DIY Stair Runner // $60

>> Thursday, August 6, 2015

We’ve been wanting to do a runner in our front entryway for almost a year. When we moved in, the stairs and entry floor were covered by dingy white carpeting. We ripped it up almost immediately. We covered the entry floor with inexpensive vinyl tile + grout and left the steps naked . . . until today.

I got this crazy idea to do a DIY stair runner using cheap rag rugs from Ollie’s (a discount store chain). They’re only a couple dollars each, and this project only cost us $60 and about 90 minutes of our time. A lot less than the $400 we paid in our last house to get a boring carpet runner professionally installed.

Here’s how we did it:


  • 7 x rag rugs at $5.99/each = $42*
  • Non-slip runner pad = $12
  • Double sided carpet tape = $6 (like these)
  • Staple gun = Already owned (DeWalt for $26)
  • 3/8” to 1/2” staples = Already owned (like these)
  • Scissors 
  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer
* If you can’t find these locally, you can browse some on here. The size we used was approx. 2x3.

Total: $60


Like I said, I followed the tips on this tutorial. We also sort of just freehanded it once we got going. The first step was measuring the steps to see how many rugs we needed. You guys know I’m addicted to rag rugs, so I just used one I had in the width I wanted on the stairs to see how many I’d need.

When I got to the store, I didn’t have too many choices for patterns and colors because I needed 7 in all. Luckily, I really liked the one I was able to find. I bought 7 and then hopped over to the hardware store to get my other supplies.

When I got home, I measured the width of the stairs and marked the center on each with pen (I’d be covering it over anyway!). Then I cut the anti-slip pad so it would be a couple inches shy of the step from front to back and a couple inches short of the rug from side to side. I folded each in half and made another mark that I could align while taping.

Then I cut strips of the tape to adhere each pad to each step. I lined up the marks and did one per step.

Staple time! We started at the top of the steps and just lined up the top of the rug with the first step. We stapled in a line every couple inches. Then on the edges every couple inches. Then a couple other places. I followed the YHL tutorial for this part.

We didn’t do anything fancy for the seams. Thankfully they met on the under part of each step, so we didn’t have to deal with anything tricky where we’d be walking. Instead of overlapping, we just pulled the edges close together and stapled. It ended up working great.

We made our way down the rest of the stairs -- measuring periodically to center the rugs -- and when we reached the bottom, we cut the excess with several inches to spare. We tucked the excess under and stapled to finish.

I also found it really helpful to go back over some of the staples and hammer them deeper into the rug. There are a few that are still somewhat noticeable, so we’re planning to color them blue with a Sharpie when we get the chance.

End result:

We’re both really pleased with how it looks. It adds a lot of style to the space. Better yet, it added some nice traction to the stairs (they’re quite slippery without a runner). There’s some definite sound absorption going on, too. We still need to touch up some wood that was damaged when we pulled the old carpet off the steps, but this is a huge improvement.

I’ll be sure to let you know how this holds up. For $60, I think it’s a win. I would have liked to get a couple spare rugs as replacements in case something happens. They didn’t have any more in the same pattern, so I might check back in a few weeks.

One last before + after.

PS: I’ll share more about our new closet door in another house post soon.

For now, don’t forget to enter the Gallery Direct #giveaway.

I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow morning!

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