How can I tastefully lighten wood beams on ceiling?

I have DARK wood beams in my living room and I want to lighten them without painting them. They are a rough cedar-ish kind of wood and appear to be solid pieces (although I'd bet that they are not).Does anyone have any ideas on how I could lighten their look?
  7 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 18, 2017

    I would consider a white wash effect.

  • William William on Jan 18, 2017

    I agree with Janet! White washing them would lighten them up, but not cover the grain. Load a brush with paint, dab the paint off on some newspaper and gently brush the beams in a dry brush effect.

  • Elizabeth Downing Frank Elizabeth Downing Frank on Jan 18, 2017

    Great idea! Thank you all.

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 18, 2017

    I would do just the opposite. Pickle or white wash them with a thinly watered down paint, letting dry and repeating until you get the effect you like, Do not use dry brush, you likely will get spotty over load pigment that will look splotchy.

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jan 19, 2017

    You can try this whitewashing technique:

  • Gail Gail on Jan 20, 2017

    I had some of the ugliest fake beams I've ever seen in the master bedroom of the 100 year old house I bought a few years ago. I wanted them down in the worst way, however I realized that if I did I would have to replace the Sheetrock on the ceiling and all of the crown molding. Wasn't going to happen. Between the beams the ceiling was painted tan---ugh. So, I reluctantly began painting the ceiling white. As I painted I also painted the beams and lightly wiped with a wet cloth as they were being painted. I actually like them now! They aren't so obvious and ugly, just a great asset to the ceiling. I took down the ceiling fan and put up a crystal waterfall chandelier. Ceiling is now really pretty. I can send pics if you'd like.

  • Elizabeth Downing Frank Elizabeth Downing Frank on Jan 23, 2017

    I'd love to see your pictures! I've been thinking that painting was the only way to go since they are so, so, so dark. Please post!