Carpeting a staircase typically makes for a softer, safer climb and descent, but it can also make a stairway stand out as a feature in your home. Still, there's more to carpeting a stairway than just picking out a carpet you like and having it installed. There are things to consider like how to coordinate with flooring at the bottom of the stairs, and at the top, especially if one floor is carpeted and the other is not.
If you're wondering what type of carpet will work best on stairs, the answer is generally any type of carpet you like, with a couple of caveats …
- Avoid extra-thick carpeting since it's difficult to wrap around the edge of the stair and fasten into place. Thick carpeting also tends to be slippery and can present a safety hazard on stairs.
- If you're worried about visible seams around posts, choose a longer pile such as a frieze or Saxony, which tend to hide seams better than shorter or looped pile.
Stairs are considered a "high-traffic" area, since they're used often, but also due to the added force of gravity as you descend. For that reason, it's always advisable to use the highest-quality carpet and padding you can afford. While it may cost a little more upfront, it'll definitely save you money in the long-run since it won't have to be replaced as often.
Here are some tips from interior designers to help you create a stairway with both flair and practicality …
If your decorating style leans toward a modern aesthetic with neutral white or off-white walls, consider that a patterned stair runner can provide the warmth that modern settings often lack. What's more, the pattern itself will stand out like art when set against a neutral background.
Creating a Tailored Look
In a formal setting, a stairway carpet with a tailored flair fits right in. Here, the installer uses a "cap and band" or French cap method where the carpet is stapled under the nose of the stair tread, and tight to the riser, for a polished look on a traditional staircase.
If you've got hardwood floors at the bottom and carpeting at the top of the stairs, have your stairs carpeted runner style, so that the wooden edges of the stairs coordinate with the ground floor and the centers coordinate with the second floor carpeting. This eliminates any awkward transitioning between floors.
If your upstairs is carpeted (as many second floors with bedrooms are), it's usual to match the stairway carpeting to the upstairs carpeting.
If both downstairs and upstairs are hardwood, find a carpet that coordinates with the stain color on the floors for a seamless transition from the carpeted stairway to the bare floor. (Note, it doesn't have to match the floor exactly — just coordinate well with the tones in the wood.)
You can use the same trick for homes with carpeting on both floors by coordinating the stairway carpeting with the main carpeted areas. This creates continuity without having everything match exactly.
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