9 Clever Ways to Counteract Low Ceilings

Not everyone is lucky enough to have high ceilings in their home. If your rooms are vertically challenged, don’t worry - there are ways to make them feel higher. The key is to use space to your advantage to create the illusion of higher ceilings. Here are nine ways to add visual height to your space.

By Faith Towers | Updated Nov 19, 2020 11:11 AM

Try Stripes

Striped Walls Add Height

Vertical stripes create the illusion of height by drawing your gaze upward. To add a little height to your walls, try a bold, striped wallpaper like this one. For an even more personalized touch, consider painting wide stripes in the color of your choice.

Related: 10 Wallpaper Options to Trick the Eye


Scale Down

Low Profile Furniture

Big and bulky furniture can make any room feel smaller than its square footage. The same principle holds true for vertical space. While tall furniture draws attention to low ceilings, furniture that sits lower to the ground creates the illusion of more space overhead. Choose low profile sofas, chairs, and tables that leave plenty of open space above for a breezier and more open space.

Zillow Digs home in Alexandria, WA

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Mirror Image

Mirror Decorating Ideas

The secret to making a small room feel spacious to to bring in elements that brighten and create a sense of openness. That's where mirrors come in handy. Tall mirrors visually stretch the height of the walls and bounce light, which can be the key to turning a cramped room into a comfortable one.

Related: Weekend Projects—5 Marvelous Mirrors You Can Make in a Day

flickr.com via Audio 7

Branch Out

Tall Branches Add Height to a Room

Use floral arrangements to your advantage. Display tall flowers or branches in a lanky vase in an entryway or atop a console table. Your eye will naturally be drawn first to the vase, then move gradually upward. By creating a focal point in the lower portions of the room, you'll draw attention away from the ceilings.


Lower Lighting

Wall Mounted Lighting

Avoid overhead lighting or ceiling fans. Anything that hangs from the ceiling will not only draw attention to it but also make it feel lower. Opt for wall-mounted lighting instead and consider sconces that provide uplighting: the light will shine up onto your ceiling, creating the illusion of height.


Time for Reflection

High Gloss Painted Ceiling

It seems there's no house problem too big for a can of paint. It turns out that your paint choice has a big impact on on how tall a room feels. When painting your ceiling, choose a light colored, high gloss paint or polyurethane to create a reflective surface. That reflection goes a long way to giving the impression that the room extends higher than it does in reality.

Related: Look! 11 Painted Ceilings That Wow



White Living Room

If reflective ceilings do not appeal to you, try painting your walls, molding and ceiling all the same color. Choose a lighter hue that will not overwhelm the space. This will literally and figuratively blur the lines between the wall and ceiling, giving the impression of endless space.

Related: 21 "Expert Picks" for Fail-Safe Colors

Zillow Digs home in Edina, MN

Tall Window Treatments

Tall Window Treatments

Use window treatments to your benefit by mounting curtain rods a few inches above the windows. Make sure that the curtains are full length and hang one inch from the floor. The curtains will elongate the visual line of the wall, at the same time that they add a touch of privacy to your home.


Use Art

Wall Art

When hanging art, it's a good idea to hang it at eye level. However in a short room, you'll want to hang art slightly higher than usual. Don't hang it so high that visitors will have to strain to see your family portrait, but by raising it up a few inches you will visually lengthen the surrounding walls. 

Related: 7 Everyday Objects You Never Thought to Hang


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