How-To - Ask Us

How to: Choose carpet for a runner

Runners are a practical and stylish addition to an entryway staircase. Here are five guidelines to help you make the right choice.

Q:We just moved into a new house with wood stairs. I love them, but we have a dog and I'm worried he might slip. How do I choose carpet for a runner, and how wide is a runner supposed to be? Anne Hodgins, Toronto
A: Runners are a practical and stylish addition to an entryway staircase. Here are five guidelines to help you make the right choice.

1 Consider other carpets, whether broadloom or area rugs, that are within view of the staircase. The runner should coordinate with them, though it needn't be exactly the same.

2 A runner should be wide enough to cover most of the main section of the stairs, revealing approximately three inches on each side (from edge of runner to wall or to inside of baluster) .

3 Choose a flat-weave carpet rather than a plush or cut-pile carpet. Cut-pile carpet doesn't install well over the curves of the risers and could be a tripping hazard. Plus, it wears on the edges.

4 Dark patterned runners are the most forgiving choice for high-traffic homes, but a light- or medium-tone neutral is always a classic look. A striped runner like the one shown at left, made by rug and fabric company Roger Oates Design, is a fun option.

5 If you want to dress up the finished installation, add wooden or metal stair rods at the angle where the tread (horizontal part of step) meets the riser (vertical part).

Q: We have a condo at a ski resort. The living room doesn't allow much space for a coffee table. Residents of the building take turns doing après-ski apps and wine, so I need something that will work for entertaining. Any suggestions? Linda Stone Victoria
A: In a small space, the best options for a coffee table alternative are multiple small tables that can be moved around according to your needs or an ottoman with a large tray on top. When you're having guests over, just whisk away any books and accessories to make way for drinks and a platter of nibblies.

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