13 Creative DIY Deck Railing Ideas for Awesome Outdoor Fun

Best Of Hometalk
by Best Of Hometalk

Nothing screams warm weather like sitting out on the deck. If you’ve been stuck inside, looking at gray skies and swirling snowstorms, you are chomping at the bit to set out the patio furniture, reflower your planters and chill out in the warm sun on the deck.

Deck Railing (pixabay)

Whether the deck is located at the front or the back of your home, it is no doubt the ultimate hangout zone. Decks are ideal for weekend get-togethers with friends to kicking back with a good book and an awesome sunset. And with the right deck railing, decks can be a safe place for the kids to play or for the dog to lounge in the sun.

Deck railings not only provide safety and security but can add instant curb appeal. And the ways to build a deck railing around your home are varied, the materials limitless. Here are 13 creative ways to build a deck railing around your deck for endless outdoor fun!

How to Build a Deck Railing

A deck will add value to your home and expand your overall living area. But a deck on its own is lonely. It needs a friend and this is where a deck railing comes in.

Whether you are building a deck railing from scratch or updating a weathered one, the possibilities for how to build a deck railing and the materials can be as creative as you are. You can choose to have the deck railing match the material of the deck itself so that the focus is on the views, or you can add a contrasting material for interest and aesthetics. Whatever material you choose, think of the deck railing as the icing on the DIY cupcake. It will surely liven up your home and your outdoor fun!

Deck Railing Ideas (Marty’s Musings)

See post: Marty’s Musings|Make Your Deck Unique with a Sunburst Deck Railing

Wood Deck Railing

The blogger behind Marty’s Musings sadly has to remove some old trees. But in their place, she designs an eye-catching wooden sunburst deck railing. Marty plays with the wood pickets until she designs a multi-picket sunburst design. She advises checking the building codes in your area as a redesign forces her to ensure the vertical pickets are no wider than 5” apart. Because, yikes, no one wants a child’s head stuck between railings!

Marty simply nails the pickets in place and cuts off any excess trim. Not only is the sunburst design attractive, but it also offers her a lot of privacy.

Wood Deck Railing Ideas (Marty’s Musings)

See post: Marty’s Musings|Make Your Deck Unique with a Sunburst Deck Railing

Are you familiar with Chippendale deck railing? It’s a beautifully intricate deck railing design style that while labor-intensive has a stunning end result. Chippendale railing works best with posts spaced 3-7’ apart.

Virginia blogger SweetPea Paula has two Chippendale railings that flank her front door. When she discovers wood rot on one section, she decides it best to rebuild both railings from scratch. She uses pressure-treated 2x4 and 2x2 wood, using the old railings as her template. A miter saw ensures perfect angled cuts for this detailed design with wood glue and screws to ensure the structural integrity of the railing. She advises lots of clamps to hold such a detailed project together during the building process! 

Railing Ideas (SweetPea Paula)

See post: SweetPea Paula|DIY Chippendale Railings

Who says a wood deck railing must only be built from traditional wood? Patty dreams of the perfect accompaniment to her Japanese garden and designs a deck railing made out of bamboo. The trick to this railing is the wooden 2x2 posts on which the bamboo railing sits. She purchases a long bamboo pole, cuts a slit through it and simply slips it over the 2x2 posts.

Bamboo Railing Ideas (Patty S)

See post: Patty S|DIY Bamboo Railing and Fence That I Designed and my Hubby Built

This bamboo deck railing is given an authentic Japanese garden look with the addition of Black Palm Hemp.

DIY Bamboo Railing (Patty S)

See post: Patty S|DIY Bamboo Railing and Fence That I Designed and my Hubby Built

When ToolBox Divas decides she can no longer live with her “horrid” deck railings, she removes them completely. In its place, she envisions a deck railing made of hog wire panel deck railings. When her vision turns out to be out of her DIY diva budget, she realizes she can use a roll of chicken wire for less than $50 to complete the entire project.

