Some projects are like chipping away at a mammoth piece of rock to find the masterpiece inside… with a little chisel and a tiny hammer…. chip…. chip… chip!

Can you hear us chipping away at our front hall and stair project?
Yesterday the stair runner was laid. It’s not easy to look at a swatch of carpet and envision it as a runner going down the entire staircase!
Here’s what we chose…and some tips I found along the way…

The “before” without the ugly floral runner…

The “during”…. painted white risers and black railing 

The “still a work in progress”… blue tape and all. We are continuing to painting the spindles and underside of the railing.

Although I loved the bare stairs, they were not practical for us. We have a little dog that cannot climb bare stairs… and bare stairs are NOISY! 
I wanted a natural low nap rug, like a sisal or jute… love the look… but they don’t wear as well on very high traffic areas and I have found sometimes their fibers shed and that can be messy!

We opted for a very durable natural fiber look-alike. I ordered the carpet from Ethan Allen and had a local installer bind it as well as install it.

We would have preferred wool, but because of cost (big big bucks) opted for a soil repellent synthetic in a not-too-light neutral.

Here are some helpful tips I learned …
* purchase a dense, thin carpet pad for stairs. Thick pads don’t lay well on the stairs and they are often too “squishy”. It is important to buy the most dense, thin pad, though!
*if you can’t find a runner you like, buy a broadloom and have it bound. That’s what we did.  Binding is not as expensive as you might think. 
* in most cases, have your binding match your carpet. Contrasting binding calls a whole lot of attention to the carpet and draws attention away from the decor and architecture of the stairs.
*opt for high wear carpet on stairs… with a short nap.
*there are great organic looking carpets that wear well on the market
* a solid with a slight “pattern” in it will hide traffic wear and dirt better
*a runner does not need to cover up most of the stair or be very wide. Our stairs are 43 inches wide and our runner is 26 inches wide. We love the look of wood on our stairs so we left as much exposed as we could.
* opt for a runner to soften the noise on the stairs.
This part of the makeover is finally done!!!! Now, while Bobby is at work I’ll be ripping down wallpaper this week! Can’t wait to show off the stairs with freshly painted walls!

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  1. says

    I absolutely love the white risers and the black handrails and balusters – so much more striking and dramatic. I am in love with black and white detailing at the moment. The runner looks fabulous and and another detail. Thanks for sharing! It looks fabulous!

  2. Anonymous says

    Beautiful!! Thanks for the tips, especially the one about keeping the color of the binding close to the color of the carpet. You are right, a contrasting color would draw your eye to much to the carpet! Great tip! :-) Sharon

  3. says

    This looks lovely! and what a great idea to have a carpet bound- love the neutral color and texture- we’re struggling with what to do with our stairs right now so this was a great inspiration!

  4. says

    The stairs look beautiful! We are in desperate need of a stairs makeover…we removed the old runner so long ago. We painted but they did not stay clean and you are so right about the noise. We also have a dog who has trouble on the bare stairs. I hold my breath every time she runs downstairs. I love your runner, the choice of carpet and color. Would be perfect for ours!

  5. says

    Wow looks beautiful Yvonne! I love the natural look of the carpet’s fiber, so pretty. Yes and I agree that the dark color of the railing with the white risers is a real eye catcher. The carpet does not detract from that contrast, instead it add so much interest, as well as functionality, to your stairway because of its beautiful texture.
    Fabulous choice Yvonne!!! Thanks for the tips too!
    XO Barbara

  6. Anonymous says

    I love the runner and I’ll add one other good reason for carpeting stairs…you’re less likely to lose your footing and fall! After the 3rd time and a broken tail bone, I quickly learned :)

  7. says

    i needed this post! i found a wool carpet i’m in love with for our runner but am not ready to take the plunge yet. i love what you’ve done!



  8. says

    I really like the look of the natural stair tread paired with the painted white riser. The natural fiber runner goes well with the natural wood tread.

    Great tips for buying a stair runner!


  9. says

    The runner and stair makeover is looking wonderful, Yvonne. Did you share the type of paint you used for the rail yet? Did you have to prime first? I’m very impatient to get started on ours but first we need to deal with seeing what is under the carpet.

  10. says

    Yvonne, it looks great, it sounds as if you really thought this out thoroughly before choosing your runner. Love the black railing and newel post with the white spindles, my favorite look. As always you are doing an amazing job,

  11. says

    The stair make~over is progressing nicely, dear friend!!!
    WoW! I learned quite a bit in this post!!!
    I’ve often thought of discontinuing the wall~to~wall carpet
    to the lower level Family Room, and your info is priceless!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us!

  12. says

    This is so pretty Yvonne! I agree about bare steps being noisy…I was shocked at how loud they are! Your runner is perfect as are your black railings. I saw some pics of you at Haven and it looked like you were having a blast. So glad!

  13. says

    God Bless your for sharing your tips. We need to do the same thing at our current house to one of the sets of stairs!! Thanks to you, I now know where to start and what to look for. I love your blog and look forward to ALL of your posts. Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge. Hopefully, I can get my stair project finished, thanks to you, before the holidays!

  14. Ann from Michigan says

    Thanks sooooo much Yvonne for perfect timing.

    We live in a home built in 1938 and have taken most of the carpeting out to reveal the original wood floor that are beautiful. What’s left to do is the second floor. What has kept me from doing so where the stairs, low and behold you have given me the solution.

    The carpet you selected would be great on my stairs as well.

    This why I love to visit you weekly, I always learn something new each time.


  15. says

    Great tips Yvonne! The stairs look so perfect and I really like the carpet. Another project checked off the Honey-do list! All jokes aside I admire the way you both work together.

  16. says

    Boy, you thought of everything, Yvonne & covered topics that would not have even crossed my mind. It looks lovely & it will be much safer going up & down than the bare wood. My DD has gorgeous bare wood stairs all over her home & you should see how tight I hold that handrail!!! They just seem slippery to me.


  17. says

    Yvonne, this really has come along so beautifully. Love the runner and the tips. Luckily for us my two Uncles own a carpet store and many things you mentioned they used in our homes.


  18. says

    Yvonne, your stairs are looking fantastic! I love the runner too! I got a wild hair a few months ago, and did the same thing to my stair case. I don’t have wood stairs though, mine are carpeted. Oh how I want to do what you have done! I have no idea what is under my carpet, but I’m sure it’s cheap builder MDF! (Being a 90’s built California tract home, that would be my guess!)

    It was so fun to meet you at Haven! You are just delightful! I have loved your blog for so long, and your warm personality shines through! I knew I’d like you!!

    Hope you are recovering from the conference! Have a great week!

  19. says

    Looks great! We have the same issue with our stairs – I like the look of the “naked” wood but our dog needs the carpet or else she falls. I was going to go with a natural fiber runner but then read about how slippery they can be. Love your solution!

  20. says

    Yvonne, I just found you while searching for carpet runner suggestions for my beach house stairs. The wood is beautiful but several of us have slipped and fallen and we now have a grandbaby that will soon be toddling and climbing the stairs. Can you tell me the name of the carpet from Ethan Allen? I can’t seem to find it. Hoping it is not discontinued. It is a year later now. Thanks so much! It is beautiful!

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