How to make your walls look two feet taller

In our house the walls are standard height, so I’m constantly looking for ways to visually elongate them in hopes that when friends come to visit they remark on our high ceilings. It’s only happened once, but I’m employing every trick I’ve got to make it a recurring comment.

In our guest bedroom, (lots of details here, here and here), I found the magic combination:

  1. Paint your baseboards and crown molding the same color as your walls. You’re visually extending the wall by several inches on both the top and bottom, space which is ordinarily white, instantly tricking your eye into thinking the walls are 8-12 inches taller than normal walls.
  2. Add picture frame molding in conjunction with a chair rail. Make sure that the boxes above the chair rail are much taller than those below the chair rail. Here, you’re drawing the eye up, way higher than you’d ordinarily look and creating dimension and contrast well above your eye level.
  3. Paint your doorframes and window trim the same color to keep from breaking up the height.

There are other tricks out there, including painting your ceiling the same color as your walls that absolutely work (I used that trick in my bathroom refresh), but so far, nothing has been quite as dramatic as the above combination.

And in case you don’t believe me, here’s a before and after:




AFTER (Still in progress, ignore the totally messy closet, headboard still in plastic, and yes, we ripped out that built-in)


In person, we can’t stop looking up when standing in the room because it feels like we boosted the ceiling by several feet. I’m obsessed with the effect and can’t wait to replicate the same approach in the other upstairs rooms. Also, the trim work is not that hard to do and makes your space feel so custom and dimensional – it’s a total win-win.

And because our room is just one of many that’s used this magic combo, some of my favourites from the web:

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Kelly Wearstler

pale blue fabrics atlanta homes mag

Suzanne Kasler in Atlanta Homes



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