This beautiful word rolls off the tongue – not surprising since its origins are Italian. Generally, a balustrade is a low barrier or parapet, such as on a staircase, around a mezzanine or open floor, or on the roof of a structure. Specifically, it is a row of balusters topped by a rail and supported by a base rail or plinth – one of our favorite words! (But what’s a baluster? It’s actually any vertical object – think glass stem, table leg, rail upright, etc. – that has a vase-like silhouette.) A balustrade acts both as decoration and as a barrier and can generally be of any size or height.