How to Light a Low Ceiling

How to Light a Low Ceiling

If you have a room that makes you feel a claustrophobic discomfort, try updating the lighting. You’d be surprised at how airy and dramatic the right lighting can make your room feel – even if it has an extra-low ceiling. Here are some tips to help you light that low ceiling.

Embrace Width


As a rule, the bottom of any hanging light should be at least 6 feet, 8 inches off the ground, unless it's over a table or island. When you have an 8-foot ceiling, this doesn't give you a whole lot of room to play.  If you long for the grand impact of a decorative ceiling light, try a larger, low-profile fixture that stays close to the ceiling, but holds some real estate up there. It's dramatic without looking cluttered.

Use More Than One Light


A room with a single light fixture is gloomy. Kick the shadows by adding multiple light sources that might include a few stylish flush-mount ceiling lights, some table lamps, or an accent light here or there. When you have multiple lights shining in different directions, the space will feel lighter and more open. Make sure to place ceiling lights at least 3 feet from the wall. Any closer and harsh shadows will make your ceiling seem lower.

Up Lights Are Your New Best Friends


Shining light up towards the ceiling will automatically make it look higher, opening your room even more. If you have cabinets or tall shelving in the room in question, just run lights along the top. This will completely eliminate shadows close to your ceiling with an even sheet of light. Linear fixtures like tape lights, rope lights, lightbars, or light strips work best for this "over cabinet lighting" technique.

Accent Any Architecture with Light

Blue Indirect Lighting in a Kitchen 646

If your ceiling is low, but still boasts some fabulous architecture, use that to your advantage. Use linear fixtures to accent coves, overhangs, or other neat features to create the illusion of more space.  Playing up an interesting angle or structure will make your room seem larger, not to mention the addition of drama.

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