Find the best carpet for stairs, whatever your style or budget, with our top picks
Carpets take a lot of hammering in high traffic areas, which is why choosing the best carpet for your stairs is so important. Stairs are in constant use, especially in family homes, and all that contact causes wear and tear to occur more readily.
As such, you might have toyed with the idea of getting rid of carpet altogether. But while plain floorboards are lovely to look at, a carpet is the practical answer to keeping noise down, as well as making your home feel cosy and warm. Another big consideration is that carpet on stairs is safer, as it provides better grip. Bare surfaces can cause you to slip and fall, which is the last thing you want.
If you’re ready to replace your carpet, our buying guide will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right carpet for you. Below this, you’ll find our roundup of the best carpet for stairs you can buy right now.
How to choose the best stair carpet for your home
When should I replace the carpet on my stairs?
You know it’s time to replace your carpet when it begins to look a bit shabby in certain areas. The front of the carpet near the edge of the step is the first to get worn down, along with the bottom couple of steps. Once these areas go, it’s time to start looking.
What is the best material for my stair carpet?
Opting for a hard-wearing carpet for stairs is best if you have a busy household. Sisal is a natural, extremely durable material, and probably the most robust of all the types on this list. However, it can be more difficult to vacuum, as it’s not smooth, and is also harder underfoot. With that in mind, if you’re used to soft carpet, you might want to avoid sisal.
Wool is another natural option for carpet. It’s durable, shrugs off stains if you act quickly and is also easy to vacuum. Another benefit is it tends to resist flattening, so is ideal for high traffic areas.
You can also choose carpet for stairs that is 100% man-made. Nowadays, man-made fabrics manage to mimic their natural counterparts incredibly well, and are usually cheaper and last much longer.
Some carpets are made with a combination of materials. It’s not always the same mix, but generally, you’ll see wool used for its softness and easy cleaning, and nylon or other man-made materials for durability.
Stair runners are another option to consider. They’re typically cheaper than full carpet, and only cover the middle section of the stairs. They can be made from a variety of materials, and are an ideal option if you want the comfort and protection carpet offers, without completely covering up your original flooring.
What colour should I choose for my stair carpet?
Halls and staircases often lack natural light, so you should make the most of what light there is. Light-coloured carpets tend to brighten up small spaces, but if your hallway is on the larger side, you can experiment with darker shades too. Of course, light carpets will show the dirt and stains more, but patterns can help to hide any marks.
Can I fit carpet myself?
Unless you are a carpet fitter, our answer is a resounding no. Even if you’ve managed to carpet the odd bedroom floor in the past, stairs are particularly tricky and need to be fitted professionally. Your carpet supplier should be able to advise.
Is there anything else to consider?
It’s a good idea to look at samples (many outlets will send them to you in the post) and consider different materials and colours.
READ NEXT: The best carpet underlay to buy
The best carpet for stairs you can buy in 2023
1. Pentle Fine Boucle Sisal Carpet: Best hard-wearing carpet for stairs
Price: £49 per m² | Buy now from Carpetright
If £49 feels like pushing the boat out, remind yourself that a carpet such as this will last far longer and look far better than almost any other material you can buy. It’s made from sisal, which is an incredibly hard-wearing and sustainable material.
It has a textured, natural feel to it, with a subtle depth of colour. This rustic look will complement any home, but goes particularly well alongside wooden floors. The retailer will send a sample out to you, and you can also use a visualiser tool to imagine how it would look at home.
Key specs – Material: Natural sisal; Benefits: Durable, sustainable; Colours: 2
2. Temple Heathers Saxony: Best stain-resistant carpet for stairs
Price: £30 per m² | Buy now from United Carpets
Improvements in manufacturing mean man-made fibres are now able to mimic the luxurious softness of wool, as is the case with this carpet. It’s stain-resistant to common household spills such as wine, food, oil and crayon, making it perfect for messy people and young families.
If you wipe up stains quickly and vacuum regularly, this stair carpet should serve you well for many years. Better still, you don’t have to compromise on colour, as it’s available in ten beautiful shades.
