As a home inspector I see examples how looks are not everything at almost every inspection. Take this wall at a stairwell for example.
In all likelihood, when the home was built, there was some other type of guard or wall to protect against falls into the stairwell.
For whatever reason, someone wanted a wall that provided more privacy to the hallway and bedrooms that could be viewed from the front entryway. This guard wall looks great and does the job of blocking the view!
However the translucent panels are merely very light shoji screen material and would not support a fall against it of any magnitude. Kits horsing around in the hallway might find themselves suddenly downstairs. This type of guard should not just give one the psychological feeling of safety, it must actually resist a real fall against it.
So while it looks great---it is not actually so great in terms of real safety.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board