7 Ways to Maximize the Vertical Space in Your Home

I’m going to show you how to maximize the vertical space in your home with this easy tutorial. Vertical space can be utilized to gain more storage space in every room in your home.

Use decor items, storage solutions, and clever decorating ideas to make the most of your limited space. I'll show you creative ways to use every inch of space by learning how to use vertical space with these simple tips. I’m using some of these solutions in a fixer-upper I’m working on.

Remodeling a house

1. Remodel

The house I’m remodeling is a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bathroom rambler. My challenge: how do I make this small home feel bigger? One of the ways to do that is to go vertical. You can go vertical literally or figuratively, and here’s how. Let’s start with the literal approach.

Removing walls

Removing walls

We removed all the walls between the living room, dining room, and the kitchen. We were able to turn three small rooms into one decent-sized room. When we removed the walls, we had the opportunity to raise the ceilings in the center of the newly combined space.

Raising the ceiling

Raising the ceiling

We couldn’t vault the entire ceiling because that would have required major structural work and major costs outside of our budget. So, we stuck with raising the ceiling in the center. But when we did this, there was an immediate physical shift in the way the space felt.

Making ceilings higher
Why do higher ceilings matter?

The square footage remained the same, but it changed the way it felt. And, why is that? Why do spaces with higher ceilings feel bigger? You can have a room that’s 10 feet by 10 feet with 8-foot high ceilings or a room that’s 10 feet by 10 feet with 9-foot high ceilings. That one extra foot can dramatically change the way the room feels.

Measuring the room length and width

Let’s break that down. When looking at a home's square footage, we typically look at the amount of space underfoot. The square footage is calculated by the length times the width.

Measuring the square footage of a room

What’s not taken into consideration is the square footage above your head, or, what is called the cubic foot measurement. That is the length times the width times the height.

A space feels larger when it has taller ceilings because it is! It has more square feet, or cubic feet, above the head. I never understood why the real estate market doesn’t capture this measurement when talking about a house. This measurement makes the house bigger because in actuality, it is now larger.

How to create the illusion of more space

Creating the illusion of a bigger space

This is how we can go vertical figuratively. In interior design, there are several ways to use your vertical space to make the room feel larger. In the example above, you can see there are a few ways this room was made to feel expansive.

Artisan lighting example 1
Artisan lighting example 2
Artisan lighting example 3

2. Artisan lighting

Artisan lighting (examples above) is a light fixture that doubles as a piece of art. Its beauty draws the person in and the eyes up. Once they are looking up, they’re taking in more of the space and not just what’s at eye level.

Artisan ceiling fan

3. Ceiling fan

For this project, I was torn between using an artisan light fixture in the center of the space or going with the functionality of a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans help the space feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter when you reverse the fan’s direction. But oftentimes ceiling fans don’t always look as special as an artisan light fixture, which is like eye candy. Yes, it is functional since it puts off light, but it’s also very engaging.

Ceiling fan with an unusual shape

I finally found a ceiling fan that offered the best of both worlds. The unusual shape of the ceiling fan captures attention and when people gaze up at it, they will unknowingly take in the space above their head. That sense of additional space won’t immediately dissipate.

Living room
Building a floor-to-ceiling TV wall
Floor-to-ceiling TV wall

4. Floor-to-ceiling TV wall

Another way we are using the vertical space in this room is with the TV wall (like in the example above). We are creating an 8-inch bump out from the wall that goes from floor to ceiling.

Electric fireplace

I needed to choose between an electric fireplace or a console table for the space below the TV. I went with the electric fireplace. This wall now becomes the focal point in the room. It is a strong floor-to-ceiling and dramatical vertical element that will surely draw the eye up.

Placing drapes high up to the ceiling
Floor-to-ceiling drapes

5. Placing curtains high

Another way to create height is to place your curtains as close to the ceiling as possible to best utilize the vertical space in the room. Don’t stop at the top of the window. Take the curtain panels all the way up. Doing so makes the window look taller and draws the eye up.

Large-scale artwork
Hanging large-scale artwork

6. Hanging large-scale artwork

Large artwork also makes use of vertical space. Using this type of artwork draws someone in and takes their eyes up. If you don’t have one large piece, use a collection of pieces to give that large engagement effect.

Installing architectural elements
How to use vertical space

7. Installing architectural elements

Crown molding and decorative ceiling details are great examples of designing with your vertical space in mind. As your guests gaze up to take in the details, they are also taking in more of the room’s space.

How to use vertical space

Most of the ceilings in this home are 8 feet tall so there are many opportunities around this house to use vertical space. So how we use the vertical spaces in this project will be critical.

Let me know in the comments if you have a new perspective on the space above your head and if you think it’s possible to use more vertical space in your home.

Join the conversation
3 of 4 comments
  • Avv49403440 Avv49403440 on Oct 22, 2023
    Hello. Could you tell me where I could buy the ceiling fan? Thanks a lot.
  • Robin Robin on Mar 12, 2024
    Thank you for so many great tips! I have high ceilings & struggle to fill the vertical space. You have a lovely, upscale design sense that inspired me to think bigger 😎