Choosing the Best Runner Rugs

Got Stairs? Here's How to Choose the Right Runner for You

Rugs really can be the icing on the cake when it comes to finishing off your décor. They add colour, warmth, and style to any floor. But rugs aren’t just for laying in front of an open fire or spreading in the centre of your dining room, they can be placed almost anywhere to add a dash of style and originality.

Runner rugs, or just runners, are long, narrow rugs that are perfect for adding to places where you’re limited in width. Hallways, corridors, kitchens, bathrooms, stairways, bedrooms and landings; they all deserve to be shown some love and given a look of sophistication with a runner, and there are so many available now that it’s easy to find one to suit your needs, you just need to know what to look for.

Shapes and Sizes

One of the first things you need to think about is the size. It’s top-priority that you get a runner that’s a good fit for your hall, corridor, or wherever you choose to place it.

Firstly, the length. If you’re putting it in the hall, your runner will probably start at your front door, so make sure that it stops short of the threshold, so it doesn’t bunch up, but don’t have it too short that you catch your foot on it when stepping inside. If there’s a door at the opposite end of the hall as well, then the runner should have an even gap at both ends. 

For the width, remember that runners are usually an accompaniment to the floor underneath; they should embellish it, not hide it. It’s common to leave a gap on each side between the rug and wall where your flooring can show through. How much you leave depends on the width of your hall, but the rug should be symmetrically spaced, and any furniture should stand on the floor itself, rather than half-on, half-off the rug.

If you’re placing your runner on a slippery floor, then you might need a rug grip or carpet pad. These go between the existing floor and runner to stop it sliding around, and will make it safer to walk on.

Pattern and Colour

Runners have a practical purpose, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t make a statement too. It’s important to get a rug that’s the right colour and pattern to go with the rest of your décor.

For both pattern and colour, it’s important to get something that goes with the floor underneath the rug. Is it dark polished wood, or light patterned tiles? Is it going over your existing carpet? For traditional wood accompaniment, a classic rug pattern can be the best choice, or if you’re more minimalist, maybe no pattern at all, just a solid colour. 

If you do decide to choose a patterned rug, make sure it fits in with the size of your hallway. Horizontal lines can make it look longer, while a large pattern might not show properly on a shorter rug. Keep the rest of your décor in mind, too, and make sure your runner fits in with the walls and skirting of whichever room it goes in. Finally, remember that you’re going to get a lot of traffic walking across the rug, and if placed by your front door or in the kitchen, light colours might not be the best choice.

Fabric Choices

When you go to buy a runner rug, you’ll see that there are literally dozens of choices for fabric, both natural and synthetic. While synthetic rugs like nylon are cheaper, buying a natural fibre one is always best; they’re more durable, better made, and have a much more quality look and feel. You can go for materials such as sisal or seagrass, but the top choice is always wool. 

Wool has so many reasons for being number one. It’s a hard-wearing fabric that’s perfect for the high-traffic areas where runners are usually placed. It’s also dirt-resistant, and less likely to absorb mud and slush, so you can just sweep or vacuum to keep it clean, handy if you’ve kids or pets. Wool rugs come in many different designs, too, so they will fit in well in any room of the house.

There’s also a good choice of pile depth to choose from. The deeper the pile, the softer and more luxurious the rug will feel, and the longer it will last. They also deaden the sound better, stopping an echoey hall, and silencing footsteps. 

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