100s of Deck Railing Ideas and Designs

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100s of Deck Railing Ideas and Designs

Choosing the best railing design for your deck can be tricky.

To help you decide, I assembled this list of more than two hundred different pictures of deck railing ideas and designs, organized by type for quick reference.

The Guide is divided by material and style. Use the Table of Contents to jump to a specific category. 

Let’s get started with my Favorite Railing Ideas!

Mountain Laurel Handrails

The best looking deck rail design is made by our master crafters with the branches of the mountain laurel tree. Mountain Laurel Handrails are works of art for beautiful decks.

NatureRails

Another absolutely amazingly artistic addition to your home is NatureRails, creator of these one of a kind railing inserts. This cool deck idea can probably be cut into a panel in pretty much any shape you can come up with.

Creative Wavy Privacy Fence

This deck railing incorporates multiple different styles and designs. The wavy privacy screen dominates the view but there is also a 4×4 metal wire screen insert in a lumber framed opening. And the top piece is stained instead of painted like the rest.

No Nails Railing

This awesome wood handrail design uses an incredible tongue-in-fork slip joint and uses a baluster of the railing as a peg or through tenon to hold the corner together. The house was built by a Minnesota couple and perfectly matches a timber frame.

Unique Metal Pipe Railing

In this very unique work of craftsmanship, the artist bends and rolls metal pipes of various diameters into whimsical, organic shapes. Here, copper pipes swirl round a radiating sun, or sunflower reflected on a drop of water. Abstract shapes let your imagination play about this great railing.

Keuka Studios Tokyo Style

Keuka Studios Tokyo Style cable railing exemplifies the best features of wire deck railing and this picture really shows how they let the background and the view shine through.

Frameless Glass Railing

This frameless glass railing absolutely defines the best features of using glass as a material. The serene beauty of this mountain lake shines through and nothing gets in the way of the amazing scenery!

Rectangular Metal Box

Break out of the mold and think outside the box with… boxes. This balustrade uses a series of rectangular metal boxes to create a modern deck railing. It’s certainly far from the first thing you’d think of!

Minimalist Lighted Slats

This incredible modern handrail uses a bridge as a palette for line and light. The simple curve of the bridge is highlighted on either side with single metal balusters with lighting between them.


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Wavy Wood Railing

Sometimes the simplest in variations can create an entirely new and interesting pattern. Here, the vertical balusters are given a little wiggle with a sine wave down the length. This gives some visual excitement to this out side deck.

Wooden Upward Arrow

This balustrade uses evenly spaced vertical 2x4s with a horizontal 2×4 below center which connects to the bottom with diagonal blocking. This cheap deck idea gives the look of a row of arrows pointing to the sky.

Framed Alternating Diagonal

Diagonal 1x4s run from corner to corner of this wooden railing and the direction alternates from one to the next. This is a good way to create some movement in your patio railing design.

Right Angle Baluster

On this historic banister and railing, the balusters are placed at a right angle to the stairs. This is a welcome relief from so many of the vertical patterns that are prevalent.

Solid Wall Railing

Instead of a railing that has spaces, eliminate deck spindles and continue with a solid knee wall in the same pattern as the siding, which in this deck design picture is nicely weathered cedar shingles.

Different Width Vertical Boards

Instead of all the same size, this deck baluster idea uses alternating width boards, which appear to be 1x2s and 1x6s with about 3 inches of space between.

Continuous 2×6 Top with 2×4 Balusters

Wood railing designs for decks can use a continuous 2×6 to cap the posts. This simple DIY deck idea is 3.5″ below this and consists of vertical 2x4s between 2×4 top and bottom plates.

4×6 Beam Railing
with Bench

A bench is a perfect deck hand railing idea since it gives a natural place to congregate. This deck bench railing uses 4×6 beams as the top and bottom rails with vertical 2x4s between. Photo Credit

Fine Woodwork 1×6
Horizontal Railing

Fine craftsmanship is exemplified in warm, natural wood tones and the interplay of light and shadow in this bannister and rail. The eight tiers of horizontal lines continue strong themes established by the ceiling and windows.

Wooden Privacy Screen Patio Rails

A privacy screen lets light and the view in but keeps unwanted eyes from peering too closely by utilizing alternating 1x4s and 1x2s with 1.5″ spacing in between.

Horizontal Wood 2×2 Handrail

Horizontal 2x2s replace the typical wood deck spindles in this simple DIY handrail. This would be an easy way to change the look of your deck.

Triple Stacked Vertical 2×2

Here, vertical 2x2s are placed tightly in groups of 3 with 3.5″ of spacing between each one. The bottom rail is placed on one side on the face of the balusters.

Double Vertical 2×2
Baluster

Another easy way to change the look of an existing front porch deck is to rearrange the spacing of the railing spindles with pressure treated 2x2s spaced alternately 1.5″ and 3″.

Colonial Chamfered and Milled Spindles

Both the bottom rail and the balusters in this white deck railing were milled to drain water and individually painted before assembly.

Large Format Parquet
Style

This deck stair railing is a large format style of the parquet flooring look replicated on a stair handrail with 1×4 lumber placed horizontally.

Parquet Style Outdoor
Deck Idea

Alternate the view with a parquet floor pattern used on a veranda fence. In this picture, the pieces appear to be spaced on a 16″ grid.

Sideways Arrow Wood
Deck Ideas

Arrows move the eye around the view in this wood railing design. Sideways pointed arrows start at a central deck railing post and radiate outwards.

Two Board Widths, Two Color Handrail

Spice it up with two board widths and two colors on your railing. Here, 1×6 alternates with double 2×2 balusters with the posts painted a different color. 

Lattice Railing with Diamond Portholes

Diamond shaped portholes peer through a custom wood lattice in this intriguing deck rails idea. The diamond shapes nicely contrast the smaller squares.

Painted Wood Lattice
Guardrail

This porch railings design is another easy DIY way to change your handrail. It uses painted lattice framed below a continuous 2×4 top going between the posts.

Oval Baluster Porch Railing
Design

Curves in the pattern break up the monotony of straight lines seen in most images of decks. Here, tightly spaced ovals create many interesting shapes in the balustrade.

Horizontal Deck
Railing

This wood privacy handrail uses 1×2 slats running horizontally between top and bottom 2×4 rails with a  continuous 2×6 top plate capping the posts.

