6 Ways to Make Low Ceilings Look Higher, According to Real Estate Pros

published Jun 22, 2023
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Credit: Erin Derby

It’s easy to notice when a home has lower-than-normal ceilings. The clearance above your head shrinks, and standard-sized rooms start to feel cramped, too. Real estate professionals are no strangers to this low-slung feature, which is why they’ve come up with some pretty creative ways to make them appear higher — and the good news is that almost all of these fixes can be done in an afternoon! Read on for the six ways to make low ceilings appear higher. 

Opt for monochromatic paints.

A good way to give the illusion of a larger space is to eliminate the line breaks that happen when you paint your walls a different color than your ceiling. “Make sure that the walls and the ceiling are the same color,” suggests Wes Pearce, property agent at Graber Realty Group in Miami, who says that he prefers an all-white look. “If there’s a stark line of difference between the walls and the ceiling, you’re just emphasizing the shortness of the ceiling.” On the flip side, Pearce says that when walls and ceilings are the same color, you create a sense of spaciousness. 

Hang everything higher.

Pearce says hanging artwork higher on the walls draws the eye upward and tricks you into thinking the room is loftier than it really is — and the same goes for your curtain rods. “Higher curtain rods elongate the walls and make the room feel taller,” he continues. Plus, Pearce says it also gives your space a more luxurious look.

Add stripes.

Vertical stripes can do wonders for your wardrobe, which is why Kerry Whippee, founder and creative director of Shamrock Hill Design, recommends them when you’re trying to add some height to your walls. “Striped curtains, wallpaper, and decor can all add to the feel of taller walls,” she says. 

Don’t let your furniture take up too much space.

Low-profile, modern, and lighter furniture is the way to go, according to Pearce. “Big, clunky, heavy furniture makes rooms feel smaller and often stumpier,” he explains. “When you know you have a low ceiling, it’s best to go low-profile with the furniture to balance things out.”

If you’re looking for suggestions, Whippee says armless chairs and tables with thin legs (like matchstick side tables) are a perfect choice. “You want to keep the eye focused upward, so keep floors clear except for rugs and furniture, and keep the furniture light and airy-looking as much as possible.”

Ditch any low-hanging fixtures.

Chandeliers and fans can make ceilings seem lower than they actually are. “When I go to prepare a property to place on the market, I usually recommend super low-profile flush-mount lights in place of low-hanging fixtures in low ceiling rooms,” Pearce says. “These minimalist flush-mount lights sort of ‘go away’ in a sense and make the ceilings feel much higher and less intrusive.” They also have the benefit of brightening up the room!

Keep your paint neutral.

White may be best according to Pearce, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo color all together. Whippee says you can still go with your favorite hue, as long as you’re using a softer shade. “Darker paint can make a room feel smaller, so stick with light shades of colors for walls and white paint for ceilings.”