50 Staircase Railing Ideas
Every home that is more than one story needs staircases to connect two levels. And choosing from among various staircase railing ideas can be confusing. Here's all you need to know.
Some staircases have no railings or handrails, some have them. Staircase railings, however, are ideal, if not essential, to have for safety reasons.
Other than for its functional purpose, they give staircases visual presence and add a stylish look to your home.
Staircase Railing Tips to Remember
Every time you are remodeling your home or building a structure in your home, there is always a building code to remember for people’s safety. Staircase railings have several of them too.
First, railings are required any time stairs have a total rise of at least 30 inches from the ground surface, or when there are four or more stairs. Stair railings or handrails have to be the proper height to ensure the safety of everyone using it.
According to the residential code, the handrail height should not be less than 34 inches and more than 38 inches above the top of the stair tread. A minimum hand clearance of 1 ½ inch from the wall is required.
If your stairs have two railings on both sides, the minimum distance between them is 27 inches, providing enough space for people to walk. Additionally, if there is only one railing, the handrail must be at least 31 ½ inches from the wall without handrail.
It must also be remembered that the handrails and railings should be able to support at least 200 pounds. All these building codes and regulations may vary per community.
How much do staircase railings and handrails cost?
Depending on the style, the cost of staircase railing ideas will vary. The more complicated the staircase railing style is, the more expensive it will be. Typically, the price range is from $336 to $572.
No matter the price range, you should consider staircase railings for everyone’s safety, especially for people without a good sense of balance.
Staircase Railing Ideas
There is an impressive and spectacular variety of styles and models of staircase railing ideas, from which you can choose from. Some are crafted from wood, some with steel, and others of iron, vertical wiring, and even glass.
Staircase railings are like the frame to a staircase as in painting: they complete the visuals of the architectural structure. Let’s take a look at staircase railing ideas!
This traditional railing with its straight balusters is a simple yet elegant design. The handrails are painted black to match with the stair tread, and the balusters and skirtboard are white. The black and white accent makes it look clean and refined.
The kicker for this design is the newel post resembling a lighthouse. The tiny lamp is definitely a nice touch.
Vertical wood railing
On one side of the stairs where there is a wall, there is a simple wooden handrail. On the other side are finely crafted vertical wood railings that touch from the ceiling to the floor.
This railing design is perfect for this mid-sized staircase.
Rustic homes like this fit it with a rustic staircase railing design. The rough-hewn wood beams make up the entire railing system. It perfectly complements the home’s architectural elements and its furniture.
Spiral staircases obviously tend to have spiral railings. For this one, the dramatic yet elegant curve of the rich and polished wood railing winds along the spiral staircase’s frame.
The entire structure is made from the same wood, forming a congruous and beautiful architectural piece in your home.
Classic wood railing
Everything about this staircase and railing screams classic and vintage. The way the risers and the railings are all made of polished wood perfectly blends in with the vintage look of the living space.
The wooden balusters are finely crafted and spaced between straight ones to offer variety in style. This staircase was renovated to fit into the 1911 Tudor-style home.
Traditional and flared
This elegant traditional staircase adds flavor to its style for the curved frame at the beginning. The railing follows along this curve. The brown handrail carves out the frame leading down to the volutes on either side.
The newel posts and balusters are slender. The fluted balusters are white to match the risers while also complementing the brown handrail and posts.
Instead of the broader and heavier box newels, this staircase has Belle Meade newels instead.
Broad wooden railings
The wooden railings and the wooden paneled walls make a grand and vintage look to the staircase, in contrast to the concrete treads.
The heavy balusters support the broad handrail and completely complement the beautifully carved heavy posts.
This entire staircase is made of wood. The white and brown colors contribute to a contemporary look. But the highlight of this staircase is the boat oar balustrade.
The stylistic choice was made to match the fact that this staircase is from a lake house.
A traditional staircase that exudes class and elegance. The white balusters match with the risers. This particular staircase has two handrails on each side of the stairs.
The first one curves along to form the top of the volute newel. The second handrail is just below, easing and turning around to the volute as well. This and the white balusters appear to form around the newel posts on the starting step.
Hand-carved Medieval stair
This staircase was inspired by medieval theme and style. The entire railing – from the exciting newel post to the spiral handrail to the custom balusters – were expertly hand-carved.
Wood and metal railing
Modern Craftsman style
This straight wooden staircase boasts of a modern Craftsman style with the wooden handrails and newel posts. The balusters are fine wrought ironwork.
The combination gives a classic yet modern railing design.
U-shaped staircase railing
The sleek wooden handrails connect to Craftsman style newel posts. Up, above the landing tread, two landing newels are fit side by side, linking the two flights of stairs instead of having a rail drop.
