Fabulous Front Porch Railings

There's no denying that front porch railings not only provide safety but also will give your porch some real pizzazz! Even if not required by your local building codes, railings add charm and curb appeal.
Like many components of your porch, you have many railing design choices.

Choose to create a balustrade to reflect the architectural style of your home while incorporating your own desires.

If you purchase an item through affiliate links within our content, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. See our disclosure policy.

gorgeous white front porch railings on porchThese are gorgeous railings. Do you agree?

Updating or even replacing porch railings is an easy way to change the look of your home. Fortunately, some options are maintenance free.

Front porch railing ideasYou're in the right place for porch railing ideas
turned balusters (porch railings) on beautiful Victorian porchDo you like these turned balusters on this Cape May NJ front porch?
porch railings from the Porch Store in NashvilleInnovative railings from the Porch Store in Nashville TN

Most home supply stores will carry the basic top and bottom rails with a choice of a few traditional spindles. Or, you can find more custom designs at manufacturers like Vintage Woodworks or The Porch Company.

Often times; however, you may need to make the railings yourself or hire a contractor to cut and assemble the balustrade. Whatever path you choose, our guide should help you select the best railing design for your home.

Take a Look at Our Railing Topics

PLEASE NOTE: Your railings must comply with local building codes and different locales have varying requirements. The examples we show may or may not be in compliance with codes for your own local area; be sure to check with your local building codes department before installing railings.

Check out our railing spacing and calculations guide for additional information.

vinyl lattice panels

Lattice panels
Custom vinyl lattice is an affordable and decorative way to create a unique railing system.

aluminum porch railings

Aluminum railings
Aluminum porch railing is maintenance free and can be attached to wood or metal. Easy to install

porch railing codes

Railings code guide
To learn basic code requirements before you build or plan for your porch railings.

porch railings calculations drawing

Railing spacing and calculations guide
Use to install or build railings. We've got just the information you need to make the job easier!

wood deck railings on porch

Wood deck railings
Wood balusters offer design options you may not have previously considered.

turned porch balusters

Turned porch balusters
Turned balusters come in a wide array of designs and very popular

sawn balusters on porch

Sawn porch balusters
Sawn porch balusters are amazingly decorative. Use with or without other porch trim to create a work of art on your porch.

stainless steel cable railings

Stainless steel cable railings
Cable railing systems are versatile, almost maintenance free and don't block your view. And, they come in DIY kits too

tempered glass panels on porch

Glass deck railings
Glass brings a touch of elegance and offers you a most unrestricted view. Check out what you won't see.

vinyl porch railings from the Porch Company

Vinyl porch railing ideas
Discover the world of custom vinyl porch railings....

knee walls on porch

Knee walls
Knee walls provide privacy and protect you from the elements. Don't rule them out as an option for your porch

wrought iron porch railings

Wrought iron railings
Wrought iron railings offer unparalleled elegance and durability

front porch railings

Railings materials guide
To find just the right material - you'll be pleasantly surprised at your options.

mountain laurel porch railings

Mountain Laurel porch railings
See these amazing railings made from beautiful mountain laurels

porch hand rails help keep you from falling

Porch hand rails
See your options for porch hand rails and materials - great photo examples too. See DIY Railing Systems.

porch railing table accessory

Porch railing accessory ideas
We can't wait for you to see the accessories you can get for your railings like this table from Amazon.com

Speaking of Porch Handrails

DIY InstantRail Adjustable Handrail Systems - Click here to learn more. (Our Amazon affiliate link)

Did you know you can easily install metal hand rails on your porch, deck, or even in your home? Do you know someone who could benefit from having handrails to help prevent falls? This may be for you.

Please Watch Our Video of Porch Railings

Selecting the right material, knowing the railing codes, and understanding how to calculate and space your balusters are all part of your balustrade system. We have all that information and more to help you design the perfect railings for your home!

Beautiful home with trim and railings by Vintage WoodworksPorch railing by Vintage Woodworks

Lovely porch railings and trim like the above is from Vintage Woodworks. Classic, timeless and charming!

Pleasing porch rail designPleasing porch railing design - photo courtesy of ngdcatlady

Knee Walls - Have You Heard of Them?

Knee walls, once very popular, still have their charm today. Look at the pictures below for examples.

I grew up on a porch with a knee wall and spent many hours playing games, hide and seek, and just pretending. Knee walls can help protect you from adverse weather, add a little privacy, and make your porch appear more grand.

Knee Wall Pictures

knee wall on porch
knee wall on porch
knee wall on porch
knee wall on porch
knee wall on porch
knee wall on porch

Photos above by J L T, FL Architect Fan and bob2006.

Now Look at These Knee Wall Designs

Take a gander at these impressive knee walls we found in California. I especially like the last one that incorporates a baluster-type design within the knee wall.

knee wall on porchKnee wall colors often match the colors in the home
Porch columns and knee walls are color coordinatedExcellent example of coordinating the colors of the porch columns to the kneewall. Do you see?
geometric design on porch kneewallNotice the geometric designs in the knee wall
vertical balusters in knee wallLook closely at the vertical balusters in this knee wall
stone knee walls on porchBeautiful stone knee wall on this home
fancy brickwork creates open spaces in kneewallFancy brick work creates open spaces in this kneewall

How About Wrought Iron or Metal Porch Railings?

