One reason small houses look small is that the standard, eight-foot flat ceiling creates spatial monotony in small rooms. But there are various design strategies that can help you avoid monotony. Many of the examples in this article make use of light from above. In fact, bringing light in from overhead, or bouncing light from a valance up onto a ceiling, is perhaps the most important reason for breaking up and out of the flat ceiling. Keeping this in mind, the emphasis will be on configurations that break open the flat ceiling. One simple device is a hole in the floor above, which lets the space below flow up and connect with another level of the house. Two other approaches