Hey friends, it’s Amanda, your favorite interior decorating addict. I’m so excited to chat with you today about one of my famous decor dilemmas – designing a home with high ceilings.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been mesmerized by the beauty and grandeur of tall ceilings. There’s something about that sense of openness and light that just breathes life into a home. But I know they can also be a decorating challenge, especially when picking the proper layout, furniture, lighting, and more.
Well, you’re in luck! In this post, I’ll share all my tips and tricks for making the absolute most of a high-ceiling living room. We’ve covered you, from working with proportions and scale to choosing the perfect statement décor. Let’s dive in!
- 1 Introduction to High Ceiling Living Rooms
- 2 Planning Your High Ceiling Living Room Layout
- 3 Lighting Strategies for High Ceiling Spaces
- 4 Wall Decor and Art for High Ceilings
- 5 Utilizing Vertical Space
- 6 Color Schemes and Wall Finishes for Elevated Elegance
- 7 Window Treatments for Tall Windows
- 8 Selecting the Right Furniture for Scale and Comfort
- 9 Accessorizing and Personalizing Your High Ceiling Living Room
- 10 Sound Considerations in High-Ceilinged Rooms
- 11 Inspiring High Ceiling Living Room Design Themes
Introduction to High Ceiling Living Rooms
Before we get to the fun decor stuff, let’s quickly familiarize ourselves with the fundamentals of a high-ceiling space.
What Exactly is a “High Ceiling”?
Rooms over 9 feet high generally have “high ceilings.” Some newer homes boast dramatic 2-story family rooms with soaring 20-foot-tall ceilings!
The Appeal of High Ceilings
So, what makes high ceilings so unique? Here are some of the benefits:
- They make rooms feel more open, airy and spacious
- Allow more natural light into the home
- Offer a grand, dramatic beauty
- Provide greater flexibility with decorating options
- Allow for more oversized windows and higher furniture
Of course, along with the benefits come some decorating challenges. But never fear! By the end of this post, you’ll be a pro at designing spaces with tall ceilings.
A Quick History Lesson
High ceilings have been popular in homes for centuries, from Victorian-era mansions to the Arts and crafts bungalows of the early 1900s. After WWII, ceiling heights decreased, but the open-concept floor plans of the 1970s and 80s brought them back into vogue.
High ceilings are a sought-after feature, adding architectural interest and beauty to modern homes. Let’s learn how to make them shine!
Planning Your High Ceiling Living Room Layout
Regarding layout, a high-ceiling living room requires careful planning and strategic furniture arrangement. Here are my top tips:
Focus on Balance and Proportion
The layout should balance the ceiling’s height with the room’s other elements. Arrange furniture to draw the eye upwards and accentuate the importance of verticality.
Mind the Scale
When choosing furniture, decor, and accessories, opt for appropriately scaled pieces. Avoid tiny items that get dwarfed or bulky bits that overwhelm you. Instead, select medium-large furnishings.
Pro tip: Use a measuring tape to check furniture dimensions before purchasing. Items should be no more than 1/3 and no less than 1/5 of your ceiling height.
Anchor the layout with symmetrically placed furniture, such as sofas, chairs, lamps, art, etc. The symmetry adds balance and harmony to the tall space.
Establish a Focal Point
Use a striking chandelier, bold art piece, or large mirror to create a focal point that draws the eye up. This focal point anchors the room.
Mind the Traffic Flow
Map out traffic routes through the space. Arrange seating to allow open pathways for moving around.
Plan the layout based on how you’ll use the room. For family time, space sofas and chairs around a central coffee table. Or create flexible modular seating for entertaining large groups.
Incorporate floor lamps, sconces, and table lamps into the layout. Lighting is crucial for a well-planned look in rooms with high ceilings (more on this later!).
Cohesive Color Palette
Pick a color scheme that complements the architecture. Neutrals allow the beauty of high ceilings to shine.
With these tips, you can achieve a balanced, harmonious layout even in a room with soaring-high ceilings! Now, let’s move on to lighting.
Lighting Strategies for High Ceiling Spaces
When it comes to lighting tall spaces, think in layers. Combining ambient, task, and accent lighting creates a cohesive lighting plan.
Challenges of Lighting High Ceilings
High ceilings come with unique lighting challenges:
- Insufficient light can leave rooms feeling dark and gloomy
- Harsh, intense lighting creates glare and shadows
- Recessed lighting alone can feel cold and cave-like
But with the right mix of lighting, you can create a warm, welcoming ambiance.
