How to Make Ceilings Look Higher? [5 Practical Solutions]

High ceilings have the ability to make a home feel larger, open, and more spacious. However, they are a more modern element applied to newer homes, so they can be hard to come across without purchasing new ones.

If you're searching for ways to make your average or lower ceilings taller, or at least appear that way, you're in luck. We've researched some effective ways to help you achieve that look in any home.

To make your ceilings look higher, the key is to draw the eye upwards through your decor. Here are 5 things you can do in your home to make your ceilings look higher:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Paint
  • Hang artwork and curtains higher
  • Stick to low furniture
  • Expose the structure of your ceiling

Having high ceilings can seem like a luxury, but with a little bit of effort, it's a luxury you can accomplish on your own. Keep reading to see how and why these elements can give you a more airy and modern look in your home!

Spacious bedroom with beamed wooden ceiling, How to Make Ceilings Look Higher? [5 Practical Solutions]

How To Make Ceilings Look Higher

Let's take a closer look at the 5 ways to make your ceilings look higher than they really are.

Recessed Lighting

Living room contemporary style

When you're wanting to create the appearance of higher ceilings, the last thing you want is for parts of the ceiling to reach closer to the ground. This will make the ceiling look lower and also make the room look smaller.

Recessed lighting is light fixtures that are inset, so they are flush with the ceiling. This opens up the area where a ceiling fan or pendant light would hang, keeping the eye from drawing downward.

If you prefer a fan in the room, you can opt for a hugger ceiling fan. These fans have a base that is flush with the ceiling, eliminating the use of a rod. This allows the fan to hang higher, giving more space between the floor and ceiling.


Painting the ceiling and walls is a simple approach to creating height in any room. And you have several options in order to achieve that look.

High Gloss

High gloss paint has a shiny finish that almost replicates a mirror. The reflection bouncing off this paint creates an endless feeling to the room. If you use this in a room with large windows and tons of natural light, it can give you that bright and airy look that modern homes boast.

Match Walls and Ceiling

Painting your ceiling and walls all one color makes it harder for the eye to differentiate between where the wall ends and the ceiling begins. This gives the illusion that the walls are higher.

Vertical Stripes

You can use paint, or even wallpaper, to create vertical stripes. Much like in fashion, where horizontal stripes make you appear wider and vertical stripes make you appear longer, paint works the same way on walls. You can do this with an accent wall, or even the entire room if you're feeling adventurous.

Artwork and Curtains

Changing up the way you hang artwork, pictures, shelves, and curtains can help create the illusion of taller walls.

Higher and Taller

It's a common practice when you are hanging artwork or pictures in a room, that you should hang them 57 inches from the floor. This falls just under five feet, so you can usually aim for eye-level as a good rule of thumb. If you want to create a taller look in the room, then you should hang pictures higher than you usually would, thus drawing the eye upward.

Instead of displaying items like pictures or shelves horizontally, display them vertically. Any decor that reaches to the ceiling will give height to the room.

How Do You Hang Curtains To Make Ceilings Look Higher?

Just like shelves or artwork, curtains should reach from a couple of inches below the ceiling to the floor. When curtains stop at the tops of windows, especially on smaller windows, it breaks up the wall and gives the impression that is where the wall ends and the ceiling begins.

By raising the curtain rod and extending it several inches on each side of the window, it makes the ceiling appear higher and the windows seem much bigger.

When purchasing curtains, don't be afraid of the extra fabric. Curtains can be cut and hemmed if they are too long, so make sure you get enough length.

Low Furniture

Lower furniture, such as couches with lower backs or dressers that are longer as opposed to taller, will create more space between the ceiling and your furniture. This gives the illusion that the ceiling is farther away from the furniture because it's higher, instead of your furniture simply being shorter.

Expose Structure

Spacious bedroom with beamed wooden ceiling, How to Make Ceilings Look Higher? [5 Practical Solutions]

If you're able to do some remodeling, exposing the structure underneath your ceiling can give you more space. In modern homes, this look is usually a built-in aspect. It will consist of exposed pipes or ductwork for a more industrial feel. Or in a rustic home, it would be exposed to wooden beams.

The desire for high or low ceilings has evolved over time. If you have a home that is over a hundred years old and has lower ceilings, there's a chance there are higher ceilings above the current level, possibly now an attic-like area. So if you're remodeling an antique home, it's worth checking for the original structure. 

Other Structural Changes

There are other structural changes you can make to your home to achieve higher ceilings. For instance, if you have a smaller room or attic you wouldn't mind losing, you can remove that level in order to add that space to your ceiling height. You can even create a lofted area by only partially removing the floor and opening up the ceilings. This would require major remodeling, but if the structure of your house can handle it, it can create beautifully vaulted ceilings and open levels.

For a project that is less expensive and doesn't require major construction, you can remove any crown molding in the rooms you want to appear taller. The molding creates bulk to the upper area of the wall and makes the room look cramped. 

If you don't want to remove crown molding, then painting the molding the same color as the wall instead of the ceiling would make the wall appear taller.

What Is A Standard Ceiling Height?

Today, standard ceiling heights are nine feet. If you have a home with two stories, the bottom floor may have nine-foot ceilings, and the top floor may have eight-foot ceilings. But if you have a home built in the 1970s or 1980s, all of your ceilings are probably the old standard of eight feet.

Are 10 Foot Ceilings Too High?

Although nine-feet is the new standard for ceiling heights, most modern or custom-built homes will have bottom floors with ten- to twelve-foot ceilings. So by today's demand, ten-foot ceilings would be a highly desirable height, and even on the lower end of that.

In Closing

High ceilings are sought after in modern homes, and it can seem like only a custom-built house will give you those spacious rooms. However, by applying a few interior changes, you can obtain the look and feel of higher walls and higher ceilings.

Check out these posts to read more on home decor:

How to Decorate a Room With High Ceilings

What Color Curtains Make a Room Look Bigger

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