Reader poll: Exposed beams… what do you prefer?

I am just obsessed with exposed beams!  So beautiful.  There is something about seeing the structure of a building that is so appealing to me, whether it be beams, columns, trusses… even pipes and ductwork can look great if handled correctly. It’s like the watches with clear glass faces that expose the mechanisms inside… all those cogs and working parts are almost an art form.

Other advantages of exposed beam ceilings are:
1) height!  depending on how low the ceiling is dropped, exposing the beams could provide you with an additional foot or more.
2) regular geometry.  Our brains are wired to love repetition and rhythm.  Ceiling beams are a regular line that recedes into the distance and enhances a viewer’s sense of perspective.  Can be a great juxtaposition to a more motley assortment of furnishings below.
3) beauty of material.  Ceiling beams of reclaimed wood come to mind here…

but other materials, such as metals, can look great as well.
steel beam

While on the subject, I should note that there are some great new products on the market!  If you don’t have beams exposed, and don’t want to pay to demo your ceiling, you can fake it with faux beams.  These are essentially hollow structures, so they are lightweight and easy to attach, and much, much more cost-effective than the real thing.  They come in all sorts of finishes, like this:

See FauxWoodBeams for this and more options.

If you google “faux wood beams,” a ton of options come up in terms of colors, finishes, and materials. (Of course I recommend never using PVC in your home, this is an extremely toxic product!)

NOW, the part where I need your input…. I’m having a little debate with myself and am hoping my readers can help me settle it.  I always thought that an entirely white ceiling was best… a white ceiling with beams painted white.  I think it is just a fantastic look, light and airy but visually interesting.  It is the most subtle option because the wood beams don’t have as much contrast, but there are still interesting angles and shadows.

A friend of mine prefers to keep the wood beams in their natural state or just a coat of polyurethane.  Here, the beams become much more accentuated and might even be the first thing you notice in the room, especially if they are contrasted against a white ceiling.  If you want to really call attention to your beams, or just love the look of natural wood, this option might appeal more to you.

Then we have the gorgeous metal options shown above.

Tell me, which look do you prefer?  I’ve put a bunch of images for you to review before making your final choice!

From Atlanta Home.

From Elle Decor

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One response to “Reader poll: Exposed beams… what do you prefer?

  1. Catherine Reimer

    All white. The contrasting beam color above my head gives me an uneasy feeling.

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