Are you considering installing a patio or deck that overlooks your backyard? Are you hoping to use the railings not only as safety features, but also as decorative accents? With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to decide exactly how your new addition should look. By asking yourself these questions, you can make sure that your patio or deck and its railings become a much-loved feature of your home for years to come:

What style is your home? If your house has an old fashioned look, you will want to install a different type of railing than a more modern looking home. For example, if your home was built in the colonial style, extruded aluminum railings will look out of place when installed on your patio or deck. Although certain railings may be cheaper or less expensive than other types, you should make sure that it blends in not only with your home, but with the rest of the neighborhood as well. Many people purchase the least expensive option, only to have to replace it relatively quickly when it doesn't match.

Have you gotten samples? When trying to decide how your exterior should look, make sure to get samples of prospective building materials and paints. You may be fond of a particular blue, only to find out that it looks drab and washed out under certain lighting conditions. Take pictures of your home in the morning, at noon, and twilight. This can help you envision your prospective deck and railings under as many lighting conditions as possible. Also, before installing any patios, decks, or railings, try to look at your various samples under as many weather and lighting conditions as possible. If it rains frequently where you live, make sure that the materials and your preferred color will look great both in full sun and when it's partly cloudy.

Do you like repainting your home? Choose railings that match your decision whether or not to paint your home on a regular schedule. Metal and vinyl railings may be difficult to repaint and are usually left alone since they don't typically need this treatment in order to preserve their looks. Wood railings are easier to paint or stain. However, it is suggested that they be repainted at least every three years, in order to keep it in optimal condition. If you dislike this type of home renovation chore, you should consider going with a nearly maintenance free vinyl or metal railing option.