Stair Rods or Stair Clips? [What’s the Difference and Which Should I Choose?]

There’s only one way to finish off the perfect stair runner installation; with a beautiful set of stair rods or stair clips. But what’s the difference between the two, we hear you ask? And is one better than the other? Let us take you through the need-to-knows about stair rods and stair clips and get you up to speed:

What are Stair Rods?

what are stair rods?

Stair rods are quite simply a set of ornamental rods, most commonly made of metal, used to help keep stair carpeting in place. Where once they were a highly functional Victorian accessory designed to hold the carpet in place, modern stair rods now tend to be purely decorative, as carpet is kept in place using grippers and underlay. 

Stair rods on a stair runner

Despite this lack of functionality, stair rods have seen a resurgence in style popularity, coming firmly back into fashion and making themselves right at home for the foreseeable future. Stair rods tend to extend out by an inch or two either side of the stair runner, while ending an inch or two shy of the full stair width, bolting on to the stair treads and risers for a secure fit.  

What are Stair Clips?

what are stair clips?

Just like full stair rods, stair clips became a highly fashionable and functional accessory in the Victorian era, used for holding stair carpet runners in place. Temporarily consigned to history once modern carpet fitting methods came into place, stair clips have seen a fresh revival in our homes. Unlike stair rods, stair clips do not span the full width of the runner, but rather bolt onto the stair riser and clip around each end of the runner. The clip is almost always made of metal and features an elegant, decorative shape and detailing to create a stylish, traditional and rather grand staircase effect. 

Should I Choose Stair Rods or Stair Clips?

Now you know the key differences between the two, it’s time to choose your preferred style. Considering the fact that practical function is not the key factor, your choice will mainly come down to budget and your desired aesthetic. 

Here are the key benefits and considerations of stair rods vs stair clips to help you decide:

Benefits of Choosing Stair Rods:

1. Grandeur & Luxury

The first and most obvious benefit of stair rods is the sheer grandeur and style they add to a staircase. Transforming any stairs from ordinary to luxurious, full stair rods make a staircase and stair runner look truly complete while adding value to your home. 

2. Lightweight Options

While solid stair rods are considered the classic, traditional option, these are not your only choice. You can also opt for a set of hollow stair rods, which are much more lightweight and easy to cut to any length with a simple DIY hacksaw. This is all while outwardly appearing like solid, expensive metal; clever, no?

3. Abundance of Styles

Stair rods come in a huge variety of metals and coatings as well as wood varieties, plus a wide range of designs. And this abundance of choice extends beyond simply the design of the decorative finials; the rod itself can also be worked into all kinds of different styles from plain to reeded, spiral and triangular designs, giving you a vast array of interior design options. 

stair rods or stair clips styles

Are There Any Disadvantages to Choosing Stair Rods?

Stair rods are fantastic and simple additions to any staircase, and they are not disadvantageous in and of themselves. However, there are some elements worth considering when choosing between stair rods and stair clips. 

1. Sometimes Need Cutting to Size

Depending on the width of your staircase and the size of rod you buy, choosing stair rods can often mean measuring and cutting each rod to size, which is a simple task but can be time-consuming if you’re up against time restraints. 

2. Often More Expensive than Stair Clips

Mainly due to the obvious presence of more material, stair rods are usually the more costly option compared with stair clips. However, you do have the option of purchasing modern hollow stair rods, which are still far more cost-effective than solid rods.

Benefits of Choosing Stair Clips:

1. Similar Aesthetic to Stair Rods

Stair clips give a very similar overall finish to full stair rods, framing the stair runner and adding a touch of grandeur and luxury; the only difference is that the metal doesn’t extend all the way across the width of the stair runner. Clips are simply a slightly more subtle way of achieving the stair rods look. 

2. Variety of Styles to Choose From

Just like stair rods, stair clips come in all kinds of metals, colours, finishes and decorative designs, giving you plenty of scope for choosing specific aesthetics and completely transforming any staircase. Whether it’s antique brass or contemporary chrome, you’d be surprised at just how many different effects stair clips can produce.

3. Quicker to Install

Due to their smaller size and simpler design, stair clips are inevitably quicker to install than full stair rods. They do, of course, still require screwing into place on each stair riser, but you will not need to worry about measuring and cutting rods to the right length. 

4. Suitable for Smaller Budgets

Due to the smaller and simpler design of stair clips vs stair rods, stair clips are often, but not always, a cheaper alternative to buying a full set of stair rods (particularly solid rods). This makes stair clips an especially cost-effective choice for those on tighter budgets or those with larger or multiple staircases to fit out. 

Are There Any Disadvantages to Choosing Stair Clips?

There are no disadvantages, as such, to choosing stair clips over stair rods. Both provide elegance and style in equal measure, simply in different ways. Whichever you choose, your staircase is guaranteed to look truly spectacular, and you can have a lot of fun choosing your perfect stair runner and stair rod/clip combination until you arrive at the perfect style. 

Explore our full range of stair rods for the full decorative look, or check out our collection of stair clips for the pared-back yet highly refined alternative. And don’t forget to share a photo of your finished installation with us on our social media channels below!

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