Key specs – Material: Polypropylene; Benefits: Budget-friendly, durable; Colours: 10
3. Sevenoaks in Dawn Glow: Best wool stair carpet
Price: £45 per m² | Buy now from Flooring Superstore
Made from natural New Zealand wool, this carpet feels wonderfully soft underfoot. It’s generally easy to keep clean if looked after properly, and if spills are dealt with quickly, the carpet won’t require a deep clean.
What’s more, this carpet is fire-resistant and hessian backed, too. The hessian adds an extra layer of durability, as it’s a tough material, but you should still use it with underlay. All in all, this carpet is supremely luxurious and perfect for bare feet. If you like a traditional, cosy carpet, this is the one for you.
Key specs – Material: Wool; Benefits: Comfortable, 10-year guarantee; Colours: 3
4. Highlands Trent: Best affordable stair carpet
Price: £15 per m² | Buy now from Flooring Superstore
This carpet may be cheap as chips, but it looks like a million dollars when fitted. It’s so tough you can even use diluted bleach to clean it – though we’d always suggest trying a test patch first.
It’s hessian-backed to give it better longevity and has what’s known in the trade as a “compact pile”. All this means is it won’t show footprints, making it ideal for heavy traffic areas such as stairs. If you don’t mind that it’s a bit harder underfoot compared to classic carpet, this is a fantastic budget choice.
Key specs – Material: Polypropylene; Benefits: Durable, affordable, easy to clean; Colours: 8
5. Strike Black Stair Runners: Best stair runner
Price: From £30 for 120cm | Buy now from Runrug
While Runrug doesn’t sell these runners by the square metre, this particular option should still cost you less than a full carpet, so don’t be scared off by the big number. Spills on this runner can be mopped up easily and the pattern is a great way to hide general marks caused by everyday use.
We think this runner is a great alternative to carpet and looks fab on a hard floor. Delivery is free and Runrug offers stair rods (£14), which can be ordered at the same time.
Key specs – Material: Polypropylene; Benefits: Quick to fit, affordable; Colours: 6
6. MBIGM Non-Slip Carpet Stair Treads: Best quick fix for bare stairs
Price: From £33 (set of 15) | Buy now from Amazon
A quick and easy solution for slippery staircases, MBIGM’s non-slip stair treads are soft enough to feel comfy underfoot and sturdy enough to minimise the risk of slipping. The anti-slip underside doesn’t use glue or permanent adhesive, so you can lay these down and not worry about the wood underneath getting ruined.
Each tread is pre-cut and measured to fit standard-sized stairs, though there are two size options available, so we would recommend measuring your stairs first for the optimum fit. Even if your stairs don’t conform to a standard shape, the treads can be easily cut with scissors to better fit unusual contours.
Key specs – Material: Polypropylene; Benefits: Quick to fit, affordable, non-slip; Colours: 3
7. SCS Living Daytona Carpet: Best for a wide colour range
Price: £15 per m² | Buy now from SCS
There’s no need to sacrifice style for sturdiness with the Daytona range. Whereas other stair carpets come in an endless variation of different greys and beiges, this comes in twelve genuinely exciting colours from bold purple and modern mustard, to a luxurious dark blue.
Made of 100% polypropylene, it’s soft underfoot yet incredibly hard-wearing, coming with a 10-year wear guarantee and a 10-year stain guarantee. It’s available in both 4 and 5 metre widths and includes free fitting.
Key specs – Material: Polypropylene; Benefits: free-fitting, stain guarantee, bold colour range; Colours: 12
8. Gralux Non-Slip Stair Treads: Best for adding some flair to your stairs
Price: £29 (set of 15) | Buy now from Amazon
These self-adhesive carpet tiles can be installed in no time, making them the ideal quick-fix for slippery steps, as well as an easy and affordable way to jazz up your staircase. Simply peel off the backing film and stick down onto a clean, dry step. If they’re not quite the right size for your stairs, they can also be easily cut down and reshaped as required.
Despite the low price, these non-slip mats are pretty sturdy and should last a while if looked after properly. If you ever do need to remove or replace, they won’t damage the steps or leave lots of sticky residue, making them ideal for renters or anyone looking for a temporary solution.
Key specs – Material: Polypropylene; Benefits: quick and easy installation, non-slip, easy to remove; Colours: 1