Your stairs and hallways are an integral part of the home, taking you from one room to another – so why compromise on their style? If you’re redecorating, don’t leave out these key spaces. Use this guide to pick the best flooring for your stairs, whether you like the traditional carpeted look or want to explore something different, or discover our other guide on the best flooring for hallways.
There’s no shortage of wonderful flooring ideas to choose from, but when it comes to finding the best flooring for stairs in your home, it all depends on your top priority. Are you all about aesthetics, safety, cost, or ease of maintenance? We’ll help you figure it out.
For the safety-conscious, carpet is a great choice. The fibres are great for improving grip, adding friction between your feet and the flooring. For children, people with limited mobility or anyone who likes to wander up and downstairs in fluffy socks, a carpeted stairway is much less likely to cause any slips, and provides a little extra cushioning if despite everything, a tumble does happen.
That said, if you love the look of laminate flooring and engineered wood flooring, don’t lose heart. They can still be excellent options: just add a stair runner, as this will help to improve grip whilst also adding colour and character to the space.
Traditional materials like stone and wood tend to be the most expensive options when it comes to flooring. Carpet, laminate and engineered wood are all cheaper alternatives that have their own amazing qualities and unique styles.
Laminate and engineered wood are relatively straightforward to install – if you’re a skilled DIY-er you may even want to do it yourself. Fitting carpet is a more specialist job, so if you use carpet not just for your staircase but for any adjoining spaces for a cohesive look, your costs could run higher than choosing laminate or engineered wood.
Carpet, laminate, and engineered wood are all very durable, and with the right care can last for many years. Heavy footfall can eventually leave marks on carpets, but if you follow our advice on cleaning and maintenance, you can keep it looking its best for a long time.
Engineered wood has a layer of tough, long-lasting real wood which can be sanded or refinished up to three times if any marks do appear. Laminate flooring can’t be restored in this way – but it does have greater water resistance than engineered wood – something to bear in mind if your stairs lead straight to the bathroom landing!
The stairs can be the hardest part of the house to clean; yet laminate is one of the easiest flooring types to clean, as it has a stain-resistant top layer that only needs a vacuum and a wipe down with a lightly damp cloth or mop.
Carpet needs a little more maintenance to keep it in good shape, with hoovering and fluffing to keep it looking at its best. You can find out more carpet cleaning tips in our handy guide.
If you do decide to opt for carpet, then your next step is exploring the vast array of carpets to pick the style that best fits your dream staircase (or finding out more about what a stair runner is, if that's something you want to consider as well). Carpet on stairs is a classic and timeless look, and the best carpet for your stairs will depend entirely on which aesthetic you prefer – a fluffy Saxony will have a different vibe to a woven tartan wool carpet! Here are some varieties to consider if you’re trying to choose the best type of carpet for your stairs.
Saxony carpets are known for their fluffy appearance and soft touch. The loops that make up the pile are cut, leaving the strands to straight upwards to create that beautiful tonal shift in the carpet. Twist carpets are made similarly, except the fibres are twisted around each other to create a coarser, more “rustic” effect. Wondering if you should opt for Saxony or twist? Check out our Saxony carpet guide to help you make your decision!
Velvet carpet is a very luxurious type of Saxony carpet, and feels incredible underneath your feet. What better feeling could you want when you climb the stairs to bed after a long day? A velvet carpet has a very short uniform cut pile, which is what gives it those distinctive marks when you brush over it.
In loop pile or Berber carpets, the loops that form the pile are left intact, creating a low, dense pile that won’t flatten easily. It’s a great, hardwearing choice for busy areas like stairs – although one downside can be that pets claws can snag on the loops, leaving messy-looking loose strands.
Woven carpets are hard-wearing and classic, using time-honoured traditional weaving methods to achieve their uniform style. This style of carpet is still considered the top-most quality for carpets, especially the traditional brands of Axminster and Wilton.
Hotels often use woven carpets for their flooring – and if a carpet can handle all the heavy traffic from hundreds of visitors, then it can handle your kids running up and down the stairs!
If you’re looking for modern stair carpet ideas, maybe the idea of classic wall-to-wall carpet just isn’t doing it for you. A stair runner is a great alternative – find a carpet with a colour and texture you like and use our carpet whipping service to make it into a stylish long rug! Stair runners can add some unique colour and pattern to your hallway if you’d like a pop of colour.
If you’re looking for stair flooring ideas that create a vintage look, why not opt for vinyl tiles in a marble effect to give your stairs the look of a grand marble staircase!
To find more flooring ideas and DIY advice, check out our Ideas Hub for inspiration and even lookbooks to help you design your space around your favourite flooring, including tips on the best flooring for dining rooms, and how to install a stair runner! If you’re ready to order carpet for your stairs, why not come down to your local Tapi store to speak to one of our Floorologists about the different options available.