Hallway runner ideas – 10 ways to warm up your entryway with rugs

Bring warmth, softness and personality to high traffic areas with these stylish and practical hallway runner ideas

Hallway runner ideas
(Image credit: Future)

Hallway runner ideas are a practical and stylish addition to an entryway. Bringing instant warmth and personality, runners are a popular flooring choice for hallways, with companies offering a wealth of materials, sizes and designs. ‘Following the trend for hard floors people are realizing that a soft floor can be an undeniable luxury,’ says Andy Guard, creative director, Roger Oates Design. 

As well as offering softness underfoot, hallway runners can be a design feature, too. In fact, being connecting spaces, hallways can be a brilliant space to make a statement. ‘As you only pass through the hall you can afford to be bold with design and add an injection of color to an otherwise neutral house,' adds Andy Guard.

If you’re redecorating your hallway or simply looking for ways to update it, we’ve rounded up a selection of runner designs to add to your list of hallway flooring ideas to help get you inspired, along with tips from the experts. 

Hallway runner ideas – what to consider when choosing an entryway rug

When choosing hallway runner ideas there are many factors to consider, from material and weave to size and color, so be sure to request samples where possible.

On a practical level hallway runners, much like carpet ideas, bring warmth and softness to hard floors, but also bring other benefits, too. ‘On wooden or stone floors, if laid with underlay, a hallway runner will soften the resonating sounds of crashing feet but allow the wood or stone beneath to be visible making them far chicer than fitted carpets,’ explains Andy Guard, creative director of Roger Oates Design.

Available in infinite colors and patterns, runners are a quick way to update the look and feel of a hallway, plus can make a great foundation for creating a unique scheme. 'A runner also unites everything in terms of color and structure,' says suggests Martin Waller, Founder of Andrew Martin. ‘Picking out a color from a rug is a good starting point to build a scheme as it will ground similar shades to create an overall coordinated look.'

Hallways are high traffic areas in constant use, so when choosing runners it's important to opt for a durable material. When laying a runner on a hard floor such as stone and wood it is also important to fit an underlay – ‘we recommend that you use an anti-skid underlay to prevent slippage,’ says Andy Guard.

1. Lay down a timeless stripe in a narrow hall

Fitzroy flatweave wool runner in Midnight by Roger Oates

(Image credit: Fitzroy flatweave wool runner in Midnight by Roger Oates)

Striped runners are a brilliant choice for a hallway as they bring a touch of pattern without over-power a space and still offer plenty of variety in design. 'Stripes are timeless and the variations infinite, from classic fine pinstripes to contemporary asymmetric bands of color,' says Andy Guard.

As well a design feature striped runners can also make clever narrow hallway ideas, making spaces feel larger than they are. 'Stripes along the hall will lengthen it whilst stripes across the hall will make it appear wider.'

2. Choose a cheerful color in a white hallway

collection of contemporary pure wool carpets in chevron and twill weaves in country house setting

(Image credit: Country Homes & Interiors x Fibre The Contemporary Collection)

As hallway carpet ideas and staircase carpet ideas are often the elements we first see after a long day it makes sense for them to be cheerful and uplifting, so why not use a colorful runner to help enhance the mood? Warm and uplifting, this yellow design is guaranteed to help you feel happier at home

3. Embrace pattern in a minimalist space

Hallway ideas

(Image credit: Future / Catherine Gratwicke)

With vibrant colors and an elaborate pattern reminiscent of traditional Suzani carpet designs, this beautiful runner is the perfect way add warmth and personality to a neutral hallway with out concealing its prized parquet floor. 

In addition, patterned runners are 'perfect for high-traffic areas like hallways and staircases, where dust and dirt are repeatedly trodden into the carpet,’ adds Jodie Hatton, Residential design manager at Brintons.

4. Consider a hard-wearing sisal design

Kersaint Cobb Morocco sisal striped runner

(Image credit: Kersaint Cobb Morocco sisal striped runner)

For areas in constant use such as busy staircases, consider a hallway runner made from natural materials such as sisal, suggests Jon Flannigan product manager at Kersaint Cobb. ‘Runners made from 100% Sisal are practical flooring solutions as they are hardwearing and stain resistant; making them perfectly suited to entranceways and stairs. Runners can be fitted on the stairs either as a standard carpet, attached with stair rods or used as stand-alone hall runner.' 

This Morocco sisal striped stair runner idea also serves to draw the eye and create a focal point in this large entrance hallway.

