If you have soaring ceilings, then this post isn’t for you – nope, this post is for those of us (myself included) that can touch the ceilings in our homes if we try hard enough.
(I couldn’t resist the opportunity for this throwback to our second flip.)
Angela is a reader that is part of our little circle of cozy-ceiling-havers, as she’s about to buy a house with 8 foot ceilings. Here’s what she had to say:
Looking to buy a two story (past home was a one story with high ceiling) this month and first floor ceiling look to be standard height. Any suggestions on how to make room feeling larger? Should I avoid ceiling fan or large light fixtures?
I love these questions! Since our own home, and our flips, have had mostly 8 foot ceilings I am right there with Angela in wanting to make the most out of the lower ceilings. Here are my tips for how to do just that:
1. Make your lighting choices work for you, not against you. With low ceilings, you need to be mindful of the lighting that you choose to add to your home – you don’t want people whacking their heads on things or be left feeling like the room is closing in on you. Here are some guidelines to follow for choosing lighting for rooms with low ceilings:
- Use statement lighting in select areas. I love a big chandelier as much as the next girl, but in a home with lower ceilings you can’t just put them everywhere all willy-nilly – reserve them for areas where people won’t be walking, like over the dining room table, the kitchen sink, the coffee table or an island.
- Wall lighting is your friend. Some spaces just aren’t made for ceiling fixtures, such as some galley kitchens. You can still add some bling to the space by mounting your lighting to the wall.
- Uplighting makes the room feel bigger. Bouncing light off the ceiling is always a good thing.
- Repetition can make an impact. In a low hallway, for example, you don’t have the ceiling height for a big chandelier but you might still want the hallway to make a statement – so think about installing a series of flushmount fixtures that will give you plenty of head room while still providing something pretty to look at.
- Opt for wide rather than long. A ceiling fixture can make a huge impact even if it doesn’t hang down into your line of sight. Seek out lighting that spreads wide rather than hanging low.
- When in doubt, go for recessed lighting. While recessed lighting might not add color or drama to a room like a chandelier can, it will certainly illuminate the space without making it feel like the ceiling is coming down on you.
(Urban Grace Interiors – showing off some wall lighting, as well!)
2. Opt for light colors on the walls and ceiling. While it’s entirely possible to create a cozy space with dark walls that envelop you, it’s not a fool-proof technique and can backfire by making your room feel like a cave. To combat the cave-vibe that can crop up with lower ceilings, it’s always a safe bet to wrap your room in light colors that bounce light around. My current favorite technique is to paint everything – walls, trim and ceiling – in Sherwin Williams Alabaster. It instantly freshens and modernizes every room, and painting the walls and ceiling the same color makes it difficult for your eye to figure out where the walls end and the ceiling begins – hence, the feeling of higher ceilings.
3. Bounce light around with mirrors. An abundance of light can make a small room feel larger – hanging a large mirror over a buffet or leaning a mirror against the wall will bounce light around and make the room appear to be more spacious than it really is. And if you can reflect an awesome view from outside? Bonus.
4. Hike up those window treatments. Nothing makes a room feel squattier then window treatments that are hung flush with the top of the window. Raise those puppies as high as they can go, and fill in any funky gaps between the rod and the window with stylish shades.
Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for decorating with lower ceilings? Fill us in!