10 Creative Ideas to Utilize High Ceilings in Living Rooms

If you’re like me, you know the blessings and challenges of having a home with high ceilings. On the one hand, who doesn’t love the feeling of openness and grandness that tall ceilings provide? But on the other hand, decorating and making the space feel cozy can be tricky.

Through my decorating journey in my 1910s bungalow, I’ve discovered many fun, creative ways to take advantage of the vertical space in my living room. From lighting to wall treatments to multifunctional decor, you’d be amazed at what’s possible! I can’t wait to share my best tips and inspiration so you can create a stylish, inviting living room that celebrates the height. Grab your coffee, and let’s chat about ideas…

1. Statement Lighting Fixtures

Don’t be afraid to go big in a high-ceilinged space when it comes to lighting! This is the perfect opportunity to add showstopper lighting fixtures that might overwhelm a smaller room.

Oversized Chandeliers

An oversized, dramatic chandelier is one of my all-time favorite high-ceiling lighting ideas. It instantly becomes the focal point and adds a sense of luxury. I’d describe my chandelier as the jewel in the crown of my living room – it makes the space!

When selecting your grand chandelier, make sure to choose a size and style suited to the room’s proportions. You want it to make a statement while still fitting the space. I also love that my chandelier provides beautiful ambient lighting in addition to being a decorator’s dream. The soft glow makes the living room feel so warm and inviting.

Creative Ways to Use a High Ceiling in a Living Room

Long Pendant Lights

Another excellent lighting option is to hang long pendant lights singularly or in a cluster. I installed three pendant fixtures descending from the ceiling above my coffee station – they draw the eye up and elongate the room’s look.

I love how pendant lighting adds a graceful, almost sculpture-like element. The vertical lines lead the eye upward, perfect for showing off soaring ceilings. You can also position pendant lights as accent lighting over specific areas, such as a bar cart or reading nook. Have fun playing with heights and arrangements until you find a look you love!

2. Architectural Details

One of my favorite ways to embrace the height is by highlighting the existing architectural elements, like exposed beams and ceiling details. This instantly adds character and depth!

Exposed Beams

There’s nothing like exposed beams to make a space feel special. The rustic-chic vibe adds cozy appeal while still feeling airy and light. Exposed beams also work with many different decor styles – try a minimalist design paired with modern furnishings or go all-in on a farmhouse.

During a renovation project, I had contractors add the exposed beams in my bungalow. It was so worth it! They instantly gave my living room a unique structural backbone, enhancing the charm.

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Coffered Ceilings

You can’t go wrong with coffered ceilings for a more refined architectural detail. The geometric panels create an elegant dimension, while the recessed squares help define the room’s proportions. I just love how coffered ceilings add a traditional, sophisticated touch.

Coffered ceilings pair beautifully with shiplap walls and other classic elements. You can also play with color by painting the recessed panels a contrasting hue from the rest of the ceiling and walls. So striking! If you crave extra elegance and definition, coffered ceilings are a dream.

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3. Vertical Wall Art and Decor

When decorating a living room with high ceilings, think vertically! Use wall art and decorations positioned from floor to top to enhance the sense of height.

Tall Paintings or Photographs

One of my favorite tricks is displaying large-scale artwork because it dramatically draws the eye. I also like mixing in some smaller pieces for a fun gallery wall effect. When grouping artwork, keep everything vertical for a cohesive, elongating look.

Large photographs are another excellent option for significant impact. A bold black and white print makes quite the style statement. Don’t be afraid to add pops of color with your oversized art for extra flair!

Vertical Shelving

Clever shelving solutions allow you to take advantage of all that lovely vertical real estate. One of my living room shelves houses my vintage cookbook collection, which fits the height and adds a fun touch.

Try floor-to-ceiling shelving or bookcases to display your favorite items while optimizing space. You can keep it clean and modern with open-concept shelves or go for an industrial chic, exposed pipe look. The options are endless! Just make sure your shelves help lead the eye upward.

4. Wall Textures and Materials

Texture is your best friend for adding visual interest when dealing with a sizable blank wall. Get creative with wall materials and accents!

Stone or Brick Accents

When sprucing up a high wall, I’m crazy for natural materials like stone and brick. An accent wall featuring stacked stone or exposed brick makes quite the rustic statement. There are even faux options that mimic the look of the real thing.

In my last living room redesign, I hired contractors to add a stone fireplace stretching to the ceiling. It became the room’s focal point! I styled the mantle simply, with just a couple of candles and a framed photo.

Decorative Wall Panels

Similarly, decorative wall panels or molding are splendid for drawing the eye up. Whether you opt for raised shapes, ornate carvings, or geometric designs, a textured wall panel creates intrigue and depth.

I like to use large wall panels or accents like my coffee table or sofa as backdrops for decor anchors. Choose a style that complements your core furniture pieces. Play with metallic finishes, distressed wood, or colorful painted panels – endless options!

Hang a Chandelier or Other Light Fixture to Draw the Eye Upward

5. Innovative Paint Schemes

When you have a blank high wall to work with, paint is an easy and affordable way to create a stylish focal point. Get creative with fun colors, ombre, graphic patterns, and more!

Two-Tone Walls

One trendy technique is to paint the upper and lower halves of the wall in contrasting colors. I love rich navy blue on the bottom paired with crisp, bright white on top. The color-blocking effect makes a bold statement.

Pro tip: Use a lighter color on the bottom to maintain an airy openness. A darker color on top will feel cozy instead of caving in the space. Play with different color combos until you find a pairing you adore!

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Striped Patterns

You can also make a bold paint statement with graphic stripes. Sharp vertical lines in contrasting white and black instantly catch the eye and draw it upwards. Wider stripes on the bottom and narrower bands at the top create almost an optical illusion.

