Accessorizing Your Stair Runner or Area Rug

Accessorizing Your Stair Runner or Area Rug


If you are thinking of purchasing a stair runner or area rug you may want to consider ways to differentiate from the crowd. You’ve selected the material that works best in the space but you’re worried that it’s the most popular style, and the look has been done before. You may already know that you can select your own color and edge finishing but are you aware of all the different ways you can accessorize?

Today, we recognize that stair runners and area rugs can be accessorized in all different types of ways; with nailheads, stair rods, wide binding, borders and serging yarn. The list goes on and on. All these accessories are design choices that a homeowner can make with the help from our experienced fabricators and design consultants. At this point, your imagination may be running wild thinking about which accessory to add, but by the time you finish reading this post, you will have it all figured out!

Wool Stair Runner with Narrow Cotton Navy Blue Binding
Beautiful neutral wool stair runner with navy blue narrow cotton binding.

Narrow Cotton Binding

Our standard and most common edge finishing is narrow cotton binding. It is typically the easiest to maintain and most economical. Although only a small portion of the binding shows on the face of the rug, it is just enough to do something fun and exciting. Most people choose binding that matches the color in the field so it fades in. However, some of our boldest clients will select a contrasting color to pop. No matter what color you select, this cotton band presents a continuous sleek look around the perimeter of your carpet or rug. At The Carpet Workroom, our fabricators use a binding machine that stitches the binding on to ensure years of durability.

In the adjacent photo is a neutral stair runner. The home is located near the ocean and is decorated with other navy blue accessories. Because they didn’t want to overwhelm the space with navy, they opted out of the all blue stair runner and instead selected a narrow cotton binding in a navy blue color. You can see the material pop against the light grey runner and wood floor. This tied all the other interior details together. Once the binding was applied, it gave the stair runner a more tailored and elegant look.

Finished Area Rug with Leather Piping
Large blue and grey custom area rug with leather piping, wide linen binding and mitered corners.

Wide Binding 

Another popular choice is wide binding. The benefit here is that you can create a border effect for your area rug or stair runner. Similar to narrow binding, there are a few choices in terms of color, fabric, and scale. Wide binding opens up a lot of other options to customize your project. You can choose from cotton, linen, leather, faux leather, and even chenille!

One recent project we had done on a large area rug featured custom leather piping on the inside and then a wide linen binding as the outside border. We created the inner piping using traditional wide leather then attached it to the wide linen binding to create the double border. It created a sharp dynamic look pulling out both the charcoal grey and classic blue from the field material. The final touch was the hand sewn miter on each of the 4 corners of the area rug. Projects like this require a lot of attention and detail in order to create the entire look. 

Another unique and uncommon option is leather or faux leather for our vegan clients. Even though it is tough to work with and carries a higher price tag, leather borders are beautiful and extremely      resistant to wear. Over time the leather will develop a rich patina making this the most durable and long lasting option to finish your area rug or runner.

Linen binding serves as another great durable option compared to the traditional cotton. Though the fabric has more of a bulkier texture, it can withstand a lot of traffic. Linen also holds colors for a longer period of time compared to other fabrics as well. If your carpet has a rich texture, linen is a great way to smooth out the edges.

Blue Grey Neutral custom wool area rug with serging
This blue and grey wool custom cut area rug has been serged with our new serging machine.


This has quickly become our trendiest finishing option! Designers select serged edges because it makes them look like they are hand sewn. Even though it is mostly done by machine these days, it is a cleaner and more efficient alternative to hand serging. It does draw the eyes towards the edges because of the intricate details. Serging comes in a wide variety of colors, and with our new machine, we are now able to mix two or more colors together, so stayed tuned for more photos and information.


Nail Heads

Another trending accessory that is classic and timeless but new to the carpet industry is nail heads. Our preferred vendor for this type of project is D’Kei, a trim company based out of Iowa. There are so many shapes, sizes and finishes to choose from that it’s hard to achieve the same look as your neighbor. If you want something truly unique, nail heads may be the accessory for you!

With our proven approach, stair runners have never been this accessible or customizable. You cannot go wrong with any choice as there is an option for every household and setting. The accessories that can be added are make your stair runners unique, fun and visually exciting!

To read more about our custom fabrication, visit our custom fabrication page!

Blue and white cheveron style fabricated and installed as a stair runner.

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