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Beam Me Up, Scotty!

photography in this post by Christina Kiffney Photography

This blog post is about interior beams.  Why are interior beams cool?  Interior beams are cool because they are oftentimes the answer to “how do I open up my home’s floorplan?”

Let’s make sure we’re on the same page.  To us, a ‘beam’ is a horizontal structural member that supports weight.  That’s it.  A ‘column’ or ‘post’ is a vertical structural member that supports weight.  A ‘simply supported beam’ is a horizontal beam with a ‘post’ at either end.  

Structural engineering 101 complete! 

One very popular thing to do in homes nowadays is to eliminate interior walls to open things up and connect spaces.  This means removing interior walls.. Some of which can carry structural weight, ie-they’re holding the house up, and we need to install a beam (and probably some posts) to replace the walls.

This isn’t bad news though.  I actually love interior beams because they offer an opportunity to let your home’s structure shine.  We’ve done dozens of projects where we celebrate the ‘beam’ and let it become an integral part of the home’s architecture.

Here are a series of photos that showcase different styles of interior beams:

These 2 photos show exposed steel I-Beams:

This next picture highlights the use of a ‘Glulam’ beam.  This structural beam is built up of wood 2x6’s all laminated together.

This photo shows a larger wood timber with matching exposed posts:


Sometimes the actual structural beam isn’t very attractive and/or you may not like the ‘style’ that comes with it.  This next photo shows a beam that we clad in paint grade trim and added crown molding to dress it up.  

To diminish the beam even further, we can also wrap the beam in drywall and paint it to match the walls:

In the end, there’s no right way to clad or expose a structural element of your house.  If you’re feeling the vibe, let it shine.  If not, wrap it in something you like.  Thanks for reading.

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