7 Deck Railing Design Ideas

Check out these unique ideas for deck railing styles, whether you want an unobstructed view or privacy, there is a deck railing design for you!
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
Last Update:
March 28, 2024

What is a deck without its railing? Deck railings significantly improve safety on your deck - instead of a lone platform with edges you could fall over there are railings to keep you on the deck and give you something to lean on! Deck railings play an important role in enhancing safety, aesthetics and functionality. You can get really creative and choose from countless deck railing ideas for your next project. Most homeowners would likely be surprised by the versatility of deck designs and materials and how they can complement a wide array of architectural styles. In addition to the railing itself you can add on decorative elements like post caps and balusters. In this post, we will showcase seven stunning deck railing ideas to help inspire your next home improvement project!

1. Classic Elegance: Traditional Wood Deck Railing Designs

Traditional wood deck railings

Traditional wood deck railing designs exude a classic elegance. Using wood as your railing material barely narrows it down though - there are a multitude of wood deck railing designs. One example is the classic picket deck railing. With this design, you have evenly spaced, vertical wooden pickets that are held together by horizontal top rails and bottom rails. This simple vertical baluster design has a lot of versatility and can complement many home and landscape designs. Another railing design idea is to use horizontal slats, which can offer a lot more privacy than the classic picket deck railing. In this design, wooden slats are placed next to each other much more closely than the picket design. It also has top rails and bottom rails bordering the horizontal slats.

Whether you choose a vertical or horizontal deck railing design there is sure to be a style that you will love! On top of that, there are different materials to choose from - wood offers warmth and beauty that cannot be matched. Cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated lumber are a few types of wood that can be used in railing design ideas. Cedar and redwood do not require the harsh chemicals that pressure-treated lumber does, and have a natural resistance to rot and pests. In many cases, the benefits of natural wood outweigh those of pressure-treated wood. However, pressure-treated wood is affordable and lasts for years

2. Contemporary Chic: Modern Metal Deck Railing Designs

Metal deck railing

If you are looking for railing design ideas with a more modern look, consider using minimalist designs or metal as a material instead of wood. Modern deck railing ideas include using stainless steel cables, aluminum balusters, iron railing, aluminum railing. Using cable deck railings is a minimalist design that creates an unobstructed view from your deck while still offering the safety of a handrail if needed. Cable railings are usually made of stainless steel and are stronger and more durable than wooden pickets or wooden horizontal slats.

Cable railings and metal deck railing designs offer clean lines which create a contemporary and chic look for your home design. If you are looking for a modern design that still offers some privacy for you on your deck, check out metal privacy screen panels that have geometric patterns on them. Some popular designs include diagonal lines or other geometric designs cut out of a steel or aluminum panel. These can really become a highlight of your outdoor living space!

3. Coastal Vibes: Nautical-Inspired Deck Railing Designs

Nautical inspired deck railing

If you have a thing for the ocean, then maybe a deck railing design that is inspired by nautical themes! Achieving a seaside ambiance is easier than you might think with deck railings. You can use rope for the hand rails, or weathered wood for the top rail. You can also select maritime motifs for any decorative elements on your deck railing from balusters to post caps.

Choosing this design theme can be especially relevant for waterfront properties, as it will blend with the other elements around it. Or, maybe you live in the city but you want to feel like you are at the beach. In that case, using a maritime themed deck railing design can create that beachy feel for those in landlocked areas. In either location, a nautical-inspired deck railing design can help to create a relaxed and casual outdoor space.

4. Nature-Inspired: Deck Railing Designs with Greenery

Deck railing with greenery

If you love to feel like you are out in nature, then deck railing designs with greenery might be the best choice for you! With these types of deck railings, you will always have extra greenery or flowers around your deck. Nature inspired deck railing designs include deck railings with built-in planters or railing-mounted flower boxes attached to the top rail. With these, you can plant your favorite flower or even some small berry plants to snack on as you relax on your deck.

Let’s say you want to increase the amount of greenery on your deck but with something a little lower maintenance than flowers or garden plants. In that case, maybe a trellis would be the way to go! For this deck railing, a wooden railing with lattice pattern wooden slats will create a trellis for climbing plants. Morning Glory or Ivy are two easy to grow climbing plants that you could sow at the bottom of your new trellis deck railing to add greenery to your outdoor living space. Also, these plants will help increase the privacy and shade of your deck along with increasing aesthetic appeal.

5. Privacy Screen: PVC Deck Railings

Sometimes you have a deck that you really just want to be a private space and you do not necessarily want to look at the view. It could be that you live in the city, have really close neighbors, or just prefer it that way! To add the most privacy possible to your deck and add a deck railing design, putting up privacy screens made of PVC is the way to go.

These are solid panels that come in many colors and designs that will offer maximum privacy for your deck area. You can add vinyl railings to the PVC panels as well. The PVC panels are available in many different sizes and shapes. So, for deck ideas that offer privacy, PVC privacy screens are one of the best options! They are durable and will last longer than wooden deck railings, and are more affordable than getting metal screens.

6. Mixed Materials: Wood and Cable

Mixed material deck railing

If you want a truly unique railing system, why not combine multiple types of materials. As long as it does not defy any building codes, you can get as creative as you would like! With a mixed material deck railing design, the deck would have wooden top rails and metal cable railing below the top rails. These can be placed horizontally or vertically and evenly spaced.

This minimalist design works equally well with porch railing or stair railing as it does as a deck rail design. Using wood and cable is also a low-maintenance design. The steel cables are durable and strong, and naturally strong woods like cedar or redwood will last for years untreated.

7. Unobstructed View: Glass Deck Railing Panels

Glass deck railing ideas

For the best deck railing view, glass is the obvious way to go. With glass panels, you get a completely unobstructed view of your surroundings. Whether that is your backyard or a beautiful beach, this minimalist design will let you see it all.

Whether you choose a white railing or a black railing to border the glass panels, this design looks modern and chic! Wood posts or composite railings would work as well to border the glass deck railing panels. The options are almost endless! As far as railing options that offer a great view, glass is the best.


You can find a deck railing design for any preference, from classic and traditional to modern and chic - as well as everything in between. For nature lovers, there are designs that integrate greenery. For a beachy feel, there are nautical themed designs. There are deck railing options that give you an unobstructed view of your surroundings and there are other designs that help keep your outdoor space private.

The right deck railing design can enhance your home’s look as well as increase safety by adding guardrails and such. Find the right design for your home, whether you are doing a remodel or building an entirely new deck as a DIY project! With any deck material, proper maintenance will be key to making it look great and last longer. Your deck boards could be trex, composite decking, or timbertech; whatever the decking material there is a deck rail design to go with it. Explore these different deck railing designs and find the right one for you!

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