Carpet runners, sometimes referred to as aisle runners, are versatile, affordable, decorative floor enhancements that you can change easily to match any number of occasions. They roll up nicely and can be stored compactly.
When making a decision, there are 6 things you ought to consider:
- What’s Underneath
- Custom Options
Let’s dive into each…
Because they are so versatile, we see carpet runners in all sorts of situations. Here are several of our favorite uses for them:
- Event Carpeting: Whether you’re having a wedding, Bar Mitzvah, birthday party or any other special occasion, carpet runners are fantastic for sprucing up tired floors, directing traffic, improving safety, and elevating event quality.
- Stair Safety: When you have stairs in your home, especially if you have kids, elderly parents, or a dog in a hurry you want to consider safety first. Bare wood, tile, or marble stairs are slippery and dangerous. Carpet runners installed on stairs reduce the slipping hazard.
- Comfort: Hardwood, tile, and marble are all attractive flooring options and right now they are in style. But they are hard, cold surfaces that not only chill the feet but add extra stress to your joints and lower back, especially in the areas where you do a lot of standing still, such as in the kitchen. Carpet runners keep your feet warm and the soft textures cushion your spine and joints.
- Decor: In-home and at the office, carpet runners dress up the floor. Carpet runners add color, texture, and patterns that can either complement your existing decor or offset a particular feature so it “pops.”
- Transition: The hallway runner is a perfect example of a transition, usually from the front door to the rest of the house. Carpet runners can be used in all sorts of transitions within your home and workspaces to bridge different spaces, unite them aesthetically, while keeping them distinct from one another.
Once you determine all the ways in which you want to use carpet runners, you need to measure the width and length of the space you want occupied.
Typically, carpet runners come in standard widths, anything from 3 feet to 12 feet, but you can have them cut to fit exact widths down to the inch of what you need. When determining your width, it is just as important to consider how much floor you want exposed. Carpet runners do not typically cover the entire width of a space so take note of floor quality when deciding how much to leave open to view.
You can purchase carpet runners by the foot and have it cut to any length needed. When estimating for stairs, estimate 1.75 linear feet per step. This gives you enough for each step plus a couple inches in case you lose material during cutting and installation. If you are installing a runner with an intricate pattern 2’ per step is recommended.
Material is an important consideration when choosing a carpet runner, especially in high traffic areas where durability should be a #1 priority.
- Olefin, polyester, and acrylic are perfect for event carpeting because they have the lowest price point and will help your event stay on budget. Because long-term durability is not necessary in event carpeting, these are the go-to materials for event planners. For residential and commercial use, you will want to consider the other materials with greater durability.
- Nylon is the most popular choice because of its durability and price. However, stain resistance varies greatly between manufacturers. Cost-effective and long-lasting, nylon carpet runners are an easy choice but they aren’t the only choice.
- Wool carpet runners are both highly durable and stain-resistant but they are more expensive. They are 100% natural and therefore do not require as many fossil fuels to produce as the synthetic carpets, such as nylon. However, wool is susceptible to mildew if exposed to moisture and not dried properly.
- Sisal (pronounced sigh-suhl) is another all-natural carpet material. Made from the fibers of the sisal plant — a member of the agave family — sisal is very durable and non-toxic. It is also biodegradable, which is beneficial should it someday end up in the landfill. While durable, sisal is also rougher to the touch than wool or acrylic. If you want a carpet runner that is soft to the touch you will want to feel the material before making a final decision.
Regardless of what material you use, you want to make sure it is bound with a high-strength zig-zag stitch that ensures a tight bond with the carpet backing.
In your home, you will want to install a high-quality pad beneath your carpet runner for extra cushioning.
If you are using it on stairs, it will need to be thinner so it doesn’t raise the height of your tread too much. Choose a ¼ inch thick underpad, preferably a rubber pad because it is firm and dense and will not compress as much over time.
To keep your carpet runner from “traveling” along the floor, I recommend applying a liquid latex coating to the backing of any carpet. This will enhance the strength of the binding on the edge as well as create a “Non Slip” surface on the backing of the rug.
When it comes to floor runner rugs, your choices are practically limitless. You can choose a bold, patterned runner if you want to draw attention to it or accentuate a nearby feature, such as a staircase or piece of furniture.
You can choose a muted, neutral color if you want to complement but not compete with vibrant wall colors. You can also match just about any wall color or design aesthetic that you can think of. Your only limits are what you can find either in store or online within your budget.
Red carpet runners are an exciting accessory to any event, especially for award-themed parties (think Oscars, Grammys, Tonys), company events, and grand openings. But a white carpet runner adds classic grace to any event, especially high-end weddings.
While the majority of aisle runners are rectangular, they don’t have to be. Depending on the size of your space, you can custom cut your carpet runner into a variety of shapes, including circles, ovals, hearts, shamrocks, L-shapes, etc.
You can also create custom color combinations in specific patterns such as stripes and polka dots. A candy cane striped pattern is perfect for welcoming guests to your company holiday party. A black runner with gold and silver stars is perfect for your New Year’s Eve bash and keeps people from slipping on your icy front walkway.
Company logos can be embedded into custom carpet runners. These are great for office waiting rooms, front entrances, off-site events such as conventions and conferences.
Because carpet runners are so affordable and so versatile, you can literally use them in hundreds of different ways. Their size also makes them easy to roll up, store, transport, and clean. This makes them perfect for outdoor events (over grass so high heels don’t sink in), photo shoots (inside or outside they protect knees and clothes from getting dirty), company events (trade show booths, off-site team meetings), and seasonal decor changes within your home.