If you’re among those who live in an older home, you may very well have low ceilings.  While the standard for most new homes is around 8’ high, the ceilings in many older homes are closer to 7’or less.  This can present its own set of design and decorating challenges.  But not to worry – here are a few design tips to consider with low ceilings:

  • Run cabinetry and shelving all the way to the ceiling to make the most of the height you have
  • Install recessed or flush mount lighting to maximize headroom
  • Create a focal point on the ceiling by using beadboard, beams or colorful paint to add visual interest
  • Consider using apartment size furniture in rooms with low ceilings – their smaller scale will create the illusion of more vertical space. Don’t be afraid to use “tall pieces” when it comes to case goods like book shelves and cabinets but avoid chunky, heavy looking furnishings which can make low ceiling rooms feel smaller
  • Vertical patterns for upholstery and wall treatments will naturally draw the eye upward
  • Skylights and light tubes are interesting design elements in any room and the light they provide will make the room feel more spacious
  • Hang pictures and artwork slightly lower than the average eye level height of 58”.  Reducing the amount of space above your artwork will trick the eye into thinking there is more height in the room than there actually is!
  • Hanging curtains at or from the ceiling will draw the eye upward
  • Finally, consider using the same paint color for your walls, baseboards and ceilings and stick with lighter colors to make the space feel larger.


Here’s a link to our Houzz Ideabook showing some of our favorite tips for low ceilings: