Choosing Different Runner Rug Sizes

Blue runner rug half rolled and half unrolled on wood floor.

 Aleksandr Zhurilo / Getty Images

A runner rug can be the perfect finishing touch to a space like an entryway or mudroom. And in rooms like the bathroom and kitchen, they can also be the ideal solution for when you want some comfort and design continuity but traditional area rugs just won’t work.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all runner rug. There are various runner rug sizes that you’ll need to consider for your space, and while it might take a little bit of math to get the exact size that you need, it’ll be worth it to end up with a runner that’s a perfect fit.

To help you out, we’ve put together this quick guide to choosing between different runner rug sizes—including how to measure a runner rug for your stairs and a few tips for expertly styling your runner once it’s in place. Let’s get to it.

Standard Runner Rug Sizes

Runner rugs come in a few standard lengths, with an average width between two and three feet:

  • 6 foot long
  • 8 foot long
  • 10 foot long
  • 12 foot long
  • 14 foot long

As a general rule of thumb, you want your runner rug to extend along the length of space that you’re trying to fill, with about four to five feet of visible floor space on all sides. If you’re using a runner as an accent to a piece furniture, maintain balance by ensuring that the furniture extends further than the rug by at least several inches.

Measuring Runner Rugs for Stairs

Here’s where it gets a little bit tricky. Staircases are one of the most popular places in the home for runner rug placement, but you can’t just order a runner rug size based on the total length of your stairs. Fortunately, many rug manufacturers and retailers will allow you to order a custom runner for your stairs, and you can also purchase multiple rolls of the same runner to achieve the right length and install them in such a way that there are no visible seams.

To measure your staircase for a runner rug, use the following steps:

  1. Measure the width of one stair and subtract eight inches (since you’ll want four inches of floor visibility on each side). Write this number down.
  2. Measure the height of one stair riser (the vertical section that connects two separate stairs). Write this number down in inches.
  3. Measure the depth of one stair, from lip to bottom of riser. Write this number down in inches.
  4. Count the total number of stairs on your staircase. Multiply this number by the measurement you got in step two and then again by the measurement you got in step three.
  5. Add together your totals to get the total length of runner rug that you will require, with the number from step one serving as the total width. Convert inches to feet once you have your final number.

For example…

  • If your stair width is 2 feet 8 inches (after subtracting eight inches)
  • Your stair riser height is 7 inches
  • Your stair depth is 7.5 inches
  • And you have 13 steps in your staircase

You will calculate the rug runner size you need with the following formula: [7 x 13] + [7.5 x 13] = 188.5 inches, which converts to 15.71 feet.

We recommend rounding up and adding another foot to the length so that you have some wiggle room. All in all, you’d end up wanting to order a runner rug that is 17’ x 2’8” in the case of this particular example.

Tips for Styling Runner Rugs

Runner rugs are stylish on their own, but there are certain things that you can do to highlight the look and take it to the next level:

1. Mix and match. The trick to using multiple runner rugs in a room? Mix it up by choosing different patterns while staying within the same basic style and color scheme. Not only will you avoid the overly matchy look that comes with using the same pattern multiple times throughout the room, you’ll also balance out your runners and ensure that they complement each other—instead of detracting from the room at large.

2. Layer it up. You can layer runner rugs just like you would with area rugs, which is a good fix for filling up a hallway or other long, narrow space.

3. Go bold on the stairs. When people think of stair runners, they usually go toward solids or traditional prints, like Persian. However, there’s no reason that you have to keep it classic. Many rug companies can create runners out of most of their designs, including bright and bold prints that you wouldn’t normally think of for stairs.

4. Use a runner to highlight a focal point. A runner rug can be a great way to draw more attention to a focal point of a room, such as a fireplace or large piece of furniture. Just remember to keep the length slightly shorter than the piece that you’re accenting, since you don’t want it to overtake the focus of the space.

With so many runner rug sizes and styles to choose from, you can use these versatile pieces all throughout your home. Be sure to measure correctly and you’re guaranteed to come out with a composed, creative look.