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Showcase Your Interior Design with Exposed Ceiling Beams

Showcase Your Interior Design with Exposed Ceiling Beams

Interior renovationsShowcase Your Interior Design with Exposed Ceiling Beams

Once considered rustic, perhaps even old-fashioned, ceiling beams have now become a sought-after, stylish design element. Embrace them; unearth their beauty, customize their style to your liking, and genuinely appreciate their presence. Or, draw inspiration from them, create something new, and adapt them to your different indoor settings. 

Exposed beams exude an undeniable charm, no matter the room they grace. Paired with high ceilings, they instill a sense of spaciousness and magnificence. Whether you’re harnessing existing structural elements or introducing decorative faux wood beams to revamp a particular décor, we’ll delve into how to make the most out of this striking architectural feature.

An Abode with Exposed Ceiling Beams

exposed beams

Source: Canva

The framing (or beams) is the wood or metal—at times concrete—structural components used to support a building’s roof, as well as the insulation materials, ventilation system, etc.
 

Structural framing for new constructions

Oftentimes, when dealing with new construction, there’s the option of leaving the structural beams exposed. Doing so will result in a striking feature and significant space gain in a room that can be stretched high into the attic. 

Since it will inevitably influence numerous architectural parameters, it must be specified at the very beginning of the project.
 

Restore exposed beams during a remodel

If your attic encloses striking wooden beams, why not consider undertaking a remodelling project aimed at exposing them?

On the other hand, if the framing is already exposed, there are ways to restore the beams, even if, at first glance, they appear to be pretty shabby. For one, they can be painted or capped with wood to revamp their look with an aesthetic, modern, and sophisticated twist.

Naturally, one can choose to break through the attic to expose the beams within, thereby becoming making the beams the focal design aspect of the room sitting directly beneath, or redesign the space entirely. Whatever the case may be, there’s no doubt your house will benefit from this unique feature. 

Again, if you decide to expose structural elements, best let the contractor know ahead of time. The roof’s insulation must be renewed accordingly, and the beams and rafters may have to be restored as well. Replacing existing structural features can also mean gaining a significant amount of space, height-wise. 

What type of timber is best suited for beams?

exposed beams

Source: Canva

Choosing the type of timber, not unlike the transformation process, will largely depend on the selected architectural style, interior décor, and materials used to craft and coat the exposed beams. 

There are two types of structural framing styles: light-frame and heavy-frame construction. Typically, timber framing, or heavy-frame construction, is especially sought-after courtesy of its aesthetic aspect. On the other hand, light-frame construction will most often be made with finner, less fire-resistant wood, and ultimately, timber that has been tool-worked. While it’s exceptionally decorative, it isn’t crafted with solid wood, thereby won’t allow for the possibility of transforming the attic into a living space. 

An unfinished wood, timber framing

In its natural state—or as close to it as possible—unfinished wood adds a unique appeal to any setting. From its veining to its exposed knotting, by way of different shades that really shouldn’t be concealed with paint, are both charming and appealing aspects. Roughly trimmed exposed wood beams have an undeniable rustic charm, while light wood will inspire a rather trendy, Scandinavian look. 

Unfinished wood framing isn’t limited to a traditional, rustic, or Scandinavian style since its warmth and coziness create a striking contrast at the heart of a contemporary setting. 

When preserving the look of untreated wood, homeowners can choose to stain, sand, or buff the wood’s surface to align its finish with the desired style. The aesthetic outcome is up for grabs—one can achieve an amalgamation of looks, all seamlessly merging conservative and modern elements.

Mixed material framing or light-frame construction

Exposed beams may be the result of a combination of different materials, thereby giving light to striking outcomes. Metal beams (steel, aluminum, etc.) showcase a more modern, loft-like, dwelling, which is also really appealing. 

Dare to Paint Exposed Beams 

Covering exposed beams with white paint can convey a certain lightness to the décor, thereby creating bright rooms, with meticulous and sophisticated details. This also brightens the rooms, adding a modern twist. 

Black-painted beams are chic and elegant, conveying an industrial-inspired, stylish and modern setting. If there’s sufficient ceiling height, one can even go as far as painting the ceiling black too. Otherwise, the simple contrast of black beams on a white ceiling is just as striking.

Don’t limit yourself to black and white! Bluish-grey beams will garner all the attention in a rustic or older-model home with coastal-inspired décor. Grey beams will convey the unique appeal of cedar wood in a country-living-inspired house or the divine farmhouse look. 

Pro tip: If you have beams installed, opt for wood instead of polyurethane or polystyrene, which are both short-lived and flammable options. Space them out sufficiently to avoid overloading the room, while ensuring their size isn’t exaggerated in regards to the height of the ceiling.

