Easiest Faux Beams Ever!

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These faux beams were so simple to install and so budget friendly! This step by step guide will show you exactly how we added rustic charm to our basic, drywalled kitchen ceilings! 

Easiest Faux Beams Ever

Hello friends! Finally, the faux beams post so many of you have been waiting for!

I know I reference Instagram here on the blog pretty often, but that’s where I generally share more of our day to day routine in my stories, including DIY projects that I’m working on at the time. 

I love interacting with my readers over there, getting feedback and sharing budget friendly decorating tips. A lot of the blog posts I’ve published here recently are actually the result of YOUR interests, and this post is no different!

A few weeks ago I gave you all a glimpse of the faux wood beams we installed in our kitchen, and I could not believe the number of direct messages I received from followers wanting to know more. 

I’ll do my best to answer all your questions and share step by step exactly what we did. Let’s get started!

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Supplies Needed for the Easiest Faux Beams Ever –

I have always loved the look of beams, but since our 1930’s home has beautiful coved, plaster ceilings in both the living and dining room, I sort of let the idea go. Then, this past summer I was flipping through some old issues of the Magnolia Journal when I saw a gorgeous photo and the idea hit me – what if we just installed them in our kitchen? 

inspiration for faux beams
Photo found in Issue 1 of the Magnolia Journal, page 91

What I loved about the beams in the above photo was the fact that they weren’t very thick. Our kitchen ceilings are only 8 feet tall, and I didn’t want to make our already narrow, galley style kitchen feel even smaller by installing beams. 

I showed the photo to my husband and asked if he could create the same look using 2×6’s or 2×8’s, and he told me it could (probably) be done. An answer I love to hear.

Before he left for the lumber yard, I told him to pick out the most beat up, rustic boards he could find. He looked at me like I was crazy, but said he would do his best. 

Just be sure that the boards you choose are NOT warped, we learned that the hard way! Lay them down on the floor first to see if they lay flat. If they are bowed at all it will be so difficult to get them flush with your ceiling!

When he came home with the wood, I could not have been more pleased. He found some great, rustic looking boards!

Easiest Faux Wood Beams
pine wood for faux beams

While most of the boards he chose had great character, some of them definitely looked a little new and perfect still. In order to make those boards look rough and old, we had fun using different tools to distress them…but I’ll get to that in a moment!

Installing the Easiest Faux Beams Ever – Step 1

Before you waste any time beating up wood that you won’t even use, be sure to cut your boards to the proper length. We ended up using 2×6 pine boards, and we simply measured the full length of our kitchen to determine how many beams I wanted and how far apart they would be. 

pine boards for faux beams

Each space is different of course but for reference, we purchased 5, 10 foot 2×6 inch boards. We chose to install beams on either end of the kitchen, one in the very center of the kitchen, and then one at the half way mark between the center and each end. Our beams are roughly 5 feet apart.

After marking where each beam would be installed, my husband numbered and measured the length of each location then cut each numbered board accordingly.

measuring faux wood beams

Installing the Easiest Faux Beams Ever – Step 2

Once all of your boards are cut to size, it’s time for the fun part! We used a chisel to rough up the edges of the boards that looked a bit too new, and we also made marks on the wood with a hammer and screwdriver. You can do as much or as little distressing as you would like!

distressing faux wood beams
distressing faux wood beams

Installing the Easiest Faux Beams Ever – Step 3

After distressing all of your boards, it’s time for stain. Choosing the color was quite a long process for me. I played around with so many different colors and mixtures and I made sure to test my concoctions on wood scraps before staining the actual boards. 

playing with stain faux wood beam

I ended up creating my own stain using equal parts Weathered Oak, Pickled Oak, and Golden Oak by Minwax. You can see in the cell phone shot below what the color looks like (I circled the color and sent it to my Mom, lol). When I first stained the boards I was in love, but once they were on the ceiling I felt like they needed to be a bit lighter. I’ll talk more about that later on.

stain choice faux wood beams
choosing stain colors for faux beams

I will say that I didn’t seal my boards with anything, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m considering using a clear furniture wax or a even a matte Polycrylic, I will update this post once I decide!

I love how the stain settled into the marks and crevices of the wood. Here’s what the beams looked like after staining them –

staining faux wood beams
staining faux wood beams

Installing the Easiest Faux Beams Ever – Step 4

Now it’s time to attach the boards to the ceiling.

Depending on the way your rafters run, you may not need to use anchors. You could use a stud finder and attach your beams right to the studs. Since I wanted beams where there were no rafters (leave it to me to make things difficult), we needed to use anchors. 

First, my husband used an 1/8 inch drill bit (long enough to go through the board) in order to drill pilot holes where he would be placing screws. He held the board up to the ceiling (I gave him a hand with this), then he drilled the screw through the pilot hole just enough to where he put a mark on the ceiling. 

simple diy faux beams
diy faux beams

He then removed the board and drilled a 1/4 inch hole on each mark for the anchors.

installing diy wood beams

Once the anchors were in place, he brought the boards back up again and drilled the screws all the way into the anchors, attaching the boards to the ceiling. 

Forgive me for not having a photo of him drilling the boards to the ceiling…I was helping him hold each board in place while he drilled it in. My apologies!

rustic wood beams diy

And that’s it! We left the screws on our beams exposed, but if you really wanted to you could counter sink the holes and use wood filler or plugs to hide your screws. They really don’t bother me that much, to me they look like another mark on the wood.

diy faux wood beams
rustic distressed DIY faux beams

I just love the way these beams turned out. It was so simple and such an affordable project since we already had the screws and anchors. The wood was about $40, so not bad at all!

faux wood beams in white kitchen
wood beams in white kitchen
distressed faux wood beams
faux beam tutorial
how to install faux wood beams

This past week I wanted the boards to look a little lighter and more weathered, so I brushed straight bleach right on to the beams. Each beam got about 5 coats, and I love how much they lightened. I may even do a few more coats!

faux wood beam step by step

So, what do you guys think? I love the rustic warmth these faux beams add to the kitchen. Do you have any other questions? Let me know in the comments below!

UPDATE – I ended up finding real reclaimed wood beams! Read the entire blog post and update here!

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Easiest Faux Beams Ever

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21 Comments

  1. They look fabulous. You used the same kind of wood I was considering. This has given me courage to go forth with my vision. Love the look. Thanks.

    1. Hi Lance, they cabinets were already installed before we moved in. I’m so sorry. 🙁 Wish I could help!!

  2. I have a new great room that is white from the vaulted ceiling to the carpet … it needs color. I want to put up ceiling beams and a brick wall on one end. I love what you did but am questioning if your brick wall is wallpaper.

  3. Hi, Andrea, Thank you for detailing your process of hanging faux beams! We’re adding “beams” to a bathroom, and hope your method will work with our thick drywall-over-plaster ceiling. Only had a couple fails so far. 🙂 We may need longer anchors, but would appreciate knowing if your plastic anchors are still holding strong. Thank you for sharing all you do with your house.

  4. Love it! But could you please tell me if that gorgeous stone is the outside wall of yours kitchen? Or is it faux? And if so, how did you do it?

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