Deck Railings: Ideas and Options

Explore options for deck railings, from ornate designs to simple, functional styles.

Deck Railing

Deck Railing

A wide shot of a light colored wood deck railing for the deck.

Photo by: Jaroslav74


By: Sean McEvoy
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A deck can add value and beauty to any outdoor living space, but on its own, it can sometimes feel a bit lonely. Luckily, the array of deck railing ideas and options provide infinite possibilities for livening up your deck.

The first consideration as you browse deck railing ideas is what material you're most interested in. Don't feel bound to the deck's surface material. In fact, a contrasting material can often provide the most aesthetically pleasing appearance. For example, if you have a wooden deck, a wrought-iron railing is a great option, and may tend to be less obstructive of views of the yard than a wooden railing.

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Speaking of unobstructed views, consider a glass or plastic panel wrap-around railing. Designs featuring transparent features like this often rely on evenly spaced, sturdy posts spaced throughout to support the glass or plastic; these can provide a modern, stylish touch.

Keeping it simple doesn't have to mean keeping it boring, though. If you're attracted to a more traditional wooden railing, add post caps and interior latticework or woodworking to add some visual flair. Topping the post caps with lanterns can also be a functional touch that's quite pleasing to the eye.

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Pop-Up Gazebo

Enjoy the four-walled privacy of your own gazebo without spending hundreds of dollars on a wood structure. Canvas gazebos are easy to set up and you can bring them with you to your next home.

Photo By: Wayfair

Private Lakefront Dock and Deck

On the lakefront, a private dock hosts boats and jet skis. Up top is a deck with 360-degree views.

Photo By: Texas Hill Country Photography

Deck Balcony Overlooking Trees

Walk out onto the simple balcony that runs the length of the house and it's as though you're stepping into the treetops.

Photo By: Specht Harpman

HGTV Dream Home 2004: Covered Boat Dock

A 230-foot boardwalk stretches over the Georgia marshes and straight to the home's boat dock. The covered dock and screened-in living room provide extra entertaining space.

The Beautiful After

By dividing the overly large deck space into rooms, this Georgia deck has flow and meaning.

Photo By: MOSAIC Group

Multilevel Deck with Lattice

This multilevel deck offers plenty of space for entertaining, while lattice on the lower level adds a decorative touch.

Curved Deck and Dining Room

Replace part of a water-guzzling lawn with outdoor living and dining rooms. Modern building materials make it possible to design a deck that fits into the tightest spaces.

A Pressure Treated Pine Deck with Pergola

A pressure-treated pine (PTP) deck gets a stylish upgrade with a pergola and dining area. PTP structures are economic and practical due to a lifetime warranty against rotting and termites but they are subject to cracking and cupping in prolonged hot weather. To prevent this, hose the deck down occasionally to minimize heat exposure.

Photo By: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers],

Spacious Lakeside Deck With Gorgeous View

This lakeside cabin features a spacious deck with a breathtaking view. It's the deck version of glamping: one with nature, in appropriately quiet luxury.

Photo By: Zach Benson ©Zack Benson

An Ipe deck with a Sun Shade Area

Here is an expansive, open Ipe deck that offers ample room for both full sun and shade activities. Ipe is a tough, durable and visually striking hardwood that is popular among homeowners. Tips for DIY installation: Use pre-grooved boards which will save you time in assembling; Carefully inspect all boards in advance to weed out any that may be slightly bent or warped; Use a face mask when installing to prevent irritation from the sawdust.

Photo By: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers],

If you're looking to get back to nature, consider a deck railing made of recovered wood or intertwined branches. This rustic look can be a great complement to a modern deck surface.

Color choice can also make a big difference. Lighten up a dark wood with a white or light-colored railing, or add a pop of color with a yellow or bright blue design.

Lastly, don't be afraid of curves. If it's built correctly, your deck is flat, but your railing doesn't have to be. Curved wood or wrought iron can add a great visual accent as well.

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