Interiors Q&A – decorating with low ceilings
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