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6 Ways To Create The Illusion Of Room Height

By on Dec 28, 2015
6 Ways To Create The Illusion Of Room Height

Height isn’t everything, but it sure is nice to have it when you're talking about ceilings in your home. Tall interior spaces trigger a sense of grandiose we’re used to seeing in old churches and famous buildings. High ceilings create an open and airy environment to move around and spread out without feeling crammed.

If you’re dealing with small spaces or low ceilings in your house, then you’ve come to the right place. Even if you have high ceilings, maybe you’ve always wished they were just a few inches higher. No matter your situation, I’ll share six techniques and design tricks that’ll allow you to create the illusion of higher ceilings and wide open spaces.

Transom Window

1. Install Transoms

This image is the perfect example of how a transom (window) above a door elongates the doorway and lets in additional light. Transoms can also be installed above other windows to create the same effect.

The extra light you get with transoms will make your room look bigger and brighter. They’re also very pretty additions to any door or window. Pay attention to your doorways and corridors and dress them up where you can. If you're someone who doesn't like the look of transoms, then you have the option of maximizing your passageways by using full-height doors.

Tall Bookshelfs

2. Use Tall, Skinny Bookshelves

In many cases you’re already looking to add furniture to different rooms in your home. Well, before you do, consider inserting tall, skinny bookshelves in any spaces that could use some additional height. They’ll help keep the room decluttered and tidy. This is good because clutter is one thing you don't want to have in a room with low ceilings. Select bookshelves that hit just below the ceiling, so the eye is drawn upward upon entering the room. This slight adjustment will create the illusion of height.

High Curtains

3. Hang Curtains High

Hanging curtains high is a proven way to add height to any room. They’ll look even longer if you choose curtains with a repeating vertical ripple-fold. Don’t forget about your shower curtains, they can also be raised to create the deception of height. Installing a frameless glass shower door will also help to exaggerate the illusion. 

Rule of thumb is to hang living area curtains at least one-half to two-thirds the distance towards the top to help your ceilings look as high as possible. If you choose to go higher, that’s fine too. It’s worth the money you might need to spend investing in longer curtains.

Vertical Fireplace

4. Bring the Fireplace Vertical

Traditionally, fireplaces have been installed at a fairly eye-level height with more of a horizontal stretch than a vertical one. If you’re dealing with low ceilings, or want to create more height in your living space, then you’ll want to bring your fireplace vertical, to the top of ceiling.

If you have to have a mantel, then add one, but don’t stop building at that height. Going up with your structure will draw the eye to the top of the fireplace and it’ll make it seem as if the ceiling is never-ending. I also want to note that the fireplace in the example above is the perfect color because the white pops from the rest of the interior design and makes the fireplace look that much larger.

Neutral Paint

5. Create Illusion with Paint

There’s always that desire to want to get a little funky with your paint or mix and match colors, but if you’re going for height then you’ll want to think again. Blur the lines of where your walls end and where your ceilings begin by painting your walls, doors, baseboards, windows and ceilings the same color. Use light colors and keep them within the same family of tones. It's recommended you use light colors because dark colors on your ceilings will make them seem low.

If you’ve got tile in the room then blend your wall color and tile to make the entire room feel like one continuous space. If you’re the type who needs to have a little contrast, one idea is to paint vertical stripes on the walls. Stick to the same color palette and play with the shades, while at the same time, avoiding generating too much contrast. 

Wall Sconces

6. Vertical Wall Sconces

If you haven’t already noticed, the keyword to creating more height is vertical. Vertical wall sconces in your bathroom will create the look of a taller wall. The eyes will also be tricked by the light that’s cast both up and down from the sconces.

Don’t forget about the vanity mirrors and surrounding artwork when you’re decorating your bath. Consider going up with your mirrors instead of across, and pick wall art that compliments your efforts of creating the illusion of room height.


There you have it. Six practical DIY tips that’ll take your rooms and ceilings to new heights. Minor adjustments to your interior design will transform your home and give you that height you’ve only dreamed of having.

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