What to do:
Do add vertical lines on the walls, this will draw the eye up creating an illusion of higher ceiling. Paint the walls a two stripe tone on tone color, choose colors that are light, like a cream, light blue, light taupe, off white. And you can alternate each the stripe with a different paint finish, for example the lighter stripe can be an eggshell finish, and the darker stripe can be a matte finish. Another option is to use striped wallpaper, be sure to find one that doesn't have a very contrasting stripe, otherwise it will make the room look claustrophobic.
Do paint the ceiling. Depending on what color you have chosen for the walls, if it a light shade, bring this up to the ceiling, creating a continuous space adding visual height. However if you have a darker shade on your walls, go with a shade or two lighter on the ceiling, otherwise the darker shade will bring the ceiling down. Another option is to add a reflective ceiling, by using a semi gloss paint, this will bring more light into the room, but you have to make sure that the ceiling surface is smooth, otherwise the paint will show all the imperfections on the ceiling. Remember when painting the ceiling, always use soft hues, like soft blue, pink, green, off white, soft gray, or this will open up the ceiling.
Do hang window drapery as close to the ceiling as possible and let it drop to the floor, this will create an elongated vertical line. Pick a rod that is as minimal as possible that will go away, like a cable rod, or an acrylic rod, and the width should be a few of inches beyond the window molding. If hanging drapery is not your style, go for a outside mount relaxed roman shade and hang it as close to the ceiling as possible and drop the shade down just so it covers the top window frame by about 3"-4", the width of the shade should cover the window moldings.
Do hang art high creating an illusion of a higher ceiling, consider using artworks with vertical lines and using vertical frames.
Do use up light to direct light to the ceiling like sconces, and table lamps. When installing sconces place it higher than usual, the minimum height for sconces is 6' above the floor.
Do add some tall vertical elements, like a tall vertical mirror, this will make the room seem higher, and will also reflect light making the room brighter. Or add a side chair or two with higher backs.
Don't paint ceiling and walls in contrasting colors. For example, if your walls are blue do not paint the ceiling red. This is a big no no, and it will make the room appear lower than what it is.
Don't hang window drapes that ends abruptly in the middle at the windowsill, this will look weird and will cut off the height of the room making it look lower. And remember not to use tie backs or only when necessary, you want the drapes to look flowy and airy to create a space of openness.
Don't use chair rails as this will make the ceiling look lower, if you really can't live without it, consider placing it lower than usual to trick the eye, between 26"-30" above the floor and use a thinner baseboard.
Don't apply any type of decorative trims, moldings or medallions to the ceiling, as this will emphasize the lowness of the ceiling. If you must put on some decorative molding, use a crown molding that is on the thinner side, or if it came as a courtesy of the apartment, paint it the same color as the wall.
Don't install any type of hanging fixture, like a chandelier, or a pendant and stay away from ceiling fans, this will draw attention up to the middle of the ceiling emphasizing the less than ideal height of the ceiling. If light is needed on the ceiling consider using a flushed or semi flushed light fixture that has an up light or both up and down light, and keep the height of the fixture to less than 6". When a chandelier is a must, consider hanging this above a dining table so that it looks like it's hanging low on purpose.
Don't buy furniture that are too big, or too bulky as this will make the space feel cramped. Buy furniture that has a low profile with clean vertical lines, the open space that it creates will make the ceiling seem higher.
I hope after reading my do's and dont's list your ready to make your ceiling soar to new highness.
Have a soaring great day.
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