The balusters are made of wrought iron, alternating between single and double knuckles. The treads match the neat brown paint of the handrail and newel posts which sit perfectly in contrast with the white risers.
Modern helical stairs
This concrete staircase is cladded in oak wood to give it a sophisticated and clean look. Instead of the regular structure with newel posts, this staircase opts for the handrail to drop in a curve, owning to the overall framework of the staircase.
In addition, instead of the regular balustrading, this staircase has a stylish helix-like structure for balustrade which is made of forged stainless steel.
Dark hardwood and iron baluster
The dark hardwood lining the floor and essentially making up the staircase accentuates the beauty of this foyer. All but the balusters, which are made of wrought iron, are made of the dark hardwood.
Usually all the newel posts are of the same size and shape. But in this one, the landing newels are different from the much broader and carefully carved starting newel.
Wood railing and metal newel
The clean wooden railing matches with the light brown wooden treads. The newels are slender metal supporting the handrail.
In the absence of a vertical balusters, there is a slab of marble acting as the railing and running parallel with the handrail. On the other side of the staircase, the vertical metals act as wall and railing.
Wood railing with metal handrail
At first glance, this black staircase railing looks like it’s all made of wood. The simple newel posts are completed by the cross design for balusters. The crisscrossed railing also act as handrail guard for the metal handrail.
With the simplicity of the railing, it perfectly complements the rustic design of the staircase.
The entire framework of this staircase’s railing is made of metal. The handrail is exposed inside, towards the run of the staircase. But the metal balusters are clad in rectangular blocks of wood to create the wonderfully spaced wooden balusters.
This design gives the staircase a rustic yet modern look.
Detailed metal work
A modern and contemporary staircase. The detailed iron work for the railings looks like some art piece in a museum. They never quite touch the treads but are supported by the metal newel posts. The iron railings seemingly act like a curtain.
Meanwhile, the handrail is capped with fine wood and some of the treads extend outward to create shelves. The color scheme also completes the look for a modern staircase.
The sleek and slender wooden handrail matches with the treads. The metal railing is not simply just vertical balusters spaced out uniformly.
Curved balusters alternate between straight vertical ones, so when light hits, it creates an illusion of waves.
The intricate wrought iron scrollwork immediately catches attention. This makes the starting newel interesting as the scrollwork frame and form into a hollow post.
It is complemented by the beautiful and polished wooden handrail.
A contemporary flared staircase which at first glance, looks ordinary enough. While the staircase is predominantly made of red oak wood, the railing is made of stainless steel spindles in an erratic pattern which makes it unique.
Curved sweeping staircase
Instead of a straight landing which is usual in U-shaped staircases, this staircase curves and sweeps. So, the steel balustrade by the landing also curves and so do the wooden handrails as they turn.
Wood and glass railing
Contemporary glass rails
This small staircase was customized with the wooden handrail which continues down to the post. The stringer is also wooden, making the railing system like a wooden enclosure.
The wooden railing system does enclose thick glass as the staircase’s balustrade. Notice that there is little space between the glasses and the glass with the wooden post.
Sleek black steel
This staircase combines three of the common materials that a lot of staircases are made of. The handrail is made of wood. But the skirtboard is made of steel wherein the glass balustrade is connected to.
Such design makes it look like the staircase is enclosed by the sleek black steel.
An open plan staircase is made to look modern with glass strips functioning as the balustrade. The designers chose a rather minimalistic style with the square newels and flat capping.
This railing design helps bring in more natural light into the home.
While most glass railing are attached on the outside, by the side of the stringer or skirtboard, on this staircase, the glass follows the shape of each rise of the staircase, fitted in place into the stringer.
A wooden handrail is present and it seemingly frames the glass above.
Curved glass panels
A modern staircase made more impressive with the curved glass panels for its railing and the maple wood framing it. With the towering windows this home has, the choice of glass railing was best to let a lot of natural light in.
Modern rustic staircase
The newel posts of this staircase is made of reclaimed timber which gives the rustic appeal of the staircase. Installing the glass panels makes it modern to contrast the old timbers.
Curved metal railing
The railing curves along with the staircase’s framework. The entire handrail is made of iron, complementing the concrete staircase. The newel posts are slender but finely crafted iron. Instead of the balusters being on the treads, the balusters are fit into brackets and are attached to the skirtboard of the staircase.
Detailed iron railing
Everything about this staircase screams elegant. First, the wrought iron railing perfectly curves along with the staircase’s framework. The detailed balusters are fitted into decorative brackets to the side.
The sleek handrail leads to a beautifully carved newel post that is set on the floor instead of a starting step.
Plate steel staircase
This folded plate steel staircase is seemingly floating without a skirt but is actually supported by a steel beam beneath the treads. There is also the absence of balusters, leaving it with the sleek black handrail and newels.
