Beam ceilings

Beam ceiling 
Beam ceilings can add a dramatic look to your home.

What is a beam ceiling?

A beam ceiling is one which features exposed joists and beams. Beam ceilings create visual interest and bring individual flair to your home. They are normally made from timber, but other materials or a combination of materials can also be used. Timber beams might be finished with wood stain or paint, and might have extra mouldings attached, or be decorated in other ways.

What types of beam ceilings are there?

There are a number of options for installing an exposed beam ceiling in your home. Below are two common types of beam ceilings:

Hammer-beam ceiling - Hammer-beams allow for a lot of open vertical space inside a building. The so-called hammer-beams are short horizontal and vertical beams which are bracketed to the walls in order to support the roof. Keeping the beams close the walls allows for the highest possible uninterrupted views of a room or building’s interior. Hammerbeam roofs are often found in large churches or cathedrals.


Boxed beam ceiling - A boxed beam ceiling has beams which are arranged in a waffle-type pattern. This is a finish similar to ceilings coffered in a square or rectangular pattern, and looks great with with either painted or stained beams.

Materials and finish

The materials used in your exposed beam ceiling and how you choose to finish them will make a difference to feel of a room. The use of metal beams will give your room an industrial finish, whereas a kitchen with exposed oak beams can create a French Provincial feel. If your focus is stained beams, make sure they are of a good enough quality to work as a visual feature. Likewise, if you are using beams to create geometric patterns on your ceiling, concentrate on making sure your design is flawlessly planned, and that it's constructed very precisely.

  • Creates dramatic visual impact
  • Adds an individual touch to your home
  • Can be made to suit a variety of styles
  • Adds resale value to your home
  • High ceilings can make a room feel less intimate
  • Less insulation means greater heating and cooling costs
  • Intricate-looking ceilings can overpower small rooms
  • Materials and workmanship must be of a high standard
  • Can be expensive