Standard Wood Deck Handrail Designs

This cheap deck railing idea is standard pressure treated wood railing made with 2×4 top and bottom rails with 2×2 pickets nailed vertically all capped with a 2×6 top plate.

Tuning Fork Stair Railing
Design

Tuning forks like used to tune musical instruments grow from the side of this stair railing. The carpentry on this banister idea is particularly nice.

Great Deck Design
Idea

Some decks have curved framing to break away from the standard straight lines. Here are more pictures of curved railing will make your deck that much better.

Ideas for Deck Railing
Benches

This deck without railing is a great low deck idea with plenty of room to sit. This looks like the perfect place to fire up the grill and have a drink.

Mare Island Shipyard Geometric Railing

This historic porch fence is quite unique and seems to be a riff on the Chippendale and Art Deco styles. An “X” spans from post to post with a small central box capped with a triangle.

Alternately Spaced Vertical 2×2 Handrail

Alternately spaced porch spindles are broken by a horizontal 2×4 for some additional architectural pizazz on these Victorian style home railing designs.

Strikethrough Diagonal with
Vertical 2x2s

The typical vertical picket style is broken up here by a ‘strikethrough’ of a single diagonal board running up and down from post to post on this inexpensive deck railing.

Scroll Saw Cut Pattern Over Turned Balusters

These porch rails use a scroll saw cut triple-circle arch pattern over a lower level of smaller balusters. Additionally, the two elements are painted different colors.

Jigsaw Cut Pattern over Turned Balusters

This porch handrail picture shows a vine-motif jigsaw cut pattern over turned porch balusters. This composition uses four different paint colors

Wavy Balusters with Spheres Stairs Railing

This outdoor railings for steps uses wavy balusters below a row of alternately placed spheres. The effect is almost like a person in the railing.


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Geometric X Chippendale
Handrail

Here’s a simple diagonal “X” railing that is very well executed. The carpenters on this project certainly had their geometry cut out for them as you can see by looking at the panels on either side of the stairs.

Diagonal Pattern Chippendale Railings

This photo shows a chippendale railing which uses diagonal patterns to create flow across the handrail. This basic style uses an “x” from post to post with arms growing off of it.

Jefferson Monticello Chippendale Railing

The deck fence from Thomas Jefferson’s neo-classical home Monticello, complements the discipline of the classical setting and stately architecture with balanced angles and division of space.

Monticello Chippendale Style Cupola Railing

This picture is from Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, and shows the cupola with two styles of Chippendale railing capping the roof.

Multiple X Railing Design
Idea

This multiple X pattern divides deck railing posts spans into smaller sections which then have an X surrounded by a box and modified oval.

Diamond X with Lattice Porch
Railing

Next of the wood porch railing designs uses multiple “x”s arranged in a 2×3 grid. Each span has the central chippendale element flanked by lattice to finish it out.

Tropical Porch X Railing

This outdoor hand railing adds multiple horizontal and vertical elements to the central X so it seems as if there are many squares around the X.

Modified X Cross Railing

In this deck on front of house, each post to post span has three, double-squared X shapes but this time the X’s don’t form a central cross but instead terminate into a small box.

Multiple Pattern Railing Sections

This historic stair railing shows multiple patterns in the chippendale style. The carpentry indoor railing idea demonstrates the crafter’s incredible knowledge of geometry.

Diagonal and Vertical Handrail

Combine typical vertical picket style and diagonal based chippendale elements for this simple deck idea on an expansive exterior uncovered deck.

X Eye Chippendale Handrails

This wooden porch rail reminds me of the Eye of Sauron watching. The pattern has an X with the center enclosed by a modified oval which is the “eye” shape.


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Best Craftsman Porch
Railing

Blending American Craftsman with Art Deco, the dark tones and stone foundation of this home are balanced, lifted by the light, thin, vertical lines of railing, punctuated by obelisk style posts.

Craftsman Style Railing Idea for the Home

By bunching up certain elements and spreading out others, this balcony railing demonstrates one of the main principles of the craftsman style: that the spaces are as important as the pieces.

Triple Horizontal Top and Wood Balusters

This wooden decks design idea shows typical deck baluster spacing with the triple horizontal pieces at the top of the railing, making a partial lattice effect.

Maui, Hawaii Porch
Railing

This picture comes from the Library of Congress historical survey and is a detail of a cheap porch railing idea in Lahaina, Maui County, Hawaii and was taken around 1933.

Double Horizontal Top and Bottom Rail

The porch step railing on this home uses stone post bases for mass while the handrail has double horizontal elements on the top and bottom to match the exterior woodwork.

Asian Inspired Craftsman Style Bridge Railing

The Craftsman style meets East Asia in this Zen inspired bridge railing. The broom leaning up against it sends a signal that the carpenters are done!

Craftsman Handrail with Double Vertical and Horizontal Elements

This craftsman handrail uses alternately spaced, doubled porch spindles with two central horizontal elements from post to post capped by a 2×6 on edge for the top rail.

Craftsman Style Railing with Post Cap Light

An interesting technique of the craftsman style was including small details as demonstrated here with the small grid motif repeated and the porch post idea of using a lantern as a cap.

Unique Deck Handrail
Ideas

This unique deck railing idea pushes the craftsman style to the limit and loses sight of the element of spacing with the busy pattern on this outside deck.

Prairie Style Ipe Deck
Rail

Prairie style was a riff on the craftsman emphasis on intricate, yet simple woodwork. This prairie style ipe deck railing is a good example of this spin on deck fencing.

Craftsman Variation on Vertical Wood 2×2 Railing

This wood deck design shows the craftsman tendency to introduce space as an element of style. Here, the vertical 2x2s are broken up by a horizontal space below the top rail.

Alternating Openings with Wood 2×2 Balusters

Another historic deck design idea photo showing an interesting variation with vertical 2x2s broken up top and bottom with wide expanses of space.


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Vertical Log Railing with Tree Posts

Overlooking Lake Rabun, Georgia, this log handrail features a single top approximate 4″ diameter log rail connecting log posts with 2″-3″ log balusters attached to the decking.

Traditional Vertical Log Railing

A grand example of a typical log rustic stairs railing, the 6″ posts are connected by similar diameter top and bottom rails with balusters attached with mortise and tenon joint.

Big Timber Rustic Railing

Next in the collection of home deck ideas uses horizontal 6×6 lumber with blocks for spacing to create an interesting big timber rustic railing, a perfect back porch idea on a budget.

