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.

Be Inspired: Deck Photos

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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

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

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

Multilevel Deck with Lattice

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

A Composite Deck with Nature Sightlines

Want a deck with a commanding view of the natural surroundings? This composite deck is ideal for homeowners who want a long-lasting, low maintenance material compared to natural wood. Keep in mind that PVC decks can fade, buckle and harbor mildew after prolonged periods of hot or cold weather. But you can use a manufacturer’s suggested brightener to enhance the appearance and regular cleaning with soap and water will reduce buckling and mildew.

Photo By: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers],

An Example of a Composite Deck and Tigerwood Porch

Expand your entertainment options and utilize your underdeck as well as your balcony deck like this example which features a screened-in porch of Tigerwood and composite decking for both levels. To maintain the beauty of composite surfaces, never use acetone or other solvents for cleaning. Warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush work best. Tigerwood does not require a sealant unless you want to retain the natural color instead of letting it age naturally.

Photo By: MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers],

Deck and Mountain View

The gorgeous views from this beach house deck just don't quit. Marsh, ocean, mountains, it's all here.

Photo By: Bill Zeldis Photography

A White Dual Purpose Deck Adjoins a Lush Green Lawn and Fire Pit

A dazzling white dual-purpose deck stands out against the lush green lawn and stone fire pit in a design that includes Trex Transcends decking featuring a rain escape system with hidden downspouts, Azek railing posts and Techno-bloc pavers. Trey Transcends decks are easy to maintain with soapy water and soft brushes for cleaning. If removing ice or snow, use a plastic shovel. To remove hard water mineral deposits, use white vinegar or a product recommended by the manufacturer.

Photo By: Kane Landscapes, member of The National Association of Landscape Professionals (

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.

Deck Design Ideas

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