Deck railings add both safety and beauty to your deck. And with a variety of different materials and styles to choose from, the railings you choose can really change the look and feel of your outdoor space.

Let’s take a look at the most common choices for deck railing materials and styles, as well as the latest deck railing trends to consider for your own deck.

Deck Railing Materials 

Deck railings are available in some of the same materials your deck is made of, including: 

  • Wood
  • Vinyl
  • Composite
  • Metal
  • Glass

Some people choose to match their deck railings to their decking, while others choose to mix and match.

Deck Railing Styles To Choose From

There are also several different styles of deck railings to choose from, depending on your preferred look. Some of the most common styles include:

  • Traditional deck railings have a classic design with straight vertical balusters and a top rail.
  • Modern railings are more sleek and minimalist, sometimes featuring metal accents and horizontal lines. 
  • Rustic railings are made with natural materials (wood or metal) with a weathered appearance.
  • Coastal looks feature a nautical or beach theme, with light-colored balusters and posts.
  • Cable deck railings utilize thin metal cables strung between posts for unobstructed views.
  • Curved railings follow the contours of your deck for an eye-catching look. 

7 Current Deck Railing Trends

From fashion to food to home design, trends are always changing…and deck railings are no exception! Here are a few of the current deck railing trends you might want to consider for your next deck refresh:

1. Aluminum or Steel Railings

Metal railings made from anodized aluminum or galvanized steel add a modern touch to any space. They can be rugged or sleek, depending on your style preference, and offer durability and easy installation. Both aluminum and steel railings are available in a wide variety of powder finish color options as well. 

These low-maintenance railings look great paired not only with metal decking, but with wood or composite decks as well. Plus, they’re easy to add to existing structures in addition to new deck builds.

2. Open Concept Deck Railings 

Need a railing for safety reasons, but don’t want to block your views? 

Open concept deck railings leave the views from your deck unobstructed, allowing you to enjoy the lake, garden, forest, or whatever natural beauty surrounds your home. They let you keep a closer eye on the kids playing in the yard as well!

There are two main types of open concept railings on the market:

  • Glass panel inserts add subtlety and elegance to a deck with their ultra-modern, minimalist aesthetic.
  • Metal cable railings provide a distinctive industrial look that lets the breeze through and is extremely durable and easy to maintain. The cables can be oriented vertically or horizontally, depending on the look you’re going for. 

3. Privacy Railings

On the other end of the spectrum, rather than leaving your view open, maybe you want to block the views of your deck from the neighbors. This is where privacy railings come in. 

Opaque railing infill options like frosted glass, composite slats, or decorative panels give you more privacy and can help block noise from surrounding homes.

4. Mix & Match 

Instead of sticking to one style, mixing different materials, colors, and textures helps you create a unique look that’s all your own.

Choose from a variety of options to match the exterior of your home, carry your interior design theme outdoors, or create your own unique combination. For example: pair black aluminum railings with earth-toned wood or composite decking, or match your railing color to your home’s trim color.

You can mix and match with other deck design elements as well, such as post toppers, pergolas, built-in seating, and more.

5. Dark Colors

Dark, textured colors are popular right now — matte black is in especially high demand. 

One of the reasons homeowners choose a dark-colored deck railing is to direct the eye to the view from the deck. Our eyes tend to look past a dark-colored railing to the view beyond, especially when the railing has a matte texture. 

In other cases, a darker color may match your window trim better, giving you a seamless design aesthetic.

6. Railing Lighting

Deck lighting is always a good idea, and railings are a great spot to add lighting! 

Strategically place light fixtures along your railing to illuminate your outdoor space. LED post cap lights, for example, help brighten up your deck, add safety, and extend the amount of time you can use your deck each day. 

Or, simply hanging outdoor-safe string lights from your railing can bring a warm, intimate ambiance and add enough light to see by in the evening. Choose from a variety of bulb sizes, shapes, and colors to suit your space (battery or solar-powered lights are a great option if you don’t have an outdoor plug-in close by).

7. Flat Accent Top Railings (a.k.a., Drink Rails)

Flat accent top rails, or drink rails, help make your deck more inviting for BBQs and other outdoor gatherings. With a wide flat top, these railings offer space for guests to set their drinks and free up their hands during gatherings. Flat top rails also make a great spot to place planters to add pops of color to your deck.


Are you ready for a deck refresh? Something as simple as switching up your railings can make a big difference in the appearance of your outdoor space. Contact the team at Outdoor Solutions to discuss your options and get on our calendar this summer!