Color and Ceiling Height Perceptions (08-09-18)

Castell, Hecht, and Oberfeld investigated how ceiling color influences how high a ceiling seems to be. As the researchers report, “Previous studies have reported that the perceived height of an interior space is influenced by the luminance [brightness] of the ceiling, but not by the luminance contrast between ceiling and walls: brighter ceilings appeared higher than darker ceilings, irrespective of wall and floor luminance. However, these studies used solely achromatic colors. We report an experiment in which we extend these findings to effects of chromatic ceiling colors.We presented stereoscopic room simulations on a head-mounted display (Oculus Rift DK2) and varied hue (red, green, blue), saturation (low, high), and luminance (bright, dark) of the ceiling independently of each other.We found the previously reported ceiling luminance effect to apply also to chromatic colors: subjects judged brighter ceilings to be higher than darker ceilings. The remaining color dimensions merely had a very small (hue) or virtually no effect (saturation) on perceived height.”

Christoph von Castell, Heiko Hecht, and Daniel Oberfeld.  “Which Attribute of Ceiling Color Influences Perceived Room Height?” Human Factors:  The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, in press,