Modern Farmhouse DIY Staircase Railing

diy stair handrail
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Tutorial to make your own DIY staircase railing. No welding and basic tools make this a very affordable and DIY friendly project.  Beautiful mixed wood and metal create an on-trend modern farmhouse look.  Original design created by


Would you believe me if I told you that of all the stair railings I've done over the years, this one was the simplest, fastest, cheapest and easiest to build?  And we do kinda love the modern farmhouse railing look too!

diy staircase handrail

Video Tutorial for this DIY Staircase Handrail:

Photo Steps of How We Built this DIY Staircase Handrail

First, we started with some 2x4s. 

2x4 handrail pieces

We sanded and stained and cut into 48" long pieces for the post. We also cut pieces for the top cap, again too long so we can trim in place.

diy staircase handrail tutorial 1

We used 4-1/2" lag screws to attach to solid backing, spacing about 3-4 feet appart.  On the stairs, we ran the 2x4s longer, so we could cut them off as needed.

To get the angle to cut the stair posts off right, we held up a straight edge (we used the 2x4 cap to be installed in the next step) so it was parallel with the stair skirt.  Then we penciled in the overlap of the straight edge on the posts.

diy staircase handrail tutorial 2

Then we cut the stair posts off at the pencil lines.

diy staircase handrail tutorial 3

To finish the wood framing for the stair handrail, we attached a cap to the top.  To get the cap end angles right, we again held it in place, and traced where it overlapped the other parts of the stair framing.  To attach the cap, we used 3" wood construction screws.

Ok, now here's where we cheat.

diy staircase handrail tutorial 5

We purchased metal flat bar in 1" width (you can get 20' pieces from a specialty metal store, this entire handrail system was about $170 in metal) and simply cut it with a metal blade and screwed it to the back side of the 2x4 uprights with a 1-1/4" screw.

diy staircase handrail tutorial 5

Standard code requires less than 4" openings in railings.  So we did a little math and figured out how many rows we'd need and how far apart and marked the straight section of railing, cut the metal flat bar and screwed it to the inside of the 2x4.  We just used one screw per post.

This gave us a starting point for the stair railing runs.  And then we just eyeballed to make sure the metal was running parallel to the top cap and the skirt and screwed it to the post.  

Here's what it looks like from the back.

staircase handrail ideas

You probably noticed the loft railing.  This was even easier to build, but we do recommend using the same method as the stair railing with the outside mount posts for increased strength.

Thank you for using our tutorials.  We hope you use it, and share a photo!  You can add a brag post or tag me on Instagram #anawhite or @anawhitediy 

XO Ana

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Modern Farmhouse DIY Staircase Railing