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How to Measure Up for Stair Rods

I visited Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk the other day, which boasts a very smart loop pile stair runner carpet and old brass stair rods. I can recommend a visit to the house and the woodland gardens – it is very picturesque and the external landscaping and architectural features of the house are particularly attractive. As I wandered around, it struck me that some tips on how you measure up for stair rods would be useful for whoever runs Oxburgh Hall.

Oxburgh Hall
Oxburgh Hall well worth a visit

I know, why was I looking at the stair rods? Well, I do have a bit of a thing about them and find my eyes inevitably are drawn to them, especially where the stair carpet is so stunning.

Brass stairrods
The old stair rods looked the part with the period design runner carpet

So, how do I measure up for stair rods?

A regular question we get asked…  We do provide guidelines for working this out on our website, as it does depend on the style of rod. It is people who have a runner carpet up the middle, who need to be particularly careful when they measure up for stair rods, as quality rods tend to be made to measure. The quality ones you can’t then cut down and you certainly are unable to add an inch or two!

It is standard practice to add about 4 inches or 10 cms to the width of your runner to calculate the tip to tip measurement of the carpet rods you will need. Note, it is the tip to tip measurement which you order and this means the very tip of one finial (decorative end piece) right to the very tip of the other finial. This would be ideal and balanced for your typical home and a rod which today is 12.5mm (half inch) diameter. So, that’s a 5cm overhang either side. Within this 5cm the bracket sits, followed by a small piece of rod and then the finial end.

Exceptions to the guidelines

There are a one or two exceptions to this general rule; the Blacksmith wrought iron spear being one of them. The spear section is an unusually long finial and it just looks aesthetically more pleasing if you allow more overhang to allow for this – we suggest 15cms in total. Similarly for the triangular Royale .

But, as with all these things, this is only a guideline and it’s really up to you. For those people with a wider staircase, they may prefer 16mm (5/8”) diameter carpet rods – ‘chunky rods’.  In which case, the standard practise is to allow a 7.5 cm over-hang either side, or 15cm in total.

Stair rods need to be centred too

It is this aspect of Oxburgh Hall’s staircase which amused me. The brackets were fitted in the right place, either side of the runner, but then the rods were not necessarily centred. I’m sure nobody else would even notice but being a bit of a fan, I had a huge urge to get on my hands and knees to even up the amount that stuck out either side! However, I then realised that they seemed to vary in length, despite the runner being a consistent width. I suppose, once upon a time they were probably all measured out, accurately, to cater for a runner carpet which varied in width as it turned the staircase corners, hence the different lengths. Today, the effect is a little haphazard which adds a certain charm to the décor.

How do I measure up for stair rods
Today we recommend about 5 cm stair rod overhang each side of the runner

If you are ordering stair rods, then do take a look at our Measuring Stair Rods guide or give us a ring for some advice.

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