Relaxing in a small room with high ceilings can feel like hanging out in an upright box. Short of discovering a magic genie in a bottle, no amount of wishing is going to even out the proportions of your room. Luckily, you can work your own magic by performing a few tricks with color, accessories and interior design. If possible, downsize your furniture to maximize scale. If your bedroom is small, consider a twin bed, a futon or a convertible sofa; in your living room, trade in your full-sized couch for a comfy love seat. Does this Spark an idea?
Paint your walls cool colors that appear to move away from the eye, such as violet, light green or light blue. Stay away from warm colors like orange, red and yellow, that appear to move forward. Paint your ceiling and trim a lighter color than your walls to further the illusion of spaciousness. Paint a focal wall with horizontal stripes to create the illusion of width and depth.
Avoid using one single overhead light; instead, use several overhead lights to create numerous zones in the room. Alternatively, use high wall sconces or tall floor lamps to draw the eye upward.
Set up a tall, narrow bookcase that calls attention to the height of the walls without taking up too much floor space. If it’s in your budget, install recessed or wall shelves that don’t take up any floor space at all.
Choose furniture and accessories with metal and glass accents, rather than wood. Allow coffee tables, dining tables, desks and end tables with glass tops to serve as functional pieces that don’t monopolize visual space. Metal accents and accessories reflect light, seeming to expand the space. Choose couches and chairs with legs that keep the furniture off the ground, to accentuate the empty space underneath. Don’t overcrowd the room with furniture. Instead, choose a few, functional pieces; an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table, for example, or stools that serve as extra seating and end tables.
Place mirrors strategically around the room to amplify light and create the illusion of additional space.
Emphasize your windows by hanging curtains as close to the ceiling as possible, that drape to the floor. Hang bamboo shades between the curtain rod and the top of the window to create illusion that the window continues upward beyond its actual boundary. Purchase curtains made of gauzy, sheer fabric to draw the eye outside.
Maximize floor space by pushing furniture to the perimeter of the room. Arrange choice pieces on an angle to emphasize depth.