I built a loft/bed in a bedroom. It uses structural 2x which will be exposed once the room is complete. The structural 2x (a vertical 2x6 post and horizontal 2x12-2 beams spanning 75% of the room) doesn't look awesome, but the loft is solid as a rock :)

Some ideas I have for making it look nice:

  1. Drywall the beam and post -- wife veto'd that idea. She wants the look of wood.
  2. Attach 1x hardwood (maple/birch) to the 2x with glue/brad nail(s)? The problem with this is a) it's really expensive and b) I can't find a solid 1x14 to cover the 2x12 11.5" face and c) it seems wasteful to be attaching 1x to an already solid beam/post just for looks.
  3. Sand and paint -- could do this, but the 2x12 has the standard cracks and rough finish that makes it difficult to deal with on a raw basis. It would be easier just to throw 1/4" drywall on it (but see #1)
  4. Apply some kind of veneer. I don't know how to do this, nor if it would look good wrapped around a post or beam.

All four sides of the post are exposed. Only one face and the top/bottom of the beam are exposed.

I'm leaning towards #2, eating the expense and attaching 1x hardwood to the post/beam in a box kind of configuration. Are there any other ideas out there before I continue, and if not, what are some good ways of attaching the 1x to the structural wood?

Here's a picture of the wood that will be exposed. That big beam and the post at the far end (and the beam that can't be seen attaching the post to the wall on the right).

Unfinished loft

2 Answers 2


Aesthetics of a home design is very personal. I like the uniqueness of your Structural bed frame. I don’t think it needs to be covered with wood trim or gypsum board.

I have two fireplaces in my house...one is a large brick fireplace and the other is made from logs off the beach. Everyone that sees the brick fireplace comments on this one unique brick that is extremely twisted. They love it. Everyone that sees the log fireplace comments on the rusty steel connector located at one end. They love it, but everyone misses the rest of each fireplace.

My point is: make it unique. Go ahead and finish the rest of the bedroom but leave the structural wood exposed. I’d finish it with transparent stain...don’t paint it and try to “cover it up”.

There’s a “thing” in design that says put opposites next to each other...they’ll accent each other’s qualities. That is to say, putting a piece of wood next to a gypsum board wall, will make the trim stand out and the gypsum board look monolithic.

We design custom homes that are all white in a natural wooded environment so that the house says, “I’m unique to this environment.”

  • I do like the kind of rustic value of the wood. Thank you for this suggestions. What would you do with the exposed 16d common nail heads in the face of the 2x12 that someone might have thoughtlessly administered? They are not, unfortunately, totally uniform. The lags into the post might look ok exposed, but the nail heads seem like they'd be distracting.
    – Eric Horne
    Jul 23, 2018 at 2:59
  • 1
    Use wood dowels. I’d drive the nails 1/4” - 1/2” deep (recessed) and then install wood dowels (about 1/4” diameter) in the nail set holes. They can be in random locations if the nails are in random locations, but they must ALL extend the same length out of the wood, (say about 1/8”). However, I’d add two equal spaced apart at the corners to “look like” fasteners supporting the 2x12. They could even be slightly bigger than the other wood dowels...
    – Lee Sam
    Jul 23, 2018 at 3:31

I like what @LeeSam has said above, but also, you could accentuate it further by staining or oiling the wood.

Another suggestion would be to distress the beam and make it look olde worlde, as per this YouTube video. This gives a kind of rustic old English cottage look.

Another suggestion would be to add a level of practicality to the beam by adding a shelf to the underside. Put 'feature' nick-knacks on it or whatever tickles your fancy.

  • 1
    Years ago we used a blow torch to char the wood then cleaned it up with a wire brush and varnished, it made a nice looking finish, the more you wire brush the lighter the color. Very inexpensive and looks better than unfinished.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.