One of the most emergent reasons why you are suddenly looking for some cheap porch railing ideas is because you want to build a cozy nook out of your porch.
Porches are like the bridge to the outdoor fun and the indoor comfort and being tucked up in between those zones is an experience that will surely be enhanced by a creative porch railing.
Aside from adding safety to the home, it really makes the home’s exterior more cohesive. To get to know what you can go for, here are some budget porch railing ideas that you can explore.
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30 cheap porch railing ideas
Indeed, there is no limit to what you can come up with when it comes to porch railing ideas. But you must understand that some elements match and some just would not. There are also porch railing ideas that might feel over the edge but really provide a neat look while others keep it clean and traditional.
For your reference, here are some cheap porch railing ideas to which you can pattern your own porch railing project.
1. Trendy bohemian
For barn-type, craftsman style homes, a trendy bohemian porch railing will give a classy and clean finish. Paint the wood beams and balusters with brighter neutrals such as white, beige, tan, cream, or light gray. Adding in some twinkling bulbs and wicker or wood furniture in it will complete the trendy bohemian look.
2. Geometric symmetry
You would find this design in most suburban homes, but you can always infuse your own geometric porch railing design to make a bold porch statement. This one will look exquisite in modern Victorian-style homes especially if you use white or tan colors for the paint.
If you want to upscale it into a more modern look, use aluminum or vinyl and coat it with black or gray colors.
3. Pallet porch railing
This inexpensive porch railing design can be completed with recycled wood pallets. It gives a rough, rustic vibe which is perfect for log cabins or homes with wood exteriors. You can just leave it as raw as it is or seals it for a more finished look. Nonetheless, pallet porch railings are one of the most workable designs out there.
4. Lattice porch railing
Installing a lattice porch is a perfect design if you want to have a porch wrap-around that is in between private and not so private. If you want privacy, you can extend the height up to have a lattice screen for the porch It is classy to look at and gives off the ‘come on up and just relax’ vibe on any given day.
- Gradient porch railing: Beach houses and ranch homes are where you would normally find a gradient porch railing. It is unique for its thick, cylindrical, sectional beams. In between them or interlocking them would be thinner rails. The best material for this kind of design would be wood. And since you can use recycled wood for this, it proves to be an inexpensive choice.
5. Plexiglass porch railing
If you are eyeing a modern, chic, upscale twist to your porch railing, try plexiglass on a vinyl beam. The plexiglass will give you an unobstructed view of the outdoors. Installation-wise, it is easier to plot in as you would not need to measure the balusters in between.
It is just a one-time-big-time glass installation in between the beams. You can also use tinted plexiglass if you are wary about the amount of sunlight that would seep through.
6. Branch and log porch railing
For a classic log cabin look that will look whimsical for all seasons, go for the branch and log railing design (which by the way is also called the broken ice railing). The logs are installed as the beams and it is up for you to arrange the branch railings in between depending on the level of ‘rustic’ that you want to project.
7. Mix-wood porch railing
As the name suggests, if you are hard on wood railings, there is no reason why you should not mix and match them to create a unique and cheap porch rail design. You can use ipe, mahogany, or any hardwood for the frame or beams. In between, you can use birchwood or other softwood types to provide contrast.
8. Rope porch railing
If you are working on a lake house or a beautiful cabin in the woods, you might want to consider having a rope porch railing. There are a lot of knots that you could master if you want a standout porch railing.
The materials are inexpensive, and you can completely do it on your own. And don’t think that rope porch railings will only work in a wood contrast. It will also look okay with an aluminum frame.
9. Sunburst/crisscross porch railing
If you want to add flair to geometric symmetries, you can always try more dynamic ideas like crisscross or sunburst wood pallets or welded steel. These designs will work in any home style but will look exceptional in cottage houses.
10. Wired porch railing
For a more city-look, industrial feel that is perfect on a tight railing budget, install steel beams and put in an interlocking steel wire. To add dynamics to the porch, you can go for a lattice, horizontal, clean vertical or crisscross steel wire. Dark neutrals for the steel beams are also recommended.
11. The old cathedral looks
If you want to refurbish an old family home or working on a Victorian-style home or a barn house, installing lowly-arched, picket fence style railing is a good choice. Coating it with white, cream or beige will make it daintier, giving the old cathedral look and all the vintage feels especially in contrast to a green, green lawn.
12. Galvanized pipe
If you are looking for other ways to level up the wooden frame of your porch, installing thin galvanized pipes to act as balusters will look beautiful especially for raised porches. This design is not just modern and minimalist but also an inexpensive and sturdy choice.
13. Landscape porch railing
No one would ever imagine porch rails as planters or landscape retainers, but they can be. You can add a more leveled dynamics to your porch by adding in some stairs, and instead of the traditional beams and balusters, you can install wood planters that will act as porch screen and rails.
14. Wagon wheel
Aside from the sunburst and the crisscross, you can also infuse other centerpiece designs where the horizontal balusters are such as the wagon wheel. The wagon wheel can be customized steel or wood. It can be just as it is or you can add horizontal pallets to hold the wagon wheel in place.
15. Porch slide
If the porch is not that high and there are kids around, you can mix safe and fun together in a porch railing featuring a slide. So instead of limiting the kids’ movements while they are running around the porch, it could become an extended playground. It is a unique take on porch railings.
16. Belly up-bar porch rail
Speaking of a multi-functional porch rail, installing an up-bar belly that is thicker than the typical top porch frame will surely make your porch a party nook. If you have a back porch, this is a perfect idea. You can add a BBQ grill on the side, an outdoor bar, and highchairs along the up-bar belly itself.