Although it is one of the most expensive railings available, wrought iron stands the test of time. From the simplest designs to the most elegant, wrought iron always adds character to any porch.

They are decorative by nature, you can attach ornaments such as family crests, leaves, and other designs to enhance the overall appeal like the one shown below.

One drawback may be that wrought iron tends to rust over time and therefore requires periodic maintenance. However, other metal railings like aluminum offer a similar look and may not require as much care.

Easy-to-install Metal Porch Railings

These metal porch (or deck) railings come in 6 foot lengths making them easy to install. They are maintenance free and can be used with existing columns and posts.

Aluminum Residential Railing - (Our Amazon affiliate link)

Another option is to purchase custom made railings; use our handy Find a Local Contractor form to locate a supplier in your area.

Match Your Porch Railings to Your Home's Architecture

Victorian porch railingsVictorian porch railings
Beautiful Victorian porch with unassuming square balusters

But don't always hold to convention. The above porch an excellent example of a Victorian design with unassuming square balusters. How beautiful is that!

Look at This Before

front porch before new porch railingsBefore the new porch railings

Now Look at These Afters

new Chippendale porch railings
custom made Chippendale railingsCustom made Chippendale railings

These above three photos are courtesy of MrFixUmm.

Very Important to Know:  Baluster Height Considerations

Consider the height of each baluster (picket). Normally, your balustrade is a minimum of 36 inches making your balusters approximately 32 inches. Depending on the height of your porch or deck from the ground, balustrades may need to be as high as 42 inches or more.

However, and depending on your local codes, you may have other options. You can almost always make them longer and sometimes can shorten them as illustrated in the photo below.

short turned balusters on front porchShort turned balusters on front porch

Also Quite Important: Baluster Spacing Considerations

You can opt to use turned balusters that are fairly thin in width or choose more substantially looking balusters. This range of size options will also affect the overall appeal.

turned balusters on beautiful porchTraditional size of turned balusters
large turned balusters for porchLarger turned balusters

It is important to match the size of your balusters to your porch columns (in most cases). Note how the larger porch balusters complement the size of their adjacent porch columns.

balusters match porch column styleBalusters match porch columns

The spacing of balusters also impacts the overall design affect. There are no hard and fast rules so experiment to discover what pleases you the most.

Classic turned balusters spaced closelyClassic turned balusters spaced close together
classic porch balusters spaced apartClassic porch balusters spaced maximum 4" apart

Just Be Different: Mix and Match Baluster Designs

Another neat trick is to mix and match balusters to create unique affects like those shown below:

mix and match porch railingsLook! A whimsical mix and match of railings

Always Remember Safety

  • Safety is an issue (and is the major reason for having a railing system). If you have small children that play on the porch, opt for spindles that can take some punishment and not break. Choose hardwoods, vinyl, or metal.
  • Railing design becomes a safety issue as well. Although horizontal balusters satisfy most building codes, I don't recommend them on porches with children. They make great "ladders" which could prove harmful to small children.

Select the Best Material Your Budget Can Afford

Select a material that best suits your needs. Metal and vinyl railings require very little maintenance and last forever.

Wood, although it requires routine maintenance, can be beautiful and should be used if maintaining architectural integrity is important. Panels of tempered glass or cable look fantastic on contemporary porches and allow an uninhibited view.

What About Gate Designs for Your Porch?

Video: Make a Rolling Porch Gate from a Section of Railing

Do you have small children who like to play on the porch? Or pets you want to keep safe? You can easily make a rolling gate from a section of railings that match your porch. Watch the video above for an example that our son's family did.

Just add hinges to it and rolling casters at the bottom. Then close with a latch.

Another Example of a Rolling Gate

rolling gate on front porchBeautiful example of rolling gates on front porch

Lori's Porch Gate is Another Example for You

Lori's lightweight porch gateLori's attractive DIY gate keeps her pets safer

Lori and her husband were looking for a lightweight gate that wouldn't sag on her porch. She had the idea of purchasing a vinyl fence panel, cutting it, then attaching hinges and a latch.

The panel they purchased had to be assembled. They removed two pickets because they needed a smaller size. Her husband used a circular saw to cut the vinyl - which she said took just a few minutes. He pre-drilled the holes on the wooden porch columns and they had it up and together in probably an hour.

Their gate keeps their dogs and cat on the porch and it looks very attractive, too. Do you have other ideas for a gate on your porch? Please share with us.

lightweight gate from inside Lori's porch

Here's a close-up of Lori's gate from inside her porch. The hinges and latches are attractive and the gate style adds interest to her railings.

Lori says the gate is so lightweight that there is no need for wheels.

spacious wraparound porchLori's amazing wraparound porch

Did You Get Some Great Porch Railing Ideas?

porch railings infographicPorch railing infographic
middle handrail added to these gracious porch stepsThe homeowner added a middle handrail for ease of climbing the stairs. We think aesthetically it looks wonderful.
Porch railings have great curb appealAdd curb appeal with beautiful porch railings

Don't overlook the importance of your porch railings (and porch columns, for that matter). They each provide not only structural functionality but also lend much to your home's curb appeal.

You might like these