How to Choose Runner Rugs

A hallway runner rug brings color and style to long, connecting spaces while softening hard surfaces and deterring domestic accidents. They’re easier to clean than area rugs and provide more design flexibility.

Whether you prefer neutrals, stripes or something in between, there’s a runner for every style. The key is finding the right one for your space.

Length and Width

runner rugs are long, narrow rugs that work best in hallways and skinny spaces. Often, they’re made of hard-wearing materials like sisal, seagrass, and jute and feature simple stripes or a classic wool flatweave design. They can help to reduce the noise of footsteps in the hallway or corridor, and they’re a stylish way to brighten up any space.

Hallway rugs are also great for bedrooms as they add texture and a warm and inviting feel. They can hide dust and dirt between the bed and other furniture, and they’re a stylish way of keeping the floor free from scuff marks and dents. If you’re concerned about your runner rug looking dirty in a high traffic area, opt for a dark coloured rug with a pattern to camouflage dirt.

When it comes to deciding how wide to buy a hall or stair carpet runner, it’s best to take into account the size of your stairs and other furniture. Typically, a standard runner is around 3 feet wide and 6 to 20 feet long but can be purchased in custom lengths too.

You should leave at least 6 to 24 inches of floor space clearance on all sides of the runner for the best effect. If you have two twin beds, framing them with runners is a budget friendly way to keep the back legs of the furniture off the rug.


The type of fiber a rug is made from plays a role in its appearance and how long it lasts. Nylon and olefin, for example, come with stain-resistant properties that protect against spills and grime. Natural fiber rugs like wool, cotton and jute are eco-friendly, sustainable choices that bring a casual look to living spaces.

Runner rugs also work well in bedrooms to warm up the space and make it feel softer underfoot. They’re often much easier to clean than area rugs since they’re thinner and smaller. If you choose a thin cotton runner, for instance, you can toss it in the washer or take it outside to hose it off. Wool rugs, on the other hand, are typically more expensive and require special care to preserve their beauty.

If you have a stairway runner rug in place, consider adding a rug pad to keep it from shifting around on hard floors or carpets over time. A felt and rubber blend is a good option since it adds a layer of cushioning while providing non-slip grip. A rug pad also prevents the corners of a runner rug from curling up and coming off of the floor. You can also use an anti-rug curling product such as Curl Stop, which attaches to the underside of your rug and keeps it flat.


Runner rugs are a great way to link rooms together or add style underfoot. In hallways they help to make a narrow space appear wider through the rug’s length and design. In bathrooms they add comfort to a hard floor and bring some personality to a utilitarian room. In bedrooms they can enliven an area without blocking light or adding bulk underfoot. Runners also work in laundry rooms, giving this functional room a fashion accent with color or texture.

When selecting a runner look at the overall style of your home and the theme that runs through your hallway. A contemporary striped runner suits modern and minimalist spaces while a traditional herringbone design can work in a country or cottage home.

When choosing a jute runner consider the texture of your hallway flooring and the style of your stair carpet. This natural fibre runner is super hardwearing and comes in a range of widths. It can be placed on top of a wood or concrete stair carpet or underneath a wool flatweave rug to create a luxurious, earthy look. The natural shade and textured weave of this runner also complements the hardwood floors and creamy stone walls often found in country or cottage homes.


The underpad of a runner rug keeps it securely anchored to prevent slippage and protects your floor from scratches. Most pads are made of recycled felt, natural rubber or jute fibers. Avoid synthetic materials like PVC, which can break down and outgas toxic chemicals into your home.

Some rug pads, such as Contour-Lock, offer both grip and moderate cushioning. This eco-friendly option is a layer of recycled felt heat pressed onto a natural rubber backing. It’s perfect for flatweave rugs that tend to slide around and helps reduce floor wear. It’s mold and mildew resistant and safe for all flooring types.

Natural rubber rug mats are typically beige or whitish in color with a waffle or mesh-like texture. They’re odorless, easy to clean and mold and mildew resistant, making them ideal for small rugs and doorway rugs on slippery floor surfaces. They offer excellent non-slip properties and can be used in humid environments, too. Other rug pads, such as Super-Lock Natural, provide superior grip and are recommended for wall-to-wall carpeting. These low-profile rug mats have over a pound of natural rubber per square yard and are odorless, mold and mildew resistant.

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