Areas to Favour for Peak Results

exposed beams

Source: Canva

Exposed beams and their numerous decorative possibilities are simply to die for. Their style and authenticity, much like the added ceiling height and the formerly lacklustre walls, are all part of the charm. Renovated, painted, or left untreated, exposed framing beams revamp any room, showcasing its uniqueness. 

On that account, it’s not all that surprising that exposed beams have crossed over into modern, traditional, Scandinavian, boho-chic, industrial, or country-living interior décors. Such an architectural feature can metamorphosis any room, from the living room and bedroom to a home office and dining area. 

Some bedroom-specific exposed beam ideas:

  • White beams convey a homebody and coastal vibe, with daydreams at the forefront. A cute duvet cover, light veiling covering the windows, and refined furniture pieces…you can’t do it better than that!

  • Untreated wood has an authenticity, a natural look that when paired with plants channels a refreshing look, one with a slightly exotic touch. 

  • To sharpen the rustic side of unfinished wood, one may choose to build a bed frame using wood pallets, while opting for wall-mounted bedside tables.

  • For a Zen-inspired look, opt for polished wood beams, which will effortlessly reflect the light.

  • For an industrial-style bedroom, split up the space using a partition with a black frame… It’s a beautiful way to blend a makeshift lounge area, walk-in closet, or home office. 

  • For a well-done, country-chic look, pair a wood-panelled ceiling with white beams.

A living room exuding undeniable charm with exposed beams:

  • There’s nothing like a bright, cozy, and welcoming living room to set a rustic and modern tone to a timeless décor. As such, use leather furniture and dark wood coffee tables, a few British-inspired decorative pieces that also have a subtle masculine touch. 

  • In a farmhouse-inspired living room with exposed beam work, favour neutral shades and noble materials. 

  • In a narrow room, opt for neutral and light colours to brighten the space and create a sense of spaciousness. As for the beams, select the same shades as the walls and ceilings, and limit the use of any other colour to a few decorative pieces. 

  • To showcase untreated beams in a spacious living room, paint the ceiling and walls white. And, rely on elegant materials to highlight your furniture.

  • For a high-tech look, paint the beams light grey or beams with a metallic finish to set the tone. 

  • To create an industrial look, try to seamlessly balance metals, glass, and wood. And, try adding a bit of brick into the mix!

Exposed Beam Insulation and Upkeep

exposed beams

Source: Canva

How can you insulate an exposed beam ceiling?

A comfortable and healthy home is well insulated against drafts, heat, and noise pollution. Typically, homeowners will choose to insulate their ceilings from the inside due to its cost-effectiveness and ease. However, when insulation materials are added between and under the rafters, they may conceal, partially or entirely, the exposed beams.

Therefore, the best option consists of insulating from the outside. Combining various insulation materials—rigid, batts, or sprayed—will maintain the necessary ventilation, while the structure benefits from high-performing insulation, thus limiting thermal bridges. 

The complexity of this aforementioned process calls for expert hands. 

How can you ensure the durability of exposed beams?

Protecting a wooden structure calls for regular maintenance and upkeep while also ensuring the roof is leak-proof. It’s equally important to make sure insects and fungi aren’t permeating the structure, addressing these issues as necessary. Lastly, a well-functioning ventilation system should have priority, while excess moisture should be meticulously controlled.

On the other hand, steel framing is resistant to pests and fungi, but is especially vulnerable to corrosion. Regular maintenance, as well as applying a coat of intumescent paint, which safeguards against heat in case of fires, is highly recommended.
 

Lighting and Décor Ideas for Exposed Beams

exposed beams

Source: Canva

No matter which room in your house you’re decorating, focus on the structural framing to showcase said space in a unique way. The beams can be embellished with pendant lights or sconces. Another idea would be to hang incandescent light bulbs from the ceiling with a long electric cord wrapped around the beam. Lastly, string lights are just as appealing. 

For a more contemporary look, secure recessed lights on the beams. This type of lighting, when positioned on either side of the beams, results in a beautiful interplay between light and darkness. Affixed between the beams, the lighting will highlight the length of the beams, and visually enhance the size of the room.

Another option would be the use the framing as the room’s main decorative feature, meaning using the wooden beams to their fullest. Hang a hammock, swing, or wispy veils that frame the canopy-like bed, for a cozy and romantic look. Use the beams to cleverly divide the space into distinct areas: lounge area, home office, storage, etc. Wall beams can double as shelving to store plush bathroom linens, small and exotic plants, or a collection of related coffee table books. 

Furthermore, to seamlessly blend in your furniture, there’s nothing better than merging with the framing. A tall storage unit or custom-made, wall-mounted bookcase will allow you to create a beautiful, focal furniture piece while also instilling a unique appeal to the room as a whole. Last but not least, climbing vines will benefit from the constant stream of daylight courtesy of the windows while gracefully stretching about the room, floor to ceiling. 

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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