Miss A Columnist

Denise Willard has over a decade of experience transforming the homes of clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Her work has been showcased on ABC Affiliate, News Channel 8 and published in The Washington Post, Home and Design Magazine, Washington Home & Garden, The Washingtonian, and Elan. She writes a regular design column for Viva Tysons, and has a blog where she shares her interior decorating insights, DreamDesignLive.com .

Denise specializes in creating simple, but elegant transitional interiors that are reflective of her clients' personalities and lifestyles. The combination of her southern roots and urban lifestyle can be seen in her personal design style, which combines the comfort and hospitality of the South with the flair of the big city.

Decorating Tips to “Raise” a Low Ceiling

Choosing your wall and ceiling colors isn’t just about personal expression and decorative style. Color can also be used to visually heighten low ceilings. Many people often dream of 9+ foot ceilings while living under the standard 8 foot model, which is seen in many older homes and apartments.  No worries!  There are ways to get around feeling like your ceilings are low.  Here are a few tips to help virtually “raise” them:

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Paint Your Ceiling: Many people often ponder new wall colors and assume the ceiling should stay white/off-white and untouched; however, it’s a good idea to consider painting the ceiling, especially if they are low.  Painting the ceiling the same color as the walls makes the delineation between wall and ceiling less noticeable, thus visually “tricking” the eye into thinking the ceiling is higher.   The room below depicts this concept perfectly.  The blue ceiling matches the walls, thus making the ceiling appear taller than it is.

2. Choose the Right Wall Colors: Choose colors from the cool end of the spectrum in lighter gradients. For example,  blues, grays, lavenders and greens all give the illusion of space. If you have low ceilings and choose a dark color for the walls, the result will most likely make your space feel more closed in.  Likewise, (if unpainted) the ceiling will stand out dramatically against the wall color. Thus, stick with the ‘light and airy’ feeling of softer, cool colors.  The picture below demonstrates how using light colors create a sense of space.

3.  Use an Accent Wall: One of the best ways to elongate the height of a ceiling is to use paint to create an accent wall to visually trick the eye.  When you look into the space your eye focuses on the accent wall and seemingly forgets about the ceiling.  For this to work, the ceiling must be painted a light color and must match the walls.  The room below depicts this combination perfectly.

4.  Use Paint to Lighten Up Fixtures & Fans: One of the least expensive ways  to heighten a light colored ceiling is  to paint dark ceiling fixtures and fans a light color (like the trim color in the room) so that they blend better with the ceiling versus standing out.   When you have a dark light fixture or fan against a light ceiling, your eye notices the contrast. The ceiling will look even lower as your eye records the ceiling height as being where the fixture starts.  A fresh coat of light paint will fix this and is very inexpensive to achieve!

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