7 Ideas for Choosing the Right Deck Railing Color

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Updated April 22, 2022
Two children playing on a wooden deck
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Deck out your deck with these shades

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So you’ve chosen your deck and railing materials. Now you just need to pick a color for the railings. With so many options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. For help making this high-impact decision, consider the following tips. 

1. Research the Available Hues

Since certain railing materials come in only a few colors, these limitations will influence the shade you choose. It’s possible that the product you’ve selected is available in just black, white, and bronze, which will make your decision much simpler. Generally, vinyl offers the fewest choices and aluminum the most, including custom hues. With cable railing systems, you can often pick among black, white, metallics, browns, and grays.

2. Highlight Scenery

Whether you live in a glittering metropolis or a lush forest, you should aim for colors that compliment your surroundings. Look for railing colors that seem to disappear into the scenery. For water or coastal views, go with white, which provides a nautical look and blends in with the water and sky. For cityscapes or woodland or mountain vistas, opt for black, dark brown, or dark bronze. Achieve unobstructed views with acrylic or glass panels or steel cables instead of traditional balusters.

3. Go High Contrast

Maybe you can’t find railings that match. Or you want to obscure your surroundings or make a design statement. In those scenarios, try a high contrast look. To turn your deck railings into a focal point, pick a shade that pops against your home and deck colors, like black railings against white decking or siding. For an eye-catching look, choose different colors for the posts and balusters, like white posts with stainless steel balusters.

4. Decide on a Style

A man painting red a deck railing
Photo: Robin Gentry / EyeEm / EyeEm / Getty Images

Reflect on your style goals. If you’re after modern and sleek, gravitate towards all black or metallic or a mix of black or white with metallics. If cozy cottage-style is your aim, try whites. For rustic farmhouse looks, think dark reds or brown.

5. Play It Safe

You can’t go wrong if you match your railing colors to the hues of your home’s siding, trim, and decking. Or choose complementary tones, like dark brown decking and trim and black railings. The overall effect will be calming and cohesive.

6. Consider the Finish

Textured rather than glossy finishes tend to look higher-end and are easier to maintain. Plus, they won’t result in as much glare. That said, glossier colors often fade less. For insights, ask your local deck builder how long various colors and finishes will last.

7. Help Yourself Visualize the Result

Upload a photo of your deck onto a photo editing program to see how your railings would look in different hues. Or simply seek out pictures of your chosen color scheme to help you make the call.

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