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High ceilings… or are they?

Tricks to make your ceilings appear higher

One of your home’s defining features is its ceiling. High ceilings make a room feel more open and airy, while low ceilings can often result in a cosy, or sometimes cramped atmosphere.

As an interior decorator, I’m often tasked with making a space look and feel bigger than it actually is. Don’t be fooled, this is not magic. Just a few tricks of the trade. Short of a full-blown renovation, there are some optical illusions I like to employ to bring perceived height to a space.

One way to fool the eye is with floor-to-ceiling curtains. Purchase full-length curtains and hang them a few inches above your window frame to imply a larger window.

By the same token, low-profile furniture can also create the illusion of higher ceilings. Think uncomplicated pieces with vertical, tailored lines. Lower profile pieces can help emphasize the distance between the furniture and the ceiling, with uninterrupted sight lines from one end of the room to the other.

When it comes to the colour palette, think light, bright and airy. Darker colours tend to make a space feel cosier and yes, smaller.

DECORATOR’S PICKS: Check out Moonshine, Grey Owl and French Canvas by Benjamin Moore, or Decorator’s Grey by CIL.

Once your space is ready for furniture, arrange it to create “high corners.” Place tall items such as apartment plants and floor lamps in the corners of the room to draw the eye s far as possible and make the ceiling recede.

A “disappearing” ceiling is the easiest way to make it seem higher. Out of sight, out of mind right? In this case, I avoid ceiling fans or low-hanging lighting, which can draw unwanted attention to a low ceiling. Opt instead for streamlined pot lights, or layer floor and table lamps to ensure enough light where needed. If you have your heart set on a chandelier, suspend it a few inches higher than you normally would. Like your curtains, a higher chandelier will naturally draw the eye upward.

My final tip, though not as sexy as chandeliers and colour palettes, will truly make or break your space. I’m talking clutter. Nothing eats up visual space more than stuff on every surface. Ensure you incorporate sufficient storage when planning your space, so everything has a proper home. This can come in the form of built-in shelving, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, or nice wicker baskets to wrangle the chaos. The result is a room that looks and feels bigger, brighter and by all accounts, better!

Achieving the illusion of a higher ceiling can be as simple as arranging your existing furniture and accessories to accentuate the right features of your space, while drawing attention away from others. Think tall, think bright and set your sights high. That low ceilings is looking up already!

About the Author: Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal of Redesign4more, servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging and interior styling services.

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