Author Says Lowering Ceilings Adds Visual Impact

imagesSarah 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)

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