35 Decorative Ceiling Beam Ideas That Are Sure to Impress

Decorative ceiling beams in a kitchen.

Muriel Silva for Heritage Homes Jacksonville

Are you looking for a way to add some visual interest and charm to your ceilings? Exposed ceiling beams are a classic architectural feature that can instantly elevate a room. However, it’s not always easy to expose the beams in your home, especially in newer homes or apartment units. That’s where decorative ceiling beams come in!.

Decorative beams are ceiling beams that are installed purely for aesthetic purposes and don’t serve any architectural function in the home. Because of this, they are extremely versatile and can be installed however you want. If you need some inspiration to get your project started, here are 35 decorative ceiling beam ideas that are sure to impress.

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    Accentuate a Vaulted Ceiling

    Living room with decorative ceiling beams on a vaulted ceiling.

    Julie Buckner Design

    Rather than installing decorative beams horizontally below a vaulted ceiling, try installing them right up against the ceiling to accent the shape of the room and make it feel bigger. Add some statement lighting to really finish off the space. 

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    Add One Central Beam

    Bedroom with single decorative wood ceiling beam.

    Bernard André Photography for Kimberly Larzelere

    Use a single wood ceiling beam to add a rustic touch to a modern room, as seen in this contemporary design by Kimberly Larzelere. Add a decorative chandelier to highlight the feature and draw the eyes upwards.

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  • 03 of 35

    Repurpose Old Wood Beams

    Living room with decorative ceiling beams.

    Melissa McCardle for Together Home

    These decorative wood beams were salvaged from a winery renovation in Napa and repurposed in this stylish living room design. If you look closely you can still see remnants of red wine and chalk tank numbers written on some of the beams.

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  • 04 of 35

    Paint a Pattern

    Teenage bedroom with patterns painted on the ceiling beams.

    Shade Degges for Studio Montemayor

    Turn your decorative beams into a canvas and use some paint to add a pattern or design as seen in this bedroom by Studio Montemayor. This teenage bedroom was inspired by the rich colors and textures of the Harry Potter series, and the painted ceiling beams help to add some soft whimsy to the finished space.

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  • 05 of 35

    Add a Ceiling Mural

    Dining room with decorative ceiling beam and mural.

    Noe DeWitt for Jeff Schlarb Design Studio

    Jeff Schlarb Design Studio used wallpaper to add a decorative mural to this Sonoma Valley home. The flying blackbirds compliment the natural wood beams and vaulted ceiling and add a rustic touch to the otherwise glam design.

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  • 06 of 35

    Add Crown Molding

    Kitchen with decorative ceiling beams with crown molding.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Add crown molding around your ceiling beams to create a super luxurious, Victorian-inspired space as seen in this kitchen by Whittney Parkinson Design. For a soft and understated look, we recommend matching the color of the beams and molding to the ceiling.

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    Opt for Painted Beams

    Family room with several painted decorative ceiling beams.

    Miranda Estes Photography for Shannon Adamson Interior Design

    Wood beams aren’t the only way to go. This family room by Shannon Adamson Interior Design boasts charcoal-colored decorative ceiling beams that are constructed from MDF and spray-painted for a super architectural and stylish look.

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  • 08 of 35

    Build Beams Using Plywood and Wallpaper

    Bright living room with faux eposed ceiling beams.

    Miranda Estes Photography for Shannon Adamson Interior Design

    Can you believe these chic blonde wood beams are constructed from plywood and wood-grain wallpaper? Since this space required long beams, Shannon Adamson Interior Design opted for a custom-made solution rather than using regular wood to avoid seams showing. The best part is you’d never be able to tell the beams aren’t real wood unless they told you.

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  • 09 of 35

    Go Minimal

    Minimalist bathroom with ceiling beams.

    Rikki Snyder for Caroline Kopp Interior Design

    Add a little something extra to a minimalist design by installing a few small decorative ceiling beams, as seen in this bathroom by Caroline Kopp Interior Design. Choose a coordinating color for the beams to help them blend in with the space rather than becoming too much of a focal point.

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  • 10 of 35

    Pair Light Wood and White Shiplap

    Bright living room with decorative central ceiling beam.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Natural wood and white shiplap are a classic pairing—and for good reason. The single decorative beam in the center of this living room’s ceiling helps to carry the wood tones throughout the room and make the space feel complete.

