Before & After Transformation: Sisal Stair Runner

When designing any space, it’s easy to focus on the larger elements of the design like the layout and main furniture pieces, while losing track of all the small details that really complete a design. Without attention given to the details, a design will end up looking amateur and incomplete. In today’s before and after transformation, we’ll be showing you how one seemingly insignificant detail can really change an entire design’s aesthetic and functionality.

The Space

As you may know, if you’ve been following our blogs, I’ve done quite a bit of work recently on remodeling a beautiful house in Great Falls, Virginia. We redid their entrance, dining room, home office and lighting throughout the house, and more. We have also done quite a lot of work on their living room, which leads to a beautiful winding staircase. As we completed smaller sections of the house, we knew that we could give attention to the elements that connect each space, this stairwell being a prime example.

The Before

The original design had a very fluffy beige stair runner on these gorgeous steps. The fluffiness of the carpet didn’t match the chic aesthetic of the rest of the house. The stairs stood out – not in the way you want them to. They looked quite dated against the lovely black marble floors and created too much contrast against the wooden stairs. When looking at the design, you might not initially realize how much of an eyesore this stair runner actually was – it was a relatively small detail compared to the entirety of the house, and the tone of the carpet wasn’t completely off. However, I knew that we could complement the stain of the wood better, in a way that would ultimately be more beautiful and more functional.

The Why

There are a number of reasons why I think sisal is the best material for stair runners – stairs get so much foot traffic, that a carpet like the one originally there would get worn out quickly and end up looking dirty. Sisal on the other hand is incredibly durable and holds up well through time. Additionally, sisal has a better grip which will make the stairs easier and safer to use – especially for those who are at risk of falling and getting seriously injured. But beyond practicality, a huge design trend at the moment is bringing nature inside. There is something so beautiful using a natural material like sisal in such a modern house – it grounds the design and offers something different for the eye to land upon. It’s no surprise then that as soon as I saw this stairwell, I knew that a sisal stair runner would be the right choice.

The After

We opted for a runner that had a lovely two-toned pattern with a thicker binding on either side in a lighter color. The binding on the sisal provides a lovely contrast to the darker wood, and the light pattern keeps the look interesting. However, all the tones in the sisal are much closer to the tones of the wood, in comparison to the original carpet. Making the contrast more subtle means the eye can enjoy the winding structure of the stairs more and appreciate the contrast already provided between the neutral walls/trim and the wooden stairs. 

The Takeaway

I am so happy with how this transformation ended up, and more importantly, my client was happy. Take a look at the before and after photos and see the massive difference it made! The sisal looks far more intentional and thought-out. Design is like any other art: each detail matters and deserves equal attention to the rest of the work. If you are designing a home and think you may be missing out on important details, let us help you! Head to our services page to book your free consultation today!

Repurposing Slip Covers in Virginia

At Kelley Astore Interiors we believe and are working towards, making interior design more sustainable. It’s a difficult balance to strike: on one hand, you want to be mindful and avoid excess waste, but on the other hand, you want each design to be perfect in your eyes and in your clients’ eyes. But humans make mistakes and change their minds – and that’s where we have to get creative and consider repurposing. Recently we upholstered two down-filled custom-made chairs and one ottoman for a client in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. They were originally covered in mauve fabric with a black floral design. I actually really liked this fabric on the chairs. However after they were made, and placed in the sitting room, we realized that the fabric was not the right choice for the design.

The rest of the room was a very neutral color palette, featuring a lot of earthy and beige tones. The walls were painted in a beautiful Farrow & Ball shade called Oxford Stone 264, which is a lovely sandy color. Against the walls and the rest of the decor, we found that the original fabric was a bit old-fashioned and stuck out in a way that we didn’t want them to. After speaking with my client, we agreed that the room wanted a more subdued and lighter fabric than what was originally chosen. Something that would compliment and blend into the rest of the design rather than becoming an eyesore. But we had already upholstered them – did this mean we would need to start over and reupholster all of it? That would take a lot of time and money…but more importantly, it would result in a lot of extra waste we didn’t need to produce. What else could we do?

