Your Guide to Buying a Carpet Runner

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Your Guide to Buying a Carpet Runner

A carpet runner or a runner rug is a long, narrow, rectangular rug that is placed in a long narrow space. Such a carpet is often placed in a high traffic area to prevent floor damage, wear and tear, or accidents due to slipping. Unlike an area rug, a carpet runner is not a focal point in a room. Nevertheless, when choosing a carpet runner, the design or style should complement the decor and furniture in the room and the rest of the home.

When shopping for a runner, the shopper should consider the area of the home where the carpet runner is to be used and how much foot traffic the area receives. Factors such as the location and the amount of foot traffic influences the choice of carpet runner. If resilience to high traffic is key, a shopper should look for a carpet runner made of a material that can withstand heavy use.

Carpet and rug runners can be purchased in a rug or carpet retail outlet. The type of shops that specialise in selling rugs and carpeting offer a variety of carpet runners in different sizes and styles. However, shopping in a retail outlet limits a customer to the stock on hand. A shopper has more choices when they shop in an online marketplace such as eBay.

Placing the Carpet Runner

When shopping for a carpet runner, the shopper needs to consider several factors. Firstly, the shopper needs to determine the intended purpose for the runner. Secondly, the area in which the rug is placed should be carefully measured.

For potentially slippery surfaces, like wooden floors, select a runner with a non-s

lip bottom or purchase a non slip rug pad. In a high traffic area, it is important that the rug stay in place. If the runner is to be placed on stairs, it is important to remember that this type of placement requires specific measurements and specialised installation by a professional.

Intended Purpose

A runner should be placed in any location that is longer than it is wide. Carpet runners are most commonly found in hallways, kitchens, stairwells, and entries. As previously mentioned, practical reasons for choosing to place a runner include protecting the flooring from heavy use, and preventing injuries due to slipping. Runners can also be used to conceal damaged floors. Although it is less common, but just as practical, a runner can be utilised in a bathroom to prevent slipping and to protect feet from cold tiled floors. Aesthetically, a carpet runner can change or enhance the look of a room, particularly if the style of the runner complements other design elements.


There should be a border on the two long sides of the runner of equal size. The amount of space allowed on either side of the runner is a matter of personal preference. A runner should never be wall to wall. A portion of the floor should be visible on each side of the carpet runner. Additionally, if the runner is being placed in front of a door, there must be ample room to open the door, without touching the rug, as the extra carpet could interfere with the opening and closing of the door.

While there are no standard sizes for runners, it is often recommended that a shopper choose a runner with a one to five ratio. This means that the length of the carpet runner be five times greater than the measured width of the carpet runner.

Choosing a Carpet Runner

Selecting the appropriate carpet runner includes evaluating the space, as well as features like the the type of fibre. How to care for the runner can also influence the type of runner a shopper chooses. A carpet runner placed in a high traffic area should be composed of fibres that can withstand heavy use and resist heavy soiling.

Style Choices

Runners can be purchased in any type of design style from contemporary to traditional or from intricate to simple. It is recommended that the style selected be one that complements the interior decor of the home or the room the carpet runner is placed in. The shopper should consider both the pattern and colour of the runner. A dark-coloured rug or one with a vivid pattern easily conceals soiling and stains. One should avoid selecting a runner with fringe, as the fringe could pose a slipping or tripping hazard.

Choice of Fibre

The choice of either natural or synthetic fibres depends on the amount of traffic expected in the area the carpet runner is to be placed. The following chart details features of the various types of rug fibres common to carpet runners. The shopper should consider the features and benefits of each type of fibre when shopping for a carpet runner. Should the runner be placed in a high traffic area, the shopper should choose a fibre that stands up well to heavy use.

Fiber Type



Natural, durable, soft, works well in high traffic areas


Natural, best for low traffic areas, natural colour palette


Synthetic, strong, good for high traffic areas, readily resists stains


Synthetic, easy to clean, plush feel


Synthetic, easy to clean, moisture resistant, colourfast

Sea Grass

Natural, soft, best for low traffic areas, natural colour palette


Natural, can be highlighted in wool rugs, visibly shiny, best for low traffic areas


Natural, strong, best for high traffic areas, coarse texture


Natural, soft, thick, works well in high traffic areas, can shed, durable

Although most people shop by the rug style or design, rather than the rug fibre, in a high traffic area, it is important to ascertain if the runner can hold up to the foot traffic of the area it is placed in.

Regular Care

The amount of care required for a rug depends upon the type of fibre. To ensure that one gets years of use out of a carpet runner, particularly a carpet runner that is placed in a high traffic area, the runner should be vacuumed and cleaned frequently. Regular cleaning extends the life of the carpet runner.

A runner placed in a high traffic area can start to show signs of regular use. Whenever possible, rotate the carpet runner every six months. A regular rotation prevents wear from becoming visible as the traffic patterns shift when the rug is shifted.

Other Features to Consider

As previously mentioned, the runner can be purchased with a non-skid backing. These carpet runners do not slip or slide on hard floors. This feature is not necessary for a carpet runner placed upon another carpet. A rug pad can serve the same purpose as the non-skid backing.

Consider purchasing a rug pad of the same size and at the same time the carpet runner is purchased. Rug pads can extend the life of the carpet runner, particularly those placed in high traffic areas. The rug pad keeps the rug in place in areas of heavy use. When a rug is not kept in place, it can be worn from both the top and bottom with frequent use. Additionally, the rug pad provides additional cushioning and insulation.

How to Find a Carpet Runner on eBay

A huge online marketplace such as eBay offers a wide selection of home decor options, including carpet runners. You can peruse the available rugs by entering searches that are specific to your home decorating needs. To locate runners on eBay, first try entering a general search for ‘runners’ or ‘runner rugs’. The results of these searches may be too broad to find an exact match to your style or taste, so you may want to narrow your search. Try narrowing the search by adjusting for other features such as measurement, style, colour, or fibre. For example, a search for a grey animal print runner or a blue wool runner yields more focused search results.

Be sure to carefully review all rug specifications and care requirements of the listed rug, including any details regarding fiber and care of the runner. If the type of backing is not listed, be sure to ask the seller if the runner includes a non-slip backing and if a rug pad of the same size is also included in the purchase. Because rugs can be quite heavy, you should also ask the seller about the cost of shipping, as well, if it is not listed in the product description.


Installing a runner rug in the home is one way to accent long hallways, galley kitchens, bathroom floors, and entries. Long, narrow spaces are best protected and accented by runners. Because runners are most often placed in high traffic areas of the home, it is important to choose a rug that is able to withstand high traffic and heavy use. Rugs constructed of cotton, nylon, sisal, or wool hold up well to heavy use and runners with dark colours or intricate patterns can easily hide soiling and stains.

Shopping for a rug in an online marketplace such as eBay is easy. The more specific the search parameters, the easier it is for a shopper to find the right runner carpet for their home. Before a shopper goes online to search for a carpet runner, they should measure the space allocated for the carpet runner. Ideally, a carpet runner should be five times as long as it is wide. In their measurements, a shopper should allow sufficient space either side of the runner to allow the floor underneath to show.

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