Add Beams to your Ceilings for Instant Charm


Looking for some instant charm? Well, the addition of beams to your ceilings will give your home great architectural detail and almost a sense of history! 

Try turning an ordinary ceiling in your family or living room to extra-ordinary with the addition of faux beams.  This project isn’t for the timid; it requires some work, skill and above all a sense of adventure.  The results are one that will enhance your living spaces for years to come, and you did it yourself. 

Shopping List:
Depending on the beam size, pine lumber ranging from 1’ x 6’ to 1’ x 10’s.


Materials on hand:

  • Compound Miter Saw
  • Drill with drill bits
  • Carpenters square
  • Level (laser level would be ideal)
  • Pencil
  • 4 inch long ¼ inch toggle bolts
  • Nail gun and compressor
  • Paint and Paint brushes

Project Note:
This project is going to take a little help.  It requires lifting the lumber up onto the ceiling, while one person holds the lumber the other person will attach.


1. Determine the size of the beam.  For the photo, we selected 1’ x 4’s for the sides and 1’ x 8’s for the cover of the beam.  Measure the room and purchase enough lumber to do the number of beams you decide.

2. Locate where the beams will be placed.  Evenly divide the ceiling so that there is equal distance between the beams.  Lay out the location of each beam by using a carpenters square (placed against the side wall to make sure that the beams run square) and a level to lay out the line, marking the placement of the beam with a pencil.  We used a laser level to mark each beam placement.  The straighter the beam the better the final results.


3.   Cut blocks out of 2’ x 4’s the distance of the cover of the beam.  If you select a 1’ x 6’ the blocks should be the width of that board.  Depending on the length of the beam you will need at least 4 blocks for every 10 feet of beam.

4.  Drill pilot holes into the block so that the toggle bolt can be pushed through the pilot hole.

5. At the end of each beam placement and along the beam line, secure the blocks to the ceiling, by marking the placement by pushing an awl through the block pilot hole.  Drill a pilot hole into the ceiling then secure the block to the ceiling using the toggle.  The blocks should be perpendicular to the beam line.

6.   Cut the side pieces of the beam to length.  For long beams, use several sections for the run of the beam.  For the photo, the beams are constructed with 2 pieces of 1’ x 4’ per side.  Cut the lumber to length using the miter saw.

7. Attach the side pieces to the blocks using a nail gun.  (If more than one side piece is used, make sure that a block is located where the two side pieces will be joined.  Also miter the ends of the side pieces to create a clean joint).

8. Cut the cover to length.  Again, more than one cover piece may be used for long beams.  If more that one cover piece is used, make sure to miter the ends of the cut where the two will meet to make a smoother joint.


9.  Hold the cover in place and secure with the nail gun.

10.  Use ¼” corner round along the side pieces to add finish detail and to cover any gaps between the ceiling and the beam.  Cut to length and install using the nail gun.

11.   Paint and technique the beam to the color of your choice.

Basically you are creating a long box that will be installed to the ceiling.  If you are lucky enough to find the ceiling joist and can secure the blocks to them, that would be great, but it seems like that never happens.  Just make sure that you have enough blocks per beam and that where joints meets there is always a block.


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