She builds individual wood panels and inserts the chicken wire within. Each panel is then drilled into her new, totally non-horrid deck railings.

How to Build a Deck Railing (ToolBox Divas)

See post: ToolBox Divas|Simple Easy Custom DIY Deck Railings

Cable Deck Railing and Other Non-Traditional Railing Ideas

Do you have gorgeous views from your house? If you’re so lucky, why not show them off and enjoy them to their fullest in the least obstructive way. The best way to take in those expansive views is with horizontal cables strung around the perimeter of your deck.

Cable deck railing can work within modern architecture and fits nicely in rustic farmhouse decor too. If the building codes in your area allow horizontal railings, cable deck railings are an unobstructed option for making the most of your outdoor fun. The cable is installed within an existing deck frame with the posts no more than 42” apart to avoid cable sagging and bending.

Another unobtrusive deck railing alternative is to use conduit pipe, just like M&M Embellishments does when she gives her deck a makeover. She completely removes her existing wood deck railing and replaces it with chunky 6x6 posts. Between each post, she installs five horizontal steel conduit pipes the length of her deck. The end result is an attractive modern touch against her rustic log cabin.

Cable Deck Railing (M&M Embellishments)

See post: M&M Embellishments|New Hand Rail for our Deck Made Out of Conduit

The blogger behind The Chirping Frog soon realizes a cable railing is out of her budget. What material gives her the same open-concept feel as cable but is so much more affordable? Rebar. Yes, those steel reinforcement bars that are commonly used for adding strength to poured concrete can also serve as a great deck railing alternative.

Just as with cable or conduit, the rebar is run through wooden posts. Rebar is sold in long rod lengths, which makes it a great option for a durable railing. If left untreated, rebar will rust over time. The Chirping Frog has the rebar staircase railing powder coated to keep it protected.

Cable Railing Ideas (The Chirping Frog)

See post: The Chirping Frog|My Take on a Cable-Rail Staircase

Now, what if you simply want to pretty up your existing deck railing? There are endless cheap deck railing ideas out there to keep your DIY wheels spinning! One such budget-friendly railing alternative uses rope, at less than $10 per roll.

Mindy has no plans to completely redo her fence railing; she just wants it to look a little nicer. Inspired by a rustic rope fence she sees at a wedding, she uses sisal rope and E6000 glue around each post. Between each post, she strings white poly rope as the railing and gives it a twist for added durability and strength. Who knew weddings could inspire such rustic DIY home decor?!

Rope Railing Ideas (Mindy)

See post: Mindy|An Old Railing Turned New Again

How to Repair a Deck Railing

Why should a rotting, splitting or otherwise ugly deck railing ruin the ultimate outdoor hangout zone? Replacing worn deck boards or wobbly spindles is an easy Weekend Warrior task! In most DIY cases, the old pieces can be removed and replaced with the new section blending in within a year’s time.

The simplest deck railing repair one can make is to repaint (and reseal) decking. Since deck railings feel the effects of weather conditions like sun and moisture, they can easily discolor, rot and warp. With deck railings serving an important safety function, it’s equally important to keep them in good structural shape.

Jami at the blog An Oregon Cottage decides she’s no longer going to simply slap paint on worn sections of her white deck railing but will take the time to do the job properly to ensure years of a good finish.

How to Repair a Deck Railing (An Oregon Cottage)

See post: An Oregon Cottage|Tips to Repaint Porch Railings That Last

She starts by scraping off all the old paint. Picture lots of paint flecks here! She suggests painting on a primer (with a brush to ensure you cover all the nooks and crannies) and follows that with a paint that has BOTH paint + primer in it. Jami uses up to two coats of outdoor paint, one coat with a brush and subsequent coats with a foam roller. 

Makeover Railing Ideas (An Oregon Cottage)

See post: An Oregon Cottage|Tips to Repaint Porch Railings That Last

Holly Prim also has deck railing repair issues! She has never sealed her wooden deck and the Alabama sun has wreaked havoc on this outdoor living space. Current standards suggest that decks be power washed and sealed with a waterproof sealer annually. Oops! Needless to say, Holly’s deck has become a rotting, warping hazard.

