Monday, March 1, 2010
Decorating: Make Ceilings Taller
Install vertical striped wallpaper in a small area—keep stripes simple with small stripes. Apply a wallpaper with wider stripes in larger areas. This works on window treatments too—choose a striped fabric using the same rule.
Hang draperies from ceiling to floor, letting drapes puddle on the floor. Allow 12-18 inches of extra drape to create a generous puddle—if not they’ll simple look like you purchased drapes too long, and didn’t intend the puddle design. The puddle look is more European ( Old World), and may not be for everyone. The photo shows the luxury of puddled drapes. To create the puddle, fold the hem back under the drape, and let the drape slightly flow out from the wall base, allowing the drape to hang over the hem) Floor to ceiling drapes, even if they don’t puddle, will give the room more height.
Avoid valances which will produce a horizontal line before the eye travels to the ceiling, and will make the ceiling look lower. Swag and jabots will do the same thing. Unless your room is a large one, these types of window treatments look better on windows in rooms with high ceilings of 9 feet or taller. Swags with full length drapery panels will give a different look and actually give height to the room.
In a basement, with the standard ceiling height of 7-8 feet, add wide crown molding that are 5-6 inches wide. I prefer 6 inch, as the wider the molding the more distance the eye travels toward the ceiling making the walls look taller, lifting the ceiling. Consider putting molding on the ceiling just above the crown molding, around the entire perimeter of the room. This will again move the eye upward, giving an illusion of extra height.
I’ve seen basements with 2-3 inch crown moldings, and the thinner molding just emphasizes that the room is a basement, making the ceiling look lower. Just because your existing baseboards or door moldings are smaller in width, doesn’t mean you can’t install wider crown moldings.
Also use a neutral, light colored paint on the basement wall such as a light tan, and paint the crown molding a soft white—have the ‘flat’ ceiling paint tinted the same shade as the crown molding, so it flows from the molding to ceiling. A white ceiling will be stark, drawing the eye immediately upward, and that will visually lower the ceiling.
Pick artwork that hangs vertical instead of horizontal, especially in basements. The up and down length will draw the eye upward. Mirrors that are tall, hung in the vertical position can add light and height.
Don’t forget lighting—a floor lamp, the torch style that floods the ceiling with light will give the ceiling visual height—again, a very good thing to consider in a basement.
In basement rooms that have half, short windows, install the window treatments floor to ceiling (including blinds), and place a piece of furniture under the window, such as a chest with a lamp. Framing the chest with floor length drapes can give the the room the illusion that the room is not a basement.
Remember, any horizontal lines, whether artwork, long sofa tables against the wall, even the sofa will make a room look wider and longer. Vertical lines such as drapes, vertical hung artwork/mirrors, tall bookcases, and floor lamps will give the room visual height. Everything in your room will make a difference on how your room feels, so keep this in mind when you’re starting your next decorating project.