Sunday 4 November 2018

installing a stair runner yourself

diy stair runner install

We've been living in our house for four years now, and in that time we've done a lot of work. In fact, the kids bathroom is now the only space that hasn't been updated in some way, and I'm planning on getting to that soon, but up until fairly recently we'd never done anything with the entryway and stairs bar paint the wall closest to the kitchen black and make a half hearted attempt to paint the skirting and stair rail white instead of the dingy cream that we inherited from the previous owners.

And when I say "half-hearted" I mean I did one coat, realised it was a job that was going to take time, patience and precision and immediately gave up.

To be honest the whole thing just seemed like an awful lot of work that I just wasn't capable of doing well. I know my limitations, and painting woodwork is definitely something way beyond them! I don't have the skill or the patience to do it well, and with all the hall, stairs and landing skirting to do, plus EIGHT doors and the stairs......I was definitely not up to that. Plus, painting the walls would take forever (it would have to be done at night when the kids were asleep, plus I wanted to put white over brown, so more coats than usual) and I knew it would end up killing me or driving me insane. So I ignored it.

budget hall entryway modern eclectic makeover
This is the only picture I have of the hall in it's original state, and it doesn't really show just how brown those walls were. You can also see the dirt on the carpet though, which is really lovely.

But then, one day I saw it. I was on my five millionth trip up the stairs that day, carrying another armload of crap back to the general vicinity of where it belonged when suddenly I saw it.....just how freaking disgusting the stair carpet was!!!!! I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it before. I mean, I knew it wasn't nice, but I didn't realise how filthy it was! And from then on it was at the top of my shit list. That sucker had to go.

           Image result for cannot unsee meme

So I checked out local carpet installers, and got quotes. It was going to cost around €250 to do the landing and stairs, which was great, but the problem was that all the carpets on offer were really boring. Fine, neutral, nothing wrong with them, but boring all the same. And so I started to think of alternatives. I loved the look of painted wood on stairs, but Max is the kind of child who regularly falls over when standing upright and stationary, so a slippy, hard incline wasn't a good idea if I liked him with all his limbs at the traditional angles. Also, my stairs turned out to be crappy, cheap plywood covered in carpet glue so they really weren't up to being on show!
diy stair runner install
Hello early 2000's, "get 'em up as fast and cheap as possible" shitty plywood stairs! Just look at the difference that paint job makes though :)

I left it for a few weeks, hoping I would come up with a better idea before I forked out for something that I really didn't love, and then, one day I walked into Dunnes to do some food shopping and I saw it. Peeking out at me from across the room, calling me to the homewares section with it's siren song...the runner of my dreams. It had aztecy/geo all over print, it was pink and burgundy and black with hints of aqua here and there, the pattern was dramatic but not in your face....I was in love.

diy stair runner install

I shuffled over there as fast as I could, heart in my mouth, trying to both get there as quickly as possible and not draw attention to it. So with three kids in tow, rushing and trying to look nonchanlant...I'm sure I looked anything but!

red Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic Arabian Rug
It was part of the Carolyn Donnelly Ecletic range, a nice hardy twill cotton and with the runners at €40 each and the rugs at €80 it was a really great price! I would have to use four runners to cover my stairs but at a total of €160 and some work on my part it was still a much cheaper option than getting carpet fitted, and more importantly it was something that I loved, rather than just something that would do. So I bought the one runner they had in store and went home to drape it on my naked stairs and hope that it looked as good as I thought it would....and it was better! So ordered the other three I needed online. I got free delivery as my order was over €50 but you can opt to have items delivered free to a store of your choice as well.
diy stair runner install

There was no doubt in my mind about the one I chose, but there are some other great designs to choose from, and bear in mind that these pics really don't do the colours and patterns justice.

multi Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic Diamond Geo Print Runner
Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic Diamond Geo Print Runner

multi Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic Inca Diamond Rug
Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic Inca Diamond Rug/Runner

So I had my runner, I just needed to prep the stairs, and to do that all I did was to paint the tiny edge that would be visible on either side. I used to same colourtrend satin white as the rest of the woodwork on the risers and the same Rustoleum graphite chalk paint as my front door, fireplace and bathroom floor on the treads. I varnished over the chalkpaint with clear matte water based varnish to protect it. Then I was ready to install the carpet.

At this stage I'm just going to tell you to go and check out Young House Love's tutorial on this. It's what I followed to do this and they explain it as well as anyone could! Plus it's their actual job to blog so they weren't doing it late at night while watching 90 day fiance through the sitting room door and occassionally remebering to take a blurry, dark phone pic.

diy stair runner install

Long story short I measured and marked with painters tape to make sure I put the runner down straight, then started at the top and worked my way down. I used staples I had coloured in with sharpies to make them less noticable and I only stapled on the risers, not the treads, as I didn't want any naked feet coming into contact with staples, even though they were flush against the carpet. I stapled right up under the lip of the treads and then again at the bottom on the tread to keep everything tight and smooth.

diy stair runner install

When I came to the end of one runner I cut off the end of that one and the top of the next, and then slightly overlapped them, making sure that this happened under the lip of a tread to make it very hard to notice. (You'll probably end up using a bit more runner than the actual length of your stairs because of this). I had to do this twice, and I don't think you can tell.

diy stair runner install

diy stair runner install

The one place my method differed from YHL's was where my stairs turn. YHL didn't have this feature on their stairs so they didn't have any issue, but I needed to attach carpet in an area that feet would definitely be, so I didn't want to use staples. I had used double sided carpet tape before so I knew it was pretty hardcore, and all I did was lay a line of it around the measured out edges of where I wanted the carpet to sit. I'm pretty confident that this will make sure the carpet stays put. 

Note~if you have something nicer than the frankensteins stairs situation I was faced with on ripping up the old carpet you might want to rethink carpet tape, it's pretty tough to remove once you lay it down and would make prepping for a future paint job a nightmare. Just a thought. 

Installing the runner took about two hours total, and it really wasn't a difficult job. In fact painting the tiny edges took way more of my time and was much harder to get looking right!

budget hall entryway modern eclectic makeover

budget hall entryway modern eclectic makeover

I'm really happy with it. It's been in place for nearly a year now (blogging doesn't happen in real time here folks, it takes a back seat when life is busy....and it's always busy!!) and I'm happy to say the staples are holding up just fine. There's no pulling or puckering anywhere and the whole thing is still looking good. It brings such a burst of colour to the hall and really brightens the space while still allowing me to have clean white walls and not have it be boring.

All in all this has been one of the most successful DIY's I think I've ever done, and it's definitely something I'd do again. What do you think? Will you be giving it a go? I would love to see pictures if you do!

diy stair runner install