DIY Semi-Permanent Stair Runner with an IKEA Tiphede Rug

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I’ve been wanting to add a stair runner to our main entry for a while now. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into our home and it’s one of the most trafficked areas. My original plan for the staircase was to paint it all black and source some mixed vintage rugs to run down the stairs. It takes time to source vintage rugs and I didn’t want that to hold up progress on the entry, so I moved forward with what I’m calling a phase one upgrade – installing a semi-permanent stair runner with the IKEA Tiphede rug.

The keyword here is “semi-permanent”. The intention is to remove this in the future and upgrade the staircase further. Until that time comes, the runner needs to stay in place and hold up to regular foot traffic. I also wanted to keep spend to a minimum. I’d purchased one of the IKEA Tiphede rugs in black/natural ages ago, but hadn’t used it for anything. It ended up being the perfect solution for this phase one upgrade.

Here’s what I used, how I customized the rug to fit our staircase and how I installed the runner for easy removal in the future!

Supplies & quick links

 
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Step 1: Assemble stair rods & measure

Start by assembling the brackets and rods. Measure the distance between the brackets on each rod, as they will vary a tiny bit. Use the smallest measurement as your reference for the final runner width to ensure the runner fits between all of the brackets.

Some rods can be cut to size. If you need to customize the length of your rods, measure your stair treads to determine the final width you’d like them to be with brackets installed, then cut your rods to fit.

Step 2: Cut rug to size & hem

I needed 2 rugs to have enough square footage for my staircase. The nice thing about these rugs is that they’re $25 for a 5’ x 7’. If your runner is about 2’ wide you can get about 14’ in length out of a single rug!

Take the smallest measurement you noted in the last step and add 2”. This is the width you want to measure, mark and cut. I used a permanent marker on the back side of the rug to mark the width, then connected my marks with one solid line so it was easy to cut.

Once you cut the unhemmed width, measure and mark again for the final width. Again, this is the measurement you took from the first step. The 2” you added will be the overhang you fold over and hem.

With the final hem line marked, apply a strip of iron-on adhesive to the inside edge of the line. Peel the paper backing off and begin folding over your hem making sure to fold on, or just inside, the line you marked to ensure your width is consistent. Work your way down the edge by holding the fold and ironing to activate the adhesive. Because this is a thicker material, this step takes a little bit of time. Be patient to ensure your adhesive fully sticks!

Repeat this step to make sure you have enough rug length to cover your full stairwell!

Step 3: Cut rug pad for each stair tread

Measure the depth of your stair tread and the width of your runner. Subtract 2” from the width to ensure the rug pad doesn’t peek out when installed and subtract 2” from the depth to make sure the rug pad doesn’t cover the carpet tape. Use these measurements to cut individual rug pads for each stair tread.

I did not stick the rug pads down with any tape to minimize what I would need to remove when I change this runner in the future. If you are installing a more permanent runner, use carpet tape on each side of the rug pad to keep it held in place!

Step 4: Apply rug tape & lay rug pads

I used rug tape to hold my runner in place. If you are installing a more permanent runner, I’d recommend using a stapler or nail gun for a stronger hold.

The most important part of this step is making sure you’re laying the tape and pads centered all the way down the stairs. I used a scrap piece of paper as a width marker on the left and right side of the stair tread to keep myself centered as I worked my way down. Measure the width of your stair tread, subtract the width of your runner and divide by two to get an equal measurement on the left and right!

Cut and apply rug tape to the front and back edge of each stair tread. I made sure to wrap the tape around the front edge and underneath so the runner had something to stick to on the under side, too.

Center each rug pad on the stair tread and use just the edge of the carpet tape on the back of the stair tread to lightly hold it in place when you install the runner over top. Make sure you don’t completely cover the carpet tape or the runner won’t have any adhesive to stick to.

Step 5: Install runner

Apply a strip of tape to the top edge of the runner and stick it to the top edge of the first riser. Make sure to apply pressure to adhere the rug to the riser. Work your way down the staircase, removing the paper backing from each strip of carpet tape and laying the carpet tightly over each tread and riser. Be sure to use your scrap paper as a measuring tool to keep your runner centered, too!

When you’re nearing the end of the rug and need to add more length, cut the rug with a little bit of overhang just under the lip of the stair tread. Start the next rug the same way you started the first – adding a strip of carpet tape and adhering the new rug under the lip of the stair tread you left off with.

When you reach the end, hang any remaining rug over the edge of the last riser. Note where the rug hits the floor and add an extra 2” to fold under. Cut off the excess and tuck the extra 2” under for a clean edge. You can either use hem tape here, or run a strip of carpet tape in place of hem tape, and then add another strip of carpet tape on top of the hem to stick the edge to the bottom of the riser and finish it off.

Step 6: Install rods

The final step is installing the rods. I just eyeballed this part since my runner was already centered. Place each rod in the corner where the tread and riser meet. Make sure the brackets are evenly placed on the left and right side of the runner. Drill pilot holes before adding screws. This will help ensure the screws don’t split the wood or get stripped when getting screwed in.

A couple of things to keep in mind with this particular installation:

  • The IKEA rug material is cotton, which is not the strongest material for high traffic areas. Wool is highly recommended if you’re installing something more permanent. You could remove it, wash it and reinstall with fresh tape, just remember it will shrink if you use hot water and/or high heat!
  • This is not a long term solution – overtime the rug will likely separate from the tape and get pretty dirty. If you want your rug to stay in place, use a stapler or nail gun to install the rug and use carpet tape to hold your rug pads in place.
  • Test the carpet tape on your floor before installing – I have used this carpet tape on our old hardwood floors in the past and easily removed with no residual residue. I’d still recommend testing on your floors before applying heavily to ensure there is no damage!

 

We’re really happy with this phase one upgrade. It didn’t totally break the bank and made a big impact to the front entry. I can’t wait to see how it looks with the Christmas garland hung. We hope this reminds you that nothing has to be permanent and you can make small changes as you work toward or save for bigger improvements. Let us know if you give this DIY a try!

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