Balustrade, Baluster and Banister – What is the difference?


A vertical piece between a railing and other wood or the floor that adds support and safely; a short and decorative post or pillar that supports a top rail. The term baluster actually comes from the Italian word for pomegranate flowers, balaustra, which was chosen because these architectural features sometimes mimic them. Balusters can be made of wood, iron, stone and other materials. The term baluster is interchangeable with the word spindle.


It is comprised of an assembled top rail, balusters or spindles and often a bottom rail, posts, post caps, and decorative finials. It is a composite of made up of individual parts, such as the balusters and a railing/handrail. It can be used indoors or outdoors, for staircases and balconies, as well as decorative structures.

Banister (Bannister)

Although commonly referring to the handrail of the structure, the banister is actually also used as a name for a staircase baluster.