Trend Watch: Horizontal Railings

Trend Watch: Horizontal Railings


Try out this look for a stylish twist on classic vertical spindles. 

Thanks to their sleek design and view-enhancing layout, horizontal railings have long been used for outdoor settings: surrounding back patios, lining the staircase that leads down to the yard or enhancing the front porch. Used indoors, however, this stylish look also has plenty to offer your interior design.

Interior horizontal railings suit modern or contemporary looks perfectly. A sleek form and clean lines keep the visual flow of a space open and emphasize airiness—the ideal pairing with a sophisticated modernist interior design. It’s no wonder homeowners, designers and builders are embracing their options and looking beyond vertical spindle installations for their railings. It’s official: the horizontal look is hot.

Horizontal railings are dramatic and statement-making—perfect if you’re looking for something as bold as it is beautiful. It’s already incredibly popular in Europe, Australia, and the U.S., where cable and horizontal bars are used in residential and commercial projects alike and found both indoors and outside.

Find some inspiration right here for how to incorporate this sophisticated look into your own home


These curving horizontal bar railings pair sleek spindles with a white oak staircase for a beautiful contrast of natural materials. (Image credit: Q-railing).

Cross tube can be easily be installed directly into wood posts.  The white newel post and contrasting dark wood handrail create a sleek, modern railing with a nautical style. (Q-railing)

Outdoors or indoors, the horizontal railing adds a modern touch. Gunmetal grey spindles contrast beautifully against the greenery of the natural backdrop. (Image credit: AGS)

In this installation, black posts are paired with a wood handrail and slim metallic horizontal spindles, a high-contrast look that works just right in this minimalist space.  (Image credit: Deck Rail)

A horizontal railing works with wooden, metal or carpeted treads alike. (Image credit: Prorail)

This custom welded railing is a statement-making focal point of a lottery home outfitted by Homes by Highgate. 

Cable railing surrounds this beautiful deck area while diners enjoy dinner al fresco in natural surroundings. (Image Credit: Houzz)

The gorgeous views are unobstructed on this patio because of the modern open horizontal railing design. (Image Credit: Arnel Hasanovic)

Geometric style adds visual interest in this custom fabricated railing with an industrial chic vibe. (Image Credit: Wall Street Journal


For these dramatic modern railing installations, designers are using options like stainless steel spindles, which offer a wide selection beyond the more traditional horizontal-cable look, in finishes and materials that can enhance a room’s design. 

For this sophisticated style, any spindle can work: no special products needed. Plain, unadorned designs work best to allow this unique railing layout to shine, but if you’re up for a more ornate look, decorative or ornamental products can add function with an extra layer of style. Though a more ornate spindle can turn your staircase from sleek and modern into one with a more traditional feel, there’s no wrong way to incorporate horizontal railings to match your own personal style.

Another way to customize your horizontal railing is by creating patterns using spacing and shape. Depending on how far apart you space the vertical support posts, the look of your railing can be vastly different, creating square segments or rectangular ones (see the photos above for real-life examples of spacing options) to suit your taste.


Sleek, rounded tube spindles are the most common option for horizontal railings, but they’re certainly not the only possibility. 

To really experiment with this look, break the mold with a geometric-style spindle that adds a layer of visual interest.

A spindle with a simple collar would bring in an elegant extra element that would help this modern look fit into a more transitional or traditional space.

Cross tube railing infill creates a dramatic, modern look for guardrails, perfect if you’re looking for something as bold as it is beautiful.

Create a modern look for stairs, decks, and fences with stainless steel cable fittings. Choose from a marine-inspired look with exposed fittings or a more contemporary style with fittings that are nearly invisible when installed.



As more jurisdictions adopt the code changes set out by the National Building Code 2015, horizontal railings are rapidly becoming the installation of choice for stairs, balconies, decks, and fences. Designers are embracing horizontal designs and all the different ways this style can enhance the places we live, work and play. Safe, practical, and of course, beautiful, horizontal railings are an amazing way to elevate any space—inside or out.

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