I'd been wanting to put a runner on our stairs ever since River started walking. But since our long-term plan is to remodel the staircase into a more modern look, I knew anything I put onto our stairs would eventually be ripped off during demo. So, the need: a stair runner that costs enough to be worth while, but not enough to make me cry when it gets ripped off. Here was my solution:
Runner Pad(s) (linked below)
Runner(s) (linked below)
Crown Staple Gun
For the Pads:
I measured the depth of each step; they ranged from 10"-12". You want each step to have padding on it minus about an inch. (So if the step depth is 12", you only need about 11" of padding). By calculating each step's need at once, you can order one (or two) long runner pads and just cut it up into strips for each step. I purchased this runner rug pad (here), I like it because it has the non slip backing so it provides extra stay power for the runner. The runner pad should be a few inches narrower than your runner so it doesn't show. This also allows the sides of your runner to hug over it, almost acting as a seal, as it's put onto each step.
Next, the Runners:
Our staircase does a U-turn and from the beginning I knew I wasn't going to hassle with the landings. I measured each step and riser, added extra for each stair lip, and figured out how long each runner needed to be. For our three stair sections I needed two 9ft runners (here) and one 7ft runner (here). They also have an 11ft option (here).
Start by placing all your carpet pad pieces centered on each step. You want them just shy of the front stair edge, leaving space at the back. Use two strips of carpet tape (here) to adhere the pads to each step. Now, the runner. Start from the bottom riser. I left the white binding line on my runner visible because I liked the look, but you can fold that under if you prefer to have only pattern. Place one strip of carpet tape along the underside edge of the runner. Stick that to your starting point on the bottom of the first riser. Don't staple this first line yet. Pull the runner up under the first lip. Make sure it's straight up and do your first line of staples under the first lip. I liked to start in the middle then work outward with stapling.
Once that first under-lip is stapled then you can go back and staple the bottom. I just like to staple the under-lip first to make sure the runner is adhered level. You can adjust tape; you can't adjust staples. Now pull the runner over the lip and staple into that first step crevice. This is why you don't want padding all the way back on the step. The pad-gap, if you will, allows you to tuck the rug in tightly and staple in that back corner. Do these steps for all the stairs.
Once you get to the final under-stair lip, this is where it can get a little tricky. It was a little confusing on our first run, but by the second and third stair set it only took me a few minutes. Pull the runner up the riser to see roughly where it will end. Add about 4" to this mental line your envisioning, and put a piece of carpet tape along the underside. Now cut off any additional runner that extends beyond the tape. Don't take the protective paper off of the exposed side of the carpet tape yet. Fold the runner under and hold up again against your final riser. Maneuver and adjust the fold until you have it lined up to fit the riser exactly. Then keep the fold creased and remove the protective tape paper carefully; stick the rug down onto itself. Once you've made your new end for your runner, put carpet tape along the new end underside and along the sides (essentially making a big U with tape to adhere to the riser). Pull and stick the runner up the final riser. Staple into place under the lip. If you want to do a few staples on the riser here too, where the rug is folded under, you can. Just make sure the staples aren't visible.
Here is the final product :)