Do you think I can/should remove the low-hanging ceiling features?


You all have been SO helpful with my new 1973 home, that I want to solicit more help... in the kitchen now. I move in next week and plan to:

1) take ALL the wallpaper down and paint white

2) adding roman shades to windows... or leaving uncovered. The back is private.

3) I bought the table - plan to chalk paint white and decorate with neutrals

4) replace the light fixture over the table - going gold!

5) putting in new oak floors

6) painting the cabinets.

7) updating the appliances.

8) keeping the window's natural wood.....I loooove that "pop" when the kitchen is largely white.

9) removing that island on wheels. IMO, kitchen is too small for it.

But what I can't decide... should I try to flatten that ceiling out--the parts that are lower are so odd. My realtor said that they are not load-bearing and many people have removed them in the area. I'm not sure that is true of the one that goes into the lower living area. I think it's likely true of the rest.

My issue with removing vs just blending back with paint... is that i feel like if they go, so do the upper cabinets. And they are not in bad shape. It seems like it would need to either be an open kitchen... or I need custom upper cabinets to go to the ceiling. I'm not big on the upper cabinets and I'm a minimalist on "things". So I could make that work. But if I were to sell the home for whatever reason...I think others would miss the added storage.

I have stayed up nights over this kitchen, but believe me, I love this stuff! :)

Including 5 photos.

q do you think i can should remove the low hanging ceiling features
q do you think i can should remove the low hanging ceiling features
q do you think i can should remove the low hanging ceiling features
q do you think i can should remove the low hanging ceiling features
q do you think i can should remove the low hanging ceiling features
I wonder if this drop down is concealing a beam...
  19 answers
  • CJ CJ on Oct 16, 2020

    The beams could be load bearing or concealing the heat/AC ducts. For sure you have electric in there.

    Try removing the wallpaper boarder and paint white, you may be pleasantly surprised at how the beams fade away.

    Congratulations on your new home!

    • Brooke Watson Brooke Watson on Oct 16, 2020

      That's what I'm worried about. Probably opening Pandora's box when some paint will make it a whole new kitchen.

  • Nan Hodgson Nan Hodgson on Oct 19, 2020

    Good idea about the wallpaper being removed, what about painting the cupboards above the fridge/freezer and the wooden look door the same as the wall. So you have not got the brown breaking up the flow.

    • Brooke Watson Brooke Watson on Oct 19, 2020

      Yes!, for sure I have purchased white chalk paint for the kitchen cabinets. I've been chalk painting for about 10 years, so i'm very excited to start on them! Should make a huge difference to just get the entire kitchen area white and change out the lighting...window treatments. So many easy fixes, but the fireplace and those poles give me a headache. :)

  • on Oct 19, 2020

    Often those soffits are hiding ducts and there’s really no way to know for sure without taking them down. I would start with the things you’ve listed and then see if they still bother you that much. I expect taking down the borders that draw so much attention to them will make a huge difference.

  • I would cut a small hole in the soffit to see what's inside. Although they may not be load bearing, they may hide ductwork for the fan over the stove and wiring for the recessed lights. It may just be easier to paint them to blend in.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Oct 19, 2020

    Ceiling hugging fixtures will certainly make the ceiling seem higher. I don't think I would spend the money trying to remove those lower beams on the ceiling. If you paint everything white, I think they will just disappear. I like the idea of some kind of window treatment, perhaps the roman shades, or a matchstick blind that operates like a roman shade. Your plans sound great!

    • Brooke Watson Brooke Watson on Oct 19, 2020

      I think i'll give it all a paint makeover and see if that's all that needs done. I feel like they will drop back a lot. I have some awesome roman shade swatches! Hoping to order as soon as I move in next week and can measure. I love roman shades!

  • Mccloser Mccloser on Oct 19, 2020

    Our 70's home had ductwork and electric up there, so to keep our renovation costs down, we worked around the soffits and added crown molding at the ceiling to draw the eye up.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Oct 19, 2020

    OK, I am going to swim upstream here.

    I really like the border it adds character to the rooms, you may want to consider replacing it with something more your taste. What I would remove is the spindle and fence between the living room and the dining room if it is not a support for the beam over it. Then put a large green leafy plant to where the fence meets the wall. You'd have to get a contractor in there to see if that is a load bearing wall, they do construction for a living and give free estimates.

