House construction used to always feature beams of great solid wood that carried the weight of the upper floor, or ceiling, transferring the stress to the walls. Nowadays, little has changed and wooden A-frames are still widely used to support a roof line. However in modern homes, beams and trusses are rarely on show.
Architects tend to hide away the structural elements of a home so far as possible. So, although beams and supports are still used, they are mostly invisible.
If you except the early twentieth century British craze to mock-Tudor, a style which saw false decorative beams added to new build homes, you might be forgiven for thinking beams have no place in modern home design. However, beams and trusses can look fantastic, particularly in living rooms.
Exposed beams and supporting trusses can divide a room up and add to its depth. They don’t need to be wooden, of course, since beams are more often made from steel in new build dwellings. Why not take some inspiration and design your living room around feature beams to create a rustic or a modern look, depending on your style.
To make a feature of the beams you have in your living space draw attention to them. A simple and elegant way of achieving this is to use them for mounting lighting. Wooden beams are great place to install recessed spot lighting. Position your light fittings at regular distances from one another along the beam to get an even distribution of light.
For another approach, only install them at either end for the beam, angling the fittings so they illuminate the wall, affording a wash look. If your beams are already in position and chasing cable into them is not practical, opt for track lighting that you can bolt onto the side, instead.
The Painted Look.
Painted beams will bring them out and make them a more prominent aspect of the room’s design. Whitewashed beams look great if your ceiling is given a matching, high-gloss look with an off-white shade reserved for your walls. For a modern home, or converted apartment, where there is plenty of gray concrete on show, break up the ceiling by using a primary color for your beams.
Where you have beams running in two directions over a living space, try only painting the beams that run in one direction and leave the other ones unpainted. And for a living room with a definite color scheme, paint your beams with the same shade, too, for a coordinated appeareance.
Steel And Wood.
Mixing up materials is a great way of getting a new look in your living room. Try vertical steel uprights and brackets with horizontally lain beams. This will afford your room a fresh design that marries two distinct materials together. Wooden trusses and beams that have steel hardware, connecting them, create a distinctive look, so don’t hide either of these structural elements away.
Designing a new room with horizontal beams can give a cosy feel and even a dgree of Old World Charm. Even if the beams are not needed structurally, the natural look of exposed woodwork can add warmth.
For horizontal wooden beams, paint the remaining ceiling area white. Where you have a great looking natural wood, don’t paint your beams at all, but for other types a good tip is to paint horizontal beams the same color as your wall treatments.
Take The A Frame.
Pitched ceilings add height to a room and the simplest way of getting one is by the use of an A-frame. An A-frame that is picked out in a dark stain will give your living room an old colonial look.
For multi-function living spaces, A-frames create a sense of a single space. Remember that beams can crossover each other, as well as meet at an apex, to get the pitched ceiling look. And A-frames are not just for exposed timber. You can also get a great looking one by using exposed steel work, too.