LESLIE WHICHER

Staging: 5 Ways to Heighten Your Ceilings Without Construction

10 March 2019
LESLIE WHICHER

     Sellers looking to get top dollar for older homes are sometimes faced with the challenge of 8-foot ceilings. Although practical and easier to heat, today’s buyers often see them as a major downside, even on a property that otherwise meets their needs. In King City, this issue can also be challenging for buyers since the most desirable lots—the large ones people come to King City for—are usually in older subdivisions full of homes with low ceilings so that one has to choose between a large piece of land or a coveted high ceiling.

     Since the way we feel when we first walk into a home dictates how much of an issue any particular feature will be, it is important to create the best possible sense of height and airiness prior to putting your home on the market. You can use as many of the following techniques in combination as it makes sense to do.

     Remember, a particular style or feature does not have to be your own taste when you’re selling; the goal is simply to bring out the best in your home according to what appeals to today’s buyers.

1.       My current favourite way to add height is to make use of the recent trend to paint baseboards, walls and crown mouldings all in the same colour. Traditional baseboard and crown moulding treatment, of course, is to use some version of white, but this making a ceiling seem highercreates horizontal bands around the room that interrupt the eye’s travel from floor to ceiling and actually shorten the remaining section of wall between them. It is bes

to include any window and door trims in this approach. I suggest going a step further and using a matte wall paint but a slight sheen on the baseboard and crown. The slight sheen on the crown will subtly draw the eye up toward the ceiling which causes a subconscious sense it is higher, adding to the benefit of having one colour floor to ceiling.

You may think that avoiding any crown moulding would be helpful; however, actually having it gives the eye a reason to travel to the top of the room and it does in fact trick the mind into the subconscious assumption that the wall is taller than if there were none.

One last tip is to keep the paint fairly light in this scenario to avoid the sense of a small, closed-in space.

2.      Use vertical lines. Whether by tone-on-tone paint stripes, striped wallpaper or perhaps by installing a tall, oversized mirror that leans against a wall, vertical lines give an illusion of height. My favourite way to add vertical lines is to put up tall, floor-length drapery panels on either side of windows, especially if the windows are not tall and break up the vertical line of the wall (as most windows do). Panel fabric will drape into vertical folds from top to bottom. The best choice for drapery panels would be a colour similar to the wall colour to allow the eye to move around the room without interruption.

This ties into technique no. 3.     making 8-foot celing look higher

3.      Hang drapes high, near  the crown moulding or ceiling. Whatever drapes you use, you should place their hardware immediately under the crown moulding and no lower on the wall. Fight the urge to restrict them to the immediate area of the window, which may not be very tall. An additional tip for this is that any hardware should be chosen to minimize interruption as well. When I first moved into my home and decorated the basement, I used a black iron rod which ran across the top of my sliding door underneath a bulkhead—those things have to go! They have diminished the visual height of the room and, in fact, visually chopped up the wall, far too long!

4.      Make your ceiling look higher with paint in one of two ways. Since the sky is blue (more or less), using a very light, subtle blue on the ceiling can fool the subconscious into confusing sky and ceiling. Definitely, if your subconscious thinks that’s the sky up there, you have succeeded in raising the ceiling! The second way is to use a glossy paint on the ceiling. Be careful with this one. This is only okay on very well dry-walled and flawless ceilings as glossy paint will highlight imperfections. However, the effect of putting a sheen on the ceiling is similar in a small way to mirroring anything: it creates enough of a reflective surface to visually enlarge an area.

Things to get rid of, by the way, include stipple, wood trims like faux beams, dark anything or intricate ceiling features—stay away from all of these. Recently I was in an older home where a prior owner had helpfully installed dark wood faux beams to try to achieve a homey colonial or tudor-looking effect. Unfortunately, it felt like the ceiling was almost right on your head in those rooms. At a minimum, something like this needs to be painted out completely in some shade of white that is compatible with the rest of the room. I hear the men in the room gasping in horror, but again, this advice is to sell a house, not for you to live in, fellas.

Getting rid of stipple may be more of a project than you’re up for, but any ceiling issue solved by paint is a bonus, since painting is inexpensive and has one of the highest returns on investment of any renovation you can do.

5.       Choose light-coloured, ceiling-hugging lighting. Either pot lights or a clear crystal flush-mounted style of fixture will be the best option in most cases  Hanging fixtures, especially if darker, will bring down the ceiling and should really only be considered directly above a dining table or kitchen island unless you have very high ceilings.

Like more tips on making your rooms feel more expansive?   https://patinaandcompany.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/drapes-six-ways-they-can-expand-a-room/

What are your hacks for making ceilings seem higher?