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  • 11 of 35

    Add a Playful Wallpaper

    Colorful dining room with wallpapered ceiling and decorative ceiling beam.

    Emily Gilbert Photography for Colleen Simonds

    Make your ceiling beams pop by adding bold wallpaper to your ceiling as seen in this colorful dining room by Colleen Simonds. Matching furniture and accessories to the color palette of the wallpaper will tie the room together and help the eyes move around the space.

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  • 12 of 35

    Opt for Wood on Wood

    Kitchen with wood on wood ceiling and decorative beams.

    Desiree Burns Interiors

    Get a super rustic look by going for a full wood ceiling with decorative beams over paneled wood. A matching stain for the paneling and beams will keep the ceiling from overwhelming the space visually, as seen in this light and bright kitchen by Desiree Burns Interiors.

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  • 13 of 35

    Go Large and Architectural

    Large home office with decorative ceiling beams.

    Emily Gilbert Photography for Colleen Simonds

    Make a statement and give your space an architectural look by adding in several large ceiling beams. This look will be especially effective if you have vaulted ceilings to work with, but can still be achieved with standard ceilings too.

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  • 14 of 35

    Match the Beams to the Ceiling

    Living room with decorative built in ceiling beams.

    Rikki Snyder for Caroline Kopp Interior Design

    If you want to add some interest to your ceiling without making it a focal point, try painting the decorative beams the same color as your ceiling as seen in this living room. The final result has the space feeling luxurious while leaving lots of room for the furniture and accessories to take center stage in the design.

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    Opt for Thin Beams

    Bathroom with decorative ceiling beams.

    Emily Gilbert Photography for Colleen Simonds

    Decorative beams don’t have to be large in order to be effective in the space. Whether space is limited or you want a more minimal look, thin ceiling beams are a great choice. We love the use of a dark ceiling color in this bathroom by Colleen Simonds to make the natural wood beams pop.

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  • 16 of 35

    Use Them to Separate Rooms

    Decorative ceiling beams used to separate rooms in an open concept space.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Use decorative ceiling beams to distinguish between different rooms in large, open-concept spaces. Here, long light-colored wood beams are used to separate the dining space from the kitchen, and the kitchen from the butler’s pantry while keeping the space feeling open and light.

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  • 17 of 35

    Choose a Mudroom

    Mudroom with exposed beams.

    Emily Gilbert Photography for Colleen Simonds

    Mudrooms can feel like an awkward space to design, with functionality first and little room left for decor. That’s why decorative ceiling beams can be a great choice since they don’t take up valuable floor space and can provide that visual interest while still keeping the space practical and function-forward.

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  • 18 of 35

    Go Bold With Black

    Large living and dining room with black decorative ceiling beams.

    Interior Impressions

    Black and white is a classic pairing that works in minimalist spaces, maximalist spaces, and everything in between. We love painted black beams against the white walls in this living/dining room combo by Interior Impressions. The dark color accentuates the vaulted ceiling, drawing the eyes upward, while the matching black fireplace helps to ground the space.

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    Go All in on Exposed Wood

    Living room with fully exposed ceiling and decorative beams.

    Lara Kimmerer

    Get a super rustic and cozy look by creating a ceiling that looks like you’ve fully exposed the rafters. Of course, for proper temperature control, you probably won’t actually want to expose the rafters of your ceiling. Instead, create a faux look using wood slats and decorative beams. 

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    Accent Your Doorways

    Living room with decorative beams above the doorways.

    Muriel Silva for Heritage Homes Jacksonville

    While the use of decorative beams in this living room isn’t technically on the ceiling, it’s close enough to count and we’re loving the creativity. This idea is especially relevant if you have short ceilings and are looking for a way to add a rustic touch to your space without making the room feel smaller and more cramped. 

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    Go Low Profile

    Decorative ceiling beams in a kitchen.

    Muriel Silva for Heritage Homes Jacksonville

    If you aren’t blessed with 12-foot ceilings or a vaulted ceiling in your home, don’t worry. You can still enjoy decorative ceiling beams without feeling like they’re taking over your space by choosing low-profile beams and installing them several feet apart, as seen in this kitchen.

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    Border a Room

    Kitchen with decorative ceiling beam.

