Stair Railing and Balcony Handrail

Balcony Handrails as an Architectural Element

Many modern homes incorporate some type of great room and loft to create an open feel to the living space. This means that there is often a balcony handrail that is prominent in the great room or living area. Take your time selecting the railing idea that is right for you.

Balcony Handrail

Balcony Handrail

The balcony handrail is an architectural element of a home’s interior design that is often overlooked by designer, builder and homeowner. The balcony staircase is often one of the very first pieces of the home that a new visitor will see. It is important to make a strong statement with the balcony and staircase railing.

What Type of Balcony Handrail to Use

Mountain Laurel Handrails use natural wood balusters to create wondrous designs from branches that have grown into a variety of shapes. This interior wood railing design incorporates a balcony handrail which connects with the stair railing and leads into the cathedral ceiling.

Balcony Railing

Balcony Railing

Stair Railing Design Choices

Stair railing makes a strong statement about interior design choices. Interior stair railing kits from Wood Railing are a great choice! In many homes, the staircase is the most visible architectural element inside the home. As it rises from floor to floor, the viewer’s eye is drawn upward towards the heavens. Often the stairs will be accompanied by a stone or rock fireplace in a great room. This large living space is the central gathering point of a home.

Many homes feature a grand staircase as the focal point of a great room. And oftentimes these stairs are finished with precise woodworking. But too often, the stair railings get overlooked and the balusters end up as boring pickets or turned spindles going up and down from tread to banister. A thoughtful staircase design acknowledges that an intricate and beautiful balustrade is the most important factor in the look of a stairway.

Stairs Railing

Stairs Railing

The stairs lead up to a balcony where the handrail of the stairs continues. Many formal designs feature vertical balusters that are evenly spaced. Sometimes these wood balusters will be turned with designs seemingly carved into them.

These pictures show of how stair railings are the centerpiece of the great room. The front door to this home is located at the foot of the stair, so as visitors enter, they are greeted with the sight of this rustic wood stair railing. The staircase design draws the eye upward toward the balcony handrail and then further into the room where the viewer is greeted by cathedral ceilings and tongue-in-groove pine boards. The use of similar colors on the lower and upper levels also adds to the visual excitement and ties the room together.

Stair Railing

Stair Railing Installed

Wooden Balcony Railings for Rustic Homes

The first thing you see as you enter this home is the stair railing and it leads to the balcony handrail which is also made in the rustic branch style. The tongue and groove lumber on the cathedral ceiling required expert woodworking precision to ensure a close fit. Take a close look at the pictures and you’ll see all the special modifications that the carpenters made to produce quality finished work.

Natural Wood Railing

Natural Wood Railing

Balcony Handrail Designs and Code Regulations

Balcony handrail design, just like most parts of a home or new construction, are governed by different code regulations. These code requirements are set in most places by the building code produced by the International Code Council. These requirements are then adopted and modified by local jurisdictions.

The balcony handrail height code in most places is between 36″ and 42″. The balcony handrail system provided by Wood Railing comes in sections that are typically 31″ tall. With a 3.5″ space from the finish floor and a 1.5″ thick board on the top, the finish height of the railing is 36″. If you want something taller than this, just let us know.

Interior Railing

Interior Railing

Yellow Pine Balcony Handrail for Log Home

The homeowner liked the look of yellow pine lumber and they already had a lot of wood in the home which made this rustic stair railing the crowning jewel in this home. Many homes incorporate different kinds of wood and it’s important to keep everything in a home matching nicely. This can be a tricky proposition in either new construction or remodeling.

Other options for stair railing include wrought iron railing, glass panels or balusters, regular wood balusters made of 2×2 boards. There are also other artistic stair railing options where crafty skill is needed.

Lumber Options for Balcony Handrail and Stairs Railing

The Wood Railing workshop can help with some of these choices. Lumber is one of the most common modifications to a railing order as homeowners and contractors try to match the new or existing lumber. This yellow pine balcony handrail installed in a log home remodel in the North Georgia mountains shows how keeping the lumber palette limited can blend the whole project together for great final results.

There is great diversity in the different lumber species. Even cutting the same tree in different ways results in wood that looks differently. The typical lumber for Mountain Laurel Handrails is red cedar. This lumber ranges from light pink to dark brown with knots. Clear cedar which has no knots is also available for a premium price. Redwood, which is similar to cedar and is apparently common the West Coast, is quite expensive on the East Coast where it is special order.

Interior Twig Railing

Interior Twig Railing

Artistic Handrail for a Unique Home

This handrail installation made this home extra special and unique. But Mountain Laurel Handrails aren’t the only type of unique stairway railing that is a good match for a rustic mountain home. If you’re building a log home, or timber frame, there are a few options. Many homes built in the craftsman style will have strong horizontal elements in the woodwork and intricate, built up columns to create a craftsman stair railing.

Depending on the style that you’re looking for, you’ll have some choices to make. But choosing a bold statement for your inside handrails is sure to make a strong impression! Especially for a log home or a mountain home with lots of wood ceilings and hardwood floors like the one pictured here, a natural wood railing is the perfect match for pine ceilings and hardwood flooring. Contact Today with your project details to get started!

Rustic Wood Railing

Rustic Wood Railing

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Updated on October 6, 2018 by jimmypader

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11 Responses to Stair Railing and Balcony Handrail

  1. Susan C Dudek says:

    I am building a log home and i would like a quote. My posts and rails are in already and i would like to replace the spindles w the branches.

  2. Denise Alexander says:

    I would like a quote.

  3. Olga Pader says:

    I like the contrast of the lighter pine color with the all the other darker wood tones in the house. Definitely an eyecatcher.

  4. Sharon Wells says:

    I have small grandchildren. How secure is the laurel section? It is very beautiful but I’m just concerned about the overall safety.

  5. Tina Branson says:


    We purchased a recently built log home near Murphy NC. The loft has a standard “ladder type” safety railing across the top. (It’s accessed by a ladder!) Since this railing is viewable through the front windows, we’d really like to install a unique twig railing like the ones you have pictured. Are there any inserts, kits, or other options available for this type of situation?

  6. Larry Hendershot says:

    Hey….spoke with you a few months back and we are now ready to start on our rail. During our build we had misplaced your previous email with instructions and pictures, do you care to resend that email again and we are always looking for new ways to build our rail so if you have new pictures could you please send those.

    Thank you!

  7. Rob says:

    How do these make it past a building inspector?

    • wood railing says:

      Hi Rob
      All railings are built to meet the common building code requirement where no space is greater than a 4″ sphere, no problem.
      Let me know if you have any other questions

  8. Mitch Hyde says:

    Building a house on Fontana Lake. Main home is in Sylva. Looking for some interior stair railings.

  9. Jody Richards says:

    I was looking for some hand rail for the stairs and some fencing for the top landing . We just bought a home in boone and i will need some help with this matter . thank you very much Jody