Wood Ceiling Beam Ideas and Inspiration

Ceiling beams which are also known as exposed beams can add a lot of visual character to your home, and there are many creative ideas on how you can use them to give any room a unique touch. Whether you’re looking for ways to make low ceilings look bigger or just wanting to introduce a bit of warmth and texture into your living space, beamed ceiling ideas offer plenty of possibilities. With so many options to choose from, you are sure to find one of these ceiling beam ideas to fit your taste and budget.

Structural Beams Vs Decorative Beams


A structural beam is a beam designed with strength and efficiency in mind. In engineering and building construction, beams are essential components that provide a reliable load path while evenly distributing the weight of the roofing structure throughout the foundation. Through their robustness, these beams prevent sagging or buckling under heavy loads preserving both the safety and integrity of your home’s framework.


Decorative wood beams differ from structural beams in that they are used solely for aesthetic purposes. They’re often installed to frame existing architectural elements or to add texture and dimension to your room. 

Ceiling Beam Materials


Wooden beams are perhaps the most popular choice for decorative ceiling beams. They are versatile, affordable, and come in a range of finishes, including natural, stained, and painted. Some common types of wood used for ceiling beams include oak, maple, pine, and cedar. You can shape wooden beams to fit any design style, from rustic farmhouse to coastal and modern. Wood beams are the primary focus of this post.


Steel ceiling beams are strong and durable, making them ideal for industrial or modern-style buildings. They are often used in commercial buildings, but can also be used in residential settings. Steel beams come in a range of shapes and sizes, and can be finished in various colors and textures.


Concrete ceiling beams are a popular choice for modern homes and buildings. They are strong, fire-resistant, and can be molded into virtually any shape and size. Concrete beams can be finished to resemble other materials such as wood or stone, and they can be left exposed for a raw, industrial look.

Faux Wood

Faux wood beams are made from polyurethane foam that has been molded to look like real wood. They are super budget friendly and a cost-effective alternative to real wood beams, and they are lightweight and easy to install. Faux wood beams come in a range of finishes and colors, and they can be used in coordination with any design style.

Pitched Ceiling Beam Ideas

One of the most striking ceiling beam ideas includes adding decorative beams to a pitched or sloped ceiling. This look gives any room a dramatic, eye-catching look that also gives the appearance of additional height.


Black ceiling beams might just be my favorite way to style them. Black provides a modern, sophisticated look that pairs well with any décor. Their bold and impactful look can instantly transform a room from drab to dynamic. In general painting ceiling beams black makes the room feel smaller. So if you have a low ceiling black may not be the best option for you. If you have high ceilings and you want the space to feel more intimate then black might be the best option for you.


Rustic ceiling beam offer a great way to add a natural, earthy feel to any space. Whether you incorporate exposed wooden beams or painted timber, rustic ceiling beams are an easy and way to give your room some visual interest above. This rustic ceiling beam in a kitchen is lovely the ceiling panelling and beams coordinate perfectly and the new white cabinets and the rustic look of the ceiling pair amazingly together to bring the new with the old.

Wood Beam Under White Shiplap Ceiling

If you’re looking for a clean yet rustic look, a wood beam under white shiplap ceiling is the perfect choice. This classic combination creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere that’s ideal for any room in your home. The wood beams provide a warm contrast against the crisp white of the shiplap without overwhelming the space. This idea pairs nicely with any home decor style from farmhouse to coastal and everything in-between. A good way to add additional color to this ceiling beam idea is by using a gray wood stain. That would really tie in the rest of this bedrooms decor with the ceiling design elements.

Curved Ceiling Beam Ideas

Who says you can’t have a ceiling beam if your ceiling isn’t exactly flat? In this example the homeowners installed a beam in their kitchen that has a barn style ceiling. The unique shape didn’t stop them from adding a bit of style to their ceiling.

