how to make low ceilings look higher (optical illusion)

We were thrilled when Remodelista contacted us about using images we’d posted some time ago of an essential design trick we’d used throughout the Laboratory’s renovation: replacing the squat 6’6″ doors with tall, eight-footers. Their strong vertical lines make our lowish 8’2″ ceilings look higher. Check out our images on Remodelista. In the meantime, here are a couple of extras, showing ‘before’ and ‘after’.

Here are the original entranceway closets, with Scott McFarlane, who had the inspired idea to swap out the low doors for tall ones to create an optical illusion that makes you simply NOT notice that the ceilings are low.

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

…and what they began to look like “after” (the squat entrancedoor on the right shows the difference; there’s nothing we can do to change that):

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

Here’s a closer look at the bathroom hallway “before” when the original owner was still living in the apartment (and I was just imagining buying it):

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

Not only did the new doors make the ceiling appear higher, they allow me to access stored items easily right up to the ceiling:

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

The tall doors generally give the space a sleeker, more spacious feel (despite the lowish windows and entrance door):

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

For additional images, check out the office sliding wall cleverly made of tall doors.

2 Responses to how to make low ceilings look higher (optical illusion)

  1. Angela 11.05.2013 at 10:07am #

    Are the doors custom? Did you use MDF? Who installed them? They look fantastic! Thanks

  2. Sally 11.05.2013 at 11:09am #

    We used a variety of doors, depending on the use. Bedroom and Bathroom doors are solid core for sound-deadening properties. The closet doors and office doors are hollow core (to save money) In 20-20 hindsight, I might have used some sold core doors for the closets because you can’t install hooks into hollow core doors securely. I ended up lining them with pegboard so I could hang things, an added expense (tool and linen closet mainly). Using hollow core doors for the office allowed me to use a mechanism that cost half as much as one that handled solid core doors. Those doors, and a few of the closet doors were custom widths due to the constraints of the space. We Though as I remember, we did buy some standard sizes and cut them down ourselves. The contractor’s carpenter did the work during the whole renovation, where we reframed the space. They were well worth the cost.

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