Stair Runner Rundown

Hello! Here’s my brain dump on stair runners. I’m happy to edit and add, so shoot any questions my way.

Current Stair Situation

Click here for details and product links on my entry, stair runner.

Tutorials I like:

I start every project with a Google and Pinterest search. There are so many talented people willing to tell you everything they know– for free. After researching, I take bits and pieces of what I learn and craft my own plan.

Young House Love, Stair Runner Tutorial

I used YHL as my guiding light for my first runner install. Many runners later, I still refer back.

Home Depot’s nuts and bolts tutorial

Ok. So HD says you can bang out this project in 2-4 hours. Don’t believe them. Other than that, this tutorial is a practical reference guide.


Prefer a video with runner eye candy? This one’s for you.

Remember that I am working on my Basement runner? This is still how far I am on the project.

Pit of Despair, stair runner

Your frequently asked questions:

Measuring for a stair runner: Here’s a good guide. I’d suggest buying a few feet extra. More if you are matching patterns.

Staple gun: This is the staple gun I use. If you have the money to spend, an air compressor, fueled gun is a dream.

Stair damage: Does it ruin the stairs? No. Staples only go in the riser portion of the stairs. Not the treads. You can patch the staple holes of the risers and repaint. If you have wood risers, you will need a matching wood filler. The runner will actually protect the treads from foot traffic wear.

This is what my house looks like during projects.

Runner sources I like: Annie Selkie’s, Dash and Albert. and Safavieh rugs via Overstock or Amazon. Locally, I’ve used Flooring America for pro installs for clients. (They carry Stark Carpet. So dreamy.)

What type of carpet works: I love using thin, indoor/outdoor runners. They are easy to install with an inexpensive staple gun, and hold up well to pets and kids. You will need a nicer staple gun for higher pile. I went this route on my basement steps. I like that it hides the staples like magic and it’s so lux on bare feet.

Pattern or plain: It depends… But I have always gone PATTERN. It’s a big impact and fun in a small space. It’s also easier to hide staples and any stains.

I didn’t always take 100s of house pictures. Here’s a plaid runner in our old house with sassy, toddler Emmeline.

Cleaning: Again. Indoor/outdoor makes life easier. It’s a little awkward to vacuum stairs, but I do it every so often. ha

Splicing together rugs: I love carpet tape. The tape acts as a third hand to hold things in place. I fold under the raw edge of the carpet, cover with carpet tape and staple away.

Carpet Tape where the riser and treads meet helps join rugs.

How much wood should show: For me it depends on the staircase. Ugly stairs, wider runner. Pretty? More stair showing. 4″-7″ is a good place to start. You can craft a faux runner with wrapping paper. Adjust the width until it looks proportional.

Stair Rod: Stair rods hide a million sins, if you are joining rugs. Rejuvenation and Zoroufy have some great options.

Turned stair applications: I cut out the odd shape, stair patterns out of wrapping paper. It’s hard to line up large patterns. I’d recommend a small pattern or solid.

Convincing your mate: I think this was a little tongue and cheek. But, I negotiate between client couples often. I find visual examples are a great way to start a discussion. A Pinterest board is an easy way to organize ideas. You’ll likely start to see a theme appear in what you pin. I also suggest starting that chat when your mate is in a jolly mood.

***Contains affiliate links. I get a little cut, from the companies, on whatever you buy once you click a link. You don’t pay more. So thank you!! My house projects appreciate the extra funds.

The Great Makeover: Dining Room Furniture Edition

When we bought our house, we were moving from the cutest, and most beloved, tudor cottage. And we didn’t have furniture to fill our big ol’ colonial.

Our old house

There were a few pieces left in this house– a large, 60’s Frenchie dining table, 10 chairs, and the matching china hutch. Our realtor kicked in $300 for the transfer of these items, as not to leave us languishing with empty rooms, for years.

Former owner’s dining table and chairs

I thought they’d be temporary pieces until flusher times. But, I gave each piece, simple makeovers that had me rethinking. They are Widdicomb made and much higher quality than anything I’d be able to buy from a catalog. And I started to fall in love with French pieces mixed in with other traditional elements, such as Chinoiserie.

First “meal” at our table, during the home inspection

I painted the dining table legs with black chalk paint. Chalk paint allows minimal prep and leaves a velvety finish, once sealed with natural, finishing wax. I used Rub n’ Buff on the feet in antique gold. Just enough of a modern kick to work with my style.

