Something as simple as a stair railing shouldn’t really give anyone a headache, design-wise. Still, if you stop to actually do some research and you find out just how many different options there are, things can get complicated and suddenly that basic design you originally had in mind doesn’t seem like the best idea. That’s actually true not just for stair handrails but for pretty much everything else. With that in mind, we hope to make the whole subject seem less intimating and chaotic by sharing with you some of the outdoor stair railing designs that we find most realistic and well balanced when it comes to aesthetics and most importantly functionality.
If you want a staircase railing design that stands out but not in a very striking way you don’t have to look too far from the basics. One of the best examples we can give here is a residence designed by naturehumaine back in 2013 in Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard, Canada.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a classic design either. Check out this residence designed by Dow Jones Architects in England. It has this rather steep concrete staircase which forms a nook underneath and a dark steel railing which matches the exterior of the building.
If there are nice views to be enjoyed, clear glass railings are definitely your best option. We love the use of glass in the design of this residence completed by Centric Design Group in the Netherlands. The outdoor stair railing doubles as a see-through divider and matches the railings that frame the upstairs terrace.
Glass is a surprisingly tough and durable material in spite of its fragile appearance. That makes it a valid choice for outdoor stair railings. This way the views remain unobstructed and it’s the stairs themselves that stand out, not the railings. This particular design is the work of Gus Wüstemann Architects.
Concrete is obviously another suitable material for outdoor stair railings. After all, it’s highly durable, strong, extremely versatile and can take any form. Here’s a design that might inspire you, something that Rockefeller Partners Architects came up with for a house in Hollywood Hills, L.A.
This sort of suspended staircase railing design is usually used indoors but studio o2 Architecture found a way to adapt it for a stylish outdoor staircase with floating steps which they designed for a house which they build in Palm Springs, US.
If you prefer a minimalist and graphical railing design, perhaps something like this would suit your style. This is the outdoor staircase designed by Nha4 Architects for a house which they built in Phú Sơn, Vietnam in 2015.
For an industrial aesthetic consider a steel staircase. There are actually plenty of variations in this case but one that we’re particularly attracted to is incorporated in the design of a house which Unostudio Architetti Associati built in Mantua, Italy. It uses weathered steel and it looks surprisingly sleek.
Spiral staircases are space-efficient as well as aesthetically-pleasing and that makes them a good fit for both indoor and outdoor areas. check out this one by the pool designed by studio Nico Van Der Meulen Architects for the Glass House project in Johannesburg, South Africa. The floating stairs are spiraling around a big and solid column offering access to the platform above the poolside lounge area.
When the overall architecture of a building is already eye-catching enough, there’s no point in overthinking the designs of smaller elements such as the outdoor stair railing. A good enough to use as a reference in this case is the Gorki House located near Moscow which is a project by studio Atrium.
Rather than featuring a single, continuous set of outdoor stairs, this residence designed by Griffin Enright Architects in Santa Monica, California has several separate sets of stairs which go down the slope. They’re very simple, with railings made of a single continuous stainless steel tube.
Wood and metal make a great combo and a lot of staircase railings take advantage of that. Outdoor staircases can be a bit more problematic because they require special treatments and care. You can get a visually similar effect by replacing the wood with corrugated metal. In any case, this house remodel done by Richard Wodehouse seems to be on the right track.
What about treehouses? They don’t have regular staircases but use ladders instead. So how do you put railings on that? Well, modfrugal can answer that question. These industrial-style pipe railings frame the ladder offering extra safety and giving the treehouse a rather refined look. Such a look is not exactly common and most treehouses don’t even bother with this feature when safety should actually be a top concern.