How to Transition From Carpeted Stairs to a Wood Floor

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how to transition from carpeted stairs to a wood floor

If your home has different flooring types, transitions are incredibly important. Being able to make a seamless transition makes the house look finished and completes the look. 

However, this can be very difficult if you have a different type of flooring on your stairs. 

Transitioning between floorings and between rooms is relatively simple, but stairs complicate matters. Because of the uneven style, you may have trouble coming up with a professional-looking transition. 

In this article, we have laid out some ideas to help you with transitioning between carpet and hardwood. By trying out some of these ideas, you can find the one that fits your home the best. 

Key Takeaways

Transitions can make floor changes less abrupt and create a complete look. Here’s how to use them:

  • Add decorative trim below the tread.
  • Install rounded nosing wood at the last tread edge.
  • Finish the top tread in the same hardwood color and style.
  • Add a metal edging strap on all steps.

Transitioning From Carpeted Stairs to a Wood Floor: Basic Idea

Carpeted Stairs

There are a few different ways that you can transition between flooring types on stairs. These methods include:

  • Use Trim 
  • Add a Piece of Nosing
  • Finish the Top Stair 
  • Add Edging Strips
Depending on your home, one of these methods may work better than others. Give each one a lot of thought or make some mock-ups to see which one suits your style the best. 

Why Use Transitions? 

One of the most important reasons to use transitions is safety. 

When there is an abrupt change between flooring types, your feet might not be expecting it. This could cause trips and falls, which can be dangerous, especially on wood flooring. 

If you add a transition piece, you can create an easier line between the two spaces. This makes the change less abrupt and allows you to cover up the hard lines between the changes. 

Always pay some extra attention to safety when transitioning on stairs, especially if you have children or older adults in your home. I learned the hard way when I slipped on my newly finished stairs because of a lack of grip. Make sure to use a finishing product on your wood stair treads that enhances grip or consider adding a tactile strip in your stairs’ design. Keeping style and safety in harmony goes a long way in home décor.

Transitions can also help the space look more finished and complete. 

When you have hard changes between textures in your home, the look can be unsettling. By adding a transition, you can cover up the hard lines and finish the house. 

Add a Piece of Trim 

Adding a piece of decorative trim on the top stair, just below the tread piece, can help make the transition. 

Stairs have two pieces: the rise and the tread. The rise is the piece that sits vertically, while the tread is the piece that you step on horizontally. 

If you add a small piece of L-shaped trim to the last tread piece, it can help create a safe transition. It will give your foot a place to land so you don’t trip on the last stair. 

While working with decorative trims to transition from carpet to wood flooring on stairs, consider the overall décor of your home. Choose a trim that not only helps the transition but also accentuates the aesthetics of the space. Personally, I always recommend customizing the trim color and style to match either the wood flooring or the stair railing for a more cohesive look.

Install Nosing 

Nosing is a rounded piece of wood or metal that is designed to be attached to the edge of stairs. 

Placing a large piece of nosing on the edge of the last tread can help transition between wood and carpet. 

Just like with a piece of trim, this enlarged edge will give your foot a safe place to land. Being able to find the edge of the last step will allow you to find it without missing it

Nosing comes in all different colors and shapes. You can find one that will fit with your home’s aesthetic and decor. 

Finish the Top Tread 

beautiful carpeted stairs

If you have the ability, you can finish the top tread and landing in the same hardwood as your floor. 

This can help give your stairs and flooring a cohesive look. They will much more obviously be of the same style and will add a gentle transition. 

The nice thing about this option is that you have choices for styles. 

If you want a contrasting look, you can even use different types of wood for the stairs and floor. This allows you to create interesting patterns that can be incredibly unique. 

Add an Edging Strip 

Metal edging strips are frequently used in more industrial applications like shops and garages. However, they can give your home a unique look that can really make the house look finished. 

If you like, you can use edging strips on all the steps. This will make the transition at the top or bottom much more gradual. 

Edging strips come in all kinds of colors, so you can find one that fits your style. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you use hardwood flooring for stair treads?

You can use hardwood flooring for stair treads, but you should consider safety. 

Hardwood flooring can be quite slippery, especially if you are wearing socks. If you are going to use it for your stair treads, consider using a runner for grip. 

  • How much does it cost to put hardwood floors on stairs?

If you are going to put hardwood flooring on your stairs, it can be slightly pricey. 

Generally, hardwood on stairs costs between $100 and $200. This is because the materials are expensive and the process can be difficult. 

  • Are hardwood stairs worth it?

When it comes to hardwood flooring on stairs, I always emphasize the importance of quality. Don’t go for the cheaper option, the value of the best hardwood will be visible with time. It offers longevity, higher resistance to scratching, and a much better look. Sure, it may be a bit pricey, but as an experienced interior decorator, I assure you that investing in quality hardwood for your stairs will prove its worth in the long run.

Even though they can be expensive, hardwood stairs are an excellent style choice. 

Hardwood stairs give the room a classy, finished look. This is especially true if you have hardwood throughout the entire house. 


Transitioning between carpeted stairs and hardwood floor isn’t difficult. 

By choosing one of the methods laid out above, you can find one that fits with your home. This will not only give your home a cohesive look, it will also keep it safe. 

Photo of author


Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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