Drywall Finishing Solutions for Minimalist Design

For about as long as people have been living in houses, they’ve been creating showstopping designs to wow their visitors. But, these days, many homeowners are looking for more understated features that can impress others with their style and taste, without beating them over the head with it. To accomplish this, sans sky-high costs, you should look into drywall finishing solutions for minimalist design. Your best bet? Two words, unlimited possibilities: reveals and shadows.

Reveal and shadow beads have become some of the most popular specialty beads on the market today, and a big part of that popularity comes from their multi-faceted nature and sleek look. They are used most often in commercial construction, when crews need to break up long runs of drywall while adding visual flair. But there are many circumstances in which reveal and shadow beads are an ideal product for residential jobs, especially when it comes to creating interesting designs.


To begin, let’s take a look at what reveal and shadow beads are and how they differ.

The Architectural Reveal Beads transition flawlessly where they intersect.

Reveal beads have a center channel that creates a vertical or horizontal recess in drywall. They can be used to accent the design of a space, provide expansion control or both at the same time. Due to the flexibility of their design, vinyl reveals offer built-in expansion control — meaning they can slightly move along with the wall/structure, preventing cracks in your drywall finish. Most brands of reveal beads come in a variety of widths in order to customize your design.


Shadow beads create a similar look as reveal beads, but are used when the design calls for the product to butt up against ceilings, base trim or other finished architectural components like doors and windows.

Reveal and shadow beads are available in both metal and vinyl, but vinyl offers additional benefits and cost savings, since it can easily form around curved surfaces and does not dent or rust.


If you’re facing large expanses of drywall in residential construction, it may be necessary to use reveal and shadow beads to incorporate expansion control joints. But, most of the time, residential spaces don’t require extensive expansion control — you’ll usually employ a reveal for aesthetic reasons, as décor choices are typically very important to residential homeowners. For that, reveal and shadow beads come in handy.

For those homeowners or builders that are looking to create clean, modern, minimalist spaces, reveal and shadow bead are perfect choices. Since minimalist design is all about simplifying, traditional home details like crown molding, ornate staircases and even baseboards are not going to be considered desirable. However, a plain, blank space with zero visual details is not going to work here either. Minimalist design requires the right balance of just enough detail.

Drywall Finishing Solutions for Minimalist Designs - reveals living room 3

Creating modern, minimalist design elements in a residential space can be challenging, but the look can be achieved with the help of the right drywall finishing solutions and planning. There are many different ways to integrate reveal and shadow beads into a minimalist home.

One of our favorite ways folks do this is by creating designs within the wall itself, etching in a new shape that, when seen far away, almost looks like it’s been painted on. Up close, you’ll discover the design’s actually been recessed from the drywall. This is done by cutting your design into the ’rock, and filling the gaps with lengths of Reveal Bead. Your design can take up the entire wall, or terminate on its own, as seen in the photos below.

Drywall Finishing Solutions for Minimalist Design - Reveal Bead

Another spot that’s absolutely begging for some minimalist flair is your baseboards, where our Z Shadow Bead is the perfect match. Installing a length of shadow bead immediately above the baseboard creates a clean, visually interesting alternative to a traditional baseboard, accenting the space but not overpowering it. Learn more about how to achieve this look here.

Z Shadow with Example

If even that’s not minimalist for you, you might want to go with installing flush baseboards. To install flush baseboards, first stop the edge of the drywall with an L Bead. Complete the job by installing the baseboard flush with the drywall. Not only does this add to the décor, but it also eliminates the dust shelf that often occurs on top of baseboard trim.

Create Flush Baseboards with Architectural L Bead

An additional way to use reveal and shadow beads in minimalist homes is to highlight architectural features, like specialty doors or windows. Oftentimes, builders and homeowners looking for a minimalist look choose to create casing-free doors and windows with Z Shadow Beads or F Reveal Bead around the entire feature.

Z-Shadow-Door_IMG_0947 - LR

Staircases are another ideal place to highlight minimalist design. Recessed handrails eliminate bulky, traditional handrails and saves space in the stairwell while still offering support while going up the stairs. Check out this large reveal that functions as an alternative to traditional bannisters, using Z Shadow Bead on either side of the recessed space to create a recessed space within the drywall.

Drywall Finishing Solutions for Minimalist Designs - Stairway Reveal

These are just a few ways we’ve used shadows and reveals as drywall finishing solutions for minimalist design, but your only limit here is your own creativity. Hit the button below to request a free sample pack of Reveal Bead and Z Shadow Bead, and start experimenting with minimalist designs for yourself!