How can I lighten these beams? The room is small and looks so dark.

by Sharon
Can I use chalk paint? If so, what color do I paint the ceiling? Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
  14 answers
  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Dec 06, 2017

    I can't tell what color the ceiling is, but looks maybe white? You can paint them the ceiling color or at least go with a lighter color than what they are if you still want the accent in the room, or match a pale color that goes with the décor in the room.

  • Sandy Helliker Sandy Helliker on Dec 06, 2017

    A white ceiling will always make the room look bigger. You would need to use a good primer to seal the beams prior to painting or the stain will bleed through your paint.

  • Bijous Bijous on Dec 06, 2017

    You can paint them any light color you want, but if you want them wood, you can strip the stain. It's a messy job, but worth it. You can also faux paint a lighter wood look.

    How to Paint a Faux Wood Grain | how-tos | DIY

  • 27524803 27524803 on Dec 06, 2017

    It depends on the type of material that the beams are made of... whether they could be sanded or stripped down and stained a lighter tone or maybe gray or white washed...they may have to be lightly sanded, primed and painted... I would use something with a more washable finish than chalk paint... and the color: white, gray, and the ceiling can match or contrast, depending on whether you want the beams to stand out or blend in.

    All of our ceilings are painted a nice blue with a touch of gray... called "November Sky"

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Dec 06, 2017

    I don't see why you couldn't use chalk paint on the beams. I would then use regular ceiling paint tinted to similar color to draw the eye away from beams. With that said I find it sad that you would want to take such a unique decrative item and cover it up. Show casing it seems bether to me. For instance, try changing the ceiling paint first,instead of stark white use a warm cream color and see if that doesn't soften the darkness of the beams. Also warm up walls with a huethat is one deeper than the ceiling but in a soft satin finish. A warm butterscotchy color to match a warm creamy ceiling would be nice. I understand that it's a dark room and those two colors are just soooo stark that it's an eyesore instead of a beautiful addition to your decor but it doesn't necessarily mean that it is the beams I think, and remember it's only my opinion and it's your house, that the white ceiling and walls are making the beams appear darker and if that room is north facing with no ceiling lights and such it's a cold room that can totally change with the right paint color leaving beams as they are. I don't know what furniture you have, how tall ceiling is, what your personal taste are so take this opinion and think about it as a whole. But remember that most people like attention to detail and that detail is great. So if you go ahead and paint either do it all in same color or warm up beams in a lighter creamy shade that you then go over with an other shade to highlight the beams but please paint ceiling as well. White is not the correct color for those beams to really shine.

    • Sharon Sharon on Dec 07, 2017

      Thank you very much for your reply! Unfortunately, the ceiling is also low so the lack of light makes it feel more closed in with the dark beams. I really appreciate all your suggestions!

  • Michele Pappagallo Michele Pappagallo on Dec 06, 2017

    I would paint the entire ceiling and the beams white. It will brighten up the room, and modernize it. You could use chalk paint on the beams if you like, but it would probably be easier to just use regular wall paint on everything.

    • Sharon Sharon on Dec 07, 2017

      Thank you, this is all new to me so I appreciate your comment about the paint!

  • Vicky Davis Vicky Davis on Dec 07, 2017

    Since no one else asked....are the beams even 'real'? You don't mention whether you installed them.....if not, they could be just 'boxes' made to look like beams? You might be able to take them down, if that is the case.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kkr Kkr on Dec 09, 2017

      Oh gracious, if they are real and original to the house I would NOT paint them and cover them up! Depending, I might strip them & stain them a lighter color. If there's no overhead lighting, I would think about installing can lights. I would also keep ALL decor in this room light & airy. Light paint, light drapes, light colored furnature. Lots of lamps, if adding overhead lighting isn't an option. I have a love of natural wood & architectural details, especially if it's original to the house. So for me, painting the beams would absolutely not be an option. I would do everything in my power to change everything else to save them.

      Also, is that popcorn ceiling I see between the beams? Removing that & painting the ceiling stark white will do a lot to brighten the room too.

  • MomofivejsOR MomofivejsOR on Dec 07, 2017

    You could also just white-wash them, that way you get to see the wood grain but they would be much lighter.

  • Sabrina's Organizing Sabrina's Organizing on Dec 08, 2017

    I'm a big fan of chalk paint. I would paint the beams with white or gray chalk paint then use a white wax or antique color wax over the chalk paint. It creates a streaked grain look. Good luck.

  • Mr S Mr S on Dec 09, 2017

    Hi, I’d like them that way. Makes me think of old country homes. Perhaps the emphasis should be placed more on using lighting to enhance the beauty of the beams and give your home the look you’re after. Lighting is rather tricky therefore, I suggest you look for ideas maybe on Pinterest. Hue by Philips has some nice light bulbs that are controlled with an app on your phone or special switches that don’t require wiring. Best

  • SOA92470171 SOA92470171 on Nov 03, 2023

    What did you decide to do? I have the same problem in my house where the wood is all around the room and the center beams are structural. Any photos? Thank you!

    comment photo
  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 03, 2023

    I love the darker color on the beams it makes them stand out and adds contrast. Ceiling would look better if you gave it a smoother finish the texture really dates it.

    From your picture the ceiling looks like it is painted gray. Is that correct? Go with a more pure white to help reflect the light more.

    What kind and how much lighting do you have on the ceiling?

  • Deb K Deb K on Nov 04, 2023

    Hi Sharon, hope this helps you out. You can paint them!

  • Dee Dee on Nov 04, 2023

    I have a cathedral ceiling and i painted my beams a gray white. and the ceiling white.