Skip to Content

Deck Railing Ideas | 10 Styles We Can’t Get Enough Of

Deck Railing Ideas | 10 Styles We Can’t Get Enough Of

If you’re inspired to update your deck railing but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. Here are some unique deck railing ideas that are sure to make your outdoor space pop. Read on to see our favorites.


Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.


10 Unique Deck Railing Ideas

Many people overlook deck railing as a vital part of their elevated outdoor space. Some deck railing come in funky shapes, some come in varying materials, and others provide a vibrant pop to the area with bright colors. Don’t know your deck railing style? Check out these ideas for some inspiration!

1. Natural Wood Railing

Deck railing idea featuring a natural wood railing made from thin sticks

Tricia Daniel/Shutterstock

Wood railings are one of the more common decking options, and it’s no wonder why. The versatility of wood railings also provides an opening for unique shapes and designs to help your deck stand out.

This is where natural wood railings come in. You could even call natural wood railings tree railings because it looks like you’re using branches as the slats on your deck. Using natural wood helps you feel like you’re out in nature, even when you’re relaxing on the deck.

2. Bamboo Railing

Example for a piece on bamboo deck railing ideas featuring large bamboo sticks grouped into sixes with spaces between each group

My Lit’l Eye/Shutterstock

Using natural wood for your deck railing is environmentally friendly, but the style of tree branches might not suit your home’s aesthetic. If you like straight lines but want to repurpose an organic material, consider bamboo.

Bamboo railing gives you clean vertical lines that look great on deck railing. Group five or six of them together for the appearance of thick slats. You can use them in different groups to create a pattern around your deck as well. Consider using a group of six, a group of three, a group of six, and so on to create visual interest on your railing.

3. Monochrome Railing

For a roundup of the best deck railing ideas, a monochrome deck with diagonal decking boards next to a wooden railing overlooking a scenic river bend

Anne Kitzman/Shutterstock

Using the same type of wood for both your deck and your railing creates a classy look. You can stain or paint them the same colors so they blend in and don’t obstruct your view. This look is especially nice if it fits into the overall style of your house, either by blending together or giving a nice pop of contrast.

4. Contrasting Railing

White trex deck railing idea with trex or wooden frames and metal balusters

Sleigh by Design/Shutterstock

Speaking of contrast, another cool look is having two different colors of railing on your deck. Consider using one color of paint or stain for the structure of the railing and a contrasting color for the rails.

In this inspiration image, the dark railings almost disappear compared to the bright white structure. Both of these colors also look amazing against the gray wood deck. The house itself most likely has white trim, so you can factor the colors in across your whole property.

When you’re going for a contrasting look, you don’t have to keep it black and white. Consider pops of color for a unique railing. Pick your base color and then find a contrasting hue for the slats.

5. Metal Railing

Metal deck railing idea with glass in the middle of the frames overlooking a beautiful pine-lined forest

Nick Fedirko/Shutterstock

Metal is a material that is useful for almost anything; that includes deck railing. Metal railing can shape into whatever strikes your fancy, and some people choose to go above and beyond.

You can go with a modern, sleek look by using the metal in straight lines to form the railing, like in the inspiration image. You could make it more ornamental by adding designs or shapes into the railing.

6. Cable Railing

Thin metal cable deck railing idea running perpendicular to the straight composite deck boards

JuneJ/Shutterstock

People often think cable or wire railings are industrial and only fit in with steel or concrete buildings. This inspiration image proves otherwise. The metal posts and cable railing look striking with the wood deck and siding.

One of the biggest benefits of cable railing is that it’s barely there. If you have a spectacular view, you don’t want to block it with thick wooden slats. These cables don’t obstruct your view. And while the image has metal posts, you can choose wood or plastic in different widths for your custom railing.

7. Glass Railing

Walkout deck with glass railings with white frames in the back of a heavily forested lawn

Artazum/Shutterstock

While we’re on the subject of keeping your view pristine, it’s only natural to explain the option of glass railings. Though the guardrail and borders of the railing will be wood, metal, or plastic, there won’t be any railings in sight. Instead, glass panels slide into place to make your property look slick.

8. Horizontal Slat Railing

Horizontal slat deck railing idea with a man crouching in the foreground

LesPalenik/Shutterstock

This is one of the most classic deck looks. It’s timeless because it looks simple but streamlined. You can use any material you want for this railing, like metal or plastic. Wood, of course, is the more traditional.

Because this type of deck railing is like a clean slate, the sky’s the limit once it’s installed. You can stain the wood any shade or paint it a variety of colors. You can make it blend in with your deck or match the trim on your house.

