Two Unexpected Ways to Use a Runner

Pair of rug runners in the bedroom

Pair of rug runners in the bedroom

Let’s pretend we’re playing a word association game, and we give you the term “rug runner.” What word immediately comes to mind? Was it “hallway”? That would be an obvious answer, since it seems runners were exclusively made for those long, narrow spaces. But we think it’s time to step outside of the…um…rectangle and put your runner in an expected place. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to use a runner beyond the hallway.

Pair of rug runners in the bedroom

Flanking the Bed

If you’ve got bare floors in your bedroom, your feet need a warm, soft spot to land in the morning. This is actually a great place to bring in a runner. Place one along each side of the bed. We love the balanced look it brings and how it creates a welcome sense of harmony and unity in the bedroom. Plus, it’s a great way to save a little money rather than buying a rug large enough to fit under the entire bed, especially if yours is king-sized. We say save the splurge for a great area rug in the living room!

Rug runner in a living room

Defining Different Spaces in a Larger Room

Why limit your space to just one rug? Using multiple rugs in a room can add warmth and break up the large expanse of wood floor. This home office is bursting with creativity and character, and the unexpected rug shapes enhance the artistic vibe of the room. The round rug dutifully anchors the desk while the runner punctuates the space in front of the bookshelf, creating a sense of flow. When using more than one rug in the same space, just make sure they complement and coordinate one another.

We love these two unconventional ways to bring runners into your space! Would you ever use a runner this way in your home?

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Kim Burke

    February 23, 2020

    I just bought a 10×14 area rug for the dining room in my new home. I want to get the memory foam under rug cushion that you have spoken about on the podcast many times. I searched the website where I thought you ladies said it was from but could not find it. I also searched your podcasts but could not find the ones where it was mentioned. Can you help me find it? Thank you.

  2. Reply

    Viet Hwang

    June 18, 2019

    Can someone share the size of these runners and can I purchase them?

  3. Reply


    November 18, 2018

    I just read this article by Patricia Palermo–I’m not sure when it’s from because the last comment was posted in 2016. It’s been quite some time since she was credited in a post on the BD website, so I’m hoping that she is still with the company. I have to say, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Patricia’s design aesthetic. She has a way of pulling things together with a level of sophistication that is within reach for the everyday homemaker.

    Best of all, I’ve actually been flirting with this idea for a very small bedroom in my home for some time, and now I know that it’s worth trying!!

  4. Reply

    Aong Vang

    July 27, 2016

    This is so freakin’ amazing. i LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! my husband may not let me do this to our room, but wow… I’ll definitely try to incorporate something inspired from this post in my office though. Awesome.

  5. Reply

    Joanne B.

    October 13, 2014

    I like the idea of a runner on each side of my king size bed! I currently have a large rug under the whole bed and am tired of the pattern and want to lighten up the room, but hate the idea of spending all that money and hiding a new beautiful rug under the bed again! Here’s my question: I have an antique cedar chest (my dad made it as an engagement gift for my Mom in 1936!) at the foot of the bed and the area rug I have is under the chest as well now. If i change to just the runners on either side of the bed, is it okay to just have the wood flooring under the cedar chest or should I place a runner under there as well? That seems too much like a patchwork to me. Thanks for your help!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      November 5, 2014

      Hi Joanne,
      Thanks for your comment. We think there are a few ways you could approach your space. The first option is just two use two runners on either side of the bed, and leave the floor under the chest bare. We see no problem with this option. It’s simply a matter of preference! If you really want some kind of rug under the chest, you could choose a very large natural fiber rug that will cover most of the floor in your bedroom, then put two smaller runners on either side of the bed. The runners could be something with a little more pattern or color.
      Hope this helps!
      The How to Decorate Team

  6. Reply

    Julie Allen Smith

    October 8, 2014

    I’m am a Ballard fan and existing customer. I’m also a fan of using runners in unexpected places. I have a lovely runner in my kitchen that runs the length of my large island. It adds a pop of color and warmth to my kitchen as well as adding warmth and a cushion under foot when doing meal prep and clean up!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      October 9, 2014

      Thanks for your comment, Julie. We love a runner in the kitchen too!