Lighting for Exposed Beam Ceilings

An exposed beam ceiling is an architectural feature in the home and it deserves to be showcased as such. There are a number of ways to illuminate the beams themselves as well as a multitude of fixtures on the market for installing lighting in the ceiling between the beams to provide general illumination for a space.


You could up-light the exposed beams with a general wash of lighting from below but this is not always the best way forward. Uplighting the beams runs the risk of making this beautiful feature in your home look flat and uninteresting. Instead, create contrast by installing spotlights around the perimeter of the room. Position the spotlights at the highest point of the side walls and direct them up and across the beams at an angle. If you don’t love the look of spotlights installed on the wall, you can also mount them on the beams themselves. Position the spotlights at the far edges of the beams where they meet the walls.


Chandeliers, pendants, paddle fans, track lighting, and wall sconces are all suitable options for lighting a room with an exposed beam ceiling. However, recessed lighting is the most popular choice because it provides the room with an even spread of ambient lighting and can be installed in the ceiling between the beams. If your ceiling happens to be sloped, opt for recessed lighting that can be adjusted to shine straight down as opposed to at an angle. You should also avoid installing recessed lighting too close to the beams as this creates hot spots on the beams when switched on.

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