Creating Faux Wood Beams


I love the look of exposed wood beams and the little punch of rustic that they give.  But big, chunky, REAL, SOLID WOOD beams are not so wallet-friendly.

As it always does, our renovation ran higher than we hoped and being thrifty is always a goal.  So, real wood beams that were pretty and perfect all on their own, were not in the cards.


In this in-progress shot, you see the wood beams we used.  They’re functional, but cheaper.  They wouldn’t be that pretty stained.  And they’re a bit smaller than they need to be to just use those.  You can see gaps around all of the sheet rock.

Initially, we were going to just have the exposed beam at the ceiling, but then we had the idea to totally frame out the openings in a beam, column duo.


Our big solution to get pretty, exposed beams?


Yep, our contractor bought boards at the length we would need, but they are regular 3/4″ thick boards.

They were stained before being nailed up.  We chose Minwax Dark Walnut to match our floors.  I really wanted a dark wood against our white walls.

After being stained and allowed to dry, it was time to put them in place.

Here is the best part.

The framing lumber was nailed right on top of our existing beam.  But for the columns, the framing lumber was nailed straight into the sheet rock framing the opening.


So, for each column, we used three boards.  One for each side of the opening and one for the inside of the opening, filling in between the other two.  We filled in the gaps between each board, which weren’t that big at all, with black caulk.  It completely blends in with the dark wood.

After putting these up, it looked great, but we realized there was a gap between our beams and the ceiling.  Just a small one, but noticeable enough.

So, our contractor had the idea to add a piece of flat trim around the top of each beam that would blend in, but cover the gap.



The best part about this?

You could re-create this look around any opening straight over the sheet rock!  Just make sure you are nailing into studs.

They add that rustic quality I love and a bit of charm and character.


Those faux beams are the first thing people comment on when they see our house.

If you haven’t, make sure you check out Day 1 and 2 of Our Renovation Story!  Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about our hardwoods…the decisions we made and how we like them now.

And I hope this goes without saying, but please know I am just sharing our experience.  I am not a contractor and neither is my husband, though he knows a whole lot more than me.  So, I hope this is helpful, but if I forgot something or you have a question, please leave it in the comments and we’ll try to help!


On another note, did y’all notice Miss Gracie stowing away in some of the photos above?


This mid-century green chair is officially HER chair.  She’s almost always in it.  What a couch potato.

She refused to move when I started snapping photos and I thought, well, she’s cute so it’s okay.

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i wish we would have put up faux beams in our home. it just happened so fast, it was something i expressed i wanted but it just didnt happen. My only hopes are that someday we can do the faux ones in the basement when that is finished. looks so good in your home!

Love, love that rustic look! Even better that is was affordable. I think it made such a huge difference to your space and gave it so much character and a beautiful, finished look.

Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of wood beams lined up across the ceiling. (Maybe a deep-seated fear of them crashing down on me, perhaps?) But I absolutely LOVE how you framed around the doorways. It really is a fantastic look.

Wow…I just LOVE the “beams”! It turned out awesome. I just love the whole room. It’s just what I am trying to go for in my house. Bright, natural, and full of character! This is my first time visiting you blog and I will be perusing for awhile. Found you on Pinterest 🙂

I love the look of the beam! We have a similar thing going on right now where the ugly laminated beams need to get covered. Was looking into drywalling and staining it – there is a good video online. But I love the look you achieved with the lumber! And it’s even less costly and easier to install! Just one question – how did you nail it on without the nails being seen? Thanks! And good luck for more reno projects 🙂

Awesome beams. We are getting ready for a big reno in our home and are needing beams and i am using this post as my guide. thank you! Do you have any more detail on how you assembled your beams… i noticed you mitered them together… do you have a step by step process by any change? or any helpful detail that would be good for us as we move forward and begin to plan our project? thanks! -tyler

Did you ever find an answer to this question? Did you by chance document your install? We are considering doing a wood beam frame now. Thanks!

I dont think I heard anything back. I did end up doing something like this however. I decided not to miter the edges, and just used 1*8 poplar boards that we stained. So you can tell that its not 1 piece of lumber… but still creates the rustic beam effect. I will send you pictures of our progress in the near future.

Hi there I love your reno. We have the same situation going on in our home.i was reading through the comments n had same questions, how did u nail w out seeing nails? Im thinking those nail gun nails right? But what did u use to cover the nails? And so the material you use is lumber that I can get from like home depot? Or is it called faux beam? Thank you!

Looks awesome! White and rustic wood are my favourite look and you did it so well with the substantial but simple lines of the beams. Your dog is adorable. We have a chocolate Lab that has a favourite chair (with a white slipcover no less.)

What type of wood did you use for the top of your island? How did you feel that worked from a practical standpoint int the end?

Hi Katie! It’s actually a milled live edge pine board from a pine tree we had to have taken down in the backyard. We sanded it down really well, did three coats of poly, and LOVED it! It held up great for the two years we lived with it, but then we moved on, so I can’t attest to it over many years. We really just used this for a workspace and serving space. We always used cutting boards, never set hot stuff on it without a trivet, etc. But it was great! Never had a problem with it!

Hi Lindsay! Thank you for your quick reply!! I came across your blog last night and have tried to become a quick study. I am a mom of four who has been raising kids the past 18 years with my husband who is a teacher. We have embarked upon a very large remodeling project, and I am waaaaay out of my comfort zone as we are not used to spending money on ourselves or spending money at all for that matter. Oh! How I wish you could fly into Southern California for a weekend to give me tips! We have demolished 1/2 our house in an effort to push the house forward 8 feet and take out the wall that was separating our VERY SMALL kitchen with our living room. We are also raising the ceilings from 8 ft to now 12 ft and removing the attic. Our family has truly outgrown the space, but we love the house and where we live. All the decisions and the placement of everything is such a tall order to have the kitchen flow into the living area as it is definitely the central hub of our home! such big decsions. I am inspired by your ideas and have tried to study each of your suggestions that I’ve read over the last 24 hours. It’s going to be a white kitchen for sure. I love the beams you’ve done, etc. I also love the color green you chose on your recent cabinets. I’d love that same hue color but in blue. Yep! And that’s about all I’ve got. Thank you for your insight and for sharing your talent. I’ll be reading more after the kids go to sleep yet I can barely keep my eyes open at the end of a long day of construction. I have a feeling you’d be loving the clean slate and your brain would be creating! Praying that some of that rubs off on me. Thanks again!

Hi Katie! Thanks so much! I’m so grateful that you shared that and I’m so glad that my blog and suggestions have helped you! That sounds like such an amazing reno project! Excited for y’all and I bet it’s going to turn out AMAZING! I think what you described with the kitchen/living space is definitely the way to go! Would love to hear more about it as y’all progress 🙂