Types of Lighting for High Ceilings
Here are the must-have lighting varieties for tall spaces:
This provides overall illumination for the entire room. Try:
- Sleek pendant lights or chandeliers
- Washed recessed ceiling lights
- Mounted ceiling or wall lights
This illuminates specific zones like work areas. Try:
- Under-cabinet lights in kitchens
- Desk lamps in home offices
- Floor lamps and table lamps in living rooms
This highlights architectural details or decor. Try:
- Wall sconces illuminating artwork
- Picture lights above photos and paintings
- Track lighting to spotlight shelves
Designing Your Lighting Plan
Here are my insider tips for creating a stellar lighting plan:
- Invest in dimmers and smart bulbs. This allows easy lighting control.
- Use recessed lighting to bathe the room in ambient light.
- Incorporate matching floor lamps and sconces for symmetrical task lighting.
- Use accent lighting above and around eye-catching furniture or art.
- Choose energy-efficient LED bulbs that work well in high ceilings.
- Always opt for illumination on the warmer end of the color spectrum.
Your high ceiling can feel cozy and welcoming with the right lighting mix!
Now, let’s move on to how to decorate those tall walls.
Wall Decor and Art for High Ceilings
When it comes to wall decor, you need pieces that complement the proportions of your space. Here are my decorating tips:
Choose the Right Scale
Look for oversized art and mirrors to match the tall ceilings. Select pieces at least 50-75% of the wall height for impact.
Create a Gallery Wall
A fun alternative is to cluster small-medium pieces in a gallery wall. This shows off your collection and draws the eye up the wall.
Pro Tip: Maintain symmetry by keeping gallery clusters at an equal distance from the edges and ceiling.
Vary Hanging Height
Mixing up the hanging height of wall art adds visual interest. Hang small pieces lower and significant reports higher.
Find the Perfect Focal Piece
Incorporate a bold, oversized focal point- such as a large mirrored art piece or colorful abstract painting- to make a dramatic statement.
Add texture with grasscloth, flocked, or other textured wallpaper. Look for large-scale or vertical patterns to complement height.
Add Architectural Interest
Incorporate wood accent walls, shiplap planks, or 3D wall panels. These elements add depth while drawing the eye up.
Use mounted picture lights or track lighting to illuminate the artwork. This showcases your pieces beautifully.
See, decorating those tall walls isn’t so tricky after all! Now, let’s chat about how to work with all that beautiful vertical space.
Utilizing Vertical Space
One of the biggest perks of a high ceiling is all that vertical real estate. Here’s how to take advantage:
Incorporate Tall Storage
Make the most of the height with floor-to-ceiling bookcases or shelving units. Bonus points for built-ins!
Draw the Eye Upwards
Place tall, slender decor items like floor lamps, candles, vases, and plants throughout the space. The vertical elements will direct the eye to the ceiling.
Add Architectural Interest
Install ceiling beams or decorative molding to add shape and detail overhead. Alternatively, consider using wallpaper or paint to create a two-story accent wall.
Use Dramatic Window Treatments
Hang floor-length curtains high and wide to draw the eye up and accentuate tall windows. For depth, layer sheer and blackout curtains.
Consider a Mezzanine
Add a mezzanine level with a home office or reading nook. This utilizes vertical space while adding functionality.
Hang Art Vertically
Position art lengthwise for maximum impact. Hang paintings so the subjects “sit” higher.
See, you don’t need to waste that valuable vertical space! A few intelligent upgrades help you maximize the height.
Now, let’s choose colors and textures to complement your tall ceilings.
Color Schemes and Wall Finishes for Elevated Elegance
Color and texture may seem minor, but they create a cohesive, high-ceiling space!
The Power of Color Psychology
Use color strategically to enhance the ambiance:
- Light, cool hues like blues and greens feel serene and airy
- Warm neutrals like tans, creams, and grays highlight architectural details
- Bold accent walls in reds or oranges feel enveloping and cozy
Choosing Paint Finishes
Consider how sheen impacts light reflection:
- High-gloss finishes illuminate rooms with their reflective quality
- Satin or eggshell offer a soft luminosity without being too shiny
- Matte finishes can feel flat in high ceilings, so use them sparingly
Add visual interest with:
- Grasscloth or flocked wallpaper
- Shiplap wood planks
- Exposed brick walls
- 3D accent walls
Pro Tip: Use metallic paints or accents for glamour. Brass, copper, and gold add warmth.
See how the right colors and textures, used strategically, can make your high ceiling space shine. Let’s move on to dressing those tall windows!
Window Treatments for Tall Windows
Window treatments might seem like an afterthought, but they go a long way in creating a polished, pulled-together look.
Styles to Consider
Here are my recommended treatment styles for high ceilings:
- Floor length and rippling curtains add movement and elegance.
