Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Running the Stairs

Just kidding, you know I'm a runner right? This isn't about running the stairs but rather, stair runners :)

Lucyina Moodie
I came across this photo and initially what caught my eye were the all white stairs. I like painted stairs- I know, I like everything painted, right? I'm looking for a couple of things. First, how are the stairs painted and second, how are the stair runners attached. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the runners cascade over the tread and are only secured at the base of the riser- that look is called waterfall. The picture above is an example of waterfall. The other option is to have the runner wrap around the nosing and secured there as well as being secured at the base of the riser- that look is called upholstered or fitted.

Stairway Runner
Here is another example of waterfall. I think waterfall looks best for a large scale pattern like this. It would lose some impact if it was tucked up under the tread. 
Notice that these stairs, including the stringer and skirtboard are all painted black. It is striking but I think I would have to buy stock in whatever company makes Swiffer dusters!

A beautiful all white banister with dark wood stairs. There really is so much to consider when it comes to your stairs, especially in the main entry or foyer. Not only do you have to decide finished wood or painted for the treads and risers but also for the two main parts of the banister: the handrail and the balusters.

entrances/foyers - grand luxurious curved staircase white black staircase art gallery arched doorway pendant chandelier  Sherrill Canet  grand
Decor Pad
Is it me obsessing or does the little gap that the waterfall creates under the tread bother you? I can see my kids sticking little army guys in there! 

Here is a better picture that shows the gap. Hmmm, head on I like this look better but I'm just not sure about that gap! Black handrail, white balusters- that's what I have and what do you know - all white stairs...I think I'm making up my mind. 
Let's look at some pictures of runners that are fitted:

Remarkably, in a basic Google search I could hardly find images of upholstered runners. 

Coastal Living
Stripes, small scale patterns and busy patterns are good choices for upholstered stair runners. From what I read, upholstered runners don't wear as well. 

Country Living
 I didn't show any pictures with stair rails- that is a post for another day but they would work for either application. I think that the waterfall is a more updated look. What do you think? Waterfall or Upholstered?


  1. Really nice pictures.
    The one from coastal living is particularly beautiful.

  2. I agree that the waterfall looks nice from the front, but that space would kill the OCD in me. Visualizing your boys putting army guys in there had me laughing though. We just put upholstered runners on our stairs a few weeks ago (our big dog was having too much trouble on the slippery, though beautiful, hardwood, lol). We did the fitted and really like how it looks.

  3. If I had stairs I would have them painted with a cool runner, for sure. I love the look and I think it is a stylish way to display your stairs.

  4. I really need a nice runner, my dog slipped down the stairs the other day :( Great pics...yeah that gap would bother me too!

  5. Love the Coastal Living stripes. I would not have the patience to paint them : (

  6. Okay, the waterfall would never work for me...mine would have to be fitted. The space would drive me crazy too!! Love all the different styles, but absolutely adore the one covered in seagrass!!

  7. Great post, until now, I never knew there was such a thing as waterfall installation vs fitted! Someday I'll need to address my staircase. When we first moved in, I thought we'd just make a few repairs and stain them, but the treads are in such horrible condition that I think a runner is a better solution.

  8. Beautiful inspirations. I like the waterfall installation.

  9. Fabulous runners. My favorites are #1, #2 and #3. I just love a more modern and updated look on runners.

  10. lovely selection & different styles. I like the waterfall installation too. Happy weekend!