Options for decorative ceiling beams include polystyrene faux wood beams and use of lightweight wood boxes to simulate heavier wood beams. These decorative beams work in small bathrooms, bedrooms or larger family gathering spaces. If your decorating taste changes in the future, they are easy to remove without damaging the ceiling.
Polystyrene faux beams are an affordable option for many decorating plans. They come in a variety of finishes and look realistic once installed, and are easy to find in most home improvement stores. The lightweight polystyrene is easily cut to length, and overhead installation requires no heavy lifting. The beams add architectural detail for flat or cathedral ceilings.
Because the beams are decorative in nature, it is possible to use lumber with a smaller dimension than an actual beam. One option is to purchase a 2-by-6 pine and distress the wood before attaching it to the ceiling. The finished board provides the look of an exposed beam at a fraction of the cost.
For a heavier looking beam that uses inexpensive lumber, build a three-sided box out of cheap white lumber. Stain the beam, and attach it to the ceiling. From the floor level, observers must look closely to distinguish it from a solid wood beam.