Binding may be the simplest and most common solution to finishing the edges of a hall carpet runner, but you might want to consider some other edge details before settling on the traditional method. Add some decorative trim, fringe or a border to the runner to give the hallway some visual interest. In cases where the runner is part of a minimalist interior, a quick trick to reinforce the edges against fraying may be the right choice.
Add a cord around the edges of the rug. Instant cord products are available in various profiles, or you can buy your own cord and design your own application. Instant products are decorative cording attached to fabric tape that has a sticky surface. The peel-and-stick surface attaches to the underside or backing of the carpet runner, which causes the cord to butt against the edge of the carpet. The cord is then attached to the carpet edge using a thin bead of hot glue. If you cannot find an instant product that you like — colors and patterns can be limited — make your own by purchasing a favorite cord from the fabric store. You'll want one that has a tape attached. Otherwise, you will need to stitch the cord to a fabric tape. Cord purchased this way does not include the sticky surface as an instant cord product does. You will need to add double-stick tape to the fabric tape to adhere it to the carpet backing. Adhere the cord to the carpet edge using a bead of hot glue.
Add Some Fringe
Fringe and decorative cord are similar in that both must be attached to a fabric tape in order to attach to a carpet edge. Fringe is available at fabric and sewing stores or through carpet supply houses. Double-sided tape is necessary to apply the fabric tape to the underside of the carpet edges. Unlike decorative cord, a bead of hot glue is not necessary between the fringe and the carpet edge unless a permanent connection is desired. When using fringe along the sides of a runner, choose a short fringe of about 1 to 2 inches. Longer varieties require maintenance to keep the fringe untangled and orderly.
Create a Border
Handmade fabric borders are a simple solution to replace binding on a carpet runner. Fold and cut the fabric to a desired width, and finish the fabric edges to prevent fraying. You have a couple of options for attaching the border to the carpet edges. You can fold the border over the carpet edges and use an adhesive, such as double-stick tape or fabric glue, to attach it to the carpet. Or you can attach the border's edges to the underside of the carpet — about a half inch to an inch for a strong connection — so that the border extends out from the sides of the runner and the carpet edge sits on top of the border. Fabric borders can display plain, straight edges or decorative edging details such as scallops, zigzags or an organic, undulating shape.
Keep Edges Minimal
Carpet runners with clean straight edges may need only some reinforcement instead of a binding or other edge detail. Painting an inch of white glue around the backside edges of the runner can help prevent fraying. A dab of white glue painted around the edges of the runner further strengthens the runner's edges. Turn the runner over, face side down, to paint the backing along its edges. After the glue is dry, you can lift the carpet to paint glue along the thin edge profile. A quick check of the dry glue reveals any missed spots that need a touch-up.
- Tana's Habitat — The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Affording, and Styling Your First Place; Tana March, et al.