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Help me make my ceiling look higher!!
jennlehr
November 19, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Just bought a ranch house circa 1969, the ceilings are unusually low. i noticed all rooms painted white look higher but rooms with dark walls made the ceiling look ridiculously low. I want to paint the main room a taupe/mushroom color and add white crown molding and want to know if this will make the ceilings look high or low. Also do i raise the curtains to the ceiling to make the room look taller? I will attach a pic of the room and a pic of the inspiration room Please advise!! thanks
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pcmom1
I think you are definitely on track with color choice and crown molding. Besides that, keep a low profile with sofa and chairs.
November 19, 2012 at 4:51PM   
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jennlehr
interesting, i never would have thought of that.. thanks. but you think the colors in the inspiration room would work?
November 19, 2012 at 4:52PM   
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Love your inpiration room, it is one of my favorites on Houzz. If you're looking for clean lines such as this, I would keep the crown molding simple - something like a cove crown. There are things you can do to "beef" up the look of crown without going so large. Most crown is designed where it comes down the wall further than it projects out onto the ceiling. When we are dealing with short ceilings, some times we install the crown upside down (depends on profile) and then it takes up more ceiling space than wall space. Also, you can use a small trim piece out on the ceiling about 2" -3" from the crown and paint all of that to look like molding and it creates interest but doesn't make the ceiling feel low.
November 19, 2012 at 4:57PM     
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PRO
C Wright Design
Good ideas on the wall color and trim. Keep the ceiling and new crown molding very light in color. Definitely hang draperies to the ceiling to accentuate the vertical. One of the best ways to make low ceilings look higher is to LIGHT the ceiling with torcheres, sconces and/or pendant lights that light up rather than down. The ceiling will then act an an ambient light itself and will look higher. You can see in your photograph that the ceiling naturally falls into shadow much of the time. Lighting it will make a huge difference!
November 19, 2012 at 4:59PM     
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jennlehr
thanks for your tips i will tell the contractor about the moldings.,. but am i on the right track with the mushroom/taupe color or is it too much of a contrast?
November 19, 2012 at 4:59PM   
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lionnessone
This will be one of your favorite rooms, go for it. You could not have picked a better inspirational photo.
November 19, 2012 at 5:16PM     
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jennlehr
thanks for the encouragment!! painters coming tomorrow!! will upload pics after!!!
November 19, 2012 at 5:17PM   
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PRO
C Wright Design
I love your inspiration room but think the wall color could be a bit dark for your space. I would consider a light mushroom/taupe such as Benjamin Moore #HC-81 Manchester Tan. It is beautiful with a soft white for the trim and ceiling.
November 19, 2012 at 5:40PM   
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jennlehr
thanks.
November 19, 2012 at 5:40PM   
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Hope you have your moldings installed before painting as the painting may have to be done again after molding installation.
November 19, 2012 at 7:29PM   
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jennlehr
i have to install molding first? i thought paint the base color. install molding and paint molding.
November 19, 2012 at 7:30PM   
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inkwitch
I totally sympathize with your dilemma. I have the same problem in my 1960 ranch, and it was the one disappointment I could do nothing about! (I had always had the opposite problem!) So I researched how to decorate with low ceilings. There are several websites that discuss the options. Here's the benefit of my experience:

Hanging draperies at the ceiling actually makes the ceiling look lower. In most houses with normal height ceilings, there is visible wall above the curtain rod. So I've kept at least 1-2" visible above draperies.

Crown moldings are not recommended with low ceilings. My house has them, and rather than remove nad create another reno issue, I painted them the same color as the walls.

I also painted the ceilings one or two shades lighter of the same color as the walls. It gives a continuity and blurs the line where wall ends and ceiling begins. Where the color is very light, they're the same color. This is not m preference, but it does work. A white ceiling actually accentuates the low ceiling next to any wall color.

Keep furniture low. Avoid tall armoirs and cabinets. Hang artwork lower as well (although don't get absurd about that). Make rugs and furniture pull the eye down by making them the focus.

