See how this dated staircase was given a stylish transformation using £1.50 IKEA rugs

A small hallway project with big results, all for just £18!

A smart runner can transform a staircase in an instant, but they aren't always cheap, so when we saw this clever IKEA stair runner rug hack we knew it was something that had to be shared. Instagrammer Geraldine Alessi of @overatno18 has taken her staircase from drab to fab on an incredible £18 budget.

Related: IKEA hacks – simple updates on best-selling basics that anyone can do

Geraldine, who lives in Buckinghamshire, couldn't wait to change the red carpet that was there when she moved in. After seeing some DIY stair runner ideas and spotting a small IKEA rug that cost just £1.50, she knew she had nothing to lose by giving this staircase idea a go herself.

'I came up with the idea while looking in IKEA's rug section,' she says. 'It wasn't an obvious choice because the ones I've used are an odd shape, but they are neutral in colour and incredibly cheap, so I thought I'd try them.'

'I knew if it didn’t work out, then the only thing I'd lose was a nominal amount of money – and the worst-case scenario was that I’d leave the stairs painted.'

IKEA stair runner rug hack


hallway with red carpet and staircase

(Image credit: Future PLC /Geraldine Alessi)

Although there was nothing wrong with the old carpet, it wasn't to Geraldine's taste and she couldn't wait to replace it. 'The red carpet was in the property when we moved in,' she says.

'The builders had installed the wrong one and to save the inconvenience we never got it removed – it was something I regretted pretty quickly afterwards.'

Ripping up the carpet, Geraldine painted the steps and bannisters in a fresh white colour, saving the carpet underlay for later on in the project.

Fitting the rugs

staircase with fitting the rugs and carpet

(Image credit: Future PLC /Geraldine Alessi)

Having bought 12 of the small Ikea rugs, Geraldine worked on the basis of one mat per stair tread. 'Because they aren't rectangular and have curved edges I adapted them slightly,' she says.

'I cut off the edges to make a rectangular shape, so they could be stapled to the steps without being too bulky or risk coming loose (which is what I found when I first attempted it). The risk of cutting the mat is fraying, but this shouldn't be an issue as long as it isn't overhandled and you leave enough fabric so that when you staple to the step it is secured well. Once secured, there shouldn't be any more fraying.'

Using a heavy-duty staple gun, Geraldine began securing the mats to the steps using both standard heavy-duty staples, as well as U-shaped staples.

'I used the heavy-duty staples to secure the mats discreetly underneath the U-bend of the step (so they're not visible), while the U-shaped staples were used to secure the mats on the stair tread of each step. I used one staple in each corner and, again, they are also incredibly discreet.'

Buy now: Klejs rug, £1.50, IKEA

Turning a tricky corner

turning tricky staircase corner with rug

(Image credit: Future PLC /Geraldine Alessi)

When it came to the curved part of the step, Geraldine suggests cutting the rugs at an angle to fit the shape of your steps. 'This was the trickiest part to do,' she says.

'I would recommend using an underlay if you can, which fortunately I already had from the red carpet we had before – I simply cut it to size to fit underneath the mats.'


staircase with rug on stairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Geraldine Alessi)

The finished result is seamless and incredibly on-trend. 'Because I chose an unusual-shaped mat, it did take me some time to work out the best, neatest and most effective approach,' says Geraldine.

'It was time I was willing to spend, though, as the overall saving outweighed the time and potential disasters on the way.'

It's a project that needs time and patience to ensure the best finish, but when you think that it cost just £18, you can see why it was worth it. 'I'm very happy with it and months on it's still in place,' says Geraldine. 'Knowing I'd tried and tested it meant I was happy to then share it on my Instagram page.'

Related: Update your wall for less than £30 with these on-trend DIY wheat suns – this hack is genius

Geraldine's attitude from the outset was that if this DIY hack didn't work, the most she'd have lost is £18 and her time – something worth remembering if you're thinking of giving it a go but aren't confident in your abilities.

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at