Deck Railing Style Guide

How to match your deck railing to your home's architectural style

Finding The Right Deck Railing For Your Home's Architecture

Over the past ten years, deck railing design options have exploded. Decks used to be limited to a small, rectangular area off of your home that was constrained in space and crafted completely from the common lumber of your region - in other words, every deck in the neighborhood was made from roughly the same cookie-cutter template.

Now, though, decks are a complete outdoor living area - like any other room of your house, minus the walls. Just as you decorate each room of your house in a style that's distinct, yet part of your overall home's aesthetic, you can now tailor your deck's style to fit perfectly with the rest of your home.

Whether your home has the carefree feel of a beach bungalow or the refined country styling of a modern farmhouse oasis, you can craft your deck to extend those intangible qualities through your outdoor space. One of the best ways to do it is to pick a deck railing that matches your home's architectural style.

At DecksDirect, we help thousands of homeowners each year to revitalize their decks - so we know the best railing options, and the home styles they work best in.

Whether you’re starting from scratch with new construction or breathing new life into an older outdoor space, here’s a railing style guide that will help you select the perfect railing system for your home and gain a complete space you’ll wish you added years ago.

If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to give one of our experienced deck project planners a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at With the largest selection of premium deck products in the country, we know the products, brands, and styles that can take your deck to the next level.

DecksDirect: we're here to help you build a better deck.

Understanding Different Railing Materials & Types

Metal Deck Railing

Lightweight, durable, and versatile, powder-coated metal railing is rust and corrosion-resistant for a long lifespan and easy maintenance. There are a ton of steel and aluminum railing lines with different looks, designs, colors, and sizes to match a range of house styles.

Key Advantages of Metal Railing

  • Strong and stable even as temperatures change
  • Incredibly low-maintenance
  • Stylistically versatile
  • Lots of DIY-friendly options

Metal Railing Resources

A gorgeous Key-Link cable railing blends into an ocean view

Cable Deck Railing

Cable railing refers to any railing with stainless steel cables running between vertical posts and horizontal rails. Cable railing can use wood, metal, or composite for the posts and rails to hit a variety of stylistic looks, though cable is generally a very modern, low-profile aesthetic. Cable railing was developed in coastal regions to emphasize a deck with a view, and remains one of the best options for opening up your deck view.

Key Advantages of Cable Railing

  • Creates wide-open deck views
  • Modern, unique styling
  • Lots of customization options
  • Can use existing wood or metal posts

Cable Railing Resources

A round deck with Trex Transcend Composite Deck Railing with brown rails, black balusters, and white posts

Composite Deck Railing

Traditional deck railing looks with modern low-maintenance appeal: Composite railing is a contemporary solution for homeowners who love the classic look of wood railing but don't want the regular maintenance and upkeep demands. Composite railing is made from a mix of natural wood fibers and recycled plastics, capped with a tough PVC shell.

Key Advantages of Composite Railing

  • Classic, traditional looks
  • Low-maintenance and long-lasting
  • Lots of color options

Glass Deck Railing

When it comes to deck railing, glass is the luxury show-stopper option. Glass railings are classy, modern, and give your deck an extravagant feel. They create some of the best deck views possible, and can use metal or composite posts and rails. Glass is also strong and versatile, with the option to use full glass panels or sleek glass balusters.

Key Advantages of Glass Railing

  • Premium, luxurious looks
  • Opens up amazing deck views
  • Strong and low-maintenance

Glass Railing Resources

Vinyl Deck Railing

Vinyl railing delivers a very specific look in a low-maintenance package. Crisp vinyl systems look amazing in northeast Cape Cod styles or with the grand architecture of Colonial homes in the south. Vinyl railing typically has a metal framework inside for reliable strength, with sleek vinyl surfaces that are easy to keep clean.

Key Advantages of Vinyl Railing

  • Distinctive Cape Cod or Colonial looks
  • Easy to maintain
  • Keeps railing costs low

Vinyl Railing Resources

Wood Deck Railing

There's something tried and true about the traditional styling of wood deck railings. Pairing the elegance of wood posts and rails with sleek metal balusters creates a timeless look and cuts down on the maintenance typically associated with wood railings. Wood railing kits can deliver a variety of styles to fit a range of house looks.

Key Advantages of Wood Railing

  • Looks range from traditional to timeless
  • Lots of baluster style options
  • Earthy and natural aesthetic

Wood Railing Resources

Matching Your Home's Architectural Style with Your Deck Railing

The Craftsman Home

The Craftsman Home

Easily one of the most popular designs in America, the Craftsman style of home was created in response to the mass-produced goods and buildings that emerged after the Industrial Revolution. They began appearing in the last years of the 19th century and remained popular well into the 1930s and beyond.

