (Image 3).

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