Rustic Triple Horizontal Board Handrail

Top, bottom and central stained cedar boards are connected to log posts in this sparse and open horizontal deck railing idea.

French Camino Rustic Log Balcony Railing

From my mom’s hiking adventure on the French Way of the Camino de Santiago comes this picture of a balcony with a open log railing.

Vertical and Woven Branch Log Railing

Vertical logs about 2″ to 3″ diameter with the bark on are the central part of the railing with woven branches on either end between log rails with log posts on this outdoor handrail.

Vertical and Woven Branch Log Railing

Vertical logs about 2″ to 3″ diameter with the bark on are the central part of the railing with woven branches on either end between log rails with log posts on this outdoor handrail.

Carpentry Skills for Branch and Log Railing

Relax in this rustic log framed porch and enjoy the view through the branch railings for decks, made here with 6″ locust top and bottom logs connected with mountain laurel branches.

Branch and Lumber Patio Railings Design

For the modern rustic home, this outdoor deck design idea incorporates interesting triangle geometry made with 1×4 lumber sandwiched over a branch guard rail.

Framed Branch Deck Rail
Ideas

An original concept by the architects of the Lissara Lodge, this deck rail frames the branches with different sizes of lumber and openings to make the branchwork the centerpiece of each section.

Alternating Diagonal Board Rustic Railing

The various widths, textures and types of wood used for this wooden porch railing highlight the playful nature of the raised deck, built around a tree. The inverted delta shapes draw your attention upwards through the canopy.

Diamond Shape Log Porch Railing Idea

The simple elegance and bold nature of this inexpensive deck idea reflect the strength and confidence of the American pioneer spirit, quietly stated in open diamond shaped railing and strong posts that invite the forest to this secluded log cabin.

Central Horizontal Wood Vine with Vertical Pickets

A central horizontal wood scroll cut vine breaks up vertical 2×2 pickets with interesting corbel details for some natural style woodwork. Photo Credit


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Cat Baluster Deck
Railings

For all the cat lovers on the internet, check out these sawn balusters that look like cats. Each cat is cutout and is surrounded by three small circles.

Jigsaw Teardrop Baluster Balcony Handrail

This balcony handrail uses jigsaw cut balusters with a double teardrop, one pointing up and the other pointing down, with a cute little dog poking her head through.

Heart Exclamation Point Jigsaw Balusters

Sign your love letters with a heart exclamation point as shown in this picture of a balcony handrail. Sawn balusters can be cut into many different patterns.

Jigsaw Cut Circle Baluster Porch Railing

It kind of looks like this pattern may be like an airplane propeller placed every other sawn baluster but it’s hard to tell. The alternate baluster has three circles.

Big Diamond Jigsaw Porch
Railing

This front porch uses a solid wall railing with columns above. The center point is the big diamonds in the jigsaw cut porch railing.

Jigsaw Baluster Railing Attached to Side of Stringer

This stair handrail uses sawn balusters with smaller diamonds set at alternating heights near the top of the panel which is attached to the outside of the stair stringer.

Graceful Arc Jigsaw Baluster
Railing

These sawn balusters make a graceful arc that alternates directions. The form of the opening is almost like a stylized goose or a swan.

Diamond Pattern Jigsaw Porch Handrail

This wood railing uses small crosses that give the appearance of a diamond pattern from a distance. Combined with arched timber braces, this makes another of the front porch railing ideas

Alternate Circles in Line
Porch Railing

This wood railing uses small crosses that give the appearance of a diamond pattern from a distance. Combined with arched timber braces, this makes another of the front porch railing ideas

Graceful Arc Beach House
Railing

This beach house deck railing employs a graceful arc, this time going from bottom to top, left to right, drawing the eye around the home.

Intricate Colonial Sawn Baluster Guardrail

This intricate colonial style sawn baluster guardrail integrates numerous motifs including the exclamation point, crosses, and fleur-de-lys.

Victorian Gingerbread Sawn
Baluster Handrail

This pattern shows what gingerbread can mean in the context of architecture. Multiple cross shapes are incorporated in a fanciful porch handrail.

Modified Oval Sawn Baluster
Railing

This porch stair railing is striking with multiple colors and sawn balusters cut into modified oval shapes with extended ends. 

Front Porch Railings Sawn
Baluster

These flame-like front porch railing’s sawn balusters demonstrate that handrail designs really can be infinitely adapted and there’s no excuse for going with a boring railing.

Colorful Heart Gingerbread Sawn Balusters

Another Gingerbread deck railing design picture with a very intricate pattern of crosses, hearts and diamond all painted bright pink to really stand out on this Victorian home remodel idea.

Modified Ovals with Circles Sawn Balusters

Modified ovals are centered between six rows: two rows of small 1.5″ diameter circles,  two of 3.5″ diameter circles, and a row of half-circles connected to the top and bottom rails.

Unique Sawn Baluster
Handrail

This uniquely designed sawn baluster handrail features multiple colors as well as the balusters which… are really difficult to describe in just a few words.

Extended Oval Sawn Baluster Railings

This extended oval sawn baluster deck railing design for home extends almost all the way from the bottom to the to rail and is capped on either end with a small circle, looking like a circus clown balloon.

Big Heart Sawn Balusters

These sawn balusters make a pattern with a row of central alternating up and down hearts which are probably 18″ in height. There is a row of small crosses above and below.

Pregnant Baluster Railing

The pregnant baluster gets its name from the profile view which is somewhat reminiscent of the profile view of a pregnant woman. Here, the top and bottom are painted a different color. 

Cut Balusters Look Like Turned

Trompe l’oeil is a French term which means “to fool the eye”. In this handrail, cut balusters leave an opening which looks like turned balusters alternating with 2×2 pickets.


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Colonial Turned Porch Railings in
the Morning

This brick porch receives the Colonial treatment with wood trim decorated posts and classic turned balusters and the early morning sun in this picture.

Colonial Revival Pattern
Balusters

This Colonial Revival home with a gambrel roof and elaborate cornice details, also features an elegant turned baluster deck railing painted trim white. 

Turned Balusters and Matching
Post

A historic picture from before 1933, this balustrade shos signs of decay but also the elegant styling of nicely proportioned turned balusters with square bases. 

Wood Post Caps and Turned Balusters

The turned balusters in this picture are the same size as a 2×2 picket. Since the profile is not very pronounced, from a distance these balusters are nearly indistinguishable from 2x2s.

