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Home / Inspiration / Combining carpet and wood stairs

How to create the perfect carpet & wood stair combination

Roger Oates - Shetland Collection - Sudbury Light Grey

Combining carpet and wood stairs can turn an ordinary staircase into a striking home feature. Once considered a décor choice best suited to older, traditional houses, stair runners have become increasingly popular in modern homes – and they really can work in any setting: classic, contemporary, or somewhere in between. A carpet runner on wood stairs will protect the parts of your staircase that get the most use, while also showing elegant glimpses of the woodwork. They look beautiful and have practical benefits too:

  • Safety – Stair runners offer a non-slip covering for stairs, making them safer
  • Less noise – As stairs are a high-traffic area of your home, an elegant floor covering will minimise the sound of footsteps clattering up and down
  • Protection – A carpet runner will reduce the amount of wear and tear on your stairs, helping them stay in good condition for longer

A well-chosen floor covering for stairs also provides continuity between areas of your home. For example, if your ground floor has wood flooring and your landing is carpeted, a stair runner will create a visual connection and a sense of flow between the two floors.

What to consider when choosing a stair runner


Staircases are always a high-traffic area of a home, and if yours is a busy household, you’ll want to prioritise hard-wearing, durable fabrics. Similarly, if you have children and/or pets, a stair runner in darker colours or a patterned design will be preferable to a pale stair runner that shows every single mark and speck of dirt.

Roger Oates - Masai Smoke
Roger Oates - Masai Smoke
Fleetwood Fox - Ozolins 2
Fleetwood Fox - Ozolins 2


Premade stair runners such as Roger Oates and Off The Loom are made to set widths depending on the design. As a general rule we recommend covering 75% to 80% of the width of your staircase with the runner. So if your staircase is 90cm wide look for runners that around 70cm wide. Fleetwood Fox weave to order so these can be made to suit the width of your staircase, as can our bespoke taped runners.


Finally, consider the shape of your staircase. If you have a winding staircase or stairs that turn a corner, it is best to avoid broadloom carpets with lines, or noticeable patterns that can’t follow the twists and turns and may look awkward or poorly fitted. Flatwoven runners from Roger Oates, Fleetwood Fox and Off The Loom can flow around corners so are perfect for staircases with winders or 90-degree quarter-landings.

Roger Oates - Dart Persimmon
Roger Oates - Dart Persimmon

Beautiful stair runners from Higherground

Roger Oates - Eldon Grey
Eldon Grey

Roger Oates produces the world’s finest stair runners using British Cheviot wool. All Roger Oates runners are made in the UK, and each is hand-finished at the company’s workshops in Herefordshire. Rooted in heritage and craftmanship, Roger Oates stair runners have striking patterns and colour schemes reminiscent of traditional fabrics like tweed. With a wide range of designs from elegant stripes and classic herringbone, there’s a Roger Oates runner to suit every home. The flatweave production technique gives them incredible flexibility too – so if you have a winding staircase or one that turns a corner, your runner will still fit perfectly.

Fleetwood Fox - Newport 2
Newport 2

Fleetwood Fox stair runners are produced at the company’s workshop in Somerset, using wool yarn sourced from Yorkshire. All Fleetwood Fox runners are woven on looms and checked by hand to ensure every single one is of the highest possible quality. As each runner is essentially bespoke, you can change the width and even swap colours to suit your scheme. If you love pattern and are looking for a statement runner that makes your staircase a stand-out feature of your home, shop our range of Fleetwood Fox stair runners – you’ll find every kind of stripe as well as checked designs and traditional herringbone styles.

Off The Loom - Ashington - Mangrove Green
Ashington - Mangrove Green

Off The Loom stair runners are made in Devon using 100% New Zealand wool. The 3-ply yarn used to produce Off The Loom’s flatweave stair runners is hard-wearing and durable, making their runners ideal for busy family homes. For a variety of striped designs and plain runners in every colour from soft greys to pretty pinks, shop our range of Off The Loom stair runners today.

With these options in mind, read on to discover our stair runner design ideas for dark, medium and light wood staircases.

Stair runners for dark wood stairs

Dark wood staircases are perfect for creating or enhancing a traditional aesthetic and imparting a sense of grandeur to your home.

