Staircase Carpeting and Runners: 5 Tips Before You Buy
by Russell Webb
I’ve seen my share of custom carpeted staircases and I’m
always blown away by the final custom look that comes out of these
unique installations. If you’ve ever considered the possibility
of working with a rug fabricator who is familiar with adding a custom
design to your staircase I have a few tips before you jump.
you’re having a runner installed or it’s a complete
wall to wall installation, I suggest creating a strategy to help
you see the project through to a timely and successful conclusion.
#1: Find a design that really attracts you. Explore the
internet and dig deep if you have to. I’ve seen great staircase
possibilities and in truth, any design is a possibility –
it’s just that some designs can be integrated easier than
others. Be open to everything at first then bookmark pages as you
go. Check out websites including iStockphoto.com, flickr.com, and
rug related sites. Get creative with your keyword research i.e.
– staircase designs, rug designs, design illustrations , area
rugs, or tap into specific themes.
Qualify your rug fabricator and installer. Ask a few questions:
Have they ever worked on a project like yours? Can you see some
pictures? Share your design ideas with the rug fabricator and request
a few layout ideas. A design can flow down just one side, or it
can be a random pattern, or it can be precisely placed on each tread.
The one area you want to avoid any side seams (aka horizontal seams
– vertical seams are no problem) is right at the pivot point
of the tread and riser. Each step has a tread and a riser, the riser
is the actual face of each step, and the tread is the actual step.
A horizontal seam at the pivot point, which is under tension as
it folds over the step, will probably open up and grin – this
is not good. This can be avoided through careful design… just
plan ahead a little.
Discover the type of installation you want: Will the staircase carpet
be installed like a runner, or will it be a full, wall to wall installation?
If you have a nice hardwood staircase, then you might consider a
runner-type install. The carpet would likely be all in one piece
and a simple waterfall installation would work fine. You may even
consider adding decorative stair-rods that hold it in place.
the other hand, wall to wall installations have many facets. You
may just have one wall, and then a side wrap. Or you may have a
‘more common box staircase with walls on each side. There
are a few options that you will need to discuss with your rug fabricator
and installer. The goal is to get clear on exactly HOW you’re
going to approach the install. You may have more options than you
Consider a continuation of the design into the hallway or rooms
on the second level. I’ve seen clever designs that continue
into the next room and gracefully taper off, instead of an abrupt
ending at the top of the staircase. I’ve also seen dramatic
extensions of the staircase design that spills out onto the floor
on the first level; serving the same purpose as a separate area
rug. If this is done properly it can be quite a statement.
you’re doing a runner installation, usually it’s best
to start at the top riser and finish at the bottom riser, or conversely,
you can go from top tread to bottom tread; this leaves the top and
bottom risers exposed.
#5: If you’re having trouble locating a rug fabricator
to do your job, don’t lose hope. Check your yellow pages online
and look for ‘carpet workrooms’ or ‘carpet binding’.
You can also contact your local carpet dealers and ask some questions.
A good installer can probably add a couple of decorative borders
if you want to keep it simple. If you decide to add borders, keep
the border widths in balance with the overall staircase, try to
avoid going too wide with your borders, example; a narrow staircase
requires narrower borders.
you have learned, there are plenty of creative solutions to getting
that custom carpeted staircase exactly right. Imagine the look on
your guests face when you have your next party. A custom staircase
is guaranteed to make a lasting impression.
We’ve covered a few of the basic questions in our discovery
process. Let’s recap the key points: Investigate design ideas;
there are so many creative ideas to bounce around that you can really
have fun with this stage. Next, find a qualified rug fabricator
and installer – hint: find the fabricator first because they
may already be installers too. Consider your installation options;
do you want to cover your stairs completely? Or do a runner type
install? Think about the possibility of continuing your design into
other spaces of your home. Finally, try a deeper search if you are
struggling to find a rug fabricator, explore online sources and
local carpet dealers.
2007 Russell Webb
TO USE THIS ARTICLE? You are welcome to use it, as long as you include
the following: Russell Webb, your friendly
expert Custom Carpet Maker. If you're ready to discover the creative
and exciting world of custom carpet sculpture, and have fun doing
it, then why not request a quote at http://www.custom-area-rugs.com