Rooms with low ceilings are intimate and can be easily heated—but they sure are a challenge when it comes to decorating. Low ceilings can make the space feel small and cramped. And they’re especially challenging to design if you’re looking to achieve a grand look.
However, you can handle them with just the right tips and tricks! In this blog post, I’m putting together the top tricks from me and my team to help you make those low ceilings appear higher—all while retaining their original benefits.
Use Light-Hued Paint
This is a tried-and-tested rule that interior designers swear by: painting your room a light hue can really make the space feel bigger. This is because light colors reflect more natural light—and create a sense of airiness. When choosing the paint color for the walls, be sure to choose the same (or similar) shade for the ceiling. This blurs the defining line between the walls and the ceiling, making the space feel open.
While white and off-white are two of your options, you can still play around with colors. Think beige, pale greens, pale blues, and pastel shades.
Choose Low and Horizontal Furniture
A common mistake seen in interiors with low ceilings is incorrectly proportioned furniture. I often see people adding bulky entertainment centers and floor-to-ceiling cabinets to their living rooms. These make the space feel congested and draw more attention to the low ceiling.
Instead, opt for low furniture with clean lines. The end goal is to take as little vertical wall space as possible, as this maximizes the perceived height of your room. Consider a TV stand that sits under the television instead of occupying the whole wall. Pair it with a low-profile sofa, such as Alchemy’s Coraline sectional. This piece is not only stunning; it has a 27.8” height, as opposed to the standard sofa height of 30” to 42”.
Keep the Lighting Flush
If you have modern interior design and a modest ceiling, ditch the fancy-looking chandeliers and opt for flush-mount lighting. This gives a clean look and creates the appearance of more headroom. In turn, the room appears more spacious, and the ceilings look taller.
If you’re afraid to let go of that stylish crystal chandelier—don’t worry! There are stunning crystal alternatives in flush mounts, too. One of our favorites is the Crystorama ceiling light.
Keep Window Dressings Simple
Notice how the expansive outdoor space makes the interior look open, too? Hanging minimal drapes, especially translucent options and blinds, can allow for the great outdoors to add a touch of spaciousness to your interior, too. This is also a great option because minimal treatments are one of the top window dressing trends for 2024.
Pro tip: If you opt for curtains, choose full-length options and hang them right at the top of the ceiling. This elongates the walls and creates the illusion of height. Also, try to avoid curtains in heavy fabrics and horizontal patterns as these can make the space feel claustrophobic.
Statement Rug Offsets Low Ceilings
Shop: GUS Rug from House&Hold
Wait, weren’t we working with the ceiling? That’s exactly the trick here!
By bringing the focus down to the rug, we can bring the eye towards the floor and draw attention away from the low ceiling. Additionally, a bespoke rug adds personality and character to the space, so it’s a win-win.
Consider bold floral prints in the summer and a vintage print in dark colors for the winter. Such captivating rugs—and the right furniture choices—can make your ceiling almost unnoticeable.
Credit: Bright Bazaar
Vertical stripes not only add energy to the room—they also offer double-duty by making the ceilings appear higher. This is because vertical stripes guide the eye from top to bottom, creating the illusion of more height.
One of the easiest ways to add vertical stripes is by adding wallpaper. Think an accent wall with your favorite colors! Alternatively, achieve the purpose with striped curtains and drapes, or look for a statement piece of art with striped patterns. If you’re thinking out of the box, adding paneling vertically would also do the trick.
Hang Tall and Slim Mirrors
Naturally, mirrors bounce off light and create the illusion of more space—which is a bonus for cramped spaces. And if you use tall, slim pieces, they can also create the illusion of more height!
I recommend choosing a full-length mirror and positioning it opposite a light source (this could be the window, too). Another trick is hanging it higher up on the wall than usual; this will ‘lift’ the ceiling and instantly make it feel taller.
What makes a ceiling appear lower?
There are certain design mistakes that can make your low ceiling appear even lower. For example, dark paint colors, bulky furniture, and low-hanging light fixtures. Cluttered spaces are also a big no when you’re trying to make your space feel more airy. So, be sure to stay on top of organization when designing rooms with low ceilings.
How can I make my low ceilings look higher without renovating?
You don’t always need a major renovation to make your ceilings appear higher! Simple decor choices—such as low-slung furniture and striped walls—can trick the eye and make it perceive more height.
How does furniture arrangement affect ceiling height?
Choosing low-profile furniture is a must—but furniture arrangement makes a difference, too. If space allows, place your furniture items away from the wall (so more vertical wall space is visible). This creates a feeling of openness.
Why break down those walls when you can leverage the benefits of low ceilings—and bypass the disadvantages? You’re just a few design choices away from making the most of those ceilings.