The chairs were upholstered in a bold red and gold stripe. I painted it with charcoal, chalk paint, using a similar technique as used in this Apartment Therapy article. The main difference is I was dealing with very bold, fabric colors. I did 6-8 coats on the upholstery and then used finishing wax to seal. The addition of the finishing wax gives the fabric a soft, almost vintage leather look and feel.

It’s been a year. They’ve held up to daily use by tots and spills wipe off easily. I’d call this DIY a win.

****affiliated links. When you click on my links, I get a little kick back on anything you purchase on Amazon. It doesn’t cost you more. Thank you!

Flower Home: $11 Velvet Tassel Pillows

Edit: these pillows dropped to $11. My wine colored ones arrived today and they are fab. I just ordered two more in pink.

Hey there! I’ve had my eye on these Flower Home, by Drew Barrymore, pillows, (from the summer line) for awhile. The perfect way to tie all my pinkie hues with my Christmas reds. And today they dropped to $15 in all colors! Just about to check out, after adding some Glitter LOLs to my cart, on pre-black Friday special for $8.70— the little ladies in my life are sure to be pleased.

**affiliated link. I receive a little kick back when you buy through my link. ❤️❤️

Flower by Drew Velvet Tassel Pillow

Serena & Lily Wreath, Duped

I fell in love with the new, pinecone wreath spotted in the holiday, Serena & Lily catalog. Swoony… but $300. I put together a dupe with a wreath from Amazon and ribbon from Hobby Lobby, clocking in at $35.

Wreath: Amazon $33 (I snipped the grapevine) it’s been going on and out of stock, so here are a couple more options:

Michaels online $33 with promo code 19NOV20W, free ship over $39. And there are Walmart online, $33

Velvet Ribbon: Hobby Lobby in Smokey Blue, on sale $2.50

Amazon wreath
Velvet Ribbon available at Hobby Lobby
(in the fabric section)
Serena and Lily Pinecone Wreath $300

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Laundry Room Progress: $6 Gridwall Display:

Hey there! We’ve been working on our basement, laundry room, on and off, for five weeks. I have a few gallons of paint to go on all the pipes and duct work, sconces to be hung, and a bit of this and a bit of that, left. The latest addition is a super inexpensive and easy gridwall display.

$6 gridwall display

I bought $6 hardware mesh, used for fencing at Home Depot. I unrolled it. Then rolled it up in the opposite direction, to straighten it out.

I gave it a quick spray with some black spray paint, I had on hand. I wanted it to give a graphic affect against the white walls.

Command hooks that work on basement walls

I used five command hooks across the center of the wire mesh to mount. Clothespins secure the thrifted, Paris, tourist map and artwork from my grandpa’s sketch book.

You can also check out how I updated the countertop and cabinet for $50. And wow. That’s a before.

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Converting Yo’ Recessed Lighting

I’m in a real experimental phase… with my kitchen. Swapping out the soffit’s recessed lighting for arm sconces is one experiment that gets an A+.

Current kitchen status

I’ve heard rumblings that recessed lighting is slipping out of fashion. I think we will increasingly see more mixed lighting sources in utility areas, like the kitchen. And who doesn’t like options?!

Here are the sconces we used. The sconces, I picked, are plug-in. You can convert plug-in sconces to hardwired. Rozy Home has a nice tutorial.

$120 sconce pair

There are a few ways to convert recessed lights to a ceiling mount fixture. The easiest method: an $18 conversion kit. You can swap your recessed lighting for any hardwired light of your choosing (max weight 50lbs). Here’s how to install via This Old House.

Recessed lighting converter

I love how warm the lighting now feels for kitchen sink tasks. And the sconces make the soffit look more purposeful and finished, while drawing attention to the pretty windows.

Recessed lighting in soffit before

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Feather Filled Pillow Goodness, From $10!

Blue & White Forever

Blue Knit, $19.88 / Two Pack, Button Detail, $25, more colors available / Diamond Tassel, $12 / Tie Dye Tassel, $10

Better Homes & Gardens, for Walmart, is carrying feather filled, throw pillows– available mostly online. And with prices ranging from $10-$20, they are as budget friendly as cute! I’ve rounded up some of my favorites.

