How to Outfit Your Home with Unique Rug Runners

An attractive rug runner can create a welcoming impression the moment a guest steps into your entryway. These rugs come in the same array of materials and designs you'd expect to find in area rugs. Place one on top of wall-to-wall carpet or bare floor, using it to accentuate an entryway table or bench. Some runners accommodate L-shape hallways and other hard-to-fit spaces.

Pick the Right Rug Runner Size

Just as with any new rug, when choosing a floor runner it's important to look at the dimensions of your room. Start by getting full measurements of the area: length and width. Traditional sizing leaves a few inches on each side of the rug to display flooring as well as baseboard; a rug much wider or thinner than this will likely not be aesthetically pleasing. The length should be nearly equal to the length of the hallway, but you could also use several shorter rug runners rather than a single long one. Some rugs can be cut lengthwise to your specifications. Many designs come in several sizes, with lengths ranging from a couple of feet to seven feet or more.

Consider doorways when browsing rug runner sizes, and avoid placing it so that someone entering through the hall from the side will find themselves standing half on and half off the rug. Oddly shaped hallways, such as L-shape spaces, may need special care. Two matching or complementing long rugs fill this type of space nicely, and you can accent them with an additional circular rug where the hallway bends to pull the look together. L-shape runner rugs are also available, as are extra-wide runners to suit expansive hallways and those built to comply with ADA regulations.

Select a Material that Matches Your Needs

When browsing floor runners, consider your home's maintenance and cleaning needs as well as how you use the space. If you want a rug runner for the hallway in front of the kids' playroom, a thick, white shag material is probably not your best bet, but a low-pile rug with synthetic, stain-resistant fibers might be. Extra-thick rugs that are stain resistant, such as those made of foam, are good for galley-style kitchens, as they're comfortable to stand on and water absorbent. Also consider machine washable, fast-drying, and stain-resistant rug runners for kitchens, laundry rooms, and play areas. Browse outdoor rugs to find water-resistant runners attractive enough for your patio or outdoor entertaining space.

MaterialAttributesBenefits
CottonA natural fabric that is smooth to the touch.These natural fiber rugs are easy to clean and retain their appearance after years of use.
NylonSynthetic fabric Durability makes it a great choice for kids rooms as well as common areas of the home. Nylon is also affordable.
WoolThis animal product has been around for centuries. It's characterized by rich texture and durability.Wool is a popular choice for entryway or hallway rugs that are near an exterior door. 
SisalThis eco-friendly material is free of chemicals or dyes. Its texture resembles rope.It's durable and stands up to heavy indoor use. 
OlefinSynthetic that resembles the thick texture of natural fibers.It resists any type of moisture, including solvents and household cleaners. 
PlasticPlastic-based rug runners are typically easy to clean and colorful.Use plastic-based rugs for year-round resistance to stains and spills.

Choose a Color or Pattern that Works with Your Decor

Bold, vibrant colors draw the eye, so colorful rugs accentuate flooring and make the space seem more inviting. Muted tones, on the other hand, tend to blend into the decor. Use rug runners to extend a space's decorative motif into the next room for a smooth transition. Choose fun, multifunctional runners for kids bedrooms and playrooms, such as those emblazoned with games like hopscotch or patterns depicting favorite characters.

Pair with Great Accessories

Consider placing accent furniture on one side of the runner or setting the runner in the center and arranging accents around it. Furniture pieces that complement a rug runner include:

  • Entryway tables
  • Sideboards
  • Chaises
  • Cabinets
  • Dressers

  • rug pad can extend the lifespan of a runner. Its prevents rug slippage or movement on hardwood floors. Pads come in standard sizes or can be cut to fit a specific rug; choose from various thicknesses as well as state-of-the-art materials.

    Rug runners are for more than just hallways, as a floor runner can transform almost any space or enhance its design. They're a smart option in a room that has open floor space that's much longer than it is wide, such as a galley kitchen or a railroad-style bedroom. Place short runners on either side of a bed, or use runners to frame and contain a very large room, breaking it up and creating conversation areas. Look at details such as the color, texture, and material to find a rug runner that suits your home or office.