The Insider: Don't let low ceilings get you down


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The Independent Online

I've finally visited a Heston Blumenthal-ed Little Chef. The transformation from claustrophobia-inducing roadside last resort to everything one could hope for from a motorway fast-food chain is spectacular on all fronts. I was particularly impressed by the makeover of the trademark low ceilings, now adorned with trompe l'oeil sky. It got me thinking about less radical solutions to improve rooms with limited headroom – and I asked budget-friendly interior designer/stylist Beth Worth of for her tips…

No likey, no lighty

"If a room lacks height, the first thing is: do not put lighting fixtures on it – that will exaggerate things. Go instead for wall sconces, table lights and floor lamps."

Gloss adjuster

"In a pale room, use a ceiling paint with a slight sheen – it will bounce light around and feel airier."

A stretch of the imagination

"Don't be afraid of a dark ceiling; people might assume that dark will shrink things but in fact it can stretch the space by adding depth."

Shady character

"Paint skirting boards and window frames darker than the walls – it will distract the eye downwards, away from the low ceiling."

Keep a low profile

The further from the ceiling your furniture is, the higher it will appear. Think of the typical 1950s house, and the era's low-slung Ercol and Eames pieces…"

Draw something

"Do the same with curtains: floor-length ones, hung high, will create the illusion of height."

Help your shelf

"A low, floating display shelf stretching the entire length of one wall is a great idea, too. Curate little exhibitions on it to draw attention lower down."

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at