Lowering Ceilings Adds Visual Impact
2009/04/20, 4:32 pm
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Sarah Susanka, author of the popular “Not So Big” home-design books, devotes lots of space in her eighth book “Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live,” to ceilings.

She urges owners of homes with vaulted ceilings to consider lowering them so the house has what she calls, “visual layering.”

“Ceiling height is something that people don’t understand,” Susanka says. “If you make all ceiling heights 9 or 10 feet tall, it becomes monotonous.”

She recommends differentiating space by adding soffits that don’t reduce the space, but do define the area and differentiate it from neighboring areas.

“Just as punctuation helps us to extract the full meaning of a sentence, spatial layering serves the same function for our eyes, separating the space we’re looking at into bite-sized pieces without obscuring the experience of the whole,” she writes in the book.

In the case of small rooms like powder rooms, she recommends creating a “beltline,” a horizontal division in the wall space created with molding or wainscoting that makes the small, high-ceilinged space feel less like a cell.

Source: Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger (04/19/2009)

1 Comment so far
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While I agree that wainscoting can dramatically improve a small space with tall ceilings, I’m not sure “lowering” the ceilings in a physical sense is a good move. I agree with creating visual ques to draw your eyes through the space and not up into a vast ceiling, but doing anything to physically lower the ceilings will come back to haunt people come re-sale time.

Comment by Sean

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