The Craftsman architectural movement wanted to emphasize hand-crafted goods and ideas, returning to the values of human labor and imagination. Focusing on simplicity in its form, the use of local materials, and reliable construction, the Craftsman style aimed to return to uniquely crafted and decorated surfaces that express creativity.

Common Features of Craftsman Homes

  • → Natural materials such as brick, wood, and mixed stone
  • → Low, pitched roofs with exposed beams or rafters
  • → Wide front porches
  • → Overhanging window eaves

What Deck Railing Works for this Home

A stylish metal Key-Link American Series railing on a home deck
Metal Railing

Craftsman homes tend to focus on simplicity, which makes sleek metal railing an ideal style choice. Metal railings come in black, bronze, or white options that mesh very well with the various natural materials like stone, wood, and brick that characterize Craftsman homes. Metal railing systems can also be installed between existing stone columns, a key detail of Craftsman homes, for a clean look between eye-catching areas.

Our Recommendation:

Key-Link American Aluminum Railing would look ideal in a Craftsman home.

It's posts and balusters are stylish and uncomplicated, and the quality craftsmanship of the intricately-detailed top rail ties in perfectly with the hand-crafted qualities of a Craftsman home.

A classic Trex Transcend Composite Railing with a brown and white color combination
Composite Railing

Another great railing selection for a Craftsman style home would be a durable composite system. Composite railing systems generally feature wide, substantial post sleeves, which would be a nice stylistic tie to the exposed beams and rafters of Craftsman style homes. Composite railing systems also allow a lot of freedom to choose color combinations that complement your home's exterior.

Our Recommendation:

Trex Transcend Composite Railing is a great fit with Craftsman architecture.

When it comes to deck railing, Trex Transcend is the king of colors - posts and rails come in a huge range of colors to tie to the natural elements around your home and deck.

Ranch Style Home

The Ranch Home

Originating in rural areas of the Southwest and Western regions of America during the second half of the 20th century, Ranch style homes can now be found in every neighborhood in the United States. This style blends modern architectural ideas with stylings from the American West to create an informal and casual living space.

While this structural design really took off with a booming population of homeowners after World War II, it came back in style decades later in the 1980s and 1990s. A younger generation increasingly wanted to build the Ranch style homes they remembered from their youth, but with more contemporary additions. Varying rooflines, sunken living rooms, and cathedral ceilings have made this style of home become more popular than ever before throughout the nation.

Common Features of Ranch Homes

  • → Single story layout
  • → Long, low-pitch roofline
  • → Attached garage
  • → Simple floor plans
  • → Wide window eaves

What Deck Railing Works for this Home

a composite deck with Fortress AL13 Metal railing and bright deck funiture
Metal Railing

The low-key profile of Ranch style homes means you’ll also want to keep your deck or patio railing simple as well. Ranch-style homeowners will want to look for a metal railing line that is slim and almost fades from view when installed.

Our Recommendation:

Fortress AL13 Aluminum Railing would be an amazing choice to accentuate the Ranch style

AL13 is a no-frills metal railing with clean lines and slim, subtle balusters. The bonus with Fortess AL13 is that the system comes in pre-welded panels for easy DIY installation.

Modern Key-Link vertical cable railing on deck stairs
Cable Railing

For a bolder deck railing choice, you can pair the clean flat lines of a Ranch style home with the sweeping lines of horizontal cable railing. This can make a Ranch home feel larger, while also opening up the view from the deck.

Our Recommendation:

Key-Link Horizontal Cable Railing would be an outstanding choice with a Ranch style home.

With no bottom rail, Key-Link's horizontal offering keeps its lines clean and thin. Plus, the gorgeously-crafted top rail hints at the southwestern flair of the Ranch style's beginnings.

Tudor Style Home

The Tudor Home

Emerging late in the 19th century, around the same period as the Craftsman style, the Tudor architectural movement also rejected mass-production of goods and drew on simple designs. Reminiscent of cozy European cottages, the Tudor Revival style of home was a popular choice in the colder Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States up until the late 1930s.

The Tudor model resurfaced as a popular style again throughout the 1970s and 1980s as homes aimed to be more minimalistic yet large and unique. With elaborate layouts, a solid stone and masonry foundation, and a mix of neutral brown, red, and white tones, the Tudor style delivers an old-world charm with great appeal.

