A room with 8 foot ceilings can feel a little claustrophobic. These easy ways to make a low ceiling look higher will show you how to get rid of that closed in feeling without spending a lot of money.
I have to admit that in some of the rooms in my current house, low ceilings are not that much of an issue (for the first time in my life!)
I have cathedral ceilings in the living room, master bedroom and guest bedroom…one of the reasons that I bought this house.
However, the rest of the rooms have regular 8 foot ceilings. And it seems to me that having a few rooms with taller ceilings makes those 8 foot ones look even lower!
To get around that, I have found some easy ways to make a low ceiling look higher…and thought I would pass them on in case they might help any of you…
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1 | Hang Floor to Ceiling Curtains
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Installing your drapes so that they go from the ceiling to the floor leads your eye upwards, which makes your brain think that the ceiling is higher.
When your curtains stop right above the window, the visual flow is broken which makes the ceiling seem lower.
If your drapes aren’t long enough to reach all the way to the ceiling, add a band of fabric to the bottom of them to make them longer (like my mother did for the curtains in my master bedroom).
Longer draperies also gives the illusion of taller windows.
So to be honest, I always install my curtains this way (even in rooms with tall ceilings). I just think they look better in most situations.
2 | Keep Window Coverings Simple
Another trick for making a low ceiling look higher is to keep your window coverings simple.
Almost every one who comes into my house thinks this wall is at least 9 feet high, and it really is only eight feet tall.
The straight up and down lines of simple panels don’t break up the flow to the ceiling.
Having windows that take up most of the wall space also helps…but that’s not an easy thing to add if your house doesn’t already have them.
Curtains with frills or tiers focus your attention part way up the window which emphasizes the short wall.
3 | Use Shorter, Horizontal Furniture
The third tip is to use low, horizontal furniture.
By using furniture which isn’t very tall, more of the wall is visible. And that makes it look like the ceiling is higher.
The horizontal lines also draw your attention away from the height of the ceiling, so you don’t notice it as much.
4 | Hang A Large Mirror
Tall mirrors that rest on the floor, or cover a large part of the wall, visually expand the space.
They reflect light and the view of the ceiling which makes the room feel larger.
A large window shaped floor mirror also provides the illusion of more windows…which adds to the illusion of more space.
5 | Avoid Overhead Lighting
Overhead lights or ceiling fans that hang down draw attention to how low the ceiling is.
People walking under them feel like they are going to bump their head…which is a red flag for a low ceiling.
Using lamps and wall sconces helps to avoid this situation.
Or hang a pendant that can be swagged over a table.
All of these lighting solutions also have the benefit of providing fill light that makes people look better.
Because the light source is coming from the side instead of above, it prevents the unflattering shadows that ceiling lights can cause.
6 | Install Floor To Ceiling Bookshelves
Floor to ceiling bookshelves act something like floor to ceiling curtains by drawing the eye upward.
Position them at the end of the room so that’s what you see when you walk in the room, and they will immediately distract from the ceiling height.
The side walls in this office are only 5 feet high and the ceiling is 8 feet at its peak…but it doesn’t feel like that when you are in the room.
7 | Add Vertical Artwork
The next way to make a low ceiling look higher is to hang vertical artwork.
Tall artwork also draws the eye upward toward the ceiling.
In this case, because the rug on the floor and the background behind the picture are the same color, it leads your eye into the room and up to the top of the wall.
A very effective way to make the room seem larger!
(In the picture above, the ceiling probably is higher than 8 feet, but the same principle works in shorter rooms).
In my guest bathroom, a vertical tile installation with a tall mirror provides the same function.
Which makes the 8 foot ceiling in this room look higher than it is.
8 | Paint (or Wallpaper) Vertical Stripes
Using vertical stripes on the wall is another way to lead your eyes up to the ceiling.
You can either paint them on.
Or hang some striped wallpaper (like this wide black and white stripe).
If you prefer something a little more subtle, going for thinner stripes with a less contrast-y color palette will also work.
9 | Paint The Walls and Ceiling The Same Color
If stripes aren’t really your thing, try painting the walls, mouldings and ceiling the same color instead.
In my master bathroom, it’s hard to tell that these ceilings are only 8 feet tall!
By painting everything the same color, the corners that define where the wall ends and the ceiling starts are less obvious.
And that makes it more difficult to see exactly how high (or low) the ceiling is…which works in your favor if you are trying to make it appear higher than it is.
Find out more reasons to paint your walls and ceilings the same color.
10 | Go Dark To Light
Still another technique to make a low ceiling look higher is to paint an ombre horizontal stripe pattern.
It starts out dark on the bottom and gets lighter as it goes up making the ceiling seem like it is floating.
Paint the ceiling the same color as the top of the wall and you also get the benefit of camouflaging the corner.
If you don’t want to paint the whole wall like this, a large piece of artwork that uses dark colors on the bottom, and light ones on the top concept will also work
That’s it for our ideas on making a low ceiling look taller. Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration for decorating your own rooms.
Other Decorating Ideas You Might Like
- How to make a small room look bigger
- 10 ways to make your house look more expensive
- How to choose a whole house color scheme
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This post was originally published on May 25, 2020 but was updated with new content on August 17, 2022.