How to Make Ceilings Look Higher: 10 Cool Tricks to Try

updated Jun 4, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

High ceilings come with many benefits, like lighter, brighter spaces and cooler rooms in the warm months. While you may not be able to enjoy some of these benefits if you live in a space with 8-foot-ceilings, don’t despair: with a few simple tricks, you can still make your home appear to have higher ceilings. 

Designers have plenty of tricks for making your ceiling look higher. Below, we’ve included ten key tips for how to make ceilings look higher. 

Credit: Seana

1. Choose a lighter ceiling color.

An easy method if you’re wondering how to make ceilings look higher? Paint your ceiling a color lighter than the walls, preferably white. Some believe high-gloss paint is best because it reflects light and makes the ceiling look somehow less fixed and static, while others say a matte finish will help the ceiling to blend in more. Another optical trick is to paint the first two or three inches of ceiling around the perimeter the same color as the walls to give the illusion of taller, higher walls.

Credit: @duvarcitasi

2. Match crown molding and trim to wall color.

If you choose to add crown molding and trim to the top of the wall, it should be painted in the same color as the walls. This is one method to try if you’re wondering how to make ceilings look higher. It prevents drawing attention upward, which would highlight the low ceiling height. 

Credit: Camilla Larsson

3. Place art high.

Hang artwork slightly higher than you normally would. Hanging small frames above door openings and windows also tricks the eye into thinking the room has higher ceilings.

4. Apply decorative paneling.

Make the ceiling look higher by covering the lower two-thirds of your walls with beadboard or decorative paneling. Then paint the ceiling the same color as the upper walls. In rooms with a chair-rail, consider painting both the upper part of the walls and the ceiling the same light color, with a darker color below the chair rail.

Credit: Carina Romano

5. Decorate with tall floral or greenery arrangements.

This helpful advice comes from Shelterpop, where Brian Patrick Flynn of HGTV’s Design Happens recommends setting out a tall urn or vase filled with seasonal grasses or blossoming branches because it slows down the eye’s movement as it moves gradually upward.

6. Avoid overhead lights.

Skip fans and ceiling or overhead lights because they draw attention to the ceiling. If you do hang a chandelier or pendant, hang it slightly higher than you normally would. Or, choose fixtures that are clear or see-through to create less visual disturbance.

Credit: Erin Derby

7. Raised interior door openings.

Mrs Howard, Personal Shopper has this nifty recommendation, which only applies if you are willing to make some structural changes (say, if you have just bought a home with low ceilings or are renovating a room): She says you should raise the interior door openings all the way up to the ceiling-or close to it. 

Credit: @glintwalls

8. Use vertical stripes and patterns.

Taking a cue from fashion, it is best to use vertical stripes instead of horizontal stripes, because vertical stripes create the illusion of height. And this rule doesn’t only apply to paint and wallpaper: A four-poster bed with tall, skinny posts can also draw the eye upward if you’re wondering how to make ceilings look higher.

Credit: @no10ranch

9. Hang floor-to-ceiling curtains.

Hang window treatments as high as possible. Floor-to-ceiling curtains elongate a room and make the ceiling look higher.

10. Choose low-profile furniture.

Use lower profile furniture with fewer horizontal elements (arm rests, for example) to emphasize the distance between the furniture and the ceiling.