Common Features of Tudor Homes

  • → Decorative half-timbering in either vertical or diagonal directions with stucco or stone between
  • → Tall, narwindows
  • → Steeply pitched roof, often with multiple overlapping
  • → Stone chimney

What Deck Railing Works for this Home

A traditional TimberTech Composite Railing in bright white
Composite Railing

A composite railing line is a great choice for any Tudor home, as the category can be as decorative or as minimal as needed to match the accompanying home.

Our Recommendation:

TimberTech Classic Composite Railing is a perfectly versatile choice for Tudor architecture.

The TimberTech Classic Composite system allows you to choose between one of four top rail styles, so you can dial in exactly how traditional or minimalist your deck should be to match your home.

The rounded, traditional top rail of AFCO Pro Aluminum Deck Railing
Metal Railing

Metal railing pairs clean, minimalist lines with a handcrafted feel that fits the coziness of Tudor homes.

Our Recommendation:

AFCO Pro Aluminum Railing is a truly timeless blend of a traditional top rail with a modern material, ideal for Tudor homes.

AFCO's rounded-off top rail is totally traditional, and choosing the textured bronze finish can really tie with any half-timbering detail on a Tudor home.

Modern Style Home

The Modern Home

First appearing on the American landscape in the mid-20th century, Modern homes are distinctly recognizable for their clean lines and minimalistic design. Drawing from a wide range of architectural influences from around the world, modern or contemporary style homes tend to blend a variety of building materials together to create a completely singular building.

Generally, contemporary homes focus on creating a connection to the nature surrounding them, while emphasizing sustainability. With this architectural style, homeowners are able to pick and choose the characteristics they love for a truly individualistic home.

Common Features of Modern Homes

  • → Flat or low-slope roofs
  • → Large, horizontal windows
  • → Blending of mixed materials on the exterior
  • → Open floor plans
  • → Either a monochromatic color scheme or a color palette with distinct contrast

What Deck Railing Works for this Home

A clear, uninterrupted view from a deck with Trex Signature Glass Railing
Glass Railing

Modern or contemporary style homes are often angled towards a futuristic look with lots of transparency. That makes glass panel railing a great stylistic fit. Glass railing connects a modern home to the nature outside it while also providing that state-of-the-art feel.

Our Recommendation:

Trex Signature Glass Railing is a great fit with modern homes for a clean, consistent look.

Trex nails simple, unadorned beauty with the slim Signature top rail, and full glass panels between minimal posts open up sweeping deck views.

A custom Feeney Cable Railing system on a modern house
Cable Railing

The clean lines and industrial look of cable railing make a beautiful match with modern style homes. And like glass railing, cable rail opens up stunning views that invite the surrounding nature into your deck space's aesthetic.

Our Recommendation:

Feeney Custom DesignRail is a great modern option because of how customizable it is.

Tons of style and color options mean you can tailor Feeney Custom DesignRail to fit a monochromatic home or to hit the perfect color contrast of your exterior.

Colonial Style Home

The Colonial Home

The American colonial architectural style began at the beginning of the 17th century as colonists started creating settlements along the Eastern seaboard. The style has remained popular in the centuries since, reflecting the grandeur, importance, and nostalgia of the Colonial Era. Traditional and very symmetrical, Colonial and Colonial Revival style homes are typically rectangular or square-shaped with evenly spaced sections.

Generally consisting of a straightforward two-story building, Colonial-style homes will often feature a small, covered porch at the entryway, supported by columns or decorative pilasters. Building materials typically consist of stone, brick, or classic clapboard siding, though these materials are rarely blended together and are instead used singularly. With an incredibly simple style, many Colonial homes have added colored double-sided shutters to give a touch of detail.

Common Features of Colonial Homes

  • → Evenly spaced windows with shutters
  • → Multi-pane windows arranged symmetrically
  • → Symmetrical dormer windows
  • → Grand entryway supported by columns, or portico
  • → One to several large brick chimneys

What Deck Railing Works for this Home

A clear, uninterrupted view from a large deck featuring InvisiRail stainless steel deck-mount posts, InvisiRail clamps, and 42Durables Ashington Vinyl Railing in white on front porch surrounded by flowers and blue chairs
Vinyl Railing with Columns

For a grand Colonial porch or entryway, an ornate vinyl railing system is a wonderful match. The traditional squared-off rails and bright white finish of vinyl is a classic look - plus, vinyl railing looks great with ornate, turned balusters like you see above.

Our Recommendation:

Durables Ashington Vinyl Railing with AFCO Aluminum Columns will match your Colonial porch or deck perfectly.

Durables features a range of vinyl railing options that would fit various Colonial homes. The Ashington system includes decorative white balusters to deliver the look of hand-crafted wood. Fluted AFCO Columns bring a totally traditional look, while smooth round balusters add some smooth, curved lines to the squared-off angles of Colonial architecture.

