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Stairway looking a bit tatty or tired? A new carpet should see to that. A stair carpet or runner can instantly transform a small, dark hallway into a brighter one, or a dull, empty entrance into a fun and inviting space that guests will admire. You have plenty of options, to boot, these days. Aside from plain piles, pick from classic stripes, pretty polka dots and even psychedelic florals.
Bold patterns in vibrant colours are making a return to form in 2020. ‘The hallway is a great place to experiment with bold shades and styles,’ explains Joanna Ramsden, Creative Director of Grosvenor Wilton. ‘Vibrant, rich colours are effective in creating a feature out of a smaller space and make an attention grabbing statement to transform the, often ignored, hallway into a space that is welcoming and exciting.’
Complete the look with some of our brilliant hallway ideas
There are two main forms of stair carpet coverage – a full carpet, which is a winner if draughts are an issue, or a runner. The latter is a good way to go if you opt for hard wood flooring for the rest of your hallway, reducing noise as you dash up and down the steps while giving you extra grip and warmth underfoot.
We’ve picked some of our favourite designs, and below you’ll also discover everything you need to know about buying a stair carpet.
Best stair carpets 2020
1. Persian carpet in Nain Emerald, Grovenor Wilton
Versatile blue and teal are used in combination here to create a stair carpet that’s traditional in style and yet still vibrant and fresh. An off-white backdrop helps to keep the overall look bright, so you could opt to go for darker walls if you prefer.
Like all Grosvenor Wilson flooring, this design can be created to your bespoke specifications and is available in both cut (Velvet) or loop (Brussels) pile constructions, depending on your preference.
2. Quirky B Liberty Fabrics Flowers of Thorpe stair carpet, Alternative Flooring
Create the ultimate wow factor in a hallway with this highly decorative floral Liberty print. The stairs are an ideal place to be bold with pattern because the surface area is minimal so it’s not too overpowering. Thanks to the dark ground of this design the multicoloured flowers really pop, a super stylish stair carpet solution.
3. Kersaint Cobb Casablanca stair runner, Naked Flooring Company
If you’re looking for longevity, this carpet delivers in spades. Sophisticated stripes make a classic statement that won’t date in a hurry, especially not in with warm neutral colour way. Add to that the fact it’s made from 100 per cent sisal, one of the most hardwearing carpet materials going, and you’ve got yourself a long-term winner.
The Casablanca design is part of Kersaint’s Morocco range of carpets. Each one is 69cm wide, which should fit most staircases, and has pre-finished edges to make them easier to lay on bare stairs. Zagora – a grey carpet with a teal ticking stripe, is another of our favourites.
4. Stratford Arena Anthracite stair carpet, Hillarys
Not every hall can take a dark carpet. If yours is narrow and lacking in natural light, deep greys or blues be avoided as they’ll only make things worse. However, if you’re blessed with space they can be an inspired choice. Visually, they’re super sophisticated, and a side benefit is that they’ll hide any little scuffs or fluff from sight.
5. Brintons Padstow Candy Spot Carpet, Essential Flooring Direct
We can’t help but smile at this candy pink polka-dot design, perfect for creating a statement vintage-style look in a hallway. It’s available in green, blue, yellow and grey to suit all decorating schemes. It’s made from 80 per cent wool and 20 per cent nylon, which makes it a joy to walk on but still practical when it comes to cleaning.
6. Roger Oates Bespoke Cluny Grey stair runner, Hudson Flooring
Make your home your own with a tailored design in a bespoke colour scheme. This design has been adapted from a Standard Roger Oates runner, with an ombre effect that reflects the curve of the staircase.
7. Abigail Ahern Malton Cinder stair runner, Roger Oates
As we were saying, dark carpets are a no-no in a small hall, but here, grand proportions give license to be dramatic.
Buying a stair carpet – everything you need to know
What material and pattern is best for a stair carpet?
It’s important to consider the material your carpet is made from, given the high traffic volume you can expect in a hallway. If your home is especially busy, choose a hard-wearing material such as sisal or coir.
Pale-coloured flooring brightens up a small area, but it might stain – you can get it pre-treated to guard against marking and spillages, but it’s still a risk. Wool will naturally repel stains and hide soil marks, but you’ll need to get to them quickly. Going back to colour, a grey or taupe may be more suitable than cream – or try a pattern.
Stripes draw the eye along the design and appear to elongate the area. For anyone trying to make a short hall appear longer and grander, they’re a savvy pick, and they’ll liven up an otherwise plain and neutral setting.
‘Repetitive patterns work well to elongate a hall space, particularly when continued to the stairs,’ says Joanna Ramsden. ‘This technique works to draw the eye upwards, creating the illusion of one elongated space as opposed to two separated areas. Adopting a bold pattern throughout the hallway and stairs will also effectively create continuity between the two spaces, tying the interiors scheme of the upstairs and downstairs together.’
My stairway isn’t a standard width, but I want a runner. What are my options?
If you can’t find the colour or size you want, consider taking the bespoke route as many designs can be produced in different widths. ‘Our runners can be re-coloured, and narrow widths can be hand-seamed together to create rugs with large tonal stripes,’ says Andy Guard, Head of Design at Roger Oates.
Unlike fitted carpet, runners have an edge that’s designed to be seen. This can either be a border woven as part of the design, or as often used for natural flooring, a separate border stitched on in cotton or linen in a contrasting colour. If you want your runner to match a fitted carpet seamlessly, this can be produced as a narrow strip with a selvedge or whipped edge.