Question: Recently, you talked about painting a low ceiling in a high lacquer to make it appear higher. I am hoping you can share a few more ideas for working with low ceilings.
Phoebe's Answer: We actually got quite a few questions about decorating a room with low ceilings after that post, and I am glad to address the question. I moved from a house with 10 foot ceilings into a house with 8'8" ceilings, and I have always considered anything below nine feet to be a low ceiling. I was terrified while we were renovating that I wouldn't like it, but my husband Jim really surprised me. He did several things:
- We raised all of the interior door openings all the way up.
- We used crown moldings that projected inward more than normal.
- We painted a lot of the ceilings light gray or light blue.
- We hung all of the curtains as high as possible.
- We hung chandeliers a little higher than our standard height (we typically hang them 66" up from the floor but we went even higher up in this case).
- We upholstered some of the walls in the same fabric as the curtains.
All of these little tricks really lifted the ceilings, and our house is cozy and comfortable. I never feel like we have low ceilings. Here are some other examples of how we work with low ceilings to give the illusion of height:
In this house, there were eight foot ceilings, and it was a long narrow room. We painted the walls, trim and ceiling all the same color and hung the curtains as high as possible.
In this room, again eight foot ceilings, we painted the wood on the ceiling semi gloss,
and the sheen seemed to lift the ceiling. It is the same color as the walls and trim.
Again, hung the curtains as high as possible.
Eight foot ceilings again. We used textured grasscloth on the walls, hung the curtains high, but the main secret weapon here is strong color. Strong color can distract the eye and help to hide architectural flaws. The patterned carpet helps, too.
In this bedroom, the ceiling slopes over the bed. We used the same fabric on the curtains, headboard and dust ruffle. We hung the curtains high and painted the ceiling the same
color as the walls.
In this bedroom with eight foot ceilings, we hung bamboo blinds above the windows and hung the curtains high. We made a canopy of unlined gauze and hung it all the way up, as well.
This is an example of chunky molding projecting into the room and raised door openings.
In this small bedroom with eight foot ceilings, the tall posters of the bed helps raise the perceived height of the ceiling, as do the curtains.
Having the cabinets built to touch the crown helps this kitchen look larger.
These ceilings are lower than eight foot and also had beams on them. We painted the walls and the ceiling white, and it immediately lifted the ceiling, even with the beams left alone.
In this condo with eight foot ceilings, we used vertically grained wood wallpaper
to add a vertical direction to a very horizontal space.
Again, eight foot ceilings, and no crown molding even! So we made these bright fun bed canopies and painted the walls the same bright yellow as the canopies. Vertical stripes on the brown fabric help, as well.
In this room, there was a very low soffit over this loveseat. An energetically hung grouping of black and white photography distracts your eye away from the soffit.
We always love hearing from you! Email me your suggestions for Q&A topics for Phoebe: Leah - firstname.lastname@example.org.