The Most Effective Tricks for Making Your Ceilings Feel & Look Higher

published Mar 29, 2015
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

If you’re stuck with lower-than-you’d-like ceilings and can’t renovate, you’re not necessarily stuck with the look or feel of low ceilings; there are some ideas you can try. We’ve gathered the most effective tricks for making your ceilings feel higher than they are.

Don’t paint all the way to where the wall meets the ceiling

Creating a faux crown molding area that matches the color of your ceiling will make it feel like your ceiling is taller than it actually is. Do it by simply extending the paint color of your ceiling a bit down your wall.

Lighten it up

Even if you don’t try to trick the eye by adding a band of ceiling color around the top of the room, you can still help the eye think that the ceiling is a little bit higher than it actually is by keeping the ceiling color a nice bright and light hue, especially if it’s lighter than the rest of the room’s color.

Don’t hang anything low from it

Hanging things from a low ceiling, especially lighting, will make it feel a lot lower than it is. It’s because your mind will see how little space exists between the hanging object and where it’s hanging from and compute that there’s not a lot of room up there.

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

Go low everywhere else

By keeping the furniture in your space on the low side — lounge-y seating, stumpy tables, floor pillows and more — you’re putting more space between your ceiling and the stuff inside the room, expanding the visual look of your ceiling height.

Add some shine

Reflective surfaces trick the eye, expanding the space. You don’t have to mirror the ceiling, but painting the ceiling in a high-gloss sheen will help make it feel a bit higher by coming off as brighter.

(Image credit: Mike Hetu)

Use long, dramatic drapes

Long, dramatic drapes that go up higher than even the windows’ top edge will help draw the eye upward, accentuating the height you do have and maybe help it look like you’ve got more than you have.

Add dark, eye-catching curtain rods

If you want a ceiling to feel tall, don’t use subtle curtain rods. Go for dark and dramatic — the sort of things that will catch the eye. It’ll grab attention and move your eye upward, helping lengthen the space.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Use vertical painted wall patterns

The same idea as above will apply to painting vertical wall patterns to a wall, making your walls seem taller and therefore making your ceiling feel like it’s up higher than it is.

Incorporate long columns of decor

If you don’t want to paint stripes on your wall or install dramatic drapes, simply mimic the look with long, tall columns of decor that move your eye upward. You can do this with art hung on the wall, or with any collection of items that looks great stacked.