I’m also obsessed with diagonal stripe accent walls! They add excellent movement while still guiding the eye vertically. Blue and white create a beachy vibe, or you can go for something funky and rainbow-hued – anything goes!

6. Incorporating Greenery

I love bringing lush greenery into a living room for a breath of fresh air. Plants instantly make a space more welcoming and lively. When you have the ceiling height, use vertical plants and gardens to optimize the space.

Hanging Plants

Dangling trailing plants from the ceiling adds natural beauty and utilizes all that vertical space. Some of my favorites are ferns, ivy, and air plants. Sequester them in hanging pots, macrame holders, or wire baskets for an organic feel. Go wild and create a whole jungle canopy effect!

Groupings of hanging plants above seating areas or in corner nooks look especially inviting. You can also find vertical freestanding planters to tuck in between furniture pieces or next to windows.

Vertical Gardens

Install a vertical garden if you want to show off your green thumb! Living walls and vertical planter systems allow you to grow herbs, succulents, or leafy greens from floor to ceiling.

I helped my handier DIYing friend install a vertical garden in her stairwell, using a series of galvanized pipes holding woven baskets as planters. It bloomed the previously bare space and added the most delightful fresh scent. Let your imagination run wild!

Arrange furniture

7. Play with Window Treatments

When you have the headspace, your window treatments hold unlimited potential for drama! Tall curtains, billowing sheers, and cascading drapes emphasize the room’s vertical dimension.

Dramatic Curtains

What’s better than extravagantly tall curtains? They instantly add height, presence, and sophisticated style to a living room. I splurged on long linen curtain panels that gently puddle on the floor for my latest refresh.

I love pairing billowing curtains with a contrasting valance or swag over the top window frame – the layering and texture feel so rich. And don’t forget the curtain rod! Opt for an ornate design that complements the style of your space.

Automated Shades

In addition to statement curtains, you can add convenient automated blinds or shades. With my hectic schedule, I love the customization and ease provided by motorized shades. I had blackout cellular shades installed in my sun-drenched living room windows, which I can control from my phone.

Now, I don’t have to fuss with cords, and I can adjust the lighting with the tap of a button—the modern look pairs perfectly with my transitional style. Automated shades bring both function and visual height!

8. Mezzanine or Loft

If you want to exploit all that available space, consider adding a separate level with a mezzanine or loft. Although this is a big project, it maximizes your usable square footage.

Second Story

I have a few house-flipping friends who’ve installed mezzanine floors to create a home office, playroom, or sitting lounge in the high-ceiling cavity. Usually, this second level is just a single room accessed by a simple staircase or ladder. Railings help keep the space feeling light and airy.

You can use the area for media rooms, game spaces, libraries, or additional storage space. Get creative with what fits your lifestyle or family’s needs!

Library Nook

Even without a second floor, you can create a charming little loft space for a reading nook. This cozy corner tucked up top provides a perfect escape – I’d curl up there for hours! Add bookshelves, a comfy chair, and warm lighting for a heavenly retreat.

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Lofts maximize usable space without taking over the whole room. Plus, they feel special, like a secret nook just for you. I may just have to add one in my next redesign…

Use Area Rugs to Define Different Spaces in Your Room

9. Unique Ceiling Fans

Since your ceiling fan will be in full view, consider picking a style that elevates the look! Many companies now offer unique designer fans that make a statement.

Stylish Blades

Check out ceiling fans with sculptural curved blades, colorful printed blades, or sleek and streamlined shapes. I’m swooning over the palm leaf design from Haiku – equal parts modern and organic!

Most people’s ceiling fan shopping involves deciding between 3 or 4 blades. But there are so many innovative options that can be natural style elements. It may seem like a simple change, but a statement ceiling fan makes a significant visual impact.

Smart Fans

If you want to take it to the next level, consider installing an intelligent ceiling fan you can control from your phone or smart home device. I love being able to adjust the lighting and fan speed from my couch when I’m too cozy (okay, maybe lazy) to get up.

Intelligent fans are also more energy efficient since you can quickly turn them off when not in use. For me, the convenience factor is a total game changer. And many intelligent models have fantastic, modern designs that complement my decor.

10. Acoustic Treatments

One final challenge in a spacious high-ceiling room is dealing with sound reverberations. Luckily, there are stylish solutions that also enhance the acoustics!

Sound Dampening Materials

Nobody likes an echoey room, but you’d be surprised how much adding textiles can reduce noise. Rugs, pillows, drapes, and other soft furnishings go a long way in reducing sound reverberation.

But for a real difference, you can also add acoustic panels made from sound-absorbing materials. Stylish felt or fabric-wrapped panels, which can be mounted on the wall as functional art p, create a world of difference in audio quality.

Decor With Acoustic Properties

Get creative by using home decor items that also dampen noise! For instance, hanging woven pendant lights or installing an acoustic tile backsplash in the kitchen helps muffle echo.

Beautiful acoustic diffuser panels shaped like wall art can warp your mind like an optical illusion. Form meets function with the sound-absorbing decor!

Incorporate Built In Bookshelves or Other Storage Solutions

Bringing It All Together

I hope these tips inspire you to embrace that soaring ceiling and create a stylish, functional space you’ll adore. Finding innovative ways to draw the eye up and fill the vertical space can make the room feel less cavernous.

Mix and match lighting, wall treatments, multi-level furnishings, greenery, and other architectural details until you have a cohesive look that celebrates the height. Don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative!

Of course, your living room should reflect your style and needs. Share any challenges and solutions you’ve discovered in dealing with a high ceiling. I’d love to hear your experiences!

And if you need more design inspiration for your tall spaces, join the conversation on my blog and Instagram. Let’s connect!