Fair Isle, more colors available

Fair Isle, $19.92

Cozy pillows

Red Buffalo Check, $12.92 / Cable Knit Pillow / Cozy Ombre Faux Fur, $10

All tassel everything

Velvet Oblong Tassel, $16

Gold zipper velvet, more colors available

Gold Zipper, Velvet, $12

Plaid gingham, more colors available

Plaid Gingham Fringe, $12.87

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Grand Entry Light Fixture DIY-$65

Product links: Mirror / Mushroom light fixture

I had a dream light in mind for this entry. There were four numbers in the price. (I liked this olive leaf light, too) In the recesses of my brain was a clever light fixture hack, I saw way back in 2014. Pam, at Simple Details Blog, used a Martha Stewart, sunburst mirror and a simple light fixture to make a grand entry light. The basic concept: round mirror frame as a light medallion.

Entry Light: Mirror plus mushroom light mashup

I needed something big… like 30″ plus big, but also flush mount. The existing light brushed our heads as us giants breezed by.

Our entry in 2017

I used a decorative, olive leaf mirror and a big box store, mushroom light mashup for $65. The 9″ LED light I used is no longer available, similar size linked. The mirror was an open box deal on Amazon for around $45. Mirror currently $99.

Light fixture and mirror before attached to ceiling.

This project was the easiest DIY ever and took 15 minutes. Tops. I popped out the center mirror. Installed light. Used the mirror as a ceiling medallion. Screwed on shade.

I didn’t even need to use screws to attach the mirror medallion; it is supported by the shade and light fixture screws. The hardest part was finding a light fixture with the correct dimensions to make it look like one piece.

Entry status when the light was installed. Look at baby Everett!

The possibilities are endless. Look for any round mirror that has a removable center. Find a light with a matching circumference. Ta Da Big ol’ light on the cheap.

Let me know if you have questions.

XOXO Ruthie

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The Nine Month Gestation of our Stair Runner

DIY Entry Stair Runner

Product Links: Stair rods / Runner

(stair rods updated Amazon link for 3/2023)

During the last two years, some projects have happened quickly, others more drawn out and painful. Our runner, firmly in the painful category, took nine months to birth.

I finished the carpet portion five months after starting the project. I was totally bummed when I ran a few feet short, only to discover the rug was on backorder. I underestimated the giant, pattern repeat, and the resulting amount of waste. I was forced to use scraps to finish it off, while I waited for the re-stock. How to figure out the runner length you need.

Safavieh Courtyard Billye Indoor/ Outdoor Rug
Safavieh Matrix Runner, Overstock, black/sand

It turned out to be one of life’s blessings in disguise. During flu season, little Everett replicated a scene from the Exorcist right on those patched in scraps.

In the end, I spliced together five, sand/black, 2′ 7″ x 5 runners. The runner comes in 14′ length, if you can use the 2′ 3″ width. My stairs are wide and required the larger size. I loosely used Young House Love’s stair runner tutorial for the last three runners I’ve installed.

Close up: Splice between the second and third steps.

Four months after completing the runner, I installed the stair rods. The rods are only $19.50 a piece, but I needed 16– an investment during a time when we were making major repairs to the house.

Laying this runner was no joke. Securing the stair rods, with my father-in-law (Jerr Bear), ended up being the easy part. All it required was a screwdriver and a little muscle, since we didn’t drill pilot holes.

Stair rods are magic for hiding any evidence of multiple rugs; I chose to splice where the riser meets the stair tread. To join, I folded the rough edge under and secured with fabric tape. Then I attached with staples as usual. Splicing and stair rod install tutorial on OKL.

Stair Rods, 36″ wide, $19.50 Home Depot

Project Cost:

Runner: $150

Stair rods: $300

(stair rods updated Amazon link for 3/2023)

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$50 Laundry Cabinet Makeover

Our basement is out of a horror movie; I’ve come to call it the Pit of Despair. Recently, a hot water pipe from Everett’s bathroom sprung a leak, flooding the storage area and setting a budget makeover into motion. Among the improvements, including waterproofing, I prettied up the existing built in cabinet.

Built in cabinet before and after

I used peel and stick marble for the countertop. This stuff is super easy and takes minutes to install. Think really thick contact paper.

I faux painted the plywood edge instead of wrapping the film. I first painted the edge with Behr Swiss Coffee, using a foam brush. While it was still wet, I added a little veining with General Finishes Gel stain I had on hand. While everything was still wet, I went back in with the Swiss Coffee brush. Gorgeous Shiny Things has a great tutorial of a more in depth fauxing method.

I had milk glass handles from a few kitchens ago. And painted the cabinets in Kilz Blue Juniper in semi-gloss. Walmart will ship it right to your house with orders over $35.