The entirety of it being made from sleek metal is so expertly crafted to become this modern staircase.
This one spiral staircase has a modern and industrial look to it thanks to the metal railing. The railing system is quite interesting. The handrails look disjointed instead of being a single continuous curve along the spiraling staircase.
While the handrail is made from wood, the screens that are in place instead of balusters are made from steel. The metal railing suits the metal treads of the structure.
Made from metal, this staircase’s railing could be just like any other railing. If it not for the wavy rails, it would be so. Instead of the same old horizontal railing, the metal were forged to form the wavy structure on the railing.
Rich details on railing
The sleek wooden handrail comes down to a volute, curving along the staircase’s curve. But the real highlight is the wrought iron railing.
In contrast to the wrought iron balusters, this iron railing is rich in details, making the staircase even more elegant and charming.
This staircase’s railing is made of iron that was forged with intricacy. Attached to a wooden base rail, the wrought iron were forged into a woodland railing with oak leaves.
The design perfectly fits the woodland aesthetic of the home.
Knuckles and scrolls
This staircase’s railing was previously made of wood but was renovated into this elegant wrought iron railing. The newel posts are capped off with finials.
The iron balustrade is a mix of plain balusters, single knuckle, and some iron scrollwork.
Sleek spiral iron
This breath-taking spiral staircase is from a European-inspired home. The sleek iron railing follows the brown and cream color scheme of the house.
Instead of being attached on the treads, the balusters and newels are fitted to the side. The balusters alternate between scrolls, plain, and knuckle style.
Metal and glass railing
Clean glass railing
The clean cut of glass serve as the railing of this staircase. Metal handrail is mounted on the glass so it faces inside of the staircase.
The white open risers and the transparent glass gives the staircase an open and free feel to it.
This striking steel of a staircase curves down. On one side, the glass railing curves along the staircase’s framework. On the other side, there is a steel handrail to grasp on.
The handrail matches with the treads and the overall industrial look of the living space.
Colored glass railing
This railing’s main framework is made of stainless steel. The light grey color helps accentuate the colored glass panels that make the staircase unique.
The colored panels differ in colors, shapes, and sizes to provide variety and beauty.
Modern glass staircase
This modern glass railing follows along the flight and landing, fitting into the stringers. The metal handrails follow along the direction of the glass railing.
Glass railing with metal handrail
Unlike the previous staircase railing examples, in this one, a separate handrail is absent. The entire glass railing serves as the entire railing system for this staircase.
Perfectly cut glasses are fitted into the concrete skirtboard. The treads are made of stone that perfectly match the concrete framework. It also complements the glass railing which gives a modern look.
Tinted glass railing
Forget clear glass railing, check out this staircase with tinted glass rails. The glasses are perfectly fitted into the metal skirtboard to go hand-in-hand with the wooden treads. The absence of a separate handrail makes the glass the handrail and balustrade.
Also, note that because the glass is a dark tint that lights were installed on the side of staircase for safety purposes.
Spiral glass railing
Many spiral staircases are railed by either wood or metal materials. But for this one, the railing is made of glass.
With the glass railing and the open risers, this staircase lets in a lot of natural light.
Wood, metal, and glass railing
Textured glass panel
Instead of the regular glass staircase railings, this one uses textured glass panels. Each glass is then framed to form an elegant railing.
Frosted patterned glass
Here is another staircase with frosted glass for railing. But this time, the frosted glass is patterned into geometrical shapes.
The glass panels are also framed but in a continuous manner.
Wood and cable railing
This staircase uses cables as the main material for staircase railing. The cables connect two different flights of stairs through the extended part of each of the wooden treads, serving like a wall of cables.
A wooden handrail is supported by metal posts that are positioned on the outside portion of the treads.
Rather than straight cables connecting from top to bottom, this staircase has cables in a disorganized crisscross pattern for its railing. On the other side, a wooden handrail is mounted to a wall division.
The handrail is mounted on by a metal handrail extension. In such design, safety is ensured on either side of the staircase.
Wood, metal, and cable railing
Cables and panel division
The railing framework is made of steel with the handrail cladded in sleek wood that matches with the treads. Instead of steel balustrade, this staircase’s protection is the cable railing.
On the other side, a decorated panel division is placed to act more like as a guard rail.
Metal and plastic railing
This staircase has stainless steel railing with horizontal rails instead of the vertical metalwork. The sleek black color offers a simple and contemporary look. However, the seagrass resin panel in between the sections of steel railing act as a rail of its own adding variety to the staircase.
There are still more creative staircase railing ideas out there. Hopefully, this list has helped you get inspiration for your staircase railing for your home!