When the carpet on your stairs looks like the main thoroughfare in a truck stop you might want to consider another option. Paint them. That's what Puffer Progress did! Love it!
You don't have to have fancy hard wood beautiful grain steps... you can fake it with paint. No one stairs at your floor grain. They stair at the black path of yuck that has been beaten into the center of your stairs... okay, that's where I stare. I won't even notice your steps have a grain because I sacreligiously paint all natural wood grain with the exception of my piano... some things are super sacred.
I love the look of a center runner... the carpet ones look nice but really... who's taking those out to clean? Nope, I'd much rather sweep my steps with the fake paint runner instead.
Of course, these are super shiny and clean. I'm sure you'd have to Windex them every day to make them look this good. I'll be sticking with a more forgiving color.
You see, compared to the black greasy grime of well trodden stairs, any paint job will do. Right?
Photo credits: Flickr and Apartment Therapy