Turned Baluster Railing on a Victorian Home

This is simplistic turned balusters with minimal fluting and square bases and tops somewhat extended perfect for making an understated impression on this home.

Classic Victorian Style Turned Balusters

This photo shows the classic Victorian style turned baluster with slender width and correct proportions on the square caps.

Octagon Base Colonial Turned Balusters

Turned balusters are shown here that have octagon bases and caps instead of the typical square. They are also more ornate with multiple curves and flutes.

Grecian Urn Style Turned Baluster Handrails

This stair railing picture shows a Grecian urn style turned baluster. The typical tuned neck springs from a shape that looks like a classical Greek pot.

Turned Balusters with Square Top and Bottom

These turned balusters are ornate with multiple flutes top and bottom but also have a somewhat spare curve on the main section of the spindle.

Contemporary Turned Baluster
Porch Handrail

Contemporary turned balusters are slim and slender with strong symmetry. This white patio railing idea and the matching posts complement the porch floored with pavers. 


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Sunburst Style Branch Handrail

This sunburst style branch handrail is nicely matched with the window beyond which lets in the natural sunlight to go with the natural wood branches.

2×2 Sunburst Railing

The standard pressure treated 2×2 sunburst is a good do-it-yourself project and you can quickly learn how to cut a sunburst railing in the most accurate way.

Sunburst with Vertical 2×2 Balusters

This wooden deck railing idea uses a sunburst with vertical 2×2 deck balusters on either side and a jigsaw cut circular piecetape as the sun at the bottom of the panel.

Circular Fan Porch
Railing

A variation on the sunburst pattern is this circular fan porch railing. The sunburst is jigsaw cut teardrops with circles around the circumference.

Victorian Multiple Sunburst Front Porch Railing

A victorian porch features this multiple sunburst railing featuring multiple three-pronged parts each crowned with an arc in a single post to post section.

Tapered Rays Sunburst
Railing

A better pressure treated sunburst railing uses 1×4 boards that are milled with a saw to taper to a narrower width at the center and be fatter on the outside. 

Sunburst Motif Metal Railing

This sunburst piece is the segue from the wood railing ideas for decks to the metal railing ideas. This unique section is an off-center metal disk with metal pieces spiraling out like a nautilus.


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Forged Bronze Tree
Railing

This forged bronze metal tree grows from the floor beam on this balcony and the limbs stretch from one wall to the other in a remarkable work of art.

Cool Angle and Arc Metal
Railing

These metal balusters incorporate sinuous curves above a strong outward angle before coming down to the bottom rail for another of these metal deck railing ideas.

Multiple Angle Metal Railing with Two Colors

This cool deck railing option show metal balusters angled outward and to the right while light blue metal panels with a strong opposite angle are placed every other opening.

Bucharest Art Deco Metal
Railing

This art deco metal railing panel style is apparently quite popular in Bucharest, Romania. The metal lines and triangles are randomly placed for visual excitement.

Vertical Metal Balusters with Diamonds

Black metal handrail caps vertical metal balusters spaced every 3″ with a diamond insert at the top of alternating baluster openings.

Arced Metal Balusters with Metal Grape Vines

Metal balusters arc to the outside with a solid metal top rail spaced about 8″ above the panel and metal grape vine and leaves ‘growing’ all over the railing.

Metal Balusters with LED Lights

Metal balusters hide a surprise with LED lights to make a real show when the sun falls. This presents a whole array of choices in style opportunities.

Metal Bubble Handrail

Circles of many different diameters are arranged in random patterns on this modern railing in a manner that is suggestive of foam or soap bubbles.

Cape Cod Craftsman Metal Railing

This Cape Cod home overlooking the bay and sailboats moored features a craftsman style metal outdoor railing with vertical and horizontal elements and and emphasis on spacing.

Triple Horizontal Top Not Connected to Metal Balusters Below

Square metal pipe railings with vertical balusters below triple horizontal top rails are attached to the face of a stone balcony which curves away in an arc. 

Simple Variation Metal
Railing

This is a simple variation on the vertical baluster style showcasing a double top rail connected midspan with two small vertical balusters.

Curved Metal
Railing

This curved metal railing features balusters which also look like the so-called “pregnant” balusters in that the profile resembles a pregnant woman.

Horizontal Metal Pipe
Handrail

This simple deck railing design overlooking the water features horizontal metal pipes connecting pressure treated 4×4 posts capped with a wood handrail.

Metal Circles over
Balusters

This wooden deck has black metal posts connected by vertical metal balustrade sections which are capped with a row of 4″ black metal circles and a tropical hardwood top rail.

Craftsman Style Railing in Courthouse

A craftsman style railing in a courthouse has black metal balusters of alternating width topped with a row of smaller squares and a dark stained wood cap. 

Intersecting Horizontal and Vertical Metal Slat Railing

Horizontal and vertical metal slats intersect at different heights to make a stair step pattern in this creative railing design picture of these modern deck rails.

Waterfall Baluster Metal
Railing

Jaggedly curved metal balusters are combined with thin balusters to make an overall effect so these deck handrails look like a waterfall in a constant state of motion.

Craftsman Style Metal Panels
with Lights

Craftsman style metal panels make square shapes in the guardrail opening and are lit at different points with small lights to go along with the downlights on the posts.

Alternating Panels of Horizontal and Vertical Metal Balusters

Metal balusters are spaced gradient style from one end of the panel and alternate panels are rotated 90 degrees between up and down or side to side.

Art Deco Style Metal
Railing

This Art Deck style metal railing is imbued with Gothic essence through the use of pointed arch shapes which evoke the great medieval cathedrals.

Metal Fencing
Railing

Regular galvanized metal 2×4 fencing is framed with pressure treated 2x4s and a continuous 2×4 top over 4×4 posts. 

Square Metal Grid Handrail

A square metal 4″x4″ grid is capped by an open space and a stained wood handrail in this contemporary front porch stoop railing.

Metal Slat Squares Handrail

This grid pattern features metal slats instead of square pipe and the grid openings are more rectangular than square to complement the chosen material profile. 

Metal Mesh Guard with Pipe Rails

Metal mesh infill, which is a great deck privacy idea, is shown here between square metal pipe posts and frames with a round pipe top and matching round banister.bubble

Chicken Wire
Railing

The bottom rail on this deck stairs railing is a 2×6 turned on edge with 4×4 chicken wire infill. The bottom rail could have been placed directly on the small kneewall.

