Hallway runner ideas - 10 ways to make a great entrance

Need some new hallway runner ideas to zhush up your space? Check out our top picks and find out what to look for when choosing the right runner

Hallway runner ideas a storage unit with a striped runner in front with wellies storage boxes and pictures on the wall
(Image credit: Future/Dominic Blackmore)

Looking for some hallway runner ideas? You've come to the right place. Hallways may be transitional spaces but that doesn't mean they have to be boring.
Just like hotel lobbies, a hallway - either at your front door or elsewhere in your home - gives a visitor an instant insight into how the rest of the building or adjacent rooms look. 

From being the room that first welcomes everyone in, to the space that diverges off into several different rooms, a hallway serves so many purposes, both practical and decorative. And that's exactly why deciding on the hallway ideas for your space is so important. 

A good hallway runner needs to provide much needed comfort underfoot, as well as a strong element of visual decor, right from the offset. 'Runners serve many purposes,' explains Therese Germain, Director of Core Product for Ruggable. 'They can elongate hallways, divide open spaces, and protect floors in high-traffic areas.'

Choosing the right runner for your hallway can be a tricky job as you need it to serve so many purposes. 'Runners should not be defined as protective,' says Andy Guard, Creative Director at Roger Oates Design, 'but are decorative in their own right. Far chicer than carpet, a runner will add the perfect welcoming touch to any hall or stairway, instantly transforming a dark entrance into a warm space.'  

Read on to discover a wealth of hallway runner ideas and what to look for when buying one for your space...

Hallway runner ideas - 10 super smart looks for hallways of all shapes and sizes

Not sure where to start when looking for a hallway runner? We've asked the experts for their top tips and gathered our favourite looks to help you find the perfect runner for your space.

1. Go for bright, graphic prints...

a yellow pegboard decorated hallway area under the staird with coat hooks baskets and a bench and a patterned runner runner

(Image credit: Future/Dominic Blackmore)

Make an instant style statement in your entrance with a bold, patterned runner. 'Your hallway creates a first and lasting impression to visitors,' says Andy from Roger Oates Design, 'the space you are pleased to return to and sorry to leave!  The hall is a great space to be adventurous with colour and pattern.'

'Runners add instant warmth, colour and the perfect welcoming touch,' continues Andy. 'You can afford to be more adventurous and experimental with colour and pattern because it is a space that you simply pass through.'

A bright print also allows you to expand the look to the decorate your space under stairs ideas, bringing brighter colours into an area that lacks natural light, keeping it bright, fun and sunny.

2. ...or stick to a smart, monochrome scheme

front door and hallway with runner, bench and umbrella

(Image credit: Future/Colin Poole)

Looking for a more subtle look? A pale coloured, plain runner isn't advisable as it can show up grubby marks and stains very easily, so instead look for a neutral design with a simple pattern like thin stripes to cover both bases. 

Echo a similar pattern elsewhere in your hallway, say on an upholstered footstool, a fabric-covered draft excluder or even curtain ideas to give the space a coordinated look.

3. Try a runner with personality

hallway with stairs and a storage unti with coat hooks and a colourful runner

(Image credit: Dunelm)

It's true to say that hallway runners more often than not are either plain or striped. But dig deeper in your search and you will find patterns and graphic designs that may appeal to you more if stripes or plains aren't your bag.

'Make a statement entrance to your hallway with a bright multi coloured runner,' advises Emma Emmott, Textiles Designer at Dunelm. 'Paired with dark walls a colourful runner can really make the space pop.'

4. Invest in a bespoke design in a long hallway

long hallways leating out to a front door striped runner hallway bench

(Image credit: Kersaint Cobb)

Off-the-peg hallway runners tend to come in a limited number of lengths so if you have a particularly long hallway, you may need to opt for a bespoke design to ensure you get something that stretches the length of your space.

Companies that offer made-to-measure designs can also help with installation which is probably advisable with such a lengthy runner, so make sure to ask when you're placing your order.

5. Don't be afraid of colour or pattern

front door and hallways with multicoloured floral wallpaper and an orange runner

(Image credit: Future/David Giles)

Don't automatically shy away from using colour and pattern in your hallway, even if it's quite small. A hallway is a transitional area meaning you don't spend much time in it, so you can afford to be more daring with your decor choices.

As Andy from Roger Oates Design says: 'A brightly coloured runner can inject fun and a pop of colour into a neutral décor, whilst a patterned runner can be the starting point for designing the hallway, setting the tone and anchoring a scheme.'

If you want to keep your walls free of pattern, choose a boldly patterned runner and paint the walls in a colour that features in the runner pattern to tie the scheme together. Conversely, if you'd rather go for a hallway wallpaper idea, choose a plain runner in a bright shade that doubles in the paper's print.

6. Introduce pattern for fun underfoot

patterned blue and navy runner in a colourful hallway with two doors painted blue and green

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler at Ruggable)

'When choosing a particular pattern, start by identifying rug colours and designs that fit with your existing colour palette,' says Therese from Ruggable. 'Next, consider whether or not you want your rug to blend in with the existing decor or pop.'

