How-To, Products, Tips

Laying Out Beams: Tips & Tricks

Laying Out Beams, The Olde Mill


Deciding to add beams to an existing house or to new construction can be very exciting! There are tons of pictures online of beautifully designed ceiling beam systems. But once you’re ready to order your beams, it can be difficult to decide which sizes and designs will adequately fit your space. If you go too large, it can make the room look small, and if you go too small, your beams may appear flimsy.  The idea is to create something that appears authentic to the architecture of the house.


flat ceilings, hollow box beams


Adding beams to a flat ceiling is a really easy way to add architectural interest to any room. The look can be ultra-modern or super rustic depending on the aesthetic of the room and the beam itself.  There are many ways to apply beams to a flat ceiling.  Here are some example photos.

These beams are semi-rustic in texture and are tucked in a ceiling alcove.

Hollow Box Beams, Beams Lay Out


The beams below are simple in texture, which compliments the modern feel to the space.

hollow box beams, The Olde Mill


Selecting the correct beam size for the room is extremely important.  Here’s our guideline for appropriate beam sizes based on ceiling heights:

recommended beam sizes ceiling height


Coffered Ceiling Beams


Though layout will likely be dictated by your own design style and aesthetic issues you may encounter, your ceiling size will be another factor. Generally, nine-panel grids work well for most rooms. If the room is square, the coffers should also be square. If the room is rectangular, the coffers should be rectangular. Build a grid on the ground first, and then attach it to the ceiling, to save yourself a neck ache. Snap chalk lines on the ceiling to keep the beam layout straight, and then use a different colored chalk to mark out joists, to avoid confusion.

Ceiling Beams, The Olde Mill


If you’re interested in adding beams to your home, feel free to contact us for free advice on layout!