Square Wire Grid with Metal
Pipe Top Rail

Black 4×4 wire metal grid gets the minimalist treatment with black metal pipes in a very spare style on this ipe wood deck floating in the trees.

Fine Wire Mesh
Railing

Fine wire mesh strung in long runs in framed openings gives the appearance of being invisible or virtually see through from some directions and not others.

Wavy Metal Railing

This wavy metal railing uses undulating lines to create the appearance of waves to match the watery backdrop all under a wood top cap. 

Gothic Style Metal Railing

This style screams Gothic revival with the strongly pointed and interlaced thin arches set over diamonds in squares cut out of a solid background.

Abstract Metal Panel Handrail

Abstract lines on metal panels in series of three capped with a  rectangular profile metal all with the scenic rhododendron forest behind.

Metal Panel Options

Many different deck railing designs and ideas can be created with metal panel inserts and this rotating gif shows some great deck ideas pictures.


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Circular Pattern
Metal

Wrought railings turn circles in this pattern with interlaced central circles where the intersections are circles with a row of small circles at bottom and top.

Colonial Mediterranean Wrought Iron Railing

This colonial mediterranean wrought iron railing is decorated and stylized with arrows and fleur-de-lys such that it has a look of multiple tridents.

Ornamental Intricate Wrought
Iron Handrail

This extremely ornamental wrought iron handrail is really beyond the ability of words to describe except to say that there is more pattern than open space.

Washington DC Soldiers Home Wrought Iron Porch Railing

Vertical metal balusters are crowned with alternate cross and arrow motifs on this historic photograph of the Washington DC Soldiers Home.

Neoclassical Wrought Iron Railing Carriage Entry

This type of elevated stairs is a architectural relic which did not have such ornate iron railings and allowed people to exit the horse-drawn carriage without dirtying their feet. 

Circular Wrought Iron
Guardrail

Ornate wrought iron railings are another option for creating a custom guard rail. As seen in this picture, it’s easier and more economical to do a repeating pattern over some length.

Wrought Iron Ovals
Deck Railing

These black iron ovals are pipe shapes and give the appearance of vertical balusters and accompanying ease of installation but also give some comforting curves.

Palm Beach Carribean Lattice
Guard Rail

This Palm Beach Caribbean Chippendale deck lattice idea shows a framed metal diamond lattice central section with small verticals above.

IRS Building Metal
Railing

This is an actual photo of a real IRS building thanks to Reddit there are all kinds of amazing images available for the viewing public to browse and comment.

Iron Railing with Matching Post

Historic wrought iron is a work of beauty with multiple patterns in a highly ornate style and posts that are metal and feature similar workmanship.

Multiple Design Iron Handrail

This porch railing and stairs handrail is displays a pattern of rightside up and upside down hearts with a vine and leaf motif and amazing wrought iron posts.

Continental Iron Railing

This iron railing is similar to a Grecian urn style with spade and trident shaped figures topped by a coiling metal rope across the top with open volute.

Singer Tower Intricate
Metal Railing

The historic handrails featured here come from the Library of Congress where some truly amazing pieces of architectural history are stored as photographs.

Neoclassical Ionic Column Metal Balusters

These extra-tall metal balusters resemble decorated columns of the Ionic order perfectly fitting for the old Morosco Theater in New York City. 

Branch Style Metal
Railing

This intertwined and sinuous metal railing seems to be inspired by the natural and organic shapes of rustic wood branch railing.

Savannah, Georgia Historic Metal Porch Railing

This home’s front porch railing marries square, rectilinear forms with spirals and curlicues in a shape somewhat like the “#” symbol.

Blue Painted Metal Organic
Baluster

This stair railing features repeating vine and circle motif balusters that have been painted blue while the top banister is painted a bright yellow.

Two Pattern Wrought Iron
Railing

Two simple patterns are joined on this brick front porch handrail and stairs railing. The main field is an up and down squiggle with modified sideways figure 8s above.

Circular Metal Railing

Another of the railing design ideas which involved some interesting geometry and difficulty in connecting the pieces is this circular metal.


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Cable Deck Railing
Designs

This deck overlooking a lake features arched metal newel posts mounted to the outside of the deck framing with a wood cap

Keuka Studios Prairie Style Cable Railing

Keuka Studios Tokyo Style cable railing has I-beam style posts side mounted with pine tree shapes cut out of the web of the post.

Metal Pipes and Cable
Infill

Metal pipes are used here as the support posts and cable wire railings are strung in between for and interesting look.

Cable Railing and Metal Pipe

Cable railing is strung all in silver between small diameter square metal pipes with only a round metal pipe for a sparse minimal contemporary architecture on this deck stairs idea.

Vertical Cable Deck Railing Ideas

Cable railings are mounted between stainless steel pipes on top and bottom which run between white post covers and caps.

Alternating Wire Railing

This stair railing has cable railings running up and down from alternating points to make a continuous squiggle across the field of the guard rail.


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Ornate Tile and Stone Bridge Railing

Stone balusters on this bridge railing are decorated with an otnate pattern while the posts receive  a special tile treatment. Definitely not a DIY project.

Stone Balusters And Solid Railing

Stone turned symmetrical balusters are centered between two panels of solid infill on this Tuscan style master suite sunset porch. 

Stone Turned Baluster Railing

These simple stone balusters are shaped in the Grecian urn style with a larger diameter bottom that narrows and then flares out at the top.

Stone Turned Baluster
Railing

These simple stone balusters are shaped in the Grecian urn style with a larger diameter bottom that narrows and then flares out at the top.

Decorative Stone
Baluster

These stone balusters are heavily weighted with a large diameter that shrinks rapidly to a fluted column top by a ring of studs.

Obligatory Cats on a Railing – Historic!

Two cats, Herman and Vermin, are seated on a brick railing of the New Orleans home of Frances Benjamin Johnston, and early American female photographer, in a picture taken between 1920 and 1950.

Washington Bridge Ornate Stone Railings

The ornate pattern on the Washington Bridge is a testament and tribute to all of the workers, crafters, laborers, architects and tradespeople that made it happen. 

Korean Castle Stone
Handrail

The stone handrail on this Korean castle gives a sense of what a monumental building material stone can be when integrated into a thoughtful plan.

