Runner Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Runner rugs are the second most common shape after your standard rectangle. Dimensions range from about 2.5 to three feet wide by anywhere from six to 20 feet long. Today runners are used almost exclusively in hallways and--primarily in the United States--on staircases.

Installing a stairway runner isn't difficult. The tools you'll need include a staple gun with half-inch staples, a tack hammer, #16 carpet tacks, a "tackless strip," a carpet pad, a blunt chisel, and a measuring tape. Cut the strips about an inch and a half narrower than the runner. Apply one of each pair toward the bottom of the riser, and the other toward the back of the step. Start at the top of the staircase. Pull the runner straight down to the next step, rather than trying to wrap it around the tread nose.

Oriental Runner Rugs in Room Arrangements

In the Middle East, however, runners were used in rooms as well as corridors. Until about 60 years ago, in fact, arrangements in many traditional Persian rooms featured an assortment of runner rugs. The rooms, of course, were very large--one explanation for why the tradition is only rarely seen today.

The classic example centers around the main rug, called the mianfarsh (middle carpet). It measured about seven feet wide by about 18 feet long. The kellegi, measuring about five feet wide by about 15 feet long, opened into the room from the doorway or hallway. Two long and narrow runner rugs called the kenareh, each perhaps three or four feet wide and anywhere from five to 30 feet long, ran on either side of the mianfarsh. These four rugs were used and sold as a set.

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