Interior Obsessions – Wood Beams

By Modern Simplicity • Updated on 07/07/2021

We often neglect our ceilings when it comes to designing a room. We worry about the color of the walls, the furnishings, the floor, but often the ceiling gets short shrift. Perhaps we figure it has to stay the way it was built in the first place, but even lower drywall ceilings may have a little trick up their sleeve. And if you’re lucky enough to have a higher ceiling, or perhaps one that is sloped, you may have lots of options to dress up the plane above you. Wood beams can make a great addition to any of these spaces, giving our ceilings a little character to coordinate with the rest of the decor.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted a wood beam ceiling. There are two ways to go about it without completely rebuilding your floor or roof. The first is to apply beams to the bottom of the existing ceiling. If your ceiling is on the lower side, you might try beams that are shallow (2-3″) and wider (6-8″.) This gives you the look of a beam without sacrificing the height of your room. And if you space them out a bit, say at around 3-4 feet, you will not feel that the height of the room has changed. Your other option is to open up the ceiling, either in full or in part. This may require a bit of shifting of wiring and lighting, but even a small area over a defined space can look great, either by leaving the exposed joists as is and finishing the lower portion of the floor above or the roof, or perhaps cladding the joists to get a cleaner look. These beams can be finished clear, stained, or painted white for a textural look without a shot of additional color.

(above) Whitewashed Beams and Plank Sheathing

Painted Rafters in Kitchen + White Sloped Ceiling

Minimal Close-spaced Beams

Beams as Ribs + Beams Become Columns

Standard White Framing

Amy wrote this post. She is the designer and owner of FormFire Glassworks, where she creates modern lampwork glass beads and jewelry, and by day designs custom homes for a small firm in Southern California. You can follow her twitter @formfireglass.

1 comment | Click here to reply

i LOVE the first shot. everything about that kitchen is awesome!

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