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How to Make a Ceiling Look Taller

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Use High-Gloss Paint to Your Advantage
Painting the ceiling a glossy white will allow the room to reflect more light, making it appear more spacious that it really is. Interior designer Lourdes Gabriela used glossy white ceilings in a Florida condo that, she said, was suffering from “oppressively low” ceilings. The short height of the ceilings was exacerbated by low-hanging track lights and short louvered doors. After giving the ceiling a glossy paint finish, Gabriela also used a flush-mount chandelier over the dining table to help lift the perception of the ceiling.

Emphasize Long Horizontal Planes
Using horizontal design elements can actually lift the vertical parts of a room. It also distracts the eye from looking up. Designers with MainStreet Design Build used long horizontal display shelves on the walls in the kitchen to “draw the eye to the long horizontal planes and the objects on them,” Harris notes. The shelves command attention and lead people to notice the expanse of the wall instead of the challenges of a short ceiling. “The generous amount of white space between the top shelf and the ceiling makes the ceiling seem higher,” Harris writes.

Add Some Millwork
Floor-to-ceiling millwork not only gives a space an eye-catching design element but also can be used to lift the ceiling, too. Designer Carl Mattison added wall paneling to the open-concept dining space in an Atlanta cottage. “Seeing so many stacked squares lends the illusion of height,” Harris writes. “Painting the millwork and adjacent kitchen cabinets the same color keeps the room from feeling chopped up.”

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