A Guide to Choosing the Right Flooring for the Stairs in your Home

July 10, 2019 2:29 pm Published by

Wooden StairsWhen refurbishing or decorating a home, it’s usually the kitchen, lounge or bedrooms that receive all of the attention. Often the hallway and stairs are one of the last areas to be considered and tackled but they can be completely transformed by choosing the right flooring.

The stairs in a great many houses are by, or in sight of, the front door. They are therefore the first thing that you and your guests see when they come into your home. Taking time to think about how you want to decorate your stairway and set the tone for your home, is therefore time and money, well spent.

We think that there are three main ways you can dress your stairs with the right flooring, hard wood, carpet runners and fully carpeted. We’ll look at each of them here to help you decide what’s best for your home.

Hard wood Staircases

wooden stairsIf you like natural wood to be present in your home, then a hard wood staircase may be for you. With a choice of woods from oak, beech, ash or walnut to name a few, you can create a beautiful staircase that fits in with your other flooring and furniture.


Each wood has its own characteristics and can be stained to match other wood fixtures and fittings in your home.

Hard wood as opposed to a soft wood like pine is the best material for staircases as it is strong and hard wearing. This is important because it’s durable and can take the high levels of footfall that will go up and down it every day without it being marked and dented.


Having a hard wood staircase built is not a cheap refurbishment option, but it is one that can look stunning for future years requiring little maintenance.

Another thing to consider for busy households, especially those with children, is noise. Wooden stairs don’t absorb the vibrations of little feet running up and down and so can be quite noisy when used.

If the wood finish is highly varnished, there is the possibility that the stairs could be slippery, and this may be an issue if you have small children or elderly people using the stairs in your home.

Stair Runners

Stair RunnerStair runners are an elegant way to dress your stairs and a half-way house between hard wood stairs and the fully carpeted options. The stair runner is a strip of carpet that runs down the central part of the stairway, leaving the wooden sides of the stairs visible.

Using Stair runners enables you to add colour or texture to this space whilst still allowing the elegance of your wooden stairway to shine through.

There is a great choice of stair runners available, from stripes to plain colours, runners with a coloured boarder (as pictured) as well as natural materials such as sisal or seagrass.  A well selected stair rod can also transform the overall effect and again there are a wide variety to choose from.


A stair runner can really make a statement of your stairs, giving your stairway a smart and elegant look.

Having carpet or a natural flooring material on the stairs really helps to cut down the noise as people walk up and down it and is more comfortable underfoot than an uncovered wooden staircase.

In houses built more recently the stairs are often made from a mixture of mdf and soft wood. Whilst varnishing isn’t an option for these, painting them in a coloured paint can produce a fantastic looking finish alongside the carpet, and avoids the expense of putting in a full hard wood staircase.

There are also a whole range of stair runner accessories such as brass clips or rods available which help to decorate the runner and finish off the look.


To use a stair runner the underlying staircase does need to be of a good enough quality to be on show, albeit partially. 

Dust and dirt are held down by carpets and so require regular vacuuming to keep it clean, which can be a bug bear for some people. Stains and spillages may also occur and need to be dealt with promptly so that they do not cause a lasting mark on the carpet.

Fully Carpeted Stairways

Fully Carpeted StairsOur final option is the fully carpeted stairway, where the carpet runs right to the very edges of the stair treads and the banister or wall. This option is often favoured by those who have a lot of carpet elsewhere in the home and want the stairs to be in keeping with the rest of the decor.

Whilst this has been the standard method of carpeting more modern houses it is far from being the dull option. With more choice than ever before in carpet colours, patterns and materials, fully carpeting your stairway can be a very striking way to add character to your home.


Completely carpeting your stairs is the best way to keep the noise of feet marching up and down to a minimum. Fully carpeted stairways also have the benefit of being able to have underlay which further helps to absorb noise and is soft underfoot.

Having carpet on your stairs is the warmest material to have under your feet because it has heat insulating properties.

Carpets come in all sorts of colours, finishes, patterns, and materials enabling you to have hardwearing flooring and still get the look and feel you desire on your stairs.


As with a stair runner, fully carpeted stairways require regular vacuuming to keep it in good condition and help it last longer. And in the same way spillages such as tea and coffee that easily stain, need to be dealt with quickly so that they do not leave a permanent mark. Read more about carpet maintenance here.

Carpet, unlike a hard wood staircase, will need to be replaced at some point in the future. Over time it will endure wear and tear and will eventually be more worn in certain places on the treads. However, a good heavy domestic carpet will last many years and is still a good investment for your property.

Too much Choice – Let us Help?

If you’re feeling a little baffled by all the choice for your stairway, why not pop in to our studio and see us, or call us on 0117 963 7979? Our team are experts in the different flooring options available for hallways and stairs and are happy to offer free advice and a fast, no obligation quote.

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This post was written by Binks

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