5. Invest in sustainable options with natural fibres

Landing with floorboards with runner, white walls and artwork on wall

(Image credit: Alternative Flooring)

Looking to reduce your impact on the environment? Try a runner made from natural fibres such as seagrass, sisal and jute as an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic designs. With 85 percent of its rugs and runners being made from sustainable, natural sources, Alternative Flooring's Big Jute runner treads lightly on the planet.

'Natural fibres such as Jute are hardwearing and Big Jute is surprisingly soft underfoot,' says  Lorna Haigh creative director of Alternative Flooring. 'Each has characterful texture and most wear well in high traffic areas such as entrances.'

Indeed the neutral woven finish and honeyed coloring of jute and natural fibres can be a beautiful way to inject subtle texture to a hallway as well as a timeless feel.

6. Have a bespoke runner made-to-measure

Kersaint Cobb Morocco runner in a hallway

(Image credit: Kersaint Cobb Morocco runner)

While there are plenty off-the-shelf runners available in standard sizes, but opting for a design which can be tailored to the dimensions of your hallway is the best way to guarantee the perfect fit, especially if you are have a particularly long hallway or are looking for small hallway ideas.

In this long hallway a subtle striped runner accentuates the length of the space while the soft color helps keep the spacer feeling bright and airy. 'Stripes add visual interest to the floor and for those tight on space, it is worth remembering that linear stripes can help to enlarge the appearance of a room, this is especially effective in hallways as the stripe draws the eye along the design and therefore appears to elongate the area,' says Jon Flannigan product manager, Kersaint Cobb. 

7. Celebrate craftsmanship with an antique runner

A hallway carpet idea with Persian-style rugs on a wooden floor with white walls and glass arch over walkway

(Image credit: Richard Powers)

Often unrivalled in quality and showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and natural dyes, antique rugs and runners are a perfect compliment to period homes or traditional hallways. From Persian carpets to Turkish kilims, there are a dazzling array of designs available from across the globe which showcase unique manufacturing methods and have designs characteristic of different regions.

8. Turn heads with a statement floral design

Summer rug Willow Crossley X Amy Kent

(Image credit: Summer rug Willow Crossley X Amy Kent )

If you're lucky enough to have a large, grand hallway why not use the space to make a real statement with a luxurious and eye-catching design? 

Hand-knotted from wool and art silk, this exquisite Willow Crossley rug from Amy Kent features a flowing floral design which is bold enough to balance the vibrant yellow walls of this stately entranceway.


9. Add softness with a muted color palette

Runner in a corridor

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch )

Good quality runners can be an expensive purchase so it's important the design you choose has longevity. For a design guaranteed to stand the test of time, you can't go wrong with a classic herringbone weave in a soft pastel shade. Offering gentle color and texture this duck egg design makes a beautiful complement to the natural timber and creamy stone often found in country and cottage hallways.

10. Create a striking contrast for a contemporary look

Modern hallway with red runner

(Image credit: Future)

If you are in search of modern hallway ideas consider choosing a bold or color-led design. With strong architectural lines and a neutral palette, this contemporary hallway could appear cold, but by introducing a surprising pop of color with a red runner the designer has brought a new dimension to the space, helping to make it feel more welcoming and homely. Additional texture is introduced through the woven wallpaper.

What kind of rug do you use for a hallway?

Hallways are often long, connecting spaces, which means oblong runners are a perfect rug type for the space. Hallways are high traffic areas, so when choosing a rug or runner for a hallway it is important to choose a hard-wearing material which can withstand constant footfall such as sisal, seagrass, jute or a wool flatweave design. 

Plain colors and textured designs made from natural fibres, along with simple stripes, will lend a timeless feel, alternatively 'a lively colorful pattern creates both instant atmosphere and helps to hide dirt and marks,' says Lorna Haigh, creative director at Alternative Flooring.

How big should a rug be in a hallway?

How big your hallway rug is ultimately comes down to personal preference. One of the main purposes of a runner is to bring warmth and texture to hard floors which can be cold underfoot, as well as to help cushion the noise of feet on the floor, for this reason it is important that a hallway rug is large enough to cover the areas of the floor that receive the most footfall. 

Whether wooden floorboards, natural stone flags or beautiful tiles, hard floors are, however, beautiful characterful features of our homes which deserve to be shown off, so bear this in mind when deciding on the dimensions of your rug or runner and choose a size that allows part of your prized hard floor to remain visible. 

Shop our favorite hallway runners

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is Content Editor on Homes & Gardens online contributing to Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors print issues. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.