Watch Your Head -- 5 Inexpensive Ways To Make A Low Ceiling Seem Taller

If you own a home with low ceilings -- particularly common in older or two-story homes -- they can seem smaller and more cramped than they really are. But the good news is that there are a few tricks you can use to open the rooms upward and make it feel more spacious than you might have thought possible. Here are 5 suggestions for any home.

Lighten the Ceiling. Start with your interior paint colors. Painting the ceiling a lighter color than the walls -- such as a shade of white or creamy neutral -- can make the ceiling seem farther away and emphasize the walls instead of drawing the eye upward. If you have a lot of low-ceiling rooms, it may be best to work with professional house painters to determine the right ceiling colors for any existing room theme. 

Try a Gloss. A glossy paint on the ceiling (instead of a matte color) may be a good way to help reflect light and brighten the room. It can also make the ceiling feel less fixed and somehow more in motion -- an effect that can really help open up a room vertically. 

Trim Colors. To visually lighten a room, you may want to avoid painting a dark color on crown molding and other trim that is near the top of the walls. Adding a trim accent color can chop up the wall and ceiling and draw attention to the fact that the ceiling joint is low. If you feel you still need trim colors on the walls, use it on baseboards and as an accent color in other ways 

Leave the Ceiling Empty. Hanging lights and ceiling fans can draw attention to the ceiling. Instead, use lower lighting sources like floor or table lamps and windows. Or include recessed lighting or another kind of light that tucks seamlessly into the ceiling. If you still want to hang a pendant light or chandelier for looks, consider hanging it a little taller than you otherwise wood. 

Raise Doors. This trick may require some structural changes, so it might not be for the budget-minded homeowner. If you can raise the door openings all the way to the top of the walls -- or close to it -- you can help draw the viewer's eyes upward and make the entry feel higher than expected. 

No matter whether you can try just one or all of these tricks, the result will be a large and more refreshing room without an expensive renovation bill.