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Share to PinterestDeck Railing Inspiration for Your Outdoor Oasis
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Deck Railing Inspiration for Your Outdoor Oasis

By Alicia Smith
Share to PinterestDeck Railing Inspiration for Your Outdoor Oasis

Exterior decking presents countless design opportunities, especially when you factor in the accompanying railing. Whether your decor is rustic, modern, or vintage chic, a custom guardrail can provide safety without sacrificing your personal style. DIY a railing to complement your handmade deck or modify a store-bought version to add more seating. If the view from your terrace is the main attraction, opt for a more transparent option. Elevate your outdoor living space with a unique new deck railing design.


Celebrate nature's textures

A combination of organic materials and textures adds character to an understated deck and celebrates the beauty found in nature. Soften an existing metal barrier with the addition of a natural wood handrail. Pair a durable composite decking with a galvanized pipe and natural redwood rail for visual interest. Take your deck railing to the next level by incorporating a stone fireplace into the design, playing with several wood finishes for fun.

Share to PinterestMixed textures add visual interest
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Flaunt your designer instinct

A custom-designed railing adds elegance to your outdoor living space. You may feel tempted to go with a traditional or mass-produced version, but a DIY railing in a unique pattern might better suit your creative personality. Browse online sites for templates or stencils, and price specialty tool rentals from your local hardware store to get the job done. Going that extra mile provides a charming style without the added cost of a contractor.

Share to PinterestA designer railing looks impressive
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Add a fun, tropical vibe

Your tropical backyard may have the essentials, but its authenticity relies on the smaller details to complete the fantasy. Complement your deck's thatched roof pergola and subtropical greenery with a rope railing. Wooden posts and handrails ensure the structure is safe, while natural rope adds a fun, beachy vibe without being too obvious. The material looks especially at home paired with a rope swing or a treehouse for the kids.

Share to PinterestRope railings are clever
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Eat up at a bar railing

Increase seating capacity or utilize a narrow space on your deck by adding a bar top to your railing. Secure a prefabricated shelf to an existing rail, with a bench for low seating. If you prefer the look of barstools, build your countertop at counter or bar height. A wooden slab perfectly matches rustic-themed decks, while a concrete or butcher block bar complements modern aesthetics.

Share to PinterestA dual-purpose bar railing
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Create a living green screen

A large deck in your backyard supplies ample space for entertaining, but it also presents a decorating challenge. Patio furniture is expensive, and potted greenery can appear cluttered, but a sleek planter box is functional, affordable, and attractive. Build a custom flowerbed with stained wood to complement your deck, or choose corrugated metal or stone for a satisfying contrast. Add a bench to taller planter boxes for extra seating or to furnish a long table.

Share to PinterestA planter box as railing
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Let the view do the talking

Sometimes, the view from your deck is just too good for a bulky wood railing. A horizontal cable barrier is much less distracting, but that doesn't mean it pairs well with your decor. Consider a glass or plexiglass panel railing to enjoy an unobstructed view. Not only does the transparent barrier emphasize the outdoors, but it also floods your deck with natural light. Use opaque or tinted glass to fine-tune your privacy needs, or leave blank spaces in the rail for low decks.

Share to PinterestPreserve your deck's view
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Natural and sustainable style

Renovating an older property is a big job, but you can still make quality updates without ruining your home's aesthetic or breaking the bank. Preserve the rustic charm of a rural deck with a log railing. Save the strongest and most attractive branches the next time you trim a tree, or use reclaimed wood beams for an authentic, weathered look.

Share to PinterestA rustic railing from branches
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Soften the edges with a screen

A glass or plexiglass barrier preserves a great view, but it may also be too modern for your style. Ditch the wood and metal designs and choose a screen as your deck "railing" instead. The material sets a distinct boundary without adding visual weight. This solution is best for decks without dangerous dropoffs, though you can always add a custom rail to the lower half of the screen.

Share to PinterestA screen as railing
Gary John Norman / Getty Images


A process of illumination

Lighting around the boundaries of a deck prevents trips and falls while also setting a mood. Hang solar-powered lanterns from hooks mounted to rail posts, or use recessed lighting on the deck surface to accentuate a latticed design. You can also use lighted pillars to edge a low deck, leaving the spaces in between each column empty. While there's nothing to keep someone from stepping off of the deck, a potted plant or a hedge may do the trick.

Share to PinterestA railing lights the way
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Create a backyard spa oasis

An outdoor deck is great for entertaining, but it should also be your sanctuary at the end of a long workday or on a weekend staycation. Create an intimate space on your deck with a living wall as a part of your railing. Spaced horizontal slats add some privacy while allowing greenery on the other side to peek through. Flank the wall railing with potted trees to emphasize the secret garden vibe, using ivy or bougainvillea to climb into the empty spaces.

Share to PinterestMake a privacy barrier
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