    Muriel Silva for Heritage Homes Jacksonville

    Decorative beams don’t have to be in the center of the ceiling. This kitchen by Heritage Homes Jacksonville features a decorative ceiling beam used like ceiling trim on a large feature wall in the space. The dark stain of the wood helps to accentuate the shape of the vaulted ceiling and make the space feel bigger.

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  • 23 of 35

    Utilize Soft Gray Tones

    Large bedroom with decorative ceiling beams.

    Muriel Silva for Heritage Homes Jacksonville

    For a minimal look that isn’t white-on-white, try pairing white with soft gray tones as seen in this bedroom design by Heritage Homes Jacksonville. The decorative ceiling beams accentuate the room’s tall, arched ceilings, while the stain of the wood adds a pop of color without going overboard.

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    Carry Them Through Multiple Rooms

    Decorative ceiling beam that goes from one room to another.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Make decorative beams look truly built-in by carrying them through multiple rooms, as seen in this home by Whittney Parkinson Design. This is especially effective in open-concept spaces where archways and half walls are plentiful so you can truly appreciate the final product.

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    Use Contrasting Wood Tones

    Living room with paneled ceiling and decorative wood beams.

    Lara Kimmerer

    Pair contrasting wood tones on your ceiling for a rich, cozy look. This living room design features plenty of natural textures throughout the space so the ceiling doesn’t feel out of place—including leather furniture, greenery, and exposed brick. 

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  • 26 of 35

    Frame a Room

    Decorative ceiling beams framing a room.

    Lara Kimmerer

    For some extra visual interest, don’t be afraid to use decorative beams to fully frame your space. This dining room features a grid-like pattern with ceiling trim that matches the color of the beams for a bold statement look.

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  • 27 of 35

    Choose the Bathroom

    Bathroom with decorative ceiling beams.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens are popular choices for decorative ceiling beams, but don’t forget about the bathroom. This bright white bathroom proves that a simple ceiling beam can go a long way in bathroom design.

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  • 28 of 35

    Use Reclaimed Barn Beams

    Living room with reclaimed decorative ceiling beams.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    For a truly rustic touch, opt for genuine reclaimed barn beams as seen in this moody living room by Whittney Parkinson Design. The weathered beams add some texture to the space and draw the eye up to accentuate the high vaulted ceiling.

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  • 29 of 35

    Match the Fireplace

    Living room with vaulted ceiling and decorative beams.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Use the same wood stain for the fireplace and ceiling beams to draw the eye up and along the ceiling. We love the ashy brown that Whittney Parkinson Design chose for this bright living room design.

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    Feature Oversized Lighting

    Living room with vaulted ceilings, decorative beams, and oversized lighting.

    Courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design

    Let an oversized light fixture shine in your space by painting your ceiling beams white so they blend into the background. The ceiling beams emphasize the height of the room and frame the light fixture so it doesn’t feel out of place in this modern, minimalist room.

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    Go Big and Sculptural

    Large room with big decorative ceiling beams.

    Courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design

    Talk about wow factor. If you have extra high ceilings and want to go for something truly awe-inspiring, take some inspiration from this stunning bedroom by Sarah Barnard Design. The dark wood tones lean into the historic aesthetic of the space, while the sharp angling and high contrast add a modern, sculptural feel. 

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  • 32 of 35

    Make It Moody

    Woodsy living room with black decorative ceiling beams.

    Arbor & Co.

    Make a statement with decorative ceiling beams by pairing them with wood paneling on the ceiling. Dark black beams against natural wood paneling gives this room a moody and cozy feel that we absolutely love.

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    Match the Cupboards

    Kitchen with large decorative wood ceiling beam.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Choose a coordinating stain for your cupboards and ceiling beam for a soft and balanced look. The light stain in this kitchen keeps the space feeling bright and airy while adding some architectural interest with the single large ceiling beam.

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  • 34 of 35

    Create a Grid Pattern

    Bedroom with grid pattern decorative ceiling beams.

    Whittney Parkinson Design

    Use several beams to create a grid pattern for a modern take on this classic architectural feature. Paint the beams the same color as the ceiling for a minimalist look, or choose a contrasting ceiling color for an interesting pop of color.

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    Add Metal Brackets

    Living room with wood decorative ceiling beams.

    Interior Impressions

    Metal brackets don’t just give decorative beams an added rustic touch, but they are practical too. In spaces where long beams are required and you want to stick with natural wood, metal brackets can help to hide the seams between beams in an artful way.