When a FauxWoodBeams.com customer wanted an open plan living room, one of our beams proved to be the perfect finishing detail for the ceiling design. AFTER If you watch as much HGTV as I do, you'll know that one of the hottest design trends is the 'open plan.' This refers to knocking down separating walls in a home and blending multiple living spaces into one - for example a kitchen that opens up to a dining room, living room... or both. The open plan trend is a result of advancements in heating and air conditioning technology. In older homes, smaller rooms were common because it was easier to keep them warm, or cool. These days, people enjoy the better light, larger spaces and general openness of an open-plan home better, and thanks to more efficient HVAC systems, it's no longer as expensive to keep these bigger spaces comfortable during the hotter or colder months. This has led to many homeowners deciding to knock down the separating walls in their older homes - just like David Bates from Tennessee. David's beautiful home was rich with historic character, but was divided into sections for all the reasons mentioned above. He wanted to knock down the wall separating the kitchen from the living room and really open up the ground floor. As the wall was cosmetic, rather than structural, this wasn't a problem - but David felt that there was something missing from the project. Knocking down the separating wall left an extended length of ceiling exposed, and he wanted to add something to the room to bring the whole look together. BEFORE In an ideal world, a real exposed timber beam would have been perfect - stretching across the now-open space. However, in reality the supporting beam across that space was made of steel, and hidden beneath the plaster and wood that David had added during the project. After searching online, David realized that one of our faux beams might provide exactly the look he was going for. In the end, he chose a Rustic beam in a beautiful Walnut finish, and installed it across the full length of the section he'd opened up. By carefully measuring the length of the span, and trimming the beam to fit with a regular wood saw, he was able to make each end fit flush with the walls and the end-result looked exactly like a real supporting timber. The vivid texture of Rustic Beams makes them virtually indistinguishable from real wood. Even better, the vivid wood texture and rich, dark color contrasted beautifully with the white planks David used on the rest of the walls and ceiling, and perfectly matched his sleek, hardwood floors. The single beam really brought the whole look of his open-plan project together, and added the ideal finishing detail that turned a good look into a great one. Once again, the fact that David made such a difference with just a single beam reinforces what we keep repeating about how "less is more." But, more than that, David's project demonstrates how 'going faux' is often better than the real thing. Not only is David's beam indistinguishable from real wood, but an actual timber beam would never have been able to support the ceiling across that span. He gets the look of wood, while achieving something that real wood never could. The best of both worlds - and also a fraction of the price of using genuine timber. We love this project, and it's a great one to kick 2018 off with. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.