Complete demolition of both the deck railing and its attached staircase ensues. With over 100 railing spindles to replace, Holly locates an overstock building supply company and purchases spindles at $.60/each. These spindles attach to the 2x4 posts along the deck. Holly learns that building codes in her municipality requires the handrail be separate from the guardrail so be sure to double check building recommendations in your area.

Outdoor Deck Railing (Holly Prim)

See post: Holly Prim|Repair Your Deck Railing and Stairs

DIY Deck Railing Designs

Okay, the deck railing is built and ready for use but how can you add that extra touch of personalization? One of the easiest ways to add color and interest to the deck is with potted planters.

Pascal Tremblay takes this idea one step further by building cedar flower boxes to sit along the outside of his deck railing. These DIY wooden planter boxes easily “hide” the plastic pot the flowers are planted in and attach to the outside of the railing. 

DIY Deck Railing Designs (Pascal Tremblay)

See post: Pascal Tremblay|How to Build Flower Boxes for Railings, Deck Planters or Window Boxes

John repurposes an old wood pallet to construct flower boxes for his deck railing. And he builds it in under one hour! Four individual pallet boards make the body of the deck railing planter box. Scrap wood makes for a decorative trim frame around the pallet box and is stained to match the color of his deck railing. Bring on the pretty flowers!

Deck Rail Planters (John)

See post: John|Flower Box for a Deck Railing or Window

Probably one of the most important parts of the deck is where to sit all your guests, or better yet, where will you relax at the end of the day?

GrandmasHouseDIY blogger has a self-described “dead man’s land” corner of her deck that would make the perfect spot for some type of seating arrangement. After much creative contemplation, she decides upon building an L-shaped built-in deck bench. 

DIY Deck Bench (GrandmasHouseDIY)

See post: GrandmasHouseDIY|Outdoor Built-In Bench for our Deck

She simply builds two rectangular frames from 2x4s and then covers up the frame with too many 24” boards to count! GrandmasHouseDIY uses green treated wood for this built-in deck bench since it’s designed to be outdoors. The addition of a slanted back makes this deck bench the perfect summertime lounging zone.

Deck Bench Ideas (GrandmasHouseDIY)

See post: GrandmasHouseDIY|Outdoor Built-In Bench for our Deck

You’ve worked so hard on building (or maybe rebuilding) your deck, why not light it up and show it off? And the perfect way to showcase your outdoor deck is with DIY ambient lighting.

Vineta from The Handyman’s Daughter brightens up the dark corners of her deck with rope lighting installed underneath the deck railing. She secures brackets under the railing and the outdoor rope lights fit right in.

Deck Railing with Lights (The Handyman’s Daughter)

See post: The Handyman’s Daughter|Add Ambient Lighting to Your Deck Railing

Vineta spaces the sturdy plastic brackets two feet apart the length of the deck railing to prevent the rope lights from sagging. And with the touch of a button, she can light up this outdoor party zone all year round.

Railing with Lights Ideas (The Handyman’s Daughter)

See post: The Handyman’s Daughter|Add Ambient Lighting to Your Deck Railing

Liven Up Your Outdoor Space with DIY Deck Railing

Any excuse to get outdoors, right? Take in a sunset, set up a cozy chair to lounge in, chat with friends or just take a moment away from everything and breathe. Whatever motivates you to spend some time in nature, or possibly just expand the living space within your home, anyone can liven up their outdoor space with a deck and these awesome DIY deck railing design ideas.

For even more ideas on DIY deck railing design ideas and other great DIY home projects, be sure to check out Hometalk today!

Written for the Hometalk community by: Victoria | Dazzle While Frazzled

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • Roz Roz on Aug 10, 2019

    How do I put a railing on a cement deck?

  • Zetaholmes Zetaholmes on Jul 27, 2020

    Could you tell me where did you get that paint?

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