    Also I would keep the light fixture over the d/r table, just beautiful.

    Hope I didn't hurt your feelings and best to you.

  • William William on Oct 19, 2020

    It's possible it is a load bearing soffit. Or just a separation to delineate the kitchen from the dining room. You can cut a six inch square hole in the side of the soffit and with a flashlight inspect what is up there. If there's no beam and just electrical it can be removed, remove/reroute any electrical, patch with drywall level with the ceiling. To me it looks more like a separation of the kitchen and dining room than load bearing. With recessed lights installed over the island. If you do remove it and able to reroute the electrical you can install pendant lights over the island for a more modern and open look.

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Oct 19, 2020

    I like the high ceiling. The trim (wallpaper border?) could go with area painted. The railing between dining and living room is a safety feature to keep someone from pushing chair back too far and falling. I had that happen on a 2-tiered deck. A ceiling hugging light over the table would open things up. Adding oak flooring may cause problems with your doors. Consider thickness when buying product.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Oct 21, 2020

      You could build a half wall and get rid of the post and other Early American features. You can also leave the post there and cover it with flat boards and paint to match the room. I did this in last house to update the look from 1970s spindles.

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 19, 2020

    Make everything possible one level. Floor and ceiling. This is make it look modern and cleaner also. But please check before removing anything with a pro so you don't knock something down that needs to be left untouched. I would pay a few bucks to have an engineer look at it to be on the safe side.

  • Cindy Cindy on Oct 20, 2020

    Hi Brooke. A handy. rule of thumb is that a light fixture should be 12 inches narrower than a table and have at least 48 inches of space from each of the room walls. Hang a light fixture approximately 30 to 34 inches over a table.

  • Nan Hodgson Nan Hodgson on Oct 20, 2020

    Some brilliant ideas for you, depends on costs I suppose . Good luck with what ever you decide and when its finished please show photos.

  • Dee Dee on Oct 20, 2020

    This is going to be an expensive project because some of those walls are load bearing and you need to get a contractor to assess the ceiling. You do not want your roof to cave in. If you do not want to keep the railings behind you chairs. You will need to level the floor, another very expensive job. I would start with a contractor to see what exactly is possible. If your budget doesn't allow some of the changes. I would remove the wallpaper trim and paint everything an off white. You could even do some false crown molding, by putting in corner pieces and then cutting straight pieces to fit in between the corners. It really looks great. A nice porcelain tile would look great in that kitchen.

  • Deb K Deb K on Oct 21, 2020

    Hi Brooke, it really does come down to personal preference, looks like you are doing a fabulous job!! Please post finished pictures!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 22, 2020

    Hello Brooke,

    Why must you change everything! Live with it for a while and let the home talk to you! The only things that need to be done immediately would be Roof issues. Everything else cannot be done at once. I realize you want to make it YOUR home, but that takes time. Do live in it for a while before you start to trash it! That goes for the Garden too! You have to leave it a Year to see what's in it and possibly why it was put there. My husband was an Architect before he retired, and I was a Florist. We are gardeners and we took on an old home and garden. Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water! Best wishes.

  • Mike T Mike T on Oct 23, 2020

    Yes I agree, live in your new home and get the feel of it first before you start knocking it about and dream of ideas and make initial notes and compare them after a while and see how many ideas will have changed over that time

  • Betsy Betsy on Oct 23, 2020

    Hi Brooke: I would not take advice about load bearing walls from a realtor! He/she may know what they're talking about, but then again, maybe not. I wouldn't trust that advice, but would get professional advice or just leave it as a point of division between the rooms. My goodness, you certainly have a full plate!

    Lets go by the numbers:







    7: New appliances are always nice:)

    8: I, too, love the look of natural wood

    9: Roll that island out to the garage, basement or patio and use it for small jobs or potting plants.

    I'd leave the upper cabinets alone because the kitchen would look weird without them and, as you say, if you plan on selling later on, you will never find matching cabinets and it would cost a lot. If you don't need them, then just don't use them.

    Good luck, and loads of energy, you're going to need it :)

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Oct 31, 2020

    i would remove border to have feel of hight ceilings for sure

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 04, 2021


    I would leave well alone, Live with them for a while, they could grow on you, specially with your new look!