Italian Balcony Stone
Railing

An Italian balcony overlooks the sea through finely crafted stone balusters. These have large bases with a turned and rapidly narrowing column.

Stone Solid Guardrail with Carvings

solid granite guardrail is decorated with various different carvings in this gorgeous outdoor railing design.

Stone Parapet Screening

A garden parapet is decorated with multiple different modified X shapes and ornate multiple-profile top cap and post finials.

Black Marble Front Porch Railing

Slender turned railings in black marble adorn this front porch. They are really quite shiny in this picture.

Precast Concrete Balustrade Railing

Precast concrete balustrade systems can be used like on this balcony railing and painted multiple colors. Precast concrete is lighter and more versatile than stone.


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Stained Glass Mandala Railing

This stained glass railing is in the shape of a circle radiating out from a central point like a mandala. The effect is lovely with the colored tiles darkening away from the center.

Rustic Wood Framed Glass Handrail

This rustic home has rock siding and a cedar shake roof. It also has a glass panel handrail with rustic wood posts and rails which matches the window wall and lets the view in.

Frosted Glass Patio Handrails

This frosted glass patio handrail shows how glass can create a privacy effect while also letting some light through. The panels are framed by metal posts and rails.

LED Lighted Etched Glass
Baluster Railing

This glass baluster railing integrates LED lighted etched panels with a plant or vine drawing. This is a great way to make a bold statement with your deck railing.

Textured Glass Panel
Handrail

Textured glass lets through more light and more of the view than frosted glass but since it is clearer, it is not as private and is more for aesthetics.

Wood Top Rail on Glass
Guardrail

This glass panel guardrail has a long run of panels without any supporting posts capped by an a horizontal wood top that seems to be floating in the air.

Glass Baluster
Railing

Glass balusters like these can be a stock item at home improvement stores and this is a great way to drastically change the look of your deck.

Completely Frameless Glass
Panel Railing

These glass panels are suspended between the thinnest of supports giving the look of a completely invisible railing perfect on this modernist porch.

Glass Panel Railing with Etched Design

Glass panels are etched with an abstract design that looks like a rubber bouncy ball splashing its way down the stairs railing.

Tiffany Style Stained Glass
Balusters

Tiffany style stained glass balusters are set into wood top and bottom rails and are matched by an accompanying post cap.

Double Top Rail over Glass Panel Guardrail

This glass panel guardrail utilizes a continuous metal top rail over framed sections of glass panels. This deck overlooks the water and shows a beautiful sunset.

Stained Wood Framed Glass
Railing Design

This glass panel railing also has a double top but this time the effect is more craftsman since the posts and rails are wood which has been stained a chestnut brown color. 


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Log Rails with Metal Balusters and Flower Inset

This amazing stair railing idea combines three round logs as the rails with vertical metal balusters below a pine cone motif metal insert..

Knee Wall Railing with
X Infill

Solid wall railing is mixed with Chippendale double star inserts to let some light in and allow the breeze to pass through and cool the front porch in the summer.

Horizontal Rebar Rustic
Handrail

A good DIY deck railing idea, this project uses material available at all home improvement stores and lumberyards: 4×4 pressure treated posts and horizontal 1/2″ rebar. 

Bench Railing with Metal Top Railing

This wood deck bench railing has a metal pipe railing perched on top, bringing the height of the guard rail higher while also making seating and keeping the view open.

Rope Diamond Railing

Rope is twisted in a whimsical diamond pattern on a pressure treated frame. This is a great design for treehouse like shown in the picture.

Horizontal Rope Railing

Rope is strung horizontally through holes in tapering, white-painted wood posts with a white trim board on the floor tying the whole thing together.

Cable Railing with Formed Corners and Different Height Metal Top

This deck remodel idea is composed of main sections of cable railing with formed metal radius corners capped by wood 1×6 top with taller posts capped with small tables.

Branch Railing and
Metal Balusters

Metal balusters railing sections are mixed with sections of branch railing all built onto a framework of composite lumber on a deck built with composite decking.

Ipe Framed Railing with Craftsman Metal Panels

This ipe wood idea for a deck handrail encloses metal sections with craftsman motifs on metal pipe mounted to the posts that project behind the plane of the posts.

Cable and Branch
Railing

Mountain Laurel Handrail sections are mixed with sections of horizontal cable railing. The cable railing lets the view through while the branches blend in.

Horizontal Board and Pipe
Railing

Horizontal boards in diminishing sizes are alternated with metal pipe in what is a truly eye-catching contemporary design for this porch and patio.

Metal Frame Railing with Glass above Hardie Panel

Metal Frame Railing with Glass above solid Hardie Panel sections topped with about ten inches of glass all framed in square black metal pipe.

Mission Style Wood Balusters Mixed with Metal

Mission style wood deck railing designs are flanked by metal balusters. The posts jut above the top rail and are capped with alternating glass led lights and copper caps.

Wood Framed Glass and Metal Balusters with Built up Wood Corners

Two sections of glass balusters open up the view. Built up wood corner posts transition to sections of metal balusters.

Metal Balustrade with Deck Railing Bench and Glass Balusters

A metal balustrade terminates in an ipe wood deck railing bench with glass baluster pruivacy screen and built in cooler wells for wine, beer and liquor bottles.

Metal Framed Horizontal Wood Privacy Rail

A somewhat craftsman look, this railing is framed in square black metal and has a continuous top above solid horizontal cedar 1×4 boards.

Log and Branch Railing with Glass Panels

An amazing handrail for an amazing view! This log and branch railing includes curved cut glass pieces inset among natural and organic shapes made with natural logs. 

Cable Railing Above Wood 2×2 Railing

Horizontal cable railing runs from post to post above vertical 2×2 pickets in an interesting combination of metal and wood elements on this forest deck.

Glass and 2×2 Baluster
Railing

This snowy deck railing shines with the post lights reflecting off the white rails and 6″ glass balusters alternating with 2×2 pickets turned diamond style.

Knee Wall Railing with Vertical Balusters

A short knee wall railing is broken up by sections of vertical 2×2 balusters on this contemporary porch with a grill ready for summer!

Craftsman Wood Railing with Safety Plexiglass

Craftsman style wood panels can have lots of space and still meet building code requirements which do not allow any space larger than a 4″ sphere can pass through.

Mixed Glass Panels and Horizontal 1×6 Board Railing

Sections of horizontal 1×6 boards spaced 2.5″ apart alternate with glass panels that have no top rail making for an undulating view of the mountains beyond.

