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Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

My wife and I disagree on the position of a stair runner. Our bottom seven steps are wider where they are exposed at the railing than at the top where they are enclosed on both sides by the wall. Should we center on the top steps, which throws the centering off at the bottom; or center at the bottom, which throws the top off.

I have attached two photos-one of each possible way of centering the runner. If anyone knows, your assistance would be greatly appreciated. Maybe we should split the difference.

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

do you have a wall mounted hand rail up where the open rail and ballasters end on the right side as you go up? if so land the runner centered to the path of travel or get another wider runner and have the pattern matched to transition the wider area to the narrower area seamed at the back of the tread to riser for transition.

hand rails at the top where enclosed by walls both sides aside, the photo on the right looks best from below when new but you'll have a diagonal or off-center wear path over time which may look strange over time which is why especially with the style runner i'd vote for the one on the left. the full wall is the constant of the stairway and the runner should be lined up constant spacing to that line. more tread exposed near the open wall/hand rail and ballasters will enhance not take away from the openness and architectual feature of your stairway that way, the one on the right closes or narrows it in visually especially as you travel the stairs in either direction.

Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

The wall mounted railing is on the same side as the bottom railing. Thanks for your reply it gave us more to consider.

Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

Our stair has the same layout as yours, except that we only have 5 steps with balusters on the LH side. We opted to center the runner on the upper portion of the stairs, which means it isn't centered on the lower 5 steps. Neat-freaks like us don't usually like situations like that but I think it looks fine and so does my wife and we're still married. It'll probably bug you a bit at first though. If we had done it the other way the difference in centering on the upper portion of the stair would have looked like someone measured wrong.

Take a look at some installations to see what appeals to you. Here's our gallery of stair runner photos:



Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

The general rule of thumb in graphics design (which is what this really is, except in three dimensions) is for the image to be balanced where the eye rests.

In this case, it becomes difficult, because the natural tendency is to first look at the bottom, but the eye is drawn inward and upward toward the top of the stairs, where it stops.

Since the eye stops and rests at the top of the stairs, that is where you'll want to pay attention to visual balance. With that in mind, I'd opt to center it at the top of the stairs.

(Seeing it in my mind's eye, looking from the top, I still think that the focus would be at the top of the stairs. I doubt having it offset at the bottom would look bad from the top. But the important thing is first impressions -- and the first impression is from the bottom.)

A prior poster expressed concern about wear patterns. In my layman's opinion, the runner provides a visual guide, and people will subconsciously walk up the center of runner rather than the center of the stairs, providing that the lower railing is not uncomfortably far from the center of the runner.

P.S. -- I claim no expertise in graphic design. I've just picked up a few pointers here and there.

Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

I have been married for 23 years. that said I still would like to remain married and see my 50 birthday. sooooo to heck with everything else and go with what ever the wife says. if she is unhappy, trust me you will be too regardless of where a stair runner is. you will have other houses and other issues and in the scheme of things a stair runner ranks much lower then arguments with spouse:D

Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

Happy wife equals happy life.:D

looking at the pictures I have to be honest, when looking at the picture with the runner in the center is the first thing you see and it's visually appealing.

A. Spruce
Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

I say cheat (no, not on your wife! :eek: ) ;):p:D

Center the runner in the top portion and then run a piece of white trim, or white pin striping tape down from the wall at the narrowed portion to the base of the stairs. The trim/tape will carry the narrower wall line in the minds eye, even though the railing portion is wider. You can test this theory with 3/4" or 1" masking tape.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

Thank you all for your excellent advice on marriage and design. It looks like everyone agrees that centered at the top is the way to go. During the week, I actually remembered someone who has a similar installation that is centered at the top. I have seen it for years and never noticed anything that looked wrong about it. So, without further delay, I hope to have it up this weekend.
Thank you again,

Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy

Here's the finished installation of the stair runner. We're both happy with it. I think we got it right, and our marriage is no longer in jeopardy (for the time being until we begin the next project).
Thank you all for the advice.

Re: Stair Runner Positioning-Marriage in Jeopardy


Ya did the right thing, IMO. Looks great.


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