'An easy way to elevate a space is to choose a bold rug,' continues Therese. 'Statement designs and colours can add a ton of personality to a room. If you’re interested in testing out an elevated, bold aesthetic but don’t want to swap out all your existing decor, start with the rug,' she says.

7. Use a stripe to guide you in

hallway and stairs console table with lamp striped rug or runner

(Image credit: Future/)

Stripes can lengthen but they also draw the eye into a space, particularly when used on the floor. This makes them a great option for hallway runner ideas as they encourage you to look the down length of the space which not only elongates it, but also pulls focus to the end point like a front door or a console table.

'Stripes are timeless and the variations infinite,' explains Andy from Roger Oates Design. 'There is a stripe for everyone. They're so versatile - they work with wood flooring ideas, tessalated tiles and even floral wallpaper.' 

Choose a runner that features all over stripes or choose a simpler design with border stripes to dilute the pattern ever so slightly.

8. Use a matching design in different directions

striped runner in a hallway vertical and horizontal

(Image credit: Roger Oates)

Not sure how to decorate your landing or upstairs hallway? When you're looking for landing ideas, use stripes to your advantage. 'Stripes along the hall will lengthen it, whilst stripes across the hall will make it appear wider,' advises Andy from Roger Oates Design.

Whatever orientation you choose, should your hallway join to another one, you can still you can use the stripe in different directions to lengthen (or widen) the entire space.

9. Coordinate patterns with your wallpaper

hallways storage unit with coat hooks and a graphic print wallpaper and rug coats and wellies

(Image credit: Future/Dominic Blackmore)

Simple graphic patterns used on both walls and floor can give a hallway a fresh, fun feel without overpowering the space. 

Make sure to choose simple repeats in no more than two colours - one being a neutral - and keep any furniture in a similar neutral shade so that it blends into the space perfectly. 

10. Follow it upstairs

stairs and hallway runner in coordinating striped designs

(Image credit: Roger Oates)

Entrance hallway runner ideas can also continue upstairs to become stair runner ideas. Usually the best place to find a look that carries on up a stairwell is via a company that specialises in designing bespoke runners.  They will advise on the best type of runner for both your hallway and stairs, while also providing stair rods to keep the runner in place if required.  

Remember that you don't necessarily have to choose the same pattern or design. Some companies will have coordinating designs that offer variations on a colour or pattern so your hallway and stairs don't need to look so matchy-matchy. 

The same applies to stairway carpet ideas, should you prefer each step to be completely covered.

What kind of runner do I need for a hallway?

dark hallway lots of storage striped runner coat rail

(Image credit: Ikea)

'Different textures can help you achieve different aesthetics in a space,' advises Therese from Ruggable. 

'Natural fibres like hardwearing sisal and jute are great options for a more relaxed natural look and perfect for busy hallways, explains Emma from Dunelm. 'If you want to add more texture and cosiness, try a wool runner,' she advises.

'A washable runner is perfect for a busy family home,' continues Emma, 'especially if you have pets - we know how messy a doorway can get!'

Therese from Ruggable agrees. 'We always recommend choosing a washable option for longevity, which is especially important in high-traffic areas. For a busy family home with pets, a chenille rug may be a good option. Our chenille rugs are low pile, which is great for areas that see a lot of foot traffic.'

What size should a runner be for a hallway?

hallway and front door with stairwell with a matching runner on the stairs and hallway

(Image credit: Future/Colin Poole)

'There are three standard runner widths,' advises Emma from Dunelm, 'These are 57cm, 60cm or 66cm, with a variety of length options of 150cm, 200cm and 230cm.'

'Ideal placement of a runner ensures there is sufficient space around its border,' advises Therese Germain at Ruggable. 'Aim for at least a few inches between the runner edge and any adjacent walls - this will ensure the space doesn’t feel crowded.'

'Conversely,' adds Therese, 'ensure the runner is not too small for a given space - it should not look like it’s lost in a very open area.'

Should my hallway runner and stair runner match?

white hallway and stairwell with a striped runner

(Image credit: Future/Matt Cant)

They can, but they don't necessarily have to. While you might prefer the look that a matching hallway and stair runner might give your space, you can also choose a coordinating design with a matching colour or pattern to give your hallways and stair well some visual variety.

If you're looking for a hallway runner to match your existing best stair runner, always check first with the shop or manufacturer that you bought the latter from to see if they made matching or coordinating designs. 

How to I look after my hallway runner?

storage unit in a hallway with a struped runner, pendant lamp and coat rail

(Image credit: Future/David Brittain)

'With rugs and runners you are putting textiles on the floor,' says Andy from Roger Oates Design, 'so treat them with respect.'

'Use entrance matting to trap as much dirt as possible and remove shoes, especially trainers as rubber soles are particularly abrasive. Vacuum regularly and if spillages occur deal with them quickly,' he adds.

Ginevra Benedetti
Deputy Editor (Print)

Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.