A classy Trex Select Composite railing with a sharp black-and-white contrast between rails and balusters
Composite Railing

A substantial composite railing system is a great match for the grandeur of a Colonial-style home. Composite railings typically feature wide post sleeves and bright white rails. They'll also pair great with round or square columns, a staple of the Colonial look.

Our Recommendation:

Trex Select Composite Railing modernizes the Colonial appeal for a timeless porch or deck look.

The classic white rails with sleek black aluminum balusters create an eye-catching contrast that fits with the lasting style of Colonial architecture.

Cape Cod Style Home

The Cape Cod Home

Originating in the New England region of the United States in the mid-17th century, the Cape Cod architectural style had a huge revival period from the 1930s to the 1950s. A Cape Cod structure is typically a single-story cottage with an open upper floor. This straightforward design has its roots in practicality: the harsh winter climates of the Northeast led builders to conserve heat by creating low-ceilinged rooms centered around a large chimney.

Constructed from local materials such as cedar, oak, and pine, Cape Cod style homes generally feature a clapboard or shingle siding. Roofs are usually steep-pitched and gabled to keep snow from accumulating during long winters. Symmetrical dormer windows are often featured to bring the warmth of natural light into the upper-level attic. Uniform window shutters are also a common detail to hold back biting winter winds.

Common Features of Cape Cod Homes

  • → Steep, gabled roofs
  • → Wide, central chimneys
  • → Symmetrical shuttered windows
  • → Clapboard or shingle exterior siding
  • → One story size with ample attic space

What Deck Railing Works for this Home

Durables premium Westport vinyl railing with standard top rail and colonial style balusters is installed on a front porch and stairway, featuring 4
Vinyl Railing with Columns

Vinyl railing has a very distinctive look that perfectly accents the Cape Cod style. The simple, geometric look of vinyl railing matches the simplicity of a Cape Cod home, and makes a front porch look expansive and inviting. Once again, decorative columns make a great added accent piece.

Our Recommendation:

Durables Vinyl Railing with AFCO Columns will accent the functional charm of your Cape Cod home

Durables Vinyl railing comes in a variety of styles, from the really traditional decorative balusters shown above to the more timeless look of white rails and black aluminum balusters.

Metal Railing

A metal railing system can add an understated look to a Cape Cod home’s front porch or back deck. Metal railing is typically straightforward, strong, and functional, reflecting the underlying themes of Cap Cod architecture with a sleek, elegant appearance.

Our Recommendation:

Key-Link American Aluminum Railing would shine in a Cape Cod setting.

Key-Link American railing is elegant and high-quality, adding some "Wow"-factor to a Cape Cod setting.

Queen Anne Style Home

The Queen Anne Home

The Queen Anne style, sometimes called Victorian-era styling, appeared in the United States around the 1860s. Picturesque buildings with unique and ornamental details, Queen Anne homes are often vibrantly colorful. Typically built from brick or common stone, the walls of a Queen Anne home are decorated to create textured contrasts from the rest of the structure.

The roofs of a Queen Anne home are steeply pitched and asymmetrical, often gabled and featuring dormer windows. Turrets, decorative trim, and bay windows are common features that combine to create a visually complex look. This style of home will generally feature a prominent front porch that will often curve into a wrap-around for a complete view.

Common Features of Queen Anne Homes

  • → Steeply pitched roofs
  • → Cylindrical tower-like structures
  • → Decorative wrap-around porches
  • → Varied, asymmetrical roofs
  • → Decorative brackets and posts

What Deck Railing Works for this Home

A classy white TimberTech Classic Composite Deck Railing
Composite Railing

To match the rich and ornamental style of a Queen Anne home, we'd suggest a customizable composite railing system. Composite railings are substantial and traditional, with plenty of color and style options to contrast with your home's individual styling.

Our Recommendation:

TimberTech Classic Composite Railing is an amazing choice that would fit a huge range of Victorian style homes.

To mesh with the really traditional architecture, we'd suggest one of TimberTech's more traditional top rails, like the stately T-shape of the Trademark top rail.

Traditional-looking AFCO Pro railing made of modern metal for low-maintenance
Metal Railing

The brick or stone textures of a Queen Anne home will look great with a smooth metal railing system that leans into the complex visual appeal of Victorian architecture.

Our Recommendation:

AFCO Pro Aluminum Railing is a beautiful blend of modern material and traditional styling to suit a Queen Anne home.

The rounded-off top rail of the AFCO Pro Metal Railing is classy and traditional, and AFCO's beautiful powder-coating makes for a gorgeous textural contrast with the other elements of a Queen Anne home.