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Making a Statement on Stairs

Lots of people choose to put carpet on their stairs — either a full-width carpet or a partial-width runner that shows off the wood flooring underneath — but stairs aren’t the same as other flooring. The demands placed on your carpet will be different, and the carpet you use to cover your stairs will be different as a result.

Should You Use Patterned Carpet on Stairs?

Absolutely! Stairs aren’t just another hallway; they’re a transition from one part of your home to another. For a lot of households, the ground floor is a place of hustle and bustle. It’s where you make and eat your meals, where your family spends time together, and where you get ready for your day.

The bedroom floor is something different entirely. It’s where you unwind and relax, where you calm down at the end of a long day and where you wake up refreshed and ready for a new one. The stairs are your transition from one of those zones to the other, a signal to your brain that your day is changing.

Making your stairs stand out is a way to emphasize that message, consciously and subconsciously. When you walk up or down a staircase that has a striking color pattern on it, you make the switch from relaxed to energetic and back.

What Kind of Pattern Should You Choose?

The main thing to consider when putting a pattern on your stairs is that you don’t want to confuse the eyes. Some patterns, such as bold horizontal stripes, can conceal the edges of the steps themselves, leading to a tripping hazard that you want to avoid.

The number you want to look for is “pattern drop,” or the interval at which a pattern repeats. There’s no industry standard for pattern drop in carpets, so patterns can be any shape and size. Pattern drop that’s the same interval as the size of your steps will start to blend together on the edges, so it’s best to avoid those.

The best kind of pattern to use on stairs is a subtle one. A colored carpet with a cut-and-loop pattern creates a gentle repeating look on stairs that’s pleasing to the eye without disrupting the natural appearance of the staircase itself.

What Kind of Carpet Should You Use on Stairs?

The thing to remember is that your stairs are some of the highest-traffic areas in the house. People run up and down stairs on a daily basis, so wear and tear is a real concern. The plush, comfortable carpet that you put in your living room or bedroom will wear out faster on stairs.

You’ll also want to keep the style you want in mind. Long, cut pile carpets don’t hold up as well to foot traffic as well as shorter piles or loop carpets. In addition, thick carpets can become a safety hazard if they blunt the edge of the stairs, making it more likely that you’ll trip walking up or down.

How Should You Lay Carpet?

A lot of people forget about the direction of the pile. Carpets have a grain to them — a natural direction that the loops and piles are stitched in. If the carpet is bent the wrong direction over the nose of the steps, you can see the backing of the carpet, which weakens the carpet itself and is unsightly. A master installer will make sure your carpet is installed lengthwise, with the loops orientated up and down the staircase instead of across it.

In many houses, the stairs are simply another hallway that happens to go up or down. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Stairs can be an avenue to relaxation or a passage to a brand new day — give them the attention they deserve and let your stairs make a statement!