17. Mounted steel porch railing
If you just want a simple, mounted railing to hold on to while you step on the porch steps, a mounted steel porch railing is the simplest, most inexpensive idea that you can install. A mounted porch railing is often found in commercial establishments, but it works well with bungalow type homes too.
18. Wraparound bench porch railing
This is another multifunctional design that you can work on. Aside from having a sturdy porch rail to keep the space safe, you are also putting in additional seats for more people to be accommodated at once. Wood and steel wraparound benches are perfect choices for any type of home style.
19. All steel design
If you want a low-maintenance, easy to install porch railing that will add a crisp angle to your porch space, go for an all-aluminum steel design. For an industrial, modern look, use darker-toned colors, if you want a beach house style look, go for brighter-colored ones.
20. Curved spindle porch railings
If you do not want to veer away from the traditional spindles in between the beams, you can customize the horizontal spindles into jagged or curved ones. The swirls give another flair to your balusters and will really look good on a porch overlooking a lush garden.
21. Cable porch railing
Nothing beats the feeling of an exposed outdoors. If you want less privacy, thin cables on thick wood beams are gorgeous as a porch railing. It gives a minimalistic, modern vibe that with all the sun and the air seeping in. It is the definition of relaxation.
22. Stained glass porch railing
So, we have mentioned a couple of glass designs, but it can’t all just be plexiglass or tinted glass. Stained glass can range from multi-colored and even mosaic if you want to. In terms of function, it can block UV lights and could act as a porch screen too.
23. Stone beams
If you have a stone or concrete exterior, staying with stone beams for the porch rail is the perfect match. Use aluminum steel in between for the balusters. If you want to give a minimalist touch, you can use cables instead. And real estate wise, stone veneer beams could really add more value to your home.
24. Modern clean lines
Modern-style porch railings are all about clean lines. It is the go-to choice of modern bungalows and craftsman style houses. It is often a combination of stained wood and powder-coated aluminum. Upfront, it is expensive but it is almost maintenance-free so it adds to this list.
25. Chippendale porch railing
It is one of the most traditional porch railing designs found in Colonial style homes. It goes well with traditional style shutters and columns. Its vintage vibe makes it an odd-out in the row of modern geometric designs. Chippendale railings make any home look historic especially with their conventional white coating.
Related: Vintage front porch ideas
26. Ornate baluster porch railings
Speaking of vintage, there are other ornate baluster designs that can be considered aside from the old cathedral design. One of the most popular would be the sawn baluster railing. It is the fusion of shapes and ornate details that are perfect for Victorian and mid-century style homes.
27. Craftsman style porch railing
By this design, we mean the traditional vertical spindles but without the thicker beams. All spindles have equal thickness and gaps in between. If you have a multi-toned exterior, coat the craftsman porch railing with a tone that will give off an illusion of continuity.
This gives the entire porch ensemble a more cohesive view. It is a beautiful porch railing design for a front porch especially in contrast to vibrant turf grass.
28. Matching porch railings
If you are high on a clean and cohesive design, a porch railing that matches the material and colors of the window casing and the door is a beautiful idea. It is one of the best matches for a front porch railing. Extending the gaps between the balusters and adding other designs on the beams adds more flair and character to your porch.
29. Illuminated porch rails
Be it wood, aluminum steel, vinyl, or iron, putting in a lightwork underneath the rails creates a flashy/dreamy view at night. Aside from this, having a light source at night adds more safety especially on evening soirees with friends or to see stuff outdoors clearly even at night.
Notwithstanding the porch railing ideas that we have just covered, there are also frequently asked questions that you should know the answer to. These will help you narrow down your design choice for your porch and some basic considerations to remember.
What is the best material for porch railings?
The three best materials for porch railings would be aluminum, wood, and vinyl. Of course, each has its own pros and cons that is why these three are always in competition with one another when it comes to railings.
Giving the most traditional and outdoorsy look would be wood. They can be durable if they are installed, maintained, and sealed properly. Wood is the most common material and depending on the type of wood, it could be more expensive than vinyl and aluminum.
Aluminum is also a good choice for porch railings. It is durable, does not rust nor corrode, affordable, and easy to install. And although it is lightweight, you can count on it for your safety. But unlike wood and vinyl, aluminum does not come in an array of coatings and finishes.
What fills the gaps between wood and aluminum would be vinyl. It comes with a lot of finishes, it is lightweight, easy to install and it is affordable. The point is, at the end of the day, know which one will match your home’s aesthetics as well as the upfront costs and what will cost you in the long run.
Do I need a railing on my front porch?
Technically, the answer to this is mandated by the building code and not just an impulsive decision that you feel like you can make. According to the International Building Code (IBC), any deck or porch that is 30inches above ground must have a railing.
But in specific circumstances such as having kids or the elderly around, having a porch rail should not even be a question. It should be installed right there and then for safety.
How much do porch railings cost?
An average, porch railing costs are averaged per 10ft area. The range is at $400-7000 including materials and installation cost. If you are wondering, porch railing materials cost a range of $100-6000. Labor costs of installation per linear foot would be at $30-70.
How high can a porch be without railings?
While there is an existing 30inches rule above ground, some building codes require railings for porches that are 15-24inches above ground. If the porch is 9ft (and above) aboveground, the railings should be supported by 42inch balusters at a maximum of 4ft spacing in between. But then again, as have been mentioned, you can install one anytime for safety.
Aside from being a safety fixture, porch railings are beautiful additions to any home. As has been seen in the list of porch railing ideas here, a porch railing makes the space homier and cozier. It can be an extension of the kids’ play space, a comfortable nook for coffee sessions, and a whole lot more.
To get the best out of these ideas, consider the costs, your home’s design, and the materials that you should use to start on your porch railing project. Oh, and check what is mandated in your location’s building code.