How to Decorate With Low Ceilings

Whether you've moved into a basement apartment or are using attic space as an extra room, low ceilings can be a challenge. There are several design schemes that will trick the eye into thinking the ceilings are higher than they actually are.

Trick the eye with paint, wallpaper and lighting techniques.
  1. Paint any room with low ceilings with a light, reflective paint. Paint the ceiling itself with a slightly lighter color than the walls to give the illusion of height. Or, paint the walls and ceiling the exact same light shade which will trick the mind into thinking the ceiling is higher. Avoid dark colors as they will make the space feel more compact.

  2. Wallpaper or paint the room using vertical stripes. These stripes are another way to trick the mind into believing that the ceiling is higher than it actually is. Wallpaper works well, but there is also a paint option available. Using painters tape, mark off the areas of the wall where you would like to paint vertical stripes. Use a light colored, reflective shade to paint between the tape lines, creating contrast with the rest of the wall.

  3. Match the scale of furniture and accessories with the size of the room. Ceilings will seem even lower in a room stuffed with over-sized furniture or huge pieces of art. A low-back sofa will call less attention to the low ceilings than a couch with a high back. Making sure that everything in the room is to scale will create balance and draw attention away from the ceiling.

  4. Use lights. A dark space automatically seems smaller and more cramped than a well-lit room. Place plenty of lamps in the room as the light will bounce off the reflective paint, making it feel more spacious.

  5. Hang curtains from ceiling to floor. Even if the windows in your room are small or of average size, dress them as though they are much larger. Hanging curtains from the ceiling to the floor makes the room feel grander and is another simple way to trick the mind into believing that the ceiling is higher.