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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

15 Creative Stair Runner Ideas: DIY on a Budget

Updated: Jun 10

15 cool and creative stair runner ideas to DIY in your home.

DIY stair runner

It’s been a couple of years since I did my DIY stair runner using B&Q runner rugs. It was a really fun DIY project to complete and stood the test of time. I’ve had so many disappointed people contact me as B&Q, unfortunately, discontinued the runner rugs that I used, and they had been hoping to do the same as me. This got me thinking; there must be lots of similar - maybe even better - rugs and runners that would work for creative stair runner ideas on a budget. I’ve been scouring Pinterest (the fountain of all knowledge, right?!) and have found some good alternatives that will hopefully help those who want to get stuck in and get DIYing.

To get the details on how to update stairs on a budget for each of the individual projects, just click the embedded Pinterest pin and you’ll be taken to Pinterest, where you’re only one click away from the Pinner’s website with all the details. Let me know which is your favourite creative stair DIY. They are all making me want to rip up my runner so I have an excuse to get stuck into some stair runner DIY again! None of these are 1-hour DIYs to transform your floor, but they are worth the time for sure.

1. Use IKEA KLEJS doormats

Now, you know I love IKEA hacks (some might say it was bordering on an obsession!) and I’ve seen this nifty DIY pop up a few times lately and it looks to be the perfect project for a shoestring budget. The IKEA door mats are super affordable at only £2 each. These might have to be added to my list of top IKEA finds.

The beige-brown colour of the IKEA doormats would work with a neutral palette or more colourful ones too. You could paint the stairs dark to create a more striking look.


2. Mix and match vintage stair runners

If a vintage vibe is your bag, then this project is going to get you inspired for sure. This savvy DIYer sourced vintage rugs from Etsy and took a mix-and-match approach for extra boho appeal. It’s a really cool idea and definitely creates a lived-in look rather than the show-home style neatness that can materialise after a stair makeover.

Vintage rugs definitely add charm in a timeless way because they aren't tied to a passing home interior trend. Vintage rugs can add a sense of history and make the space feel considered.


3. Add character with a patterned runner

Adding a pattern is a great way to make a style statement. There’s no denying that stairs can be a bit dull, so injecting some pattern or colour can be a great way to elevate the whole space by creating a focal point and add depth which is sure to make the journey up the stairs more uplifting (no pun intended!).

Future you will thank you for this joyful addition when you’re traipsing up the stairs with armfuls of washing to put away on a dreary Monday!

Choosing a patterned stair runner is a great idea for longevity as a pattern will help to hide signs of wear and tear.

stripey stair runner with stair rods
Image credit: @firsthomeatnumberone

4. Add stripes for extra style

Stripes are a fun way to add depth and interest. They work well on stairs because they aren’t an expansive area so aren’t overwhelming.

Stripes can elongate the staircase making it feel grander and giving the feeling of there being more space than there actually is.

A striped stair runner creates an inviting staircase as the stripes draw your eye up and create intrigue. This beauty can be found in the lovely home of Lauren and Chris aka @firsthomeatnumberone on Instagram.

5. Dunelm give B&Q a run for their money!

After much research, this Dunelm runner seems to be a really good alternative to my B&Q runner and it actually looks to be a bit cheaper too. It comes in a variety of colours and in both jute and sisal with a border along the edge. All in all a top find and crying out to be added to the DIY list.

6. Go bold with a border

The things that attracted me to my bargain DIY star runner were the natural sisal-like material and the black border. I loved the contrast and the black accent colour is a theme repeated around my home (fun fact - interior designers call this idea of a repeated theme throughout a home the ‘red thread’ it pops up in design books and interiors mags and sounds fancy but it’s actually very simple).

Pink edged rustic stair runner made bespoke by Rascal & Roses
Image Credit: Rascal & Roses

The beautiful image, courtesy of Rascal & Roses, really spoke to me - the vibrant pink is so joyful, but paired with the neutral runner, is not too in your face. I’d love this beauty of a runner.

