In comparison with all the surfaces defining a space –  such as ceilings, walls, and floors – the ceiling has the biggest impact in terms of design. For example, if there are acoustical issues in a room, adding panels to the ceiling with help more than adding panels on the wall or carpet on the floor.

The ceiling is often the surface providing light to a space, as fixture are mounted or suspended from it.

And the ceiling height itself affects how people think and feel in a specific space.

Tall ceilings make the room seem more spacious, not only brightening the space, but also people’s outlooks. A low ceiling may feel oppressive and have a negative impact on the everyday mood.

How-To-Handle-Low-Ceiling-Interior-Design-1 How To Handle Low Ceiling Interior Design (Low Ceiling Solutions)Image source: Ryan Duebber Architect

Let’s look at some low ceiling solutions

From the point of view of the psychological effects, it is said that low ceiling interior design often influences a low state of mind.

But this is another story.

What we know for sure is that they were always a challenge for interior designers. If you ever encounter this problem, we are ready to share some low basement ceiling ideas with you.

Don’t accentuate low with even lower

If a room lacks height, do not add lighting fixtures on it as it will exaggerate things. Go instead for wall sconces, table lights and floor lamps, the best lights for low ceilings.

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Chose lights that shine up and make your low ceilings look higher (lights than shine down will make your ceilings feel lower).  Just keep in mind that if your walls or ceiling are in rough shape, this type of lighting can accent those gnarly spots, so make sure things are looking clean, smoothly and neat.

Ceiling color

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Some ceiling decorating ideas suggest painting your ceiling a color lighter than the walls, preferably white. Some believe high-gloss paint is best reflects light and makes the ceiling look somehow less fixed and static, while according to others a matte finish will help the ceiling to blend in more. Some designers suggest painting the wall beyond the top of the wall. In other words, paint the first two or three inches of the ceiling around the perimeter the same color as the walls to give the illusion of taller, higher walls. Your living room ceilings will look high without too much effort.

Go Low and Horizontal

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This might seem like an all-too-obvious solution to the low ceiling problem, but most of us still get it wrong because we do not go the extra mile in picking the right decor. Often, purchasing impulsively can ruin your decorating style. Soon, you will have too much furniture making the room with a low ceiling appear even more congested. The best low ceiling ideas recommend to keep the furniture at a minimum level.

Set a limit regarding the height of decor you can add to the room with an 8-foot ceiling and stick to it. A good way of creating a different perspective is by picking up a sofa sets, coffee tables and side tables that are not only short but also wide. The lower ceiling requirements are always for a simple room without fluffy decorations.

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Usually, when we choose the furniture for our home, we tend to make decisions based on appearance, rarely considering functionality. Low profile furniture is perfectly designed for low ceiling houses, because it increases the space between the ceiling and the floor, making the room feel more spacious and breezy. Furniture – and especially the lack of it – plays an important role to solving the issue of how to make ceilings look higher.

Opt for Floor to Ceiling Curtains

Most people size curtains to fit the window width and height, using them primarily to block light when needed and add privacy. However, rethinking the use of curtains can help a room feel more spacious and help reorganizing the entire ceiling decoration ideas. Rather than hanging curtains just above the window, move the curtain rod all the way to the meeting point between the wall and the ceiling.

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This move allows the curtains panels to hang to the floor, emphasizing the vertical nature of the panels and making the ceiling seem higher. Also, when hanging curtains, allow the curtains to completely bypass the window. This will make the window seem larger when the curtains are open. Larger windows in general always help to make the room seem more spacious. In this case, your ceiling remodels ideas may be more simple than expected.

Vertical stripes will encourage your eyes to travel up, rather than sideways

When your eyes look sideways (preferably to the same side) space will feel more linear.  When your eyes look upwards the walls will seem taller.

How-To-Handle-Low-Ceiling-Interior-Design-14 How To Handle Low Ceiling Interior Design (Low Ceiling Solutions)Image source: John David Edison Interior Design Inc.

Much like the curtain tip, another way to make a low ceiling look taller is by creating vertical lines on the wall. This helps to move the eye up and down instead of horizontally. This effect can be achieved in several ways, such as by using artwork taller than it is wide, using tall, thin windows, or creating a pattern on the wall. There are many wallpaper patterns featuring vertical stripes, or you can use directly paint. If the stripe pattern is not your thing, try creating the pattern by alternating matte paint with glossy paint of the same color, which creates a subtle, monotone pattern instead of one with bold, contrasting colors. Your room ceilings will get some additional high only after a couple of strokes.

Take Storage Full-Height

When you’re working with less vertical space, you need all the storage space you can get. Consider having open shelving all the way up the walls, an idea that works very well with a low ceiling kitchen.