Stained Glass Leaf Motif Wrought Iron Railing

Another unique handrail design is shown here in this wrought iron railing in a flower and leaf motif with the openings filled with brown or green stained glass.

2×2 and Stock Metal Baluster Porch Handrail

Runs of vertical 2x2s alternate with stock metal balusters set below double top plates intermittently connected by short 2x2s for this home decor idea.

Wood Framed Horizontal Metal
Pipe Railing

Horizontal metal pipes are framed in boxed, picture frame style sections of unstained cedar. The combination of materials is easy on the eyes.

Solid Wall Below Cable
Railing

A solid wall railing is topped with three strands of cable railing running between 4×4 posts with copper trims all capped with a2x4 wood top rail.

Log Posts and Vertical Cable
Railing

Large diameter, at least 12″ log posts are connected by somewhat smaller log top rails filled with sections of vertically strung cable railing. 

Vertical Rebar Baluster With Wood Beam Rails

Rustic barnwood 4×6 beams are connected by vertically spaced metal raber in a great design for this reclaimed wood timber frame home.

Old Window with Turned Wood Balusters

A door finds new life repurposed and upcycled into a railing for this outdoor garden. Turned balusters are a nice counterpoint to the fanciful railing.

Log Posts and Top Rail with Metal Branch and Pine Cone Balusters

Large diameter knotty pine posts are connected by 4″ log top rails with mortise and tenon joints. Metal branch pickets are the infill capped by a metal pine branch and pinecone motif.

Mixed Glass, Cable and
Wood Railing

Stained wood frames glass panels with a single horizontal cable rail running between double wood top plates in a truly mixed media design.

Log Top Rail and Posts with
Chicken Wire

Eight inch diameter log posts are connected by log tops and filled with chicken wire in a rustic design that also lets in the view of the scenery beyond.

Blue Rope and Metal
Railing

Metal angles with drilled holes make a loom upon which blue rope is woven such that they can be changed as often as you’re inspired.

Granite and Wrought
Iron Railing

Wrought iron panels with a circle and diamond pattern are painted white and installed in sections between granite 6″ posts and below a granite railing.

Granite and Wrought Iron Grand
Stair Railing

Stone and wrought iron are masterfully combined in this grand stair railing with ornate Grecian urn style newel posts, extra-large end posts and stone volutes with wrought iron infill.

Continuous 2×4 Double Top with Metal Balusters Below

Stained wood decking and railing is combined with stock metal balusters and a continuous wood top rail in this comfortable outdoor living space.

Standard 2×4 on Edge with
Metal Balusters

Turn the top and bottom 2×4 rails on edge and the railing takes on whole different look as seen here with balusters of stock metal pipes.


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Railing Design with
Oars

For the paddler who loves to canoe and/or kayak, this oar railing decorating idea for home is the perfect choice. This design is the most attractive of the bunch with nice spacing and curves.

Vertical Rope Railing with Boat Cleats

Boat dock cleats are anchored to the floor and ropes are strung between them and a mtop plate for a nice nautical theme handrail.

Horizontal Paddling Oar
Railing

This oar handrail idea has the paddles running horizontally and that makes the proportions look a bit forced and contrived.

Snowshoe Railing

For the snowshoers in the snowy climates, these showshoe railings are a cool design. This pair of snowshoes looks old but you could mix it up with new ones too.

Fish Baluster Railing

For the angler and avid fisherman, these fish shaped balusters are the ticket to a monstrous fish tale. This is a perfect holiday gift for those hard to shop for on your list.

Ski Lift Cable Balusters

Reclaimed wood posts and railings are matched in equal measure by large diameter vertical cables that have been reclaimed from a Colorado ski lift.

Vertical Ski Baluster Railing

Skiers show off their spirit with this collection of vertical cross country skis making a fence with natural log posts and top and bottom rails for support

Horizontal Snow Ski Deck Railing

Cross country skis are arranged horizontally on this porch deck railing which also has a section of horizontal strung cable railing to finish out.

Baseball Bat Baluster Stair Railing

Baseball bats make the balusters on this stair railing. The kneewall below the railing has a step up to match the spacing of the baseball bats.

Wine Barrel Stave Baluster Porch Railing

For the wine enthusiast, why not wine barrel balusters? Here, the staves from wine barrels are left their natural color while the posts and lumber are painted green. 

Antler Railing

An amazing antler railing made with elk antlers. Dry-stacked stone columns sprout curved cedar 4x4s which have the antlers attached springing from the bottom.

Merman SeaHorse Railing Theme

This, ahem, interesting decorating idea comes from the Schlossbrücke bridge near the historic palace of Berlin. It depicts two creatures with the torso and head of a man, the forequarters of a horse and a mermaid’s tail.

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Best Deck Railing Design and Ideas Infographic

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There you have it: more than 200 of the best deck railing design ideas that you can use on your next deck construction or deck renovation.

Deck Design Projects Require Planning

Getting a deck design right necessitates a good plan. Decking type, deck railing design, and overall dimensions are some considerations. Decking refers to the boards that comprise the floor. There are many different choices like composite decking, pressure treated lumber decking, and naturally durable decking. Handrail design options are also numerous. Glass balusters and glass panels are a popular and attractive option. The clear glass allows an unobstructed view of the outdoors. Another popular choice, especially on home styled after modernist architecture, is cable rail which is made by stringing thin, braided, stainless steel cables between posts. There are also composite rail systems which look very similar to pressure treated wood handrail designs. Wrought iron rails hail as one of the earliest forms of guardrail and continue a fine tradition of skilled craftsmanship.

What are Some Deck Railing Ideas?

Here are some deck railing ideas to add the finishing touch to your exterior design project. The variety of materials available allows you to choose the perfect style to pick a complimentary railing to create a cohesive overall look. Consider each of the following popular choices to find one that reflects your personal tastes.

