Exposed beams: furnishing ideas and tips for the attic


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The attic with exposed beams has become, in recent years, a sort of must: here’s how to make the most of the exposed beams with the right lighting, how to choose them and lots of tips for every style of furniture.

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Exposed beams are a frequent structural element in the attic and attics and in recent years they have become a real piece of furniture. If once, in fact, there was a tendency to cover and camouflage them with the false ceiling, the current trend is to make the most of them combining them with the right lighting and the perfect decor.

Do not be sidetracked by clichés: the exposed beams they get along well with all major styles of furniture, including modern and industrial. The possibilities available are many when it comes to furnishing an attic with exposed beams: we start with the type of beams – sometimes they are even recreated to perfection! – and then proceed with the choice of the ideal elements and furnishing accessories.


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The target? Recreate a unique atmosphere e charming. Let’s take stock of what are the main types of exposed beams and what is the best lighting for an attic that provides them, with lots of tips and ideas for every style of furniture.

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Attic with exposed beams: why choose it

At one time attic and habitable attic were not as popular as they are today. They were thought to be second choice housing solutions and this also happened because, in most cases, they presented the ceiling with exposed beams. This characteristic it suggested the idea of ​​neglect, of an unfinished or not well done job, reason for which very often the beams were covered with the construction of the false ceiling.

Nowadays, against, the attic with exposed beams is almost one status symbol. The inspiration comes from the Belle Époque, from the great European cities of the late 19th century where poets, artists and intellectuals populated the attics. Wanting to look less back in time, it was the advent of the industrial style, born in Europe in the 1980s, to revive the idea of ​​the attic with exposed beams and, more generally, of open space as attics and lofts obtained from old abandoned factories and often characterized by the presence of exposed beams.


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The exposed beams, especially those Wood, have become very trendy. They immediately give the environment aallure warm and welcoming and then, they have the advantage of being very versatile and can be combined with many styles of furniture different. Over the years, this structural element of the attic has become so popular that it is sometimes even rebuilt in a purely decorative version.

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The main types of exposed beams

Let’s focus on exposed wooden beams, the most widespread and most popular. They are not all the same: they exist, indeed, different types which are distinguished by specific characteristics and properties.


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Solid wood

The exposed solid wood beams are those “Authentic”, in natural wood, the most present in long-standing residential contexts. Usually they have a square, rectangular or circular section. The difference between base and height is very small, which is why they are very beautiful to see but less flexible and resistant to loads of their “colleagues” in laminated wood.

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In laminated wood

Glulam beams have rectangular sections that are much higher than they are long. This causes them to prove themselves over time more durable and resistant, as well as more flexible. Glulam is a composite material, an industrial product innovative consisting largely of natural wood.

Thanks to a special pressure bonding process, however, it does not have the typical defects of natural wood including, for example, knots and irregularities.

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Faux polyurethane

As anticipated, there are also fake exposed beams, purely decorative. They are realized in polyurethane and it is really difficult to distinguish them from the real ones as reproduce wood to perfection.

They are among the most used because they have many advantages: they are economical, resist moisture well, are lighter and easier to maintain. On the market there are many models and in as many finishes, in all shades of natural wood, from the lightest to the darkest.

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Attic lighting with exposed beams

Before suggesting some ideas of exposed beams for the attic, let’s focus for a moment on a focal issue, namely that relating to lighting. How an attic that has a ceiling with exposed beams lights up? In reality, there are many possibilities and solutions available.

The spotlights, for example, they are ideal for a low ceiling with exposed beams. Likewise, we advise you to opt for pendant lamps if, on the other hand, the ceiling is very high. To highlight the beams there is nothing better than LED strips e gods profiles, that is gods suspended light modules that support the linearity of the beams.

Alternatively, it is also possible to rely on classic floor lamps, able to recreate a soothing, relaxing and warm atmosphere.

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Exposed beams for the attic: ideas for every style

The exposed beams become a real piece of furniture, especially when we are not talking about structural beams but purely aesthetic and decorative. This is why it is important that they blend well with the rest of the furniture. Fortunately, contrary to what one might think, the attic with exposed wooden beams is not only rustic or classic, but lends itself to many styles different.

For the modern style

To furnish an attic with modern exposed beams, it is good to focus on light-colored beams, in shades of white and gray. The ideal is match walls total white and play with colorful furnishing elements in contrast.

The white exposed beams are an authentic passepartout and, unlike those in dark wood, they are less “heavy” and darken the environment less.

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For the classic style

For an attic furnished in a classic style, better focus on solid wood beams. They are the ones that are best able to recreate a warm and slightly retro atmosphere, welcoming and perfect for hosting, for example, a small living room or bedroom.

One idea to consider is that of opt for parquet flooring. You will be able to give continuity to the environment and you will feel embraced by the warmth and timeless charm of wood.

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For the shabby chic style

The shabby chic style, refined and decadent, it is one of the most suitable for an attic with exposed beams. Also in this case the possibilities are many: the ideal is to opt for an attic with white exposed beams, even better if with a pickled effect and lived like that of exquisitely shabby furniture.

If necessary, it is possible to combine the white beams with other raw wood beams, not treated, for an atmosphere with a slightly country flavor.

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For the industrial style

Furnishing an industrial style attic, using structural elements such as exposed beams to recreate the right atmosphere, is always a good idea. There are many attics and attics obtained from rooms that were once used as storage for old factories.

If you like the idea, combined with the exposed wooden beams wrought iron elements, furniture in neutral colors – in shades of gray and black, for example – and play with the lighting by scattering suspended spotlights here and there and contemporary design lamps in steel.

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Exposed beams for the attic: images and photos

Did you like our advice on how to enhance the exposed beams for the attic? Take a look at the gallery of images below: you will find many inspirational ideas for your attic.


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