7 Ways to Make Low Ceilings Look Higher
Well-chosen paint finishes, lighting, wall mouldings and other details can give your rooms a visual lift
Jena Bula of USA-based Delphinium Design had only 3.5 square metres to work with in her guest bathroom in North Carolina, USA, so she needed to find ways to make the room feel more expansive. “A good trick to make your ceilings look higher is to skip crown moulding and install tall baseboards,” she says of these high skirting boards.
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While this Florida, USA, apartment has incredible views of Biscayne Bay and a marina, its ceilings were, as the interior designer behind USA-based Lourdes Gabriela Interiors puts it, “oppressively low”. Low-hanging track lights and short louvred doors around the apartment only made them feel lower.
After getting rid of the track lights and short doors, the designer employed a couple of other tricks to make the ceilings feel higher. First, she painted them a glossy white to bounce the light around. Second, she used a flush-mounted chandelier over the dining table. It leaves ample space between its lowest point and the tabletop, and it makes the ceiling seem higher than a low-hanging traditional chandelier would.
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The interior designer also removed a soffit that divided the kitchen ceiling in an awkward way and extended the cabinets to the ceiling. The exaggerated cabinet height makes the ceiling feel higher. She strategically dropped the ceiling and placed soffits where needed to house wiring ductwork.
In this Atlanta, USA cottage, designer Carl Mattison installed a wall of gridded panelling to define a small dining space. Seeing so many stacked squares lends the illusion of height. Painting the wall mouldings and adjacent kitchen cabinets the same colour keeps the room from feeling subdivided.
You don’t need to go Lilliputian with all your furnishings, but there are times when standard fixtures can draw the eye down. In this low-ceilinged bathroom in Tononto, Canada, the team at nearby Two Birds Design tricked the eye by choosing a toilet with a low tank.
The tall expanse of wall between the top of the tank and the ceiling makes the ceiling seem higher. Using low-slung furniture will have a similar effect in any room.
Dropped ceilings are most commonly removed in basements because they often have the lowest ceilings in the house. This exposes the ceiling joists and beams, as well wires, pipes and ductwork, creating an industrial loft-like look. In this project from USA-based The Cousins, the ceiling’s dark colour helps camouflage those elements.
How have you visually heightened your ceilings? Tell us your tricks in the Comments below, like this story and share your favourite images. Join the conversation.