How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

Ahna Fulmer
by Ahna Fulmer
8 Materials
8 Hours

Learn how to install barn beams on a ceiling with this DIY tutorial!

How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

In our French Country cottage fixer upper, I decided to try my hand at incorporating old barn beams into the design. One of the places I used barn beams was our master bedroom.

I wanted to open up the standard double closet with bi-fold doors into the rest of the bedroom and create an open concept closet design by framing out the space with barn beams.

In this case we used the same technique to install the barn beams on the walls as well.

How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

Tools You Will Need:

  • Circular saw
  • Chain saw
  • 2×4 lumber
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Star bit wood screws
  • Ladder

How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

The first step is to cut the beam to the length and thickness that you want. The less cuts you need to make with the circular saw the better!


How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

Run your circular saw lengthwise down the center of the beam in 1/2 inch to 1 inch strips. Leave approximately 1-2 inches uncut on either side. Make sure the opening will be wide enough to recess a 2×4 or whatever lumber you are anchoring your beam to! It will ultimately form a U when you are finished with step

How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

Here is where you want a sharp chisel, your hammer, good working gloves, and a healthy dose of patience. Just think the last time these beams were installed they didn’t even have electric tools!

Remember the U shape needs to be big enough to recess a 2 x 4 or whatever lumber you will be anchoring it to the ceiling with.

How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

Unfortunately in our closet project somehow I missed taking a picture of this step, so I am showing an example from Jenna Sue Design to show you what I am talking about.  

In this kitchen they are showing you how to create a faux barn beam which is also a great option and much easier to customize to your preferred size, stain etc. The concept, however, is the same. See the 1×4 they have running across the ceiling? 

That is what we did with the 2×4 across the top of our closet ceiling. Anchor the 2×4 with star bit wood screws and make sure to hit studs! The 2×4 then recesses into the U of the beam that was notched out.

How to Install Barn Beams on a Ceiling

This is a close up of the star bit wood screws. We used these on the ceiling beam and the wall beams. You screw them directly into the barn beam and then drive it into the 2×4’s you have anchored to the ceiling.

You can certainly add other beams as you want. We added a vertical beam to in the center of the closet, but this was only decorative so as to visually split the closet in half for a “his and hers” side.

Pin any of the images below for later!

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Ahna Fulmer
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Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Nancy Nancy on Feb 17, 2021

    Do you plan to add a couple more beams to the ceiling in that room? And I assumed you were going to finish by adding barn doors to cover the contents of the closet. Do you plan to leave everything showing?

  • Linda Linda on Feb 18, 2023

    no it looks really odd and unfinished in this room

    maybe if there were sliding barn doors ? i would not

    want it like this

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2 of 16 comments
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Feb 18, 2022

    I love how everything is organized but would still like to see sliding barn doors to give it a finished look. Great job. Thanks for sharing.

  • Eve Eve on Feb 23, 2022

    The beams are real nice.

    He room she can have it the way she likes it , My room would looked unfinished. I have 2 sliding doors on one side .i have a curtain on the other side to match the bedroom. I want the mirrored doors on the other side to replace the curtains.