Joists and beams are the horizontal architectural elements that support the roof above your head from collapsing and the floor under your feet from giving out. Traditionally the structure of the home was covered up and hidden from view with wood paneling, drywall or plaster but it is becoming quite common to expose these elements. In doing so you would be highlighting the most important aspect of your home which is usually forgotten about.
Exposed Structural Beams
The size, shape and weight requirements of the home will determine the size of the beams so don't be surprised if you find yours to be quite a bit smaller. They are typically made from solid wood but they can also be made of steel which would create a more industrial look.
These exposed joists are painted the same colour as the ceiling and walls for a subtler appearance. It opens up the room and gives an airy, fresh and clean atmosphere. Since there are so many joists in this one room having them painted or stained a different colour would have been overwhelming.
It can be quite expensive and time consuming to expose existing beams or joists and is not always a possible option in every situation. It all depends on the construction of your home, what's in-between the joists (electrical/plumbing) and the look you are trying to achieve. If this is out of reach it may be a good idea to consider installing faux beams.
They can be made from a variety of materials including anything from moulded foam to real rustic barn beams and they can be installed directly into the joists above. Just be cautious of the weight and how much height you will be losing with the addition of this element. If you have a short ceiling height you may want to decide on a different ceiling treatment so you don't feel like you have to duck underneath every time.
If faux beams are installed correctly you will never be able to tell they are not real.