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Floor-to-Ceiling Glass Walls

Besides the light for low ceilings, glass surfaces are always a great addition to small spaces, as they offer a sense of visual lightness and help demarcate areas without actually blocking out the passage of light. Large glass windows and sliding glass doors have already become an integral part of most contemporary homes. Open up the living room or the bedroom with an 8ft ceiling towards the backyard or the porch using these trendy floor-to-ceiling add-ons. This creates the perception of the outdoors being a natural extension of the low-slung room, creating a spacious appeal.

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Raise doors to ceiling height

I bet you never thought about that! Generally speaking, interior doors have almost the same size. A floor to ceiling door may seem strange at first, but we admit that this is a brilliant idea to create the illusion of a greater space.

Use a bold floor rug

If people can’t be impressed by your 7-foot ceilings, catch their attention with a bold floor rug. In fact, you don’t even have to use a rug, just try to keep the interest at the floor level by using a different kind of patterns.

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Avoid Protruding Objects

If the space ceiling is lower, avoid hanging ceiling fans and pendant lights from it. The chandeliers for low ceilings are not working all the time and the design needs to be well-tailored. Instead, opt for recessed fixtures or can lights. Fixtures that hang from the ceiling break up the visual field and cause one to look at the object, and therefore, the ceiling itself. Using special light fixtures for low ceilings that do not protrude into the visual field helps to open the space up while allowing the ceiling to blend.

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Along with protruding objects on the ceiling, protruding objects at the top of the wall, such as crown molding, should also be avoided. Crown molding will emphasize the horizontality of the edge of the ceiling, which will make it feel lower. If you prefer crown molding, choose crown molding for low ceilings.

High Art

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

How-To-Handle-Low-Ceiling-Interior-Design-12 How To Handle Low Ceiling Interior Design (Low Ceiling Solutions)Image source: Kress Jack

Paint a diagonal on your wall

Another great tip on how to create the illusion of a high ceiling is by painting a diagonal on one of the walls. It will open up space, and change completely the perspective. For the best result of how to make ceilings look taller, start from the center of the wall and end it on the top left corner of the room (or the top right corner, depending what wall you decide to use).

FAQs about how to handle low-ceiling interior design

1. How can I make a low ceiling room appear taller?

Use vertical lines and patterns in your decor to give the impression that a space with low ceilings is taller. To draw the eye upwards, hang curtains close to the ceiling and use tall bookcases or floor lamps. To provide the impression of height, paint the ceiling a lighter shade than the walls.

2. What are some good lighting options for low ceiling spaces?

Recessed lighting, flush mount fixtures, and sconces that don’t dangle too low are all suitable lighting choices for rooms with low ceilings. Avoid using chandeliers or pendant lights since they might make the ceiling appear lower.

3. Should I paint my low ceiling a different color than the walls?

A low ceiling can appear higher by being painted a lighter shade than the walls. The space can feel more coherent and less fragmented if the ceiling is painted the same color as the walls, though.

4. Can furniture and decor choices make a difference in the perceived height of a room with a low ceiling?

The choice of furniture and design can significantly alter how high a room with a low ceiling appears to be. Avoid tall furniture that can make the ceiling appear lower by using low profile furniture instead. To give the impression of space, keep the decor straightforward and minimalist.

5. How can I make a low ceiling space feel less claustrophobic?

Use light colors instead of bold patterns or dark hues that might enlarge a space with low ceilings to make it appear more spacious. Use metallic elements or reflecting objects like mirrors to give the space depth and glimmer.

6. Are there any flooring options that can make a low ceiling room appear taller?

Light-colored hardwood or laminate flooring can reflect light and lend depth to a room with low ceilings, giving the impression that it is taller. Avoid using thick rugs or dark carpets because they might make the room feel cramped.

7. Is it a good idea to add crown molding or other architectural details to a low ceiling room?

A low ceiling room can feel more finished and add visual interest by adding crown molding or other architectural features. Use of too heavy or decorative molding should be avoided, as this might make the ceiling appear lower.

8. Can mirrors help make a low ceiling room look taller?

A low ceiling room can look taller with the use of mirrors. To reflect natural light and give the impression that the room is larger, hang a large mirror on the wall next to a window. Use mirrored furniture or accents to give the space more glitz and depth.

9. What window treatments work best in low ceiling rooms?

Floor-length curtains that hang close to the ceiling are the window treatments that function best in areas with low ceilings. Avoid using valances or other window treatments that could add to the room’s cluttered appearance.

10. How can I optimize storage in a low ceiling space without making it feel cramped?

Use built-in shelves or cabinets that fit in with the walls to maximize storage in a low ceiling area without making it feel crowded. Use pieces of furniture with storage built in, like ottomans or beds with drawers. To give the room a feeling of spaciousness, keep it tidy and clear of clutter.

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