Railing is essentially the frame to your outdoor space, so it's important that you find the perfect color and design style to suit your backyard. Whether your home has a rustic appeal or you prefer the minimal lines of cable and wire railings, choosing the right one will create a beautiful design accent to your deck.

Research materials

The multitude of railing products on the market — from wood to metal to PVC — can be overwhelming at first, but you can easily narrow your options by considering your outdoor needs.

Classic wood railing makes a traditional statement but might require frequent staining and sealing and may be prone to rot and decay. Glass and iron accents are great stylistic additions, but can be difficult to install and maintain, and PVC railings are cost-efficient but can wear down quickly.

Alternatively, aluminum and composite railings are much easier to maintain, and offer durable, attractive and versatile kit options to simplify the installation process.

What style matches your design tastes?

The perfect railing for you will largely depend on the colors, details and styles that characterize your home. Selecting railing in the same shade as your decking can create a cozy, well-coordinated look and is a great option for traditional designs.

However, you may also want to consider a contrasting railing color, such as black or white. White railing creates a clean crisp look against dark decking, while dark railing colors can give any space a modern look and feel and visually blend it into the surroundings.

Don't be limited by a single color option, though. If you really want a distinctive look for your deck, consider mixing colors and materials like combining white aluminum railing and balusters with rich brown composite posts to create a dramatic look. Or, to add a sophisticated mix of texture and color, you can install to the top of your white or black railing sets a composite board that complements the decking color.

Keep in mind aesthetics and safety

While choosing the right railing for your deck, remember that safety and aesthetics can go hand in hand. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires guardrails for any deck elevated 30 inches or more off the ground, and your local building code may dictate how tall those railings need to be.

These codes don't require that you sacrifice style for a boring, utilitarian railing option, though.

How does it accent your whole yard?

While railing essentially functions as a safety feature, it's also a simple way to add privacy to your deck or to accent views of your yard. Choosing thicker posts and tightly spaced balusters can enhance privacy and keep out nosy neighbors. In contrast, you could create an unobstructed view of your yard with glass or cable infills to help the railing blend in with the landscape, offering a great accent to the natural surroundings.

With such a wide variety of products and finishes available, railing styles are endless. But using these tips to choose a sturdy and easy-to-maintain railing that matches the style and function of your home is sure to help personalize your outdoor space.