Hollywood vs. Waterfall Stair Runners: What’s the Difference?

Neutral color Stair runner with a narrow cotton binding and installed using the 'waterfall' method.

Why Install a Carpet Runner on Stairs?

Carpeting your stairs can be a practical decision for property owners. For those with wood stairs, adding a carpet stair runner can protect the hardwood underneath, protect from falls, and reduce the sound of footsteps. Some people may simply be looking to change the décor of their homes. The carpet material, pattern and installation styles are key factors to consider when adding a new rug to your home. Once you’ve chosen the perfect carpet for your stairs, the next step is installation. Did you know there are two common types of stair runner installation methods? Waterfall and Hollywood are considered industry standard styles. Keep reading to learn the differences between the two.

Hollywood vs. Waterfall Stair Runners


The “Waterfall” stair runner installation method involves bringing the carpet over the edge of the tread and straight down the riser to meet the next tread. Without molding it to the riser, it creates a cascading waterfall effect. It is the most common installation method because of the clean look.
The Waterfall style has the carpet runner drop down the edge of each step.
The natural look of this carpet style makes it easy to match with any décor.  This method is most appropriate for thicker carpets that are more difficult to wrap around the edge of the tread. The Waterfall installation method suits carpets that have large, continuous patterns. Also, the style works well for stairs with molding on the edge or staircases with decorative stair rods. 


The term “Hollywood” style refers to a specific installation method where the carpet is tacked down directly to the staircase. As you can see in the image below, the carpet is wrapped around the edge of the tread, contouring the nosing to meet the riser.For this reason, the Hollywood stair runners are also referred to as Bullnose style runners.
The Hollywood style stair runner ensures that the carpet contours the stairs from top to bottom.
The carpet runner gets stapled under the nose of the stair. The Hollywood style installation method results in a tailored look which matches well with modern home décor. If your staircase is a focal point in the room, choose this elegant installation style to make a design statement. The upholstered style looks best with solid color rugs and small scale patterns. Compared to the Waterfall style, this method tends to be pricier as it requires more carpet and takes longer to install.

Choosing the Best Carpet Installation Method 

If you are ready to add carpet runners to your stairs, the experts at The Carpet Workroom are here to help. Every home is different and so are the layouts of each staircase. If you’re still not sure which installation method is right for you, we will help you decide. It is always extremely helpful to provide us a picture so we can help you determine the best course of action. If you have questions or are ready to get started, Contact Us today via phone, email or social media.  At The Carpet Workroom, you can also choose from a variety of carpet materials. The premier floor-covering material is wool for a number of reasons. In terms of stair covering, wool provides the most resiliency, which means it will stand up to traffic the longest without showing wear paths. Nylons fall just behind wools and are preferred by some because they don’t shed. Olefins and polyesters are at the bottom of the list because they look and feel the most like plastic. In terms of pile, the most important thing to consider is the pile height. Plush carpets will show wear a lot quicker and more dramatic than tight pile carpets.  Read our Stair Carpet Buyer’s Guide for more information.  No matter which carpet material and style you choose, the Carpet Workroom offers professional carpet installation services. Check out our carpet remnants here!

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