Shopping for Runners

Do you really need a long rug in your hallway? Not necessarily. Bare floors are fine for getting from A to B.

But a runner can make the journey more comfortable — and more stylish.

“It’s softer underfoot, it helps with noise, and it can be that finishing touch,” said Elizabeth Lawrence, a partner at Bunny Williams Interior Design, in New York. “They’re one of my favorite things.”

Finding the right one, though, can be challenging.

“It’s usually the last thing people think about,” Ms. Lawrence said. “So it’s about finding something that works with everything else that’s already been decided, and a specific size.”

Depending on how you look at it, that can be frustrating or fun.

But when you eventually find the ideal runner for a hallway, staircase or narrow strip of kitchen, bedroom or living room, the reward is the same: “It’s the needle in the haystack,” Ms. Lawrence said. “And when you find it, it’s really exciting.”

  • What size should it be? Ideally, a runner should fill the space while leaving a three-to-six-inch border of bare floor around it, Ms. Lawrence said.

  • Can you use multiple runners to break up a long hallway? “Yes, definitely,” she said. You could even use two vintage runners that look good together but aren’t identical.

  • Does a runner need a rug pad? Yes, a pad will help keep the runner in place. Usually, Ms. Lawrence uses a thin rubber pad to keep bulk to a minimum. If the corners seem like tripping hazards, you can stick them down with double-sided carpet tape.

Vintage Moroccan Runner

Boujad wool runner

$403 at Benisouk: 866-392-1319 or

Link Rug and Runner

Braided English wool rug or runner made of sewn-together shapes

From $750 at Grain: 206-855-7811 or

Ethan Cook Flat Works Runner

Wool-and-cotton runner based on artwork by Ethan Cook

$295 at Hay: 833-849-3025 or

Tiger Rug

Striped New Zealand wool runner or area rug

From $225 at Nordic Knots:

Bowen Jute and Wool Flatweave Rug

Graphic runner available in various sizes

From $59 at Rejuvenation: 888-401-1900 or

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