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Interiors Q&A – decorating with low ceilings

November 17, 2011

Dear Andrew, we have just moved from a house with high ceilings to a new home with low ceilings. How can we make the rooms appear taller?

High ceilings are a wonderful feature of many period properties but unfortunately new build properties often lack ceiling height. By following a few simple rules you can visually add some height to your rooms to disguise the lower ceilings. Unless you really want to create a dungeon effect you should choose light colours when you are decorating to avoid crowding the space. Painting the ceiling in the same or very similar colour will also help to add height to the room. The definite break between the walls and the ceilings should not be emphasised. The simple colour scheme below, although featured in a room with a generous ceiling height, would also work well if you have restricted height.


If you use wallpaper with vertical stripes this can help to draw the eye upwards. The bedroom below has a very low ceiling but the striped wallpaper and the tall furniture help to disguise it.  Although it is not usually relevant in a newly built home try to avoid too much wall decoration i.e. dado rails or picture rails. These features are great with tall ceilings but otherwise just break up the wall. If you do want to use these details paint them in the same colour as the wall.

If you have a low ceiling the lighting you choose is very important. A large central pendant will only emphasise the lack of height in the ceiling. You could choose a ceiling mounted fitting or the best thing would be to avoid any ceiling lighting. If the room requires curtains you should choose long curtains as this will add height to the finished interior. When you are choosing the furniture your decisions can also help to improve the perceived head height. Using tall furniture will ensure that you do not need to crowd the room to achieve the required storage.

If you remember these points you should easily be able to create a room where the lack of ceiling height will not be an issue. Although everyone would love high ceilings you can easily work with the restricted height and create a loving home.

This Interiors Q&A first appeared in an abridged form in CityAM

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2011 1:43 pm

    Great tips! Another great design strategy for kitchens with low ceilings is to incorporate over cabinet lighting. Any type of up-lighting in a space (including wall sconces, cove lighting, over cabinet lights) tends to create the impression of higher ceilings and a more expansive space.

    • November 18, 2011 4:07 pm

      Completely agree about over cabinet lighting. It’s a great way to add subtle lighting into the kitchen.

  2. November 19, 2011 10:51 pm

    Lighting plays a vital part of your low ceiling syndrome. You have a couple of options, wall lights for example particulary the type that projects the light in the upward direction. Higher light levels on the ceiling will create an impression / illusion of a higher ceiling. The other option is to create a concealed cove, this can conceal a continuous high output LED strip. Again this option offers a significant feeling of vertical space. Hope this helps Alway available for all you lighting design supply issues. Best Regards, Lloyd.

  3. November 19, 2011 11:48 pm

    Lighting can create a the feeling of height even in rooms with paticularly low cielings. To enhance the visual effect of your space try applying the following options;
    1/ wall lights mounted 2 3rds of the way from floor to ceiling. Choose lights that project at least 70% of the light in the upward direction. This arrangement can give the illusion of height.
    2/ Creating a concealed coving around the room then install a continuous LED strip concealed within the coving. This method will provide significant sublimable results, tricking the brain into believing the space is bigger than it really is. Hope you find these tips useful. Best Regards, Lloyd. http://www.lml.me.uk

  4. December 1, 2011 1:23 am

    Great concept. Nice post.

  5. June 3, 2013 5:53 am

    I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to our blogroll.

  6. June 27, 2013 9:42 am

    There are many beautiful types of kid’s bedrooms to choose from. It’s so
    hard to find that balance between safe/practical and something that really looks good!
    Choosing fabric and designs that can last from toddlerhood right into childhood is
    very challenging.

  7. Logan permalink
    September 29, 2013 9:37 pm

    I find it so annoying that almost all of the great tables at the moment
    are only available on the internet, I don’t have really any very good showrooms near me personally

Trackbacks

  1. Visually Increasing your Ceiling Height — Pamela Hastings Interiors Inc

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