Immediate Effect To Enlarge Rooms

Immediate Effect To Enlarge Rooms
October 11, 2021 Sabine Schoenberg

Is there such a thing as an immediate effect of making your home feel larger without adding to the footprint? The answer is YES!: Here is one powerful design strategy to visually and effectively raise the feeling of your home: lift the ceilings.

Psychology of Lifting Ceilings For Immediate Effect

The volume makes a room feel larger.  And here is the underlying fundamental difference: Lifting space equates with lifting our feelings. Tapping into this fundamental emotional effect is key. Of course, it is why gothic cathedrals, even though they tend to have little light, make us feel light and good. Our spirit is raised in high spaces. The majority of people feel not only comfortable but happy in high, vaulted spaces. Their spirits can rise. High spaces are fundamentally impactful.

Vaulting Your Ceilings

There are several ways designers vault ceilings to create an immediate effect of “grand” space.  In a lot of ranch homes, one can open and create a ceiling that follows the roof rafters.  Depending on the height and/or pitch of the roof this can be dramatic in and of itself.  To further highlight the focus on the ceiling, skylights and other clearstory windows are plain fabulous.

Interestingly, installing wood paneling can also work well.  It can shift the focus to the ceiling. This in turn focuses one’s attention up to a higher detail. However, a lighter color, whitewash, or even light paint is highly recommended.  Dark wood is likely to have the opposite effect.  The dark color of wood tends to visually weigh down the space.

Immediate Effect of a Tray Ceiling

Installing a tray ceiling is yet another way to add an immediate effect of height and drama to a room. In two-story homes, this is commonly found in the master bedrooms of new homes.  Why? It is a way to build a smaller overall room size without sacrificing the pizzazz of the space.

Creating a tray ceiling has the advantage of running ductwork out of sight on top of the tray. A fully vaulted ceiling can be a challenge in running ducts while maintaining structural integrity to the walls and ceilings.  This should be done with the help of an architect and/or structural engineer.

Jazzing up a Flat Ceiling

If there is no way of lifting the ceiling there are still ways of adding focus to a flat ceiling.  This will lift your eyes to the ceiling and create a bit of lift in the way the space feels. Installing wood beams on the ceiling is a great way to add interest to the ceiling.

One word of caution: Avoid big, heavy, and dark beams as it too will have the opposite effect. It will weigh down the space visually.  Whitewashed, sometimes called pickled finishes are best.  Install shallow beam profiles. A good guideline is to stay with beams 3” deep or even less.  

These ceiling treatments from designers’ toolkits create the immediate effect of a more generous and spacious feeling in a room.  The further you can open up and redesign ceilings the better, of course.

Now you know the reason why designers focus on ceiling treatments whenever possible.  They are the secret to creating the powerful feeling of spaciousness in a room without actually enlarging the space.  Imagine any of these treatments in your rooms and pick the one that you can create.  You will not regret taking on your ceilings. It is sure to give you an immediate effect of bigger volume and perhaps even grand space.