Lots of spaces hold architectural challenges. Some dwellings have low ceilings inhabitants wish were higher; even less frequently, homeowners have high ceilings they wish to make appear lower. If completely remodelling your space isn't an option, following a few decorating tips should give the illusion of bringing your high ceiling down a few feet.
Paint the walls and ceiling with warm colours, which advance in space, rather than cool colours, which retreat. The Visual Arts Toolkit at Ket.org describes warm colours as "a colour group that is associated with red that includes red-orange, red-violet, orange, yellow-orange, and usually yellow. Warm colours appear to advance in space and have a general psychological association with warmth." Choose a carpet or variety of floor rugs in warm colours as well; this will give the impression that the ceiling is falling and the floor is rising, which will shorten the illusion of height in the room.
Hang pictures on the wall with wide, rather than long, frames. Wide frames have the effect of shortening wall space, whereas long frames have the effect of lengthening wall space.
Decorate with horizontal lines. Horizontal lines will accentuate the width, rather than the height of the room. Choose wallpaper, couch patterns and their pillow accents, curtains, drapes and blinds with horizontal lines.
Install a low-hanging light fixture in the centre of the room. Your guests' eyes will be drawn to the height of the light; if the light is low, it will make the ceiling appear to be lower as well. If installing a low-hanging light fixture is not an option, keep the overhead light dim. If the overhead light is bright, eyes will be drawn straight up, which will emphasise the room's true height. Use table lamps and free-standing corner lamps to keep the room's light source at or below eye-level.
Use furniture to make the ceiling seem lower. Chairs and couches with tall backs will do the trick, as well as shelves built into the wall.
Things you need
- Warm-colour paint
- Rugs in warm colours
- Pictures with wide frames
- Accents with horizontal lines
- Low-hanging light fixture
- Chairs and couches with tall backs