Adding a stair runner in red, pink, orange or gold shades to a dark wood staircase will bring out the warmth in the woodgrain, while contrasting a pale runner with dark wood stairs will look incredibly striking.

Placing dark colours together is becoming increasingly popular, and a runner in a deep, dramatic shade against a dark wood staircase creates a luxurious look. Be careful of pairing dark colours if your staircase doesn’t get much light, however – if the space is poorly lit, the impact will be lost.

A pale runner like this Fulham Quartz design from Roger Oates will contrast beautifully with dark wood stairs, while the herringbone detail adds subtle texture.

This Hanover Soft Black runner will look elegant against dark wood stairs and the Roger Oates signature herringbone border offers a little definition at the edges.

This Off The Loom carpet runner in Ashington French Blue works beautifully against a cool dark-grey staircase, while the black stripe adds elegant definition.

Stair runners for medium-toned wood stairs

Whether you favour neutral shades, bold colours or eye-catching patterns, a medium-toned wood staircase offers great flexibility when it comes to choosing your carpet runner.

A striped pattern that incorporates a vibrant colour like this Roger Oates runner in Masai Emerald looks beautiful against the subtle warmth of mid-toned wooden stairs.

This rose-pink stair runner will make a beautiful feature of your staircase. Bright and welcoming, the New Hadley Bright Rose runner from Roger Oates will give your staircase a real sense of cosiness.

If you’re looking to add colour to your stairs but don’t want anything too bright or intense, this Brampton Sturbridge Blue runner from Off The Loom is ideal.

Stair runners for light wood stairs

Light wooden stairs or stairs painted white, cream or pale grey also offer you plenty of freedom when it comes to choosing a carpet runner – almost anything goes on a light staircase. Create a dramatic monochrome effect by choosing a runner in black or dark grey, or opt for a subtle neutral and enjoy a classic look that won’t date.

A grey wool runner with a traditional pattern like this Herringbone 32 design from Fleetwood Fox will look effortlessly chic against white stairs.

Prefer an understated style? This Off The Loom runner in Sand Beige offers elegant simplicity when paired with a white painted staircase.

For narrow staircases or stairwells that receive minimal daylight, choose a carpet runner in a pale colour palette like this Fleetwood Fox runner in Pellerin 2. The cream and pale grey stripes will add gentle light to the space.

Bespoke taped and whipped stair runners

You can create your own stair runner using our bespoke service. Choose your main runner from our range of broadloom carpets, then select your taping option for the edges. We offer over 200 taping options to compliment almost every carpet including designs such as stripes and herringbone. You can also choose a whipped edge, which is a subtler style of edging that matches the main runner.

Sisal Blue Striped Taped Runner
Rivera Milano Whipped Stair Runner
Rivera Milano Whipped Stair Runner

Stair rods

Modern fitting techniques mean that nowadays, stair rods are purely decorative, but they certainly add an element of traditional grandeur to your wood stair and carpet combination and are an elegant finishing touch for your new stair runner. Our range of stair rods includes a variety of metallic and wood finishes.

Tudor - Brass - Dark
Tudor - Brass - Dark
Jubilee - Pewter
Jubilee - Pewter

Expert help and advice from Higherground

Your staircase is a focal feature of your home and we understand that choosing a carpet runner is a significant decision. We’d love to see you at our showroom in Camberley, Surrey – with sixteen full-size room sets and our expert team on hand, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

If you can’t make it to Camberley, you can order free samples of all our stair runners so that you can take a closer look before you make a final decision. And if you have any questions before you start your search, get in touch with us today.

Visit our showroom

Our range includes beautiful flatwoven collections from Roger Oates and Fleetwood Fox. We also offer our own bespoke range of taped edged stair runner carpets which can be cut and shaped to your staircase and landings. The options are limitless with our full selection of broadloom carpets and over 200 taping options to choose from.

If possible, we recommend a visit to the showroom where you can view our extensive range of stair runners, with samples to borrow for overnight loan. Here you will also find the widest range of carpets, LVT, wood flooring and rugs in the country. If you live further afield, we can provide our products on a supply only basis. Contact us to find out more.