Rascal & Roses is an Interior design studio that also produces and supplies bespoke stair runners. Visit their Instagram here.

7. Continue beyond the stairs

How cool is this green stair carpet that pools onto the floor at the bottom of the staircase!

As a clumsy person, I wonder if I would trip up on the rug at the bottom as it looks like it's quite a deep pile - but the originality and the effect is undeniable.

You could replicate this idea but with a flatter rug to reduce the trip hazard, but it's be worth keeping the bold striking colour and the asymmetrical shape as these aspects really create the wow factor.


8. Paint the treads and risers

I know strictly speaking this isn't a stair runner, but I had to include the idea because these bold, blue-painted stairs are pretty amazing.

The curve of the stairs adds even more visual intrigue as they disappear out of view.

You could recreate this idea with a less contrasting, more neutral palette to fit into your interior style, but there's no denying how impactful this pairing is of minimalist white and vibrant blue.


9. Match the staircase to the runner's border

I love this colour combo and it works particularly well with the colour drench effect from painting the whole staircase in a similar shade to the border of the stair runner.

It can be tempting to stick to a 'safe' colour for woodwork, but this image demonstrates how effective it can be to step slightly out of your colour comfort zone and really commit to a design.


10. Add a colour-block

This is a seriously cool staircase, there are so many design elements that work well in a small space it's a triumph. The standout winner for me. is the amazing blue colour-block runner that effortlessly blends into the staircase spindles and matches with the circle in the modern artwork on the wall behind.

This particular colour combo would work in my home, but I can definitely appreciate it and with a few tweaks, could see a way of adapting it.


11. Paint it pink

Another paint project here, but this time more in line with the stair runner brief. These stairs give me full-on Bassetts liquorice allsorts vibes and look super cool.

Again, the curve of the stairs makes you want to travel up them to find out what's at the top and are far less rigid and dull than my short, straight staircase!

The contrast of the pink and black is really eye-catching and not a combo I thought I'd like, but it just works here.


12. Embrace neon

Not many homes could pull off a painted neon stripe down the staircase, but it totally works here and livens up an otherwise relatively dull staircase.

This would be a super quick and simple DIY and you could easily paint over it when you (inevitably?) get bored, but it packs a punch and offers great value for money.


13. Bonkers but in a good way

This idea is really unique and playful. It embraces the idea of continuing the runner onto the floor beyond the stairs, but as it's painted there is no trip hazard here. I love how the painted rug tassels look like people dancing and give a feeling of movement.

This is interesting and unique and would be easy to paint over in the future. It's definitely an inspiring project and could be even more eye-catching if you painted the dancing people on the walls adjacent to the stairs so they looked like they were dancing their way up the stairs!


14. Turn your carpet into a runner

This is a great money-saving decor hack as carpet is cheaper than bespoke stair runners. If you have leftover carpet then you could get it whipped (have the edges bound to prevent fraying and provide a neat attractive edge) to make a cool stair runner that blends effortlessly with your landing carpet.

Alternatively, you could buy some carpet offcuts (likely at a discounted price) and create a cool runner in the same way. You can buy DIY carpet edging from places like Amazon if you don't have the budget to get it professionally whipped.


15. Incorporate stair wallpaper for a maximalist vibe

Lastly, we have a brilliant combination of uber-cool wallpaper, runner rug and paintwork. The colours have been so well thought out and really complement each other. The shapes of the wallpaper pattern are repeated in the runner and the outcome is a staircase that is a treat for the eye and one that I'd likely stand staring at for hours at a time if it were in my house!

Now you know how to make the stairs look pretty, how about finding out how to maximise the under-stairs space too?!

Are stair runners a passing trend?

I know some people were concerned that stair runners were a passing trend and would look dated quickly, but they are still going strong. They aren’t for everyone, but hopefully, this round-up of cool ideas has given you some inspiration to take what is actually quite an old-fashioned idea and give it a 2023/4 twist with a bit of creative DIY.

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