Design spotlight: Sharing advice for low ceilings IRL (and in FFXIV!)

I hinted at this a little bit in my Hello, 2022 post, but here’s this week’s big news: The Girly Geek Blog’s been published!

Last week, Redfin of all places* reached out and asked if I had any advice to share in a post they had planned about designing with low ceilings and making low-ceilinged spaces feel bigger. It was a pretty humbling experience, to be honest; I’d probably be the last person in the world to consider myself an expert on that type of thing, especially by a big, recognized brand, but there I was, being asked.

It also got me thinking—both about what I used to do in our tiny basement apartment to make it feel not quite so small, and what I tend to do in my FFXIV builds.

In both of those situations, I wanted to create the illusion of as much space as possible, but I always found myself with hard limits. Our apartment was only so big, and I only had so many options with the furniture we had. I couldn’t just change up our catalogue on a whim; I was no crafter.

At least in FFXIV, I had the ability to change things up, but I still had limits in terms of the space available.

See, the thing with FFXIV houses is that while they seem big, it’s all in their height. They’re unrealistically tall primarily to accommodate the game’s camera, which can get weird in small spaces. That alone doesn’t stop designers from closing in their spaces to make them feel like an IRL room. But without the right approach, it can also just make the room feel small.

It took a bit of thinking because I immediately had a few different ideas that could work. I thought about how I picked out that little apartment for its massive amount of natural light, about how I hung the curtains at our current house about four inches too high, about how I’ve endeavoured to make sure I’m not just installing everything at eye level.

I was only allowed to submit one tip, though, and it had to be three sentences or less. So the pressure was on to make it count.

In case you’re wondering, this is what I ended up saying:


Emphasize the height you do have, rather than focusing on the height you don’t.

Incorporate pieces that complement the height of your basement like tall curtains for a basement window, shelves and built-ins, artwork, or even an accent wall with vertical elements. This will pull the eye upwards to a dedicated focal point, which draws attention away from the ceiling and creates a sense that it’s higher than it really is. Be sure to leave a few inches above any tall furniture, too; this will add some extra separation between the walls and the ceiling so the room doesn’t feel closed in.

Yeah, I know. I really pushed it on that three-sentence maximum thing.

There’s also a lot of great advice in the entire post, including a few I might try out in some of my upcoming builds! I especially liked the points about low furniture, creating functional wall spaces, and even painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls. Have a look if you’re working on any low-ceilinged projects!

*Wait, why do I say it like this? Well, funny enough, the job I left about a year ago was also in the real estate space, so I was actually already familiar with Redfin. So this is a little bit of professional fangirling on my part.

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