At The Porch Company, we frequently get questions about choosing the right railing style for a home. There are a few different ways to approach this, and ultimately it comes down to selecting a railing style that you love and will be aesthetically pleasing with your house. It’s truly amazing what a transformation a fresh railing design can make. Talk about curb appeal!
There are several different components that make up a railing system. You have the top and bottom handrail, for structure, and then there are the balusters that typically make up the infill of the railing. You’ve seen them–you probably have them– pickets! There’s nothing wrong with pickets, it is a classic look. But if you want to add an extra design element, our PVC railing panels can do the trick. Rather than being sold as individual balusters, they are made as sheets that can be butted up together and cut, therefor allowing for an endless amount of designs.
But there are so many unique designs–how do you choose??
Our first recommend is to start by considering the architectural style of your home. There are innumerous house styles, but some of the basics are:
Ranch style homes
Ranch style houses are usually long and low — one story, unless they’ve been modified — and are simplistic in their design. If you’re adding a porch to a ranch style home, we recommend sticking with a design with clean lines. A Southern Cross panel is a great option for this style home.
Traditional style homes
The category of traditional style homes includes Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Antebellum. These homes tend to be more formal than ranch homes and have a timeless appeal. The Southern Cross railing can work on these homes as well, so don’t be deterred from using it if you have a traditional home. We also suggest the Chippendale Panel and the Jackson Panel for traditional homes.
Craftsman homes are especially popular now, both the vintage homes built in the 1940s and early 1950s, as well as the Modern Craftsman style homes being built today. The Modern Craftsman home shares many features with their vintage counterparts, with a bit of added contemporary flare. The Craftsman railing is designed–you guessed it–for the craftsman style home. Or you can always break the rules a little and consider the Cathedral Picket Panel for a bit of added flair :).
Victorian homes are usually ornate with various decorative architectural elements, so here you want your porch railing to play right into that theme. And by play, we mean be playful! You really can’t overdo it with a decorative railing on a Victorian home. The railing styles we recommend for a Victorian home are the Cathedral Picket Panel, the Double Cathedral Picket Panel and the Cathedral Scroll Panel.
If the style of your home doesn’t fit neatly into one of the above categories, or you don’t want to be guided by a specific architectural period, you may want to simply look at your house for clues. Do the moldings, the window shape and style or the roof overhang look like they would pair best with a specific railing style? Does the millwork on your home have flourishes such as corbels, or is it more boxy and straightforward? Do your windows have ornate mullions or plain?
Sometimes geographical location is a factor when selecting porch railings. We’re not saying you can only use a certain railing style in a given geographical region, but the waves panel on a beach house? The branches panel on a cabin? Let your surroundings give you clues!
All this to say, the bottom line is that the best railing style for your home is the one you like the best. It’s subjective, and you will need to be guided by your own personal style and tastes.
When you look through the railing panels available in The Porch Store, you will see that we offer all of the railing styles named above, and more! We also can make custom designs and sizes. Whether these are being installed on a porch we are building, or we are shipping them to your home across the U.S., we will help you find the right fit and layout for your home. While these products have the body and substance of wood, they’re made from 1″ (or 1.5″) thick solid cellular PVC and don’t require the maintenance of wood. So… we’re saying it’s a win win. Contact us for your free estimate!