Over 10 years of Remodelista, we’ve seen designers, designers, and homeowners do inventive circumstances with stair athletes( which, historically, tend to be a little uninteresting ). There was this dramatic dark-green stair smuggler, and this casual coated smuggler. But do stair smugglers actually have a purpose? Do you really need one?

To get some answers to common questions about stair smugglers, we talked with designer Victoria Kirk, who installed Victoria Kirk Interiors in 2007. Her company, based in Larchmont and Sag Harbor, New York, centres chiefly on palaces in Westchester, Sag Harbor, and New York City. After more than two decades in the business, Kirk can provide plenty of intel on the subject of carpeting for stairs.

A clean bamboo-and-silk runner by Melbourne custom rug maker Bibi Vero in Before & After: A Melbourne Remodel with a Masculine Touch. Above: A clean-living bamboo-and-silk runner by Melbourne custom rug maker Bibi Vero in Before& After: A Melbourne Remodel with a Masculine Touch. What are the pros and cons of stair smugglers?

There are a number of reasons to install carpeting on stairs. Kirk cites two large-scale pros: It increases sound made by parties clattering up and down the stairs, and it contributes a finished look to a stairway. Plus, in some circumstances, it impels stairs safer–for example, young children are less likely to get hurt by falling on padded steps.

But Kirk doesn’t feel smugglers ever stimulate stairs safer. “I live in an aged mansion where the stairs are super steep and the strides are really narrow. If I had carpet on them, I’d be afraid of sliding. I promote bare timber. But stairs with deeper moves should be fine with carpet.” Obviously, to be safe, stair athletes should not be made of slippery material( such as silk or linen ). And they must be properly installed with no liberate areas to trip over.

Another pro: Foot traffic can spoil the finish on wooden paces and leave scuff lines on covered risers( the horizontal part of the stairs, between the strides ). A smuggler protects both footsteps and risers from wear and tear.( Another option: the no-shoes-in-the house rule .)

Still, the gape is more suited to traditional residences than modern ones. And bare lumber steps are easier to keep clean than carpeted stairs. Vacuuming stairs is generally an difficult chore.

Perhaps the most inventive stair runner we’ve seen: a runner spotted in A Victorian Transformation, Dublin Style. Above: Perhaps the most resourceful stair runner we’ve seen: a runner recognized in A Victorian Transformation, Dublin Style. What’s very good material for a stair smuggler?

“An all-wool carpet is preferable aesthetically, ” says Kirk. “There’s a belief that a synthetic or merger will hold up better, but I don’t actually deemed to be. People first and foremost want the examinations, and coat delivers that.” She’s a big fan of the striped flat-weave smugglers make use of 100 percentage coat by the British company Roger Oates Design.

Natural fibers like sisal and jute were not able to be your best choice, as they’re easily stained and is also available rough on bare foot. But, she says, “sisal or jute is a great look and it’s cheap.” These dates indoor/ outdoor polypropylene that looks like sisal is becoming popular–it’s sturdy and easy to clean.

A close-up of a “waterfall” installation with bound edges in the home of Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman; for more go to The Mysteries of Berkeley: A Literary Couple at Home. Above: A close-up of a “waterfall” installation with cover fringes in the home of Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman; for more go to The Mysteries of Berkeley: A Literary Couple at Home. Is a gloom emblazon better than light-colored? And patterns–yes or no?

“With a runner, you don’t want to go too light or too dark, ” says Kirk. “Dark demonstrates all the lint, while light-colored carpeting evidences grime and scuffs. I ever push for a medium tone.”

As for the pattern, Kirk says, “If there’s a moment to have some fun on the stairs, go for it. I like vertical stripes, like the Roger Oates flatweave.” What she doesn’t recommend: “Bold geometric contrast motifs. They can be dizzying, and spawn stairs hard to navigate–you can’t figure out where your next step is.”

Another thing to keep in mind with a structure: If you need to match the pattern so every step inspections the same, you could end up with a lot of waste( and increased cost ).

In Reader Rehab: A Country House Makeover Courtesy of White Paint, the Pieterdam wool runner from Fibreworks cost $894, installation included. Above: In Reader Rehab: A Region House Makeover Courtesy of White Paint, the Pieterdam wool runner from Fibreworks cost $894, installing included. How are stair athletes installed?

Most homeowners aren’t aware that there are two vogues of facility for stair runners: “Waterfall, ” in which the athlete spurts over the stairs and is tacked down at the cornerstone of each step; and “Hollywood, ” where the smuggler is tacked down around the tread and shapes close to the risers.

“The decision generally depends on how your stairs are erected, ” says Kirk. “If there’s a quarter-round molding under the nose of the trample, you use Waterfall so the carpet dusks gracefully over that shape. If there’s no molding, you go with the more tight-fitting installation, Hollywood.”

Unseen staples typically view the padding and runner securely in place, though sometimes a “tackless strip” is used–a piece of wood that runs the diameter of the steps and is ornamented with sharp-witted nails or tackings. Frequently, stair athletes are set over a stuffing or underlay, which both increases sounds and protects the carpet from wear. A bonus effect: cushioning offsets stairs feel softer underfoot, a boon to babies steering on their hands and knees.

And what about those batons that hold stair smugglers in place? “Maybe for a gloriou staircase in a house in Greenwich, Connecticut, ” says Kirk. “But they’re solely decorative.”

A dramatic option, as seen in A Sympathetic Renovation in Stoke Newington, London. Above: A striking option, as seen in A Sympathetic Renovation in Stoke Newington, London. Is there a rule of thumb for how much of the tread should be covered?

“It depends how wide your stairs are, ” says Kirk. “In a three- to four-foot-wide staircase, you want to leave about three or four inches of timber exposed on either side. But if your stairs are five feet across, you’d adjust your smuggler proportionally–maybe to a seven-inch uncover on each side.”

As for “wall-to-wall” carpeting over stairs: “Nobody does that anymore, ” says Kirk.

Are stair athletes spawned in standard thickness?

They are. The Roger Oates flatweave, for example, comes in three diameters: 24 inches, 27 inches, and 33.5 inches. But you can also have smugglers made to order. “Often people buy broadloom and have it trimmed to size, ” says Kirk. In those cases, you’ll need to have the leading edge bound.

A stair runner alternative, on the cheap. For more, see Remodeling 101: Nautical Stripes on the Stairs. Above: A stair runner alternative, on the inexpensive. For more, realize Remodeling 101: Nautical Stripes on the Stairs. How much does a stair smuggler expense?

That depends on your select of carpeting and the complexity of installation. “A standard-size runner is your most cost-effective choice, ” says Kirk. “But the labor ever expenditure more than the material.”

Kirk gives a ballpark judgment of $20 to $50 per square foot for broadloom, but that’s only the beginning. “The add-ons include padding, hemming, and then the installation itself. If “youve had” curved stairs or landings, for example, pie-shaped sections are needed to fit them.” And to get the job done right, you’ll want to hire experienced installers. That action your runner is sure to wear well and to enhance your home.

What if I opt bare stairs but like the examination of a athlete?

You can save money by simply decorating a smuggler( or stripes) on the stairs, as in this Remodeling 101 post on Nautical Stripes on the Stairs. Just choose a hue that contrasts delicately for an wink smuggler outcome , no vacuuming needed.

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