3 Quick Tricks to Get That High Ceiling Effect

Published: June 8th, 2015

Being 6’3” tall, I’m sensitive to ceiling height.  The standard 8’ ceiling in mid century condo apartments makes me want to scrunch!  If you’re like me and have lower ceilings in your home, you know the feeling.  Here are some great ways to get that “high ceiling” effect without having to raise the roof.

Tip #1:  Paint Your Ceiling Darker Than The Walls

A darker ceiling will trick the eye into making the ceiling disappear. This is best done with a dark neutral or cool color. In the photo below of the foyer in my own home, notice how bringing the dark brown color of the ceiling to the door and wall at the end of the hallway extends the space forward.


Ceiling effect by Mitchell Channon interior design
Mitchell Channon Design


Painting the ceiling darker and wallpapering the walls in a lighter color will also give the same illusion. Here’s a great example using Phillip Jeffries Quilted Lacquer Walls.


painted ceiling with wallpaper walls elizabeth holmes design
Elizabeth Holmes Design


Tip #2: Paint The Walls And The Ceiling The Same Color

Eliminating the boundary between the wall and ceiling allows the room to feel like it expands in all directions including “up”  Dark or light colors will both work well.


ceiling painted to match walls brunelleschi construction
Brunelleschi Construction


Get the same effect with wallpaper, like this room with wallcovering from Cole & Son.


cole and son wallpaper on walls and ceiling


Tip #3: Wallpaper The Ceiling Only

Try either a patterned or reflective wallpaper to create the illusion of depth and height.  I love this reflective version from Astek called “Silver Mylar”  in the master bedroom of Tommy Hilfigers Miami home featured in Architectural Digest.


tommy hilfiger master bedroom beachhouse
Tommy Hilfiger Miami home designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard


If the wallpaper idea appeals to you, use bold prints and patterned wall coverings to add layer, dimension, and depth. This metallic gold chevron adds rhythm by guiding your eye through the room.

wallpapered ceilings
Greg Natale


And adding this leafy blue and gold wall covering to a shallow cove feels like being under a canopy of trees.


Wallpaper framed with molding
Elizabeth Gordon Studio


I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve on this topic and will post more of them later.  In the meantime, let me know your own fun ideas for “raising the roof.”