The posts need to be strong enough to hold the slats. You’ll need them placed every six feet so the horizontal slats won’t sag over time. They also keep the fence stable. But beyond that, there’s some flexibility with the slats themselves. You can choose to have them cut thin or thick, placed flat or vertical to run down the deck itself.

9. Crossed Slat Railing

Crossed slat deck railing idea found in Costa Rica overlooking a gorgeous green volcano

kengrx19/Shutterstock

Crossed slat railings are just one pattern that looks great bordering your deck. You can use round wood like in the inspiration image, or choose flat planks to create a different look. You could also double up each line of the X so it looks thicker.

Crossed slats aren’t the only pattern that looks nice on a deck railing. Your choices range from a simple, straight-line layout to intricate geometric designs. Whatever look you are going for is possible with a patterned railing!

10. Built-in Bench Railing

Built-in Bench deck railing idea with beautifully-cut wood slats

Anne Kitzman/Shutterstock

Since you’re already making an attractive railing for your deck, go ahead and add some functionality to the design. You can build these sturdy wood benches into the railing so you have a picturesque place to perk and enjoy the outdoors. As with other wood railing options, you can stain or paint these benches to match or contrast your deck and house.

Other Railing Options

In addition to materials like wood, metal, cable, and glass, there are other things you can use for railings. These unique ideas might help you think of the perfect material for your deck.

Plastic Railing 

While plastic isn’t the most durable material, it does provide a cut and dry look for uniformity and consistency. A plastic railing is also a noble choice for wet climates as it repels water and doesn’t soak it up as a wood railing would. 

Circular Railing

Deck railing can use straight, cut, and dry lines. If you want your deck to stand out, try a circular pattern. Instead of the typical straight-line designs, this type of railing incorporates the soft circular shape.

This helps create a truly unique look. A circular railing is typically made of a metal material shaped and overlaid in a way that still provides the protection a deck railing should.

Mesh Railing

Mesh railing provides peace of mind knowing that you won’t have a pet or child fall off the deck and get injured. It’s not one of the most common types of railing. But it does add a unique look while adding that extra layer of safety. Mesh railing doesn’t have to be boring. Use different colored mesh or get some with funky designs to keep things interesting.  

Stone Railing

Similar to the concrete railing, a stone railing is a bold statement piece that is sure to stand out from other deck railings. Because it is heavy, you want to ensure your deck is capable of holding the extra weight stone railing requires. If your deck can support heavy stones and you want a bold statement piece, a stone railing may be calling your name. 

Rope Railing

The rope is a staple product in rustic design themes and isn’t going away any time soon. When rope dangles between deck railing posts, it gives off an old-school rustic vibe making it a perfect option for farm homes.

The great thing about rope railing is the ability to choose the thickness of the rope and how tight you want it to sit. Some rope railings are loose and swing back and forth with momentum, while others pull tight. The choice is up to you!

Things to Consider

For a piece on deck railing ideas, a guy building a thick deck railing by some steps that lead to a small wooded backyard

M. Hencher/Shutterstock

With so many railing options, choosing what look you want to move forward with can become difficult. To better equip you to make the right decision, here are a few aspects of the railing to consider before reaching your final verdict:

  • Functionality – one of the most important aspects to consider before choosing what deck railing to move forward with is its functionality. If your ultimate goal is to provide a safety feature to your deck, you may want to consider a mesh or glass railing that provides maximum coverage. If you simply want a design statement, you have a lot more flexibility on the type of railing you choose.
  • Cost – choosing a railing that fits your budget should be a top priority. Before determining what style you want, make sure to weigh all your options. You may find a more cost-effective option that you like more than what you originally had planned!
  • Style – the style of your outdoor space is a vital part of your home’s curb appeal. When the design of your deck railing doesn’t go with your home, it can turn into an eye-sore and take away from your property’s beauty. Pick a style of railing that compliments the feel of your home to ensure you are getting the most from your project. 
  • Deck Structure – choosing a railing design that is structurally sound for your deck isn’t an aspect of the process many people consider. However, it is a vital one. For instance, if you have a plastic deck base, you may want to steer clear of stone or concrete railing because the plastic will not have the strength to hold the stone. 

What’s Your Favorite Deck Railing IDea?

So there you have it — our favorite deck railing ideas. Decks don’t have to be boring. With so many options out there, it’s stressful to know where to start. Hopefully, this list inspired you to take the next step in your deck renovation, and you have a better idea of what options are available!

You Might Also Like: