Carpeted Stairs

In multilevel homes, staircases are often focal points that have to be useful, durable, and beautiful. If you have stairs in your home that you are looking to upgrade, consider using carpet for stairs. When used properly carpeting can add many desirable qualities to stairs and there is a multitude of carpeting styles to choose from.

Different Ways to Carpet Stairs

What style of carpet is best for stairs? Carpet runners and fully carpeted stairs are both aesthetically pleasing and practically useful. Other styles of carpeting stairs include partially carpeted stairs, open riser stairs and patterns.

1.  Partial Carpeting

Partial carpeting of stairs uses the least amount of carpet. Partially carpeted stairs are defined by a carpeted area being confined to the tread of each step. The tread is the horizontal part of stairs that you step on to, while the riser is the vertical section of each step that you probably know as the part you have stubbed a toe on. This is important to know because for partial carpeting the riser is never covered.

Partially carpeted stairs at

If you are considering partial carpeting, take a good look at your stairs and see if they fit any of these criteria; beautiful wood on both the tread and the riser, daily usage, and do they lead from or into another carpeted space? If this sounds like your staircase, then start the hunt for carpet samples because partial carpeting is going to be a good option.

Since a minimal amount of carpet is used it will still allow you to show off the beautiful wood that your stairs are crafted out of and you can even choose a color of carpet that highlights some of the qualities that you love about that wood. If the tread is dark, and the riser is much lighter, then consider a carpet color that is between those dark and light tones to help blend them together. If the wood has a cherry color that you want to emphasize in a bold way then roll out some red carpet.

Flooring Design

This is also a great option for transitioning from a carpeted to non-carpeted space as it combines a little of both and if that area experiences especially high traffic in your household, then this will be one of the easiest forms of carpet to replace if it gets worn out. The options here are endless, so let your creativity flow and cut some carpet samples to get a visual of how Partially carpeted stairs will work for you!

2.  Carpet Runner

Runners are a form of carpeting that covers most, but not all of a staircase. It is a long piece of rug or carpeting that cascades from one step to the next, covering both the treads and the risers down the center of a staircase. If you are someone who has a beautiful wooden stairwell, but wants some noise reduction and cautioning then stair runners are a wonderful option.

Carpet Runner
Runners are especially interesting because they are commonly associated with beautifully crafted oriental rugs with lined edges that seem to make each stair blend into the next as you walk down them. As you can imagine, this can make navigating your stairs in a rush a bit more difficult as those lines can play tricks on your depth perception.
It is also important to note that such a beautifully crafted rug will not be cheap, which makes runners of this decorative style best for a low traffic staircase that serves as a statement piece.

Different Stair carpet stylesBeautiful vintage carpeted steps inside a palace. Photo by CAHKT/

If you wanted to take your decorative stair runner to the next level, you can even use a carpet rod. Carpet rods are the thin metal bars that can be seen at the base of each riser in the picture above. The rods are functional in holding a runner in place so that it doesn’t bump up or shift down as it is used. They serve a decorative purpose too since they can be very beautifully crafted at the edges and bring a glimmer of bronze, gold, silver, or even matte black into a room.

Now all of this may make it sound like runners are an option reserved for mansions carved out of oak and marble, but that is not the case. Runners can add a sophisticated style to any staircase depending on how they are designed. Solid color runners can add a modern and simple style to your staircase. The best part of a simple carpeted runner is that its beauty is only limited by your creativity. You can take that solid color and edge it with a darker tone or you could even add bold bronze bolts to the edges that are smooth and functional for holding the runner in place but are also a stylish way to tie in metal tones without a carpet rod.

3)  Fully Carpeted

Fully carpeted stairs look exactly as they sound, completely coated in carpet. This may sound daunting, but it is actually a great idea for homes with old worn stairs, children, and stairwells that receive a lot of use. If the wood used to create your stairs is less than attractive and you don’t mind putting a few holes in it then a carpet coated look is a great option to add some new style.

Fully carpeted stairs design
Fully carpeting your stairs is no walk in the park, but I can guarantee you it will be much easier and oftentimes cheaper than having the staircase entirely rebuilt with more desirable wood.

Another important consideration is the design of the staircase itself. While carpet runner will look beautiful on straight and curved staircases, fully carpeting is a better solution for stars with landing. Below is an example of landing that is fully covered with the same rug.

Red carpeted stairs

I recommend Something durable and not too silky to help with the longevity and safety of fully carpeted stairs. If you are redoing some rooms attached to the stairwell, then consider using one type of carpet for both the stairs and the room to blend them into each other.

4. Patterned Carpet

As a final note let’s touch on patterns. Patterns can be chosen for any of the carpeting options that were discussed so they are an important consideration. After seeing the decorative runners, intense and intricate patterns may be all that comes to mind, but there are many more options than that.
Pattern carpeted stairs
In the picture above there is a very discreet pattern on the riser of each stair in the form of light and dark triangles. This pattern makes the stairs more interesting than if they were a solid color, yet it does not overwhelm the space.

When considering patterns take the time to research unique styles for inspiration and take home different samples. Next, think hard about what statement you want that pattern to make because you will be looking at it often.

Are Carpeted Stairs out of Style?

The short answer is no. Minimalism is the modern architectural trend. However, carpets and carpeted stairs is not out of style. What I have noticed is that carpet designs also became minimalistic instead of the flashy vintage style.

If you are building a new house following the modern design trends, then rugs may not suit to your home. For example, open riser stairs look beautiful without the rug on them. On the other hand, if you are renovating your house you will often find that stairs with carpet match the design of your house.

Ultimately, it is your choice. Do you like the look of a hardwood staircase or the feel of a rug under your feet?

Are Carpeted Stairs safer?

If you are worried about the accidents happening on stairs, you should know that both hardwood stairs and carpeted staircase pose equal risks. In fact, you are more likely to slip on a carpeted stair, especially if you are wearing a pair of socks at home.
Be careful when you are carrying lot of stuff that hinders your view since there is an increased risk of slip. part of the reason is the lack of accurate depth perception on a carpeted stair.

On the other hand, hard stairs are more likely to cause injuries. Parents with young children should keep this in mind when deciding your interior design.

Benefits of Carpeted Stairs

The carpeting will round off any sharp-edged and add some extra cushion which leads to some pros and cons. To start with the positive points, consider that falling won’t hurt as badly as it would on wooden stairs, more noise will be absorbed, and it will be more comfortable if you are using those steps often. However, these same qualities also make it easier to slip on the rounded edge of carpeted stairs, change the depth of the stairs, and mean you have to replace a lot of carpets if they get worn out.

Should I Put Carpet on Stairs?

Let me summarize the advantages and disadvantages to make your decision easier.


  • Beautiful carpeted stairs can be stunning.
  • Carpeted stairs reduce noise. This is especially true if you have active youngsters at home or lot of people moving up and down.
  • It feels soft under your feet. It is more comfortable to walk on rug.
  • In case someone slips, the softer material acts as an insulation and result in less injuries.


  • Vacuuming and cleaning will be an exhausting chore.
  • Slightly more chances of slips and falls.
  • Installing carpet on stairs require making holes in the wood.
  • The additional cost of rug and installation.

If the pros outweigh the cons here, then congrats! It is time to consider carpet colors and textures.

Step Up To The Challenge

Carpeting your stairs can be a daunting task, but it can bring a lot to your home. As long as you make sure the style you choose fits both the usage and look you intend for that stairwell you will love the final product. Try some samples, experiment with styles and patterns outside of your comfort zone, and dive in! If it doesn’t work out as you planned, don’t fret. The best part of carpeting is that you can always pull it up and try something new.