A nice wood finish looks lovely on a staircase, but with kids and pets there is always a worry about safety and scratches.  Décor expert Karl Lohnes shares these tips to choose the best carpet runners for your home.

Decide why you want or need carpeting on your stairs. For example, are making this change to ensure the safety of your children or pets? Are you doing this simply for aesthetic reasons? Once you’ve given that some thought, decide if you will cover the entire area, the centre path or only the tops of the stairs.

Decide which material and style of carpet you would like to choose. Natural materials tend to look richer, but wool or sisal can shed. Synthetic carpets tend to wear longer and are both resistant to fades and stains.

Visit a reputable carpet dealer. One place to start is with the Carpet One dealers in your area. Carpet One is a network of carpet sellers and installers that have the connections for the best selection. Make sure that the prices reflect the quality. For example, if you are looking to cover old stairs for resale value then covering the entire stair case with an inexpensive broadloom might be the right solution.  If you want to live with your stairs for a long period of time consider a higher quality carpet as an investment. You can pay anywhere from $15 - $100 per linear foot of carpet runner.

Arrange delivery and installation. Once you choose your carpet style, then an installer will need to come in to measure the stairs and any corners that need carpeting. At that time they can tell you exactly how much carpet you will need to purchase and what the installation cost will be. One pick to try is Creative Carpet One Floor & Home. 

Embellishments are not necessary, as most runners and full carpeting are glued down to the floor. However, if you want to maintain the wood finish underneath the carpet you might want to consider holding the runner in place with stair rods.  These can be plain or can come in various metal finishes. They are also available with embellished ends and can run anywhere from $19 to $160 for each rod depending on how elaborate they may be.  Zoroufy is a good place to start.