Guidelines for beam sizing?

ash6181August 31, 2011

We would like to include beams on the ceiling in some rooms of our new house. These wouldn't be structural beams, but just for aesthetic purposes. As I've been looking at pictures online, I notice that the beams sometimes look way too large for the space and stand out too much, but on the other hand sometimes look far too small, almost like toothpicks on the ceiling. Does anyone know of any guidelines or rules of thumb for beam sizing in relation to room size and ceiling height? If anyone has pictures and would be willing to post with the room size, ceiling height, and size of beams that would be great. Thanks!

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I used my home designer software to test out beam sizes in relationship to the space and other benchmarks, and it helped a lot.

We have 9' ceilings. The kitchen is roughly 11' x 14'.

The large beam against the sink wall is a 8" x 8" beam, 11' in length. The beam over the fridge cabinets is 8" x 8" about 7' in length and then the 16' length over the DR/LR.

The small beams in the kitchen are 4" high by 6" wide and about 11' long and about 3' inbetween.

These are all fake beams added after the ceiling was finished. They are from Virtual Timbers. We bought them unfinished and stained them and would highly recommend them to anyone.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 9:57PM
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Thanks brickton, that is very helpful information. I think your beams look perfectly sized. I remember an earlier post about your beams, and have the Virtual Timbers site bookmarked.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 11:06PM
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Our kitchen beams are 6x6 with 4x4. The structural beams (between kitchen/breakfast room and kitchen/great room) are 6x12 or 14...Don't recall and too lazy to measure). Posts are 6x6 (still need corbels inside).

Great room and MBR beams are 6x12, maybe. I'd have to ask DH.

Exterior beams/posts are larger as they are structural and disappear from a distance if too small.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beams in our home

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 2:15PM
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Thanks allison. Your house is great; I've looked at your pictures several times for inspiration. Can you give me an idea of the sizes of your rooms and ceiling heights?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 10:52PM
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Thank you. The great room is 24x19, the ceiling peaks at 22'. The MBR is 19x16 and peaks at 18'.

Kitchen 12x20 and breakfast room 12x11, with 9' ceilings.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:07PM
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