The Solution

This is when I realized a simple, quick, and easy solution: instead of starting over and re-doing the entire project, we could have slipcovers made! So that’s exactly what we did. This meant that we could completely transform the way the chairs and ottoman looked without wasting unnecessary time, effort, and materials. Together we browsed through a variety of different fabrics and settled on a gray/black and off-white ticking stripe patterned fabric from Pindler (my favorite place to source fabrics!) We were able to bring samples of this fabric into the space, and we knew that it was perfect.

My workroom ladies got busy stitching the slipcovers, and they were done in no time. Afterward, we installed them over the original cushions. After a quick steam, the chairs and ottoman were completely transformed. Looking at them, you would never be able to tell that slip covers were being used. My client absolutely loved the modern edge of the striped fabric. To add color and balance back into the design, we paired them with lovely little red cushions. I think the chairs and the room look absolutely fantastic. My client was happy, and the best part of all was that very little waste was created in the process! I will definitely continue using this trick in the future.

Try it yourself!

If you love all things design and fabric, be sure to check out our latest article on our 2021 Autumn Color Palette featuring plenty of fabrics from Pindler. To pass the time this fall, why not learn how to make your own slipcovers to easily transform a furniture piece you already own? This trick really does open up so many opportunities, and I couldn’t be happier. 

Flooring: The Benefits of Faux Wood Vinyl

Everyone seems to dream of hardwood floors – and it’s easy to see why! They are so classy, chic, homely, and warm. However, the reality of hardwood floors is that they can be fairly expensive to install and can wear and tear quickly enough to make one question whether they’re worth it. That’s why vinyl flooring is a great option to consider when designing or remodeling any room! Keep reading to learn more about faux wood vinyl flooring and why it might be the best option for you.

What is Faux Wood Vinyl Flooring?

There are two main types of vinyl flooring – the type that comes as sheets and the type that comes as tiles. I always recommend tile vinyl flooring, especially if you’re looking to mimic hardwood floors. Tile vinyl flooring is much harder than sheet vinyl flooring, so will look and feel more like wood. It is made of Polyvinyl chloride which is a synthetic material. You can buy vinyl flooring tiles from most hardware stores, coming in a variety of sizes and colors.

Why Choose Faux Wood Vinyl Flooring?

Easier to Maintain

One of the best parts about Faux Wood Vinyl is that it is much more durable and easier to maintain than actual hardwood floors. If a drink spills, you can simply wipe it up with no fear of staining or damage. This is perfect for high-moisture rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. Additionally, faux wood vinyl flooring doesn’t chip or scratch nearly as easily as hardwood floors do. This makes it a great option if you’re someone with children or if you like to host a lot of gatherings and parties. 


Proper hardwood floors can be incredibly expensive to buy and install. The wood needs special treatment, and the simple weight of it can make it difficult and expensive to install. Not to mention that it requires special varnishes and finishes which just adds to the cost. Vinyl Flooring on the other hand is easy to come by and is designed for quick and easy installation – something that you’d be able to do at home. All of this means that faux wood vinyl flooring comes at a fraction of the cost of hardwood floors. And if you’re renovating an entire room, you may find that every penny really does count. 

Sleek Look

Faux Vinyl Flooring has the potential to look really amazing when properly installed and incorporated into a design. Most people won’t even think twice about whether or not it’s real wood. The other advantage of vinyl flooring is that it is much easier to find the right color and tone without having to compromise on pricing, thereby giving you more creative control. Additionally, since it’s so easy to come by and is available in so many different shades, you can get really creative and even lay down patterns using a variety of colors. If you are feeling extra creative, you can even use vinyl tiles on the walls, ceilings, or backsplashes!

Interior Design Made Easy

There is no reason to resist something like vinyl flooring because it isn’t “real.” Perhaps you may feel like opting for vinyl flooring is a shortcut or a cheap option you shouldn’t choose. But professionals everywhere, including myself, opt for faux wood vinyl flooring all the time. And we never regret it! 

If you are looking to renovate or need some help with your newly designed rooms, we’re here for you! Visit our services page to book your free consultation today. 

Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

Where We Work

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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