Exterior Handrail Systems: 17 Design Ideas for Outdoor Handrails

January 25, 2024

Janis Hubina

Blog Handrails

Handrails sometimes go unnoticed. They’re one of those things that you may not realize how much they’re needed and how often you use them until they aren’t available. But when they’re absent, that absence is fully felt as your hand reaches in vain for the support that isn’t there.

That’s why exterior handrails are so important. 

Whether navigating icy conditions, avoiding slipping during a rainstorm, or simply supporting yourself as you climb a set of steps carrying an armload of groceries, handrails are necessary for walking safely.

When you’re ready to add a handrail to your exterior space, these 17 exterior handrail design ideas will help you get started!

17 Exterior Handrail System Ideas

1. Storefront Exterior Handrails

Storefront Exterior Handrails

This stunning entrance features an exterior handrail that perfectly complements the statement door at the top of the steps. By carrying the finish of the door into the handrail, the design feels very intentional as the handrail is incorporated into the decor rather than an afterthought.

2. Outside Garden with Exterior Handrail

Outside Garden with Exterior Handrail

Outdoor handrails can complement a variety of design styles. In this case, the outside metal handrail is paired with a small garden that leads up to a patio. The finish of the handrail compliments the color of garden mulch, creating continuity in the design.

3. Wood Ramp Exterior Handrail System

Wood Ramp Exterior Handrail System

Outside handrails are incredibly useful on ramps and decks as well as stairways. Guard railing—often referred to as guardrails or deck railing—is 42″ high and helps prevent individuals from falling over the side. Installing a handrail at 36″ high also acts as a secondary railing, which provides mobility support and helps others from falling on the ramp or stairs.

4. Long Exterior Staircase Handrail System

Long Exterior Staircase Handrail System

In a lot of cases, interior metal handrails act as a secondary handrail. These secondary handrails add extra support, allowing for a power grip—one where the fingers are able to fully wrap around the handrail—that extend beyond the primary exterior handrail for additional safety when navigating the stairs.

5. Staircase Handrail System

Staircase Handrail System

Outside handrails can be integrated into almost any setting, from the steps leading up to a stately brownstone to the steps that lead down to a relaxing beach. In the case of the beach, the extra support is necessary to guide beachgoers as they juggle their beach bags, coolers, and kids.

6. Multiple-Level Exterior Handrail Systems

Multiple-Level Exterior Handrail Systems

This dual handrail creates safety for the old and young, tall and short, alike. Utilizing a double exterior handrail system ensures safety regardless of height, as well as providing a defined edge to the stairs.

7. Two-toned Exterior Handrails

Two-toned Exterior Handrails

A black and silver combination always makes an impressive statement. Even though this walkway is only a few steps, this outdoor handrail provides the support needed to get to and from the upper walkway safely. Set against traditional brick, the edgier black and silver creates an interesting design element.

8. Front Porch Exterior Handrail

Front Porch Exterior Handrail

Handrails are especially necessary in cases where the elevation change is not steep. For this stairway, the handrails provide additional safety measures to avoid challenges and falls from the steep climb. Adding an interesting handrail that incorporates two tones adds an element of style while keeping people safe.

9. Wall-Mounted Handrail Systems

Wall-Mounted Handrail Systems

This short handrail features a wall return, keeping the profile minimal and reducing the possibility of snagging clothing or bags.

10. Short and Steep Exterior Handrails

Short and Steep Exterior Handrails

Simple silver makes this outdoor handrail system stand out, making it easy to find and take advantage of in order to safely navigate the concrete stairs.

11. Long and Steep Exterior Handrail Systems

Long and Steep Exterior Handrail Systems

This long metal exterior handrail system travels from the flat sidewalk to the upper patio entrance, providing extra protection to the brick wall against the brick exterior wall. The handrail length also gives additional support to those entering or exiting the building.

12. Entryway Handrail Systems

Entryway Handrail Systems

Another example of minimal yet very functional design, this exterior handrail system makes it easy to get right to the door safely.

13. Minimalist Exterior Handrail Systems

Minimalist Exterior Handrail Systems

Instead of having the handrail curve all the way up the stairs, use an exterior handrail for the most important places: the stairs. Providing a handrail for even small sections of walkways can provide visitors safety without taking away from the exterior of your home.

14. Customized Exterior Handrail System

Customized Exterior Handrail System

This ramp highlights how outside metal handrails can be customized to fit an area’s specific needs. On one side of the ramp, an outdoor handrail runs along the wall to provide support while the opposite side features a ramp length handrail to guide people all the way down the ramp.

15. Exterior Handrails: Use Brick, Stone, or Concrete

Exterior Handrails: Use Brick, Stone, or Concrete

An exterior metal handrail shouldn’t just add safety. It should also compliment the character of the walkway or stairway. The durability of the stone echoes that of this black handrail.

16. Concrete Surroundings

Concrete Surroundings

A strong, stable concrete stairway gets an added style boost with a sleek outdoor silver handrail system.

17. Freestanding with Posts

Freestanding with Posts

Exterior metal handrails hold up incredibly well under a variety of outdoor conditions. Despite being subjected to snow, rain, sleet, or sun, they won’t fade or rust. This allows them to continue to provide support where it’s needed most. Supported by brick and concrete, this exterior handrail helps to ensure safe passage in tricky conditions.

Promenaid Meets Design and Safety Needs

There’s a reason why homeowner associations often contact Promenaid for white handrails. It’s because Promenaid’s handrails are made for both safety and design and come in a variety of finishes.

With four satin-anodized aluminum finishes (Champagne Silver, Clear Silver, Architectural Bronze, and Satin Black), Promenaid handrails can and will fit and compliment your home or business’s exterior design.

Our patented bracket design and ADA compliant handrails will provide safety and style as well as incredible versatility for any design or setting, giving you a better handrail anywhere you need one.