Avoid ceiling lights and fans, and choose "ceiling huggers" if you must have them. A chandy over the dining room table or pendants over kitchen counters or bedside tables will work, but middle-of-the-room ceiling fixtures don't.

Good luck.
November 19, 2012 at 7:35PM     
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stylgrl
I agree with the suggestions of inkwitch, I have painted most of the ceilings in my home. I dilute the wall color by 50%. I would also paint any crown molding in the same tone, as ink stated, it blurs the lines. I've done tone on tone using a matte on the walls and satin trim in the same color.
November 19, 2012 at 7:57PM   
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
If you are going to use moldings, please have them installed prior to painting. Once the moldings are installed, they will have to be sanded, primed, puttied and caulked, and then painted. The most careful human in the world cannot do all this and not affect your paint. It would be such a waste.
November 19, 2012 at 8:05PM   
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2455169
we have 7' cielings in basement, 19x11' rectangle, 6 pot lights--is Indian river, #985 (a warm gray) color too dark, and make room even seem smaller and cielings lower? Any other color suggestions? Should we put up crown? How wide? and cieling same color?
December 9, 2012 at 11:46AM   
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Leigh Durand
I have a 50's ranch with low ceilings too. I had my ceilings painted white in eggshell instead of flat..... drove my painter crazy, but if Vincente Wolfe can do it, so can I. (Although Vincente used high gloss, so go for that if you dare) With the eggshell finish the light bounces around wonderfully, however you do see imperfections in the ceiling... if you stare at your ceiling much. I also painted my baseboards the same colour as the walls, used pearl for a different texture but the ceiling look much higher when your eye isn't jolted to a stop a foot off the floor. I like the suggestion of diluting the wall colour 50% for the ceiling.
December 9, 2012 at 12:24PM   
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2455169
Would u have crown put in?
December 9, 2012 at 12:32PM   
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clemenza2
Paint a stripe all around the ceiling, in the taupe/mushroom shade......a few inches in from the edge of the walls. Like a "frame" for the ceiling, just a little smaller all around. It involves a lot of taping off and a very stiff neck, but is worth it in the end.....it's a crisp, tailored touch.....it will draw the eye up and look more interesting than a plain ceiling.
December 9, 2012 at 12:35PM     
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Leigh Durand
I have crown, it suits my transitional style but I have to say I love the clean look of your space without crown, so my vote is no; save the money. I think I will paint my crown to match the walls next as inkwitch did maybe that will help as much as painting the baseboard did.
December 9, 2012 at 12:39PM   
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Leigh Durand
Looking at your photos again, I really like that the walls and the ceiling are the same colour, makes it look open and airy.... hmmmmm.... wonder if I can convince my painter to paint my ceilings BM "jute" to match my walls... he might faint....
December 9, 2012 at 12:43PM   
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mmkelly77
Love the room. I would suggest painting the ceiling a shade or two darker than the walls. This would give the ceiling a higher feel. Beautiful floors.
December 9, 2012 at 2:57PM   
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ynot386
I love the sepia horse head painting…who is the artist? Where can I get one? If you dont mind...
September 22, 2013 at 4:22PM   
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bschulz99
Frank Lloyd Wright and others used variations in ceiling height to control perception of space. The concept is one of compression and release. It takes a little counter intuition, but lower the ceiling slightly in some areas, like the perimeter or area between rooms. The compression make the taller sections appear taller than they are and adds to the visual interest of the space. Susanka talks about this concept in several of her Not-So-Big House books. Additionally, adding perimeter cove lighting to illuminate the ceiling also helps to create space, as used effectively on most airliners.
October 28, 2013 at 9:04AM     
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Roberta Maria Vieira
I have the same problem and didnt want to break the celling trying to raise it. Then i made a long cut on the biggest wall and hide the light on it. Will take pics to show you
October 28, 2013 at 9:11AM   
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jennlehr
bshultz, that is so intresting. and Roberta, i love what you did by the fireplace, we achieved the look we were after with paint. I am happy with the results. will try to post ics..
October 28, 2013 at 9:19AM   
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