What Size Hallway Runner Do I Need?

Closely related: What size rug do I need?

Let us take the mystery out of one of the most common questions we get. Yes, there is a correct size for your hallway runner.

Do runners come in different sizes?

Oriental style roll runner sold by the foot. Oriental style roll runner that is sold by the foot. You can get any length you want.
Some decorative rugs come in only one size runner (if they come in a runner at all). If that's what fits your decor, then we may have no choice but to use the only size available.

But many decorative rugs have runners that come on big rolls and can be finished at any length we want.

And regular carpet can be made into any size runner we want. There are so many quality carpets with patterns today that finding a color and pattern you like is much easier.

Measure the width of your hallway.

The first step is to measure the width of your hallway.

Most halls are about 3' wide. We find that a 2'3" wide runner is a comfortable width for a hallway this wide. This leaves you about 4 to 5 inches of floor showing on each side. Most standard runners come this width, or close to it.

If your hallway is extra wide, you may need a wider runner. For runners in wide halls, leaving about a 6 inches of floor showing on each side is comfortable. Choose the closest width that is available in the runner you desire.

How long should my runner be?

In general, the length can follow the same rules as the width. You can have a runner that's shorter than your hall. Some decorative rugs just don't come in longer lengths, so we need to use the shorter sizes.

The right hallway runner size

The perfect hallway runner size. The perfect hallway runner size.
Here is a proper runner size for a common hallway configuration. This is a top-down view of a hallway, and shows a hallway that is open on the right (possibly entering a living room area). There are two doorways on the left hand side.

The critical doorway is the doorway on the top left. When someone is in this doorway and entering the hallway, they are stepping onto the runner. The runner should go to at least the edge of the door frame.

The runner should stop close to the end of the hall at the right, without entering the room beyond.

The wrong hall runner size

This hallway runner is sized wrong. Improper hall runner size.
Here is an improper hall runner size for the same configuration. In this example, someone entering from the top left doorway will be half-on and half-off the runner. This should be avoided.

The lesson is that runners should never be positioned so someone entering the hallway from the side is half-on and half-off the runner.

Less than ideal, but perfectly acceptable

Acceptable runner size for hallway. Acceptable hall runner size.
This last example shows a runner that is used to accent a hallway rather than covering the full length. This is perfectly acceptable, even though it is not the ideal length.

When placing an accent runner in a hallway, be sure that the ends are placed so that people entering the hall from the side are entering onto the runner, or off the runner, and are not half-on and half-off the runner like the previous example.

Need help?

There are more complex situations that we did not cover here. For examples, hallways with an "L" or a "T" shape to them may require someone with experience to best advise you.

If you don't see your situation described and you need help, we are just a phone call away.