Tips on Buying a Runner Rug for Your Hallway
Measure the Space
Runners should always be matched to the shape of your hallway, but they come in a variety of lengths and widths. The standard runner rug is between 2 and 3 feet wide, and can range from 6 to 14 feet long. Ideally, you should have 4 to 5 inches of flooring visible on all sides of your carpet runner, like hedging. You want a defined path, not a rug curling up against your walls like a rug taco.
However, if you have an extremely long hallway, you might have more visible floor space on either end of the rug, which is okay as long as the rug is centered properly. The runner should be flush with doorways so that you can step onto it. If you have a short hallway, you can get by with an accent rug instead. It doesn’t have to stretch the whole distance of the hallway, but it still shouldn’t be left half-way between entries or partially jutting out in front of them.
A runner’s purpose is different than your typical area rug — the priority is coverage and walkability, not style. But you’ll still want visual symmetry to keeps things looking intentional. For more on hallway runner rug sizes, read How to Pick the Best Rug Size and Placement.
Select a Runner Rug Style
Few people would choose “the hallway” as their favorite space, but a stylish runner can change that. With the right rug, your guests will feel like they’re walking the red carpet whenever they venture down the corridor. So before you start shopping you need to determine what runner rug style will accentuate the architecture, flooring, or surrounding decor of your space.
For example, consider a country-style runner to casually shepherd guests through your cozy cottage. If your hallway has chic tile work, lead with a contemporary rug. If it’s anchored with hardwood floors, complement the rich warmth with a traditional-style runner. Need help choosing a look? Learn the tenets of style in Types of Rug Styles You Should Know.
Choose a Runner Rug Pattern
Your runner sets things in motion, so once you’ve determined the rug style, you need to think about patterns. For a grand entrance, a striped runner can visually extend your hallway. Rugs with geometric patterns work well for stark modernism or a lived-in mid-mod look. Hallway rugs that feature floral patterns can blend seamlessly with bohemian or vintage style homes. Oriental rugs are also available in a variety of floral patterns, and they work well with traditional decor. Since a runner is a smaller rug, it’s important to consider pattern scale. A runner sets the precedent for the rest of your home so if you want to keep things simple, look for a solid-colored rug.
Your hallway doesn’t have to be a drab junction to more interesting spaces. Read about Popular Area Rug Patterns to find a runner pattern you can enjoy.
Pick Out a Runner Rug Color
When choosing the right color (or colors) for your hallway runner rug, consider what you’re working with or against. If your hallway walls are painted a neutral, like white, beige, or gray, choosing a vibrant rug is a great way to bring some personality into an otherwise-enclosed space.
Enliven the entry to your home with light, bright hues. If you want a rug that’s soft and subtle, purchase a runner in a color that closely matches the tones in your flooring — it’ll meld right in. If your hallway ends in an open doorway that gives a peek into the next room, you don’t have to match rug colors. Just coordinate your palettes.
It’s important to choose a hallway runner color that can hide the wear your rug will inevitably experience. This is a rug you’ll use every day, whether you’re bringing in logs for the fire, washing up after gardening, or rounding up kids for dinner. Dirt and debris will find their way into your home and your hallway runner is usually the first line of defense. So unless you’re planning on cleaning your rug weekly, read more in How to Choose the Perfect Area Rug Color for Your Space.
Consider the Runner Rug Material
When you’re choosing a hallway rug material, you have to take all of life’s happy little accidents into consideration. Between grocery bags splitting and excited pets peeing in your entryway, there are plenty of dangers on either side of the threshold. Your runner rug material should be able to face them head on.
Natural fibers don’t hold up against moisture, so rain and slush cancel it out as a long-lasting runner. Synthetic fibers are best for a hallway rug, especially if someone in your household is allergic to sustainable textiles. If you have dogs or cats, opt for a hallway rug made from polypropylene, which is easy to clean, resists moisture, and won’t snag. Cotton and nylon are more durable materials for especially high-traffic hallways.
Whether you’re heading out the door or toddling off to bed, your hallway rug is a part of your daily transitions. Read our Guide to the Best Types of Rug Materials to make sure you find a rug that feels like home.
Decide on a Pile Height
Hallway rugs get you through thick and thin. As for their own density, you’re usually going to want a plusher pile that can withstand high traffic. For example, a shag runner is a shoo-in when you want a cozy underfoot feel to return to every day.
A high pile will also reduce thunderous steps and echoed “hellos,” as well as prevent furniture dents should you have a console table or coat rack in the hallway. If you’re looking for a rug that’s durable and easy to maintain (and why wouldn’t you be?), a shorter rug pile, like you’d find in a flatweave, also makes a heavy-duty runner.
Without a cushioned rug, your hallway might not just look cold, but feel cold too. To plump up your rug and give it some grip, put a rug pad underneath it. Check out Why You Need a Rug Pad for a full list or rug pad benefits.
The best thing about runner rugs? They can work in any room, whether as a bathroom accent or a beside landing. For even more rug buying tips, read our Complete Rug Buying Guide.