A common problem in North American homes is how best to use your basement. We are lucky enough to have basements in the majority of our homes, but older homes often have more smaller basement spaces. This is often the case when it comes to ceiling height. Ceiling height plays a huge role in the perception of space, more often than not we speak of square footage to explain the size of the space, but ceiling height is just as important. Basements often have low ceilings and this can be an issue when designing spaces below ground level. Here are a few design tips that might help you change the perception and make the space feel larger.
Before we begin, I would like to take this opportunity to make a quick point. Trying to ignore the low ceiling and pretending like it isn’t there is not a good idea. More often than not in design, trying to cover something up by ignoring it make it stand out even further. If it can’t be altered or redesigned, I always suggest that accepting, and embracing, the non-perfect design aspect of a space is the best way to go.
My first piece of advice won’t surprise anyone, but using wallpaper is an easy way to make the ceiling a focal point and giving the perception of it being higher than it is. This seems counter-intuitive, but drawing attention to the ceiling can often be a good way to disguise it’s height and make it an important design concept of the space.
This can be done with paint colours too. Painting both ceiling and walls the same colour can help embrace the confined space and help to make it feel cozy. Creating space where it isn’t isn’t always a possibility, so embracing its size can add to a room’s personality and therefore its overall design aesthetic. Another tip using paint is to paint the walls a dark colour and painting the ceiling a bright white.
Using big pieces of art on the walls can also give the impression of high ceilings. This can also be done with tall and thin bookshelves. The idea is draw the eye up and therefore giving the illusion of height. So a tall piece of art requires the eye to raise up and look at it.
Another way of creating a taller room is to use lower seating and furnishings. The last thing you want is bulky sofas and chairs that have a high back as this will make the wall space between the furniture and ceiling that much less. By using low-backed seating you will create the illusion of a normal ceiling height.
Lastly, using ceiling to floor drapes or blinds can again give the perception of higher ceilings. Just like all the other design tips above, the idea is to embrace the height of your ceiling and to not be scared to make visitors look up at it. Looking upwards at something gives the perception of height and will hopefully make your space seem less confining.