Make a load-bearing beam an architectural feature on your ceiling.
A load-bearing ceiling beam can be an eyesore in your room, especially if the exposed beam contrasts with the ceiling. Don't let the beam dominate your room's decor, enhance it with decorative techniques that hide its true function. Turn the beam into a focal point or make it disappear with paint, stain and other materials to help disguise its function.
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Make the load-bearing ceiling beam appear to be a rustic addition to your space. Distress or antique the beam by striking it with hammers and chains to create dents and gouges in the wood. Stain the beam darker than the ceiling to enhance its rustic appeal.
Help the beam blend into the ceiling by painting or staining it, or boxing it in with drywall and giving it the same finish as the ceiling. Even though the beam protrudes from the flat ceiling, if it is the same color or design as the ceiling, it will not be as noticeable.
Paint and stencil a decorative border along three sides of the load-bearing beam to turn a necessity into a focal point. Paint the beam to complement your ceiling or to stand out against it before applying the stencil. Add your choice of stencil imagery on both vertical sides of the beam and on the floor-facing horizontal side of the beam.
Attach decorative faux beams to your ceiling so the load-bearing beam appears to be one of a series, by design. Stain the beams to match each other and to stand out against a light colored ceiling. Decorative faux beams, available at home improvement stores and online retailers, are lightweight but they look like real wood. Some of the faux beams are made from real wood and have hollow centers; others are crafted from urethane.
Cover the load-bearing beam with colorful mosaic tiles to create a striking focal point in the room. Glue shimmering glass or opaque ceramic tiles to the wood with waterproof construction adhesive or one-part epoxy. Many mosaic tiles are available in sheets with a mesh back to simplify installation. The spacing is already set; attach the mesh back to the beam, wait for the glue to dry and then grout between the tiles.
Cover the wood beam with metal craft foil to highlight the line across the ceiling. Hammer copper foil with a ball-peen hammer or emboss designs into aluminum foil create interesting textures in the thin metal. Cut the metal to fit the beam with tin snips and glue it in place with waterproof construction adhesive.