Ceiling beams add style and interest to rooms, especially those with high or vaulted ceilings. They can also add structural support. You can choose from a variety of types of ceiling beams to highlight many different design styles. Here’s what you need to know about ceiling beams.
Faux or functional
Ceiling beams can provide structural support in a home, bearing the weight of the ceiling and structure above. There are also faux beams for decorative effects only. Some beams are both supportive and decorative.
Every ceiling has supportive joists overhead. Usually, these are hidden behind drywall, but supporting beams can also be exposed to add decorative flair. For example, beams spanning the two sides of a cathedral ceiling may provide structural support but also be made of a handsome wood such as cypress or cedar, painted or wrapped in a box of wood veneer to add a decorative accent.
In some cases, a home’s load-bearing beams are concealed behind drywall, while decorative faux beams are attached to the ceiling and screwed into the underside of these structural beams.
Benefits of decorative ceiling beams
Exposed ceiling beams accomplish various decorative effects.
- Cross beams help rooms with high or cathedral ceilings seem cozy and less cavernous.
- Beams can contrast or create continuity with other colors in a room’s ceiling, walls and floor. For example, you can create a cohesive feeling in a room by matching ceiling beams, hardwood floors and wooden trim, paneling or cabinets.
- Stained ceiling beams add warmth to a room painted in white or light colors.
Variations on ceiling beams
Beams aren’t always straight or attached directly to the ceiling.
- Arched beams spanning a cathedral ceiling add a soaring grandeur.
- Lowered beams can span a room several feet below the ceiling, even at the top of a second story.
- Beams can be crisscrossed with supplemental beams running perpendicular to others, all attached to the ceiling. This is common with a raised panel ceiling.
- A center beam can run the room’s length with perpendicular beams forming a ribbed look along the sides. This style is known as a fishbone design.
- You can remove ceiling drywall altogether, exposing all of the ceiling joists, which you either stain, paint, or decorate by attaching a box of wood veneer.
The choices in wood are wide-ranging, but here are some popular options.
- Cypress. These beams are strong, with an impressive grain design that conveys stately character.
- Cedar. This wood has a rugged, knotty texture and rich reddish brown color. There are several types of cedar.
- Oak. A good choice for supportive beams, oak comes in many varieties with various grain patterns and knots.
Fir. This wood is strong and rugged, whether left rough or sanded smooth.