Nailed It.

I recommend wool berber or wool sisal runners with contrast banding to many clients due to their hard-wearing tendencies for busy families as well as classic good looks. Re-doing a trendy stair runner is not something you want to do often! But lately I’ve been trying to think of ways to dress them up a little and came across some images of runner borders being detailed with nailheads and I love it! This Barry Dixon example is just bananas:

That little detailed flounce at the end is bad-ass.


Some other examples:

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via Erica Burns Interiors


What do you think? Yea or nay? Anyone done this in their own house?



  1. Question about stair runners: how do you adhere them and do they damage your stairs? I’m thinking of installing them in my 1890s Victorian rowhome because I have children (and love the look), but the floors and stair treads are original to the home and I don’t want to damage them in any way. Thank you!

  2. First saw this on the cover of Barry’s book and fell in love. Such a classic, unexpected detail from the master of class himself!!

  3. Ooooh, I LOVE that first staircase! If I had a large, classic-style house I would want something like that. But I think I might go for a green, modern house. Who knows? Good inspiration!

  4. I don’t dislike the look, but feel like nail heads have been overused as of late, so nay. The other thing that would concern me is how they would feel underfoot, especially the pointed ones in the last picture. I realize that, ideally, one would walk on the carpet portion, but I can’t be held to that kind of standard in the middle of the night or after a couple of doses of bourbon on the rocks.

    1. I love the neutral, neat look of the berber/wool carpet & have used it already in our house. I would like to continue the style and use it again in our living room but am concerned at the inability to clean it easily as it does not like spillages!! Do you have any tips for maintaining this style of carpet or an alternative that will give the same look but be more practical?

  5. This is gorgeous! I love how it has that traditional feel with the unexpected edges! We have beautiful floating stairs and I want to take the carpet off them (and the whole upstairs) but still somehow have a runner-type thing so the stair are slippery. Any experience with this?

  6. Do all the nailheads go directly into the wood or are the just fastened on the boarder?
    I love the look but my husband would never agree to that many nailheads in the floor.

  7. Here’s where I’m struggling: my kids’ bedrooms are upstairs and we have carpet currently on our stairs. I HATE the carpet because on numerous occasions, the oldest kid has come downstairs throwing up or with a bloody nose and it’s ridiculously hard to clean. So I’m really dubious about carpet on the stairs. But then I think a runner or something is kind of necessary for safety, right? I really don’t know what to do, but I hate our nasty carpet!

    1. We had the same problem and had a stair runner made from a sisal-look commercial carpet. They bound the edges with black fabric. It was very easy to clean and held up to our busy messy family very well.

  8. I would love to add a runner to my now bare wood stairs. I am wondering how a runner holds up to pet hair? It seems like pet hair at our house is always concentrated to the stairs. My animals are so much harder on the stairs than my family. Any suggestions here?

  9. I love the look of this and the nail heads, but how practical is this with young children? I could see stubbed toes and my experience with Berber carpet is that is snags and doesn’t hide wear-and-tear as well as other type of carpet.

  10. so i LOVE this, but how the nailhead stay put? When you poke them through the ribbon don’t they a) go more than all the way through and stick out the other end and b) how are they not easily picked out by 5 year old hands? If i can figure out both these questions I will be doing this! LOVE.

  11. As a mom of four, i have to say Nay. Sorry to be a party pooper but that is stitches waiting to happen. one of my kids got stitches from a nail head on a ottoman and one from one on a stairs. sorry!!

  12. Nay for me- runners are pretty but just another maintenance detail and honestly, something that can be thrown up on/ get super dirty in a short period of time. We had wood stairs with no runner for 6 years (children were 2-8) and I was the only one who had a fall (dang laundry basket).

  13. I LOVE it but it does add a bit of a masculine edge so it would depend on the interior of the house. Balance is everything. I have some pretty intricate trim work in our main hall and stair case so I think it would compete/distract from that.

  14. YESSS!!! I adore anything with nail heads (which I have everywhere!!) Course, anything Barry Dixon comes up with he nails!! franki

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