Our Sisal Stair Runner Before & After

I’m no stranger to the transformation (and safety!) a stair runner provides. First, we switched out the runner in the greystone–and we were renting so that tells you something! But the original was so disgusting it had to get changed.

Then we added a runner in our last condo because the stairs went straight down and were slippery.

And when we bought this house, we knew that would be one of the earlier projects we tackled with two rambunctious boys!


I’ve always loved the jute/sisal look, but we were advised against doing it in our greystone.

After talking with my interior designer friend, Alex Kaehler, she confirmed it’s very possible and recommended the Fibreworks brand–available through Lewis Floor and Home just north of Chicago.

by Danielle Moss

This time around I wanted to do something a little different than what we did in our condo, and I kept coming back to the black border trim. We considered this look for our condo, but the border trim adds a pretty significant cost and we knew that was a short-term home and didn’t feel worth it, whereas for this home, we really want to make it our own since we will be here a while. My cofounder Danielle Moss did it in her home with the black border and she has super dark floors too, so I saw it worked great. Same with the first inspo image. Love.



So let’s rewind to the beginning… here were the stairs when I looked at the house (see the full before home tour here). All of the floors had a red stain because most of the floors are Brazilian cherry. The staircase is oak which you can tell in this photo.

We knew right away we’d be staining the floors so we did that before even moving in since it’s such a mess and difficult to do once all your furniture is in.

We went with a 3:1 ratio of ebony:true black on the Brazilian cherry, then our floor guy had to come up with a custom color to best match the oak staircase (I’m not sure what it is).

He did an amazing job matching the stain on the two woods, and the floors look gorgeous.

But… for a whole bunch of reasons including there being no window in the staircase paired with the dark floors makes it so dark and hard to differentiate the steps when you’re coming down. Tucker has tripped several times poor lil’ dude. I’ve almost slipped. And it’s just so much safer and softer underfoot with a runner.

So I immediately contacted Lewis Floor & Home again since they did such a great job on our last staircase.



Because of COVID this process took a bit longer than had I just gone into the showroom. But I worked with Susie at Lewis who was amazing and kept sending me sample after sample.

Testing samples: 

I looooved the texture of the top one, but worried it was too big.

We ultimately landed on a Fibreworks rug that a reader actually recommended!

Our runner: Fibreworks Siskiyou in Harvest with a Hollywood edge and black trim border, professionally installed by Lewis Home & Carpet. I really loved Magadascar but worried it was just too light and impractical.


The Installation:

The installation was very different than the last time and much faster because of the black border. The installer came out twice, first to measure everything then to install.

The first time he came out to measure and create what is called a ‘custom template.’ That extra step makes the finished runner perfect for each individual staircase.

Then he ‘fabricates’ the runner and attaches the cotton border in his workspace. It’s called fabrication when the rugs or stair runners are created out of wall to wall carpet and borders or binding is added to finish it off.

It requires special equipment to do this kind of work, and it is a very specialized process especially on sisal.

The quality is amazing.

And when installation day came, he was in and out of here pretty fast. (Wearing a mask, of course.)


As you can see there is a really cushy rug pad underneath each step that makes it sooo soft underfoot, and so much easier on my knees with all the up an down carrying the boys.



We are beyond thrilled with how it turned out.

Dan, who doesn’t care about anything home decor related, came running down the stairs and said “Holy *** this stair runner is amazing” the morning after it was installed. Hah Here is how it looks during the day…


And here it is with lights on in the evening:

Looks good, right?! 🙂

We are so happy with it. Now just have to get the walls and trim painted and figure out what art to do on the landing. I’m thinking something big and vertical!

Stay tuned.