  • Wood Railing– This could be a regular deck guardrail produced with vertical wood balusters or it may be an ornamental design and style. For a rustic look, nothing can beat the appearance of a classic wood railing. Create a traditional appearance with wooden balusters, either in a conventional rounded vertical design or ones featuring ornamental carvings to complement a more elaborate outdoor decorating scheme. Wood can be stained in the same hue as the rest of your deck, as well as painted to match any color imaginable.
  • Cable Railings – These stainless steel wire railings can be a fantastic decision to emphasize robust horizontal lines around the deck. Cable railings are another good choice for homeowners wanting a modern feel to the exterior of their homes. Made from stainless steel, these railings can be configured to highlight the sleek lines of your deck, as well as be designed in other ways to create an industrial feel. They are a great choice for homeowners who like the minimalist look, as they add visual interest, without being overpowering.
  • Glass Balusters – Glass is an excellent material for deck guard rails considering the fact that it gives lots of various configurations and selections. Glass allows more light to filter in, as well as offers a truly contemporary appearance. Depending on your tastes, choose from multiple designs and colors to match the rest of your exterior design. Have all your guardrails constructed from glass, or just a few balusters made from the material to create a lovely visual contrast. They make a stunning visual impact, especially if your deck faces the sunrise or sunset.
  • Wrought Iron Balustrade – Wrought iron is really a classic material for balustrades and is actually a great solution for Tuscan style. Wrought iron can be introduced to both traditional designs, as well as contemporary schemes. Use it to highlight a Tuscan style or to add interest to an Old World exterior decorating plan. Use it in the handrails, balusters or other elements of your deck. It is the perfect choice for homeowners who already have a few wrought iron elements in their landscaping design, such as fencing or garden statues.
  • Artistic Handrail – Some deck guard rails systems are wonderful and functional, like water cut metal panels or Mountain Laurel Handrail. Talk to a professional installer about other artistic options to add focal points around your deck. Consider plant boxes in the corners or hanging from the handrail or other custom options to make your outdoor space as unique as your interior design.

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Where to Start?

Make sure you check out this huge guide of deck railing ideas!

When working on a deck project, it’s helpful to have plenty of different deck railing ideas. Mountain Laurel Handrails are the system of choice when you’re looking for inspiration in a railing design. Each one of these sections is a custom crafted work of art that is sure to be the centerpiece of home decor. This is really the best wood deck railing idea that you’ll find! If you’re building or remodeling a log home or timber frame this is definitely the most distinctive style of railing to ever grace a house decorated with wood. The dimensional lumber in this railing system is often custom selected based on the original idea the designer had when beginning work. Red cedar is the typical lumber for the boards but other options include oak, yellow pine, ipe, walnut, locust logs, and the list goes on!

Deck Railing Idea

Metal Deck Railing Ideas

Cable Railing

But maybe you’re looking for a different option. There are plenty of metal deck railing ideas too. Cable railings are a common system that is especially popular on modernist architecture. This type of guard rail generally uses woven stainless steel cables about a quarter of an inch thick running horizontally between upright posts. The railing system requires special fasteners to connect the cables to the posts and they have to be tensioned with a special tool. My favorite metal railing ideas are these artistic metal railings. These metal panels are probably water cut on a big, cool, loud machine. Each one of these railings is custom made, just like Mountain Laurel Handrail.

Wrought iron is another common metal railing type. There are so many options with wrought iron and, historically, some of the most intricate railing designs have been in wrought iron especially in front of cathedrals and official buildings. Metal can be shaped into upright pickets, much like the common wood deck railing design with pressure treated 2x2s. But metal can also be formed into ornate patterns like the snarl of a dragon and its fiery breath. Wrought iron is a good option for certain areas and architectural styles. Some wrought iron styles can be traditional but others can be as unique as the blacksmith that fires them. Just like any other home design project, it’s important to have clear goals in mind before starting the project accompanied by a well thought out and prepared set of plans to use during the construction and building process.

Unique Wrought Iron Railing

Glass Deck Railing Ideas

Other kinds of deck railings that might inspire an idea are glass balusters. I really like this design as there are lots of different options and combinations to really liven up your decor, even though they are see through. Glass balusters are a good idea for the coast since they are relatively easy to clean and would handily withstand the elements like salt water. Glass panels are another good idea and offer multiple benefits. In the mountains, these glass panels offer protection from cool winds while you relax on your deck. They also allow a completely unobstructed view of mountainous beauty.

What other deck railing ideas are there?

Bench Seating

Sometimes deck railing can be more than just railing. For example, decorative caps on railing posts can incorporate electric or solar powered lights. This type of railing is not only stylish. It can also illuminate the perimeter of any deck or walkway. What is more, as with any outdoor lighting, motion detectors and light sensors can provide convenient options for turning the lights on and off automatically. Along with lights, railings can also include built-in planters and flower boxes to enliven the design of your deck with color and natural beauty. You can even furnish your deck with railings that double as benches for seating. Add some cushions for comfort, too.

Deck Railing Benches

Deck Railing Planters

Simple Deck Railing Ideas

Apple Computers and Google are number one for a reason – they make and keep all that they do completely simple. Simple designs are great and they do not have to be boring! Like the Nike Swoosh logo, saying less sometimes says quite a bit. To keep your deck railing idea simple, keep your eye out for solid colors. Notice the white, drab colors and the straight lines. Remember, “simple deck railing ideas” does not mean easy deck railing ideas! Watch for “plain Jane” white or even a simple black tone that stays consistent throughout your deck railing. To follow through with a simple deck railing idea, do not get distracted with bright colors but also steer clear of highly riveted wood patterns. Solid, smooth materials are your best bet (such as a painted metal railing or a well-sanded, heavy wood with small pores. To maintain a simple deck railing idea throughout your entire deck project, always follow the mantra that less is more: less color diversity, less directions for the wood to follow, and less clutter!

Simple Deck Railing Idea

Complex deck railing ideas

Complex Deck Railing Idea

While simple is one way to go, complicated deck railing ideas to show off the handiwork of someone is another way to go. Start with a good design and consider your custom railing options. Like a finely cut ice sculpture, there is something to an intricate deck railing idea that will cause heads to turn. To create a complex deck railing idea blueprint, start with the simple deck railing concept (straight lines and flat, consistent colors or woods) and add from the symmetric foundation laid there, like curved lines and the addition of solid walls (for privacy). Complex deck railing ideas, while they appear complex, must have a rhythm or theme to them or they will just look like a messy grouping of metal/wood.  Also, notice that it is possible to combine different types of railing designs into one installation. The side of the deck in this railing picture incorporates a wave design with vertical balusters and a tall wall for privacy while the front has a framed design with glass panels.

Carolina Branch Railing

Let me know what your favorite deck railing idea is of those above. Maybe I missed one… or two… Let me know in the comments!back

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