- Roman shades offer a structured look when stacked up.
- Sheer curtains softly filter light and obscure views.
- Layer curtains over shades or blinds for depth.
Function meets Form
Choose window treatments that provide privacy and insulation without skimping on elegance.
Create an Illusion of Height
Hanging rods near the crown molding will draw the eye and elongate the windows. Extending the treatments wider than the window itself will also create this effect.
Mix and Match
Don’t be afraid to combine elements like breezy sheers with structured shutters. This adds visual interest.
Pro Tip: Install decorative cornices at the top for a polished finish.
See, you can turn those tall windows into a real focal point with the right window treatments!
Now, let’s choose seats, sofas, and statement decor.
Selecting the Right Furniture for Scale and Comfort
When furnishing a high ceiling space, proportion and comfort are key. Here are my top tips:
Choose the Right Scale
Opt for medium to large-sized furnishings. Anything too small gets dwarfed.
Pro tip: Measure the height of furniture and compare it to the size of the ceiling. Pieces should be at most 1/5 and at most 1/3 the ceiling height.
Incorporate Vertical Elements
Use furniture silhouettes that draw the eyes up, such as high-back chairs, tall floor lamps, four-poster beds, long console tables, etc.
Make a Statement
Choose a bold, eye-catching piece like an oversized sofa or ornate cabinet. This anchors the room and becomes a focal point.
Multifunctional is Key
Opt for couches and ottomans with hidden storage to declutter with style.
Focus on Comfort
Avoid sacrificing comfort for style. Choose plush, cozy fabrics and fillings. Incorporate removable slipcovers to change up the look seasonally.
You needn’t compromise comfort or style to decorate a space with high ceilings. With some thoughtful furniture choices, you can have both!
Now, let’s chat about fun ways to accessorize your space.
Accessorizing and Personalizing Your High Ceiling Living Room
Accessories are the jewels that take your space from bland to grand. Here are my favorite ways to accessorize:
Incorporate Vertical Greenery
Place tall, potted palms in the corners of the room. The extra height will draw eyes up and add life.
Add Pops of Color
Add color to neutral spaces with accents like throw pillows, ceramics, and fresh flowers.
Show Off Your Collections
Display treasured trinkets, shells, or artwork in wall-mounted shadowboxes and shelves. This adds a personal touch.
Pro Tip: Arrange collections symmetrically for a harmonious look.
Bring in Natural Elements
Incorporate wood or stone decor items for organic texture. Try driftwood, geode slices, or marble statues.
Gold, silver, or copper, adding glamour accents. Try metallic frames, candlesticks, vases, or sculptures.
The accessories breathe life into a space and show off your unique personality!
Now, let’s tackle a technical challenge – sound quality.
Sound Considerations in High-Ceilinged Rooms
While gorgeous, high ceilings can cause some acoustic issues. Here are tips to improve sound quality:
Identify Sound Issues
- Echo caused by excessive reverberation
- Noisy rooms with a hollow, cave-like quality
- Poor sound insulation from upstairs rooms
Solutions for Sound Control
- Install acoustic wall and ceiling panels to absorb echo.
- Incorporate dense, multilayer window treatments to insulate noise.
- Choose plush furnishings like velvet couches over leather.
- Add area rugs and wall hangings for sound absorption.
- Don’t push furniture against walls – allow sound to dissipate.
- Seal air leaks around fixtures, causing noise transfer.
A few tweaks can drastically improve sound quality and privacy, even in the most echo-y spaces.
Let’s end with some fun examples of high-ceiling design themes.
Inspiring High Ceiling Living Room Design Themes
Choosing a theme that showcases the architecture is one of the best parts of designing a high-ceiling space. Here are some of my favorites:
Think clean lines, neutral colors, and ample negative space, allowing the height to shine. Incorporate modern art, metallic accents, and fluid, curved furniture silhouettes.
Exposed beams, brick walls, metallic pipes, plush furniture, rich wood, and cozy textiles create an eclectic industrial feel.
Ornate details like crown moldings, carved wood furnishings, and chandeliers create a glamorous old-world atmosphere. Deep hues, heavy drapes, and floral motifs add to the luxury.
A global mix of patterns, textures, and exotic details creates a cozy, playful vibe. Try a large world map mural, souvenir collections, and an exotic rug.
Crisp whites, weathered wood, and nautical stripes evoke breezy seaside cottages. Incorporate driftwood, shells, and aqua hues to achieve a beachy look.
And there you have it, friends – everything you need to know about decorating wide-open, high-ceiling living rooms!
With the suitable layout, lighting, furnishings, and decorative accents, you can create a comfortable, stylish space that celebrates the beauty of lofty heights. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own.