How to make 8-foot ceilings look taller

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Floor to ceiling bookshelves act something like fl

Floor to ceiling bookshelves act something like floor to ceiling curtains by drawing the eye upward.

Position them at the end of the room so that’s what you see when you walk in the room, and they will immediately distract from the ceiling height.

The side walls in this office are only 5 feet high and the ceiling is 8 feet at its peak…but it doesn’t feel like that when you are in the room.

Click here if you want to learn how to make these built in bookshelves.

4. They make a room look larger and brighter

Rooms with high ceilings have more unused space overhead, making high-traffic entertaining spaces like dining rooms and living rooms look taller and grander. They also make traditionally smaller spaces, such as a study or reading room, feel less cramped. This may have to do with the fact that high ceilings help boost our sense of exploration and contribute to a feeling of freedom, researchers concluded in a past issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. What’s more, high ceilings allow more sunlight to flood in, making the environment brighter and airier.

8. Hang drapes up high

(Image credit: Salvesen Graham)

How you hang your drapes and blinds is key in this situation, and if you can go up to the ceiling, that’s a big bonus in making a ceiling look higher – often a pelmet can help to hide the attachments. 

In the case of drape length, make sure they are touching the floor. 

Mary Graham, co-Founder of interior designers Salvesen Graham (opens in new tab), shares her advice:

‘Make sure your window treatments cover from the top of the window to the ceiling to cover the dead space between. This will help windows and the room to feel taller.’

2. Hang tall, slim mirrors

(Image credit: Salvesen Graham)

This beautiful room by interior designers Salvesen Graham does, obviously, have a high ceiling – but the premise remains: mirrors are sent from heaven and are so useful in so many ways. 

Naturally, they bounce the light around and that creates the illusion of more space, especially in a small living room.

The first trick with a low-ceilinged room is to invest in one that’s tall and narrow; the second trick is to hang it higher up than usual – it will then ‘lift’ your ceiling and make it feel taller instantly. 

Altering a Truss System

Homes built in the last decade or so are more likely to have roof truss systems than homes built earlier. Unlike joist-and-rafter framing, roof trusses do not provide open attic space because each truss contains multiple small wood members, set in triangular patterns, engineered to bear roof weight as effectively as their heavier rafter counterparts. While it’s possible to alter roof trusses to gain ceiling height, it’s not advisable. It’s a much bigger job than altering joists and rafters. It requires extensive reengineering and in most cases, it’s cost-prohibitive.

2. Higher ceilings mean higher construction costs

From a construction perspective, achieving high ceilings involves putting in place or adjusting the roof framing, installing additional drywall and insulation, and potentially modifying electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC systems. It also requires more materials than a standard nine-foot ceiling, including drywall, primer, and paint, which translates to more costs. Raising a standard-height ceiling in a 20-by-20-foot room to a height of 11 to 12 feet can cost anywhere from $18,000 to $25,000.

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For the feel of greater height at a much lower price, consider exposing the ceiling, i.e., removing it to reveal the beams above. This is a doable option if your home’s roof is already framed with large beams and rafters (more common in pre-1920s homes) as opposed to the narrower ceiling joists and rafters in modern homes. Exposing a ceiling in a 20-by-20-foot room can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,200.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Photo: istockphoto.com

Ceiling Joists

In a typical stick-frame roof, horizontal joists form the ceiling frame, the ends of which rest on the tops of the exterior walls. Although most ceiling joists don’t bear weight, they are an integral part of the roof structure and they stabilize the walls. Think of balancing three playing cards, two vertically, an inch or so apart, and the third placed across the top. If you remove the top card, the other two will fall. The walls in your house have additional support, of course, but the idea is the same. If you change the joists, you must provide additional support for the walls.

Whats the best tip to make ceilings look higher?

Add vertical lines to a wall or space. You can use wallpaper, moulding, or anything that creates vertical lines or patterns that draw your eyes up.

Just like with clothes, vertical lines create height (and make you look skinnier). Add vertical lines to the walls to give the illusion of a taller ceiling.

Just comparing the two unedited pics I feel like the vertical lines add a lot of height, don’t you?

Let’s start again with the before picture.

I had so many ideas of how I wanted to add a great

I had so many ideas of how I wanted to add a great accent wall, but none of my ideas would create a “taller ceiling.”

This is our finished cottage style master bedroom.

This is our finished cottage style master bedroom. I love how it looks now! My husband always complained that when he walked into the room he almost felt claustrophobic. The room has an odd shape with the corner windows and wide but narrow layout. I really think that the vertical lines on the wall helped create a more open look to the room.

Adding the corner curtains around the windows also

Adding the corner curtains around the windows also helped draw your eyes up and open up the space.

What do y’all think? Does my sharpie shiplap

What do y’all think? Does my sharpie shiplap add a few inches to our ceiling?

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About Us

Hi, and welcome! I’m Wanda and I believe dec

Hi, and welcome! I’m Wanda and I believe decorating is all about creating a beautiful and comfortable space that you are happy to call home. This is where I share decorating tips and easy DIY projects with lots of color and a little bit of glam. And the goal is to inspire you to use your own creativity to transform your house into a home you love.

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