Installing a Staircase Carpet Runner

One of the parts of my house that needed a little face lift is my basement stairwell. When I bought my house, it had been painted with a flat white paint that was already scuffed and just looked too bland. I had an extra gallon of soft yellow paint laying around, so I painted the walls yellow, and did a little gray accent wall and cabinet.

After remodeling my basement and my kitchen, the yellow stairwell connecting the two felt a little out of place, especially with the mint green kitchen! I always check the discounted paint at my local home improvement store, and stumbled across a gallon of soft gray for only $5 and figured now was the time to change out the yellow.

Basement Stairwell Refresh | Style & the Suburbs

Painting went really quickly since it is such a small space. The gray was a little darker than I thought it would be (I should have followed my own paint color advice, huh?). But, it was totally fine for just a stairwell. The paint was a paint + primer in one, but it took 2 coats to cover the yellow color.

Basement Stairwell Refresh | Style & the Suburbs

The next update that I was excited to make was to update the basement stair treads. The stairs had an ancient vinyl tread covering that was dirty and cracked and was so ugly! My dream would have been to pull it all up and just have wood steps, but that stuff was glued down for eternity. We decided the easiest option was to carpet over it.

It was actually really difficult to find a good carpet stair tread option. Everything is either super industrial or super decorative. Since these are my basement stairs and I sometimes wear shoes while running downstairs to grab something, I didn’t want to go with a fancy runner that would be easily stained. I also didn’t want it to feel super industrial, since I do have a finished basement!

I also wanted to buy something that I could feel in person. I feel like carpet quality can vary so much that you want to at least have a swatch of it to understand the quality. I found a pretty nice middle-ground stair runner carpet at Home Depot that was a nice gray for the space.


It’s not the most stunning piece of carpet that I’ve seen in my life, but I feel like it’s nice and fits the space. It was also just wide enough to cover the old vinyl tread, but still show some of the wood on the edges of the steps.

Installing a Staircase Carpet Runner | Style & the Suburbs

I carefully measured the stairs to get the length needed for the space. This includes the uprights, flat part of the stairs, as well as the little bullnose at the corner of each stair (it’s important not to forget that part!). I then added an extra foot to the whole measurement just to ensure that I had enough material.

Installing the carpet was pretty straight forward– you just follow the stairs and staple it with a staple gun to secure in place. The key is to make sure the carpet keeps running straight and doesn’t start to kick to one side. I used a paint scraper tool to make sure the carpet stayed tight and tucked into the stairs.

Installing a Staircase Carpet Runner | Style & the Suburbs

At the top of the stairwell, the carpet was finished with an edge strip. At the bottom, we just tucked it under itself and stapled it in.

The new carpet looks way nicer than the old broken down treads and it cost less than $100. It’s just a basement staircase, but I like that it feels cleaner and more polished than before!

Installing a Staircase Carpet Runner | Style & the Suburbs



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