Unique Wood Ceiling Beams

I am not sure this ceiling beam idea is a true ceiling beam decorative or structural. It looks to me to be more like wood paneling but it is close enough that I included it here in this list. I like the uniqueness of this idea. The homeowner used two different wood boards to create a beam like look and left the bottom open to give their kitchen its unique look.

White Ceiling Beams Under White Shiplap

This classic combination creates a clean and crisp look that is perfect for any contemporary space. The white ceiling beams provide just the right amount of contrast to the shiplap. This ceiling beam idea looks especially nice when paired with white walls, creating an all-white look that’s both modern and inviting.

Cathedral Ceiling with Unattached Beams

This cathedral ceiling looks so much better with the addition of some unattached beams. The light and airy design allows the beams to stand out without overpowering the room. This decorative ceiling beam idea is especially great if you want a subtle look that still adds depth to your space. I adore this kitchen with its shiplapped ceiling and medium stained wood beams. The gray cabinets really tie the space together nicely and give this kitchen a nice classic feel.

Black Ceiling Beam Under Wood Paneling

The contrast between the black and light wood paneling in this living room creates an eye-catching look that is sure to draw attention to this space’s ceiling. This is a great way to make any room feel more intimate, especially if you have high ceilings. 

Wood Ceiling Beams Under Natural Wood Planks

If you’re looking for a natural and earthy look, wood ceiling beams under natural wood planks is the perfect choice. The contrast between the wood planks and the ceiling beams create a unique yet inviting atmosphere. This look also works with any home decor style from modern to rustic and everything in-between (depending on the style of wood used).

Wood Beam with Attached Lighting

Light fixture attached to a wood beam
in a home office.
Via Ross Built Construction

The ideal location for a decorative beam may be right through a lighting fixture. But as this example shows you should not let that stop you from placing the beam there. The lighting fixture can simply run right through the wood beam. Depending on the space this may even be an ideal solution as it can allow the fixture to hang a bit lower and allow for more light to enter into the space.

Raw Wood Ceiling Beam Idea

If you want a rustic look, raw wood ceiling beams are the way to go. This look works especially well when paired with shiplap for a classic farmhouse style. The raw wood provides additional texture and visual interest that really makes this ceiling beam idea pop. 

Wood Beams on Angled Wall

This is a great way to add character to any space. The wood beams in this image have been placed on an angled wall, creating depth and dimension. This ceiling beam idea looks especially nice when used with a high vaulted ceiling and plenty of natural light. It’s also a great way to draw the eye upwards and make your ceilings look taller than they actually are. 

Painted Wood Ceiling Beams

If you want to add a bit of color to your space, painted wood ceiling beams are the perfect choice. You can opt for a monochromatic look and paint your walls, ceiling, flooring, and beams all in the same color or choose two complimentary colors for an eye-catching look. The options here are truly limitless in that you can really paint your decorative ceiling beams any color you choose.

Hallway Ceiling Beams

This is something I haven’t seen before and I truly love the idea. The hallway ceiling beams in this image create a sense of continuity and flow throughout the space. This is a great way to make a hallway feel more inviting and stylish while also adding an element of architectural interest to a space that typically doesn’t have any.

Faux Ceiling Beams

Faux wood beams are crafted from high-density polyurethane, faux beams perfectly replicate the look and feel of many types of wood while still adding to the visual appeal of the space without the huge cost. Plus, their lightweight allows them to be installed much easier than true solid wood beams making them a great DIY project. The best part of faux wood ceiling beams is that since ceiling beams are high up in the space most people won’t know that your beams are not real wood. The look and cost of faux ceiling beams make them a no brainer.


In closing, exposed beams are a great way to add character, texture and visual interest to any room in your home. Whether you opt for raw wood, real wood beams, painted ceiling beams, or some other style of ceiling beam, these architectural features can truly transform your home design into something special. The possibilities for decorative ceiling beams are virtually endless! So go ahead and explore all the ceiling beam ideas out there and get creative with your own unique look!

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One Comment

  1. Do you have rules for spacing or placement of faux wood beams for the ceiling?
    My living space size is 16′ x 60′, 10.5′ high ceiling.