Because of the expense, the vast majority of ceiling beam currently added to homes are now faux beams. Over the past ten years they have become visually very realistic. Because they generally are installed on ceilings, above touch point, that seems to work quite well. On the other hand, when beams are above doorways or within the touch zone, real wood beams make a better choice because, upon a very close look and feel, faux is still faux.
Today most homes have higher or vaulted ceilings that can become vast spaces without definition. Beams allow these spaces to become defined, charming and connected to the lower half of the room. They can charm an outdoor patio space just as easily but if the patio ceiling is already low, it might be better to use thin beams with half the thickness.
Because original farmhouses had exposed ceiling structural beams, they become almost an essential addition to any farmhouse design. They continue and complete the texture created through the addition of side-wall beadboard and shiplap. In a cottage design, beams are often painted a shade of white, adding to the brightness of cottage design. When there are real wood floors in a room, it often balances their warmth by adding similar-tone stain to ceiling beams.
It’s hard to beat original, rough, hand-hewn vintage beams in any room. Their scarcity and demand have driven up prices so high that few can afford this luxury and what is available tends to be shorter lengths, unable to span the ceiling length of new homes. Often when they are used above doorways or entry ceiling spaces, they transform them into amazing re-creations of the old-world crafted homes. It’s an authentic touch hard to duplicate any other way.
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