Good morning, y’all. I’m pumped to dive into this decor chat on one of my favorite elements – high ceilings! As soon as I stepped into my bungalow, with its lofty living room, I knew we were meant to be. And I’ve been hooked on grand spaces ever since.
High ceilings just have a way of making a home feel luxurious. All that vertical space adds a sense of drama and possibility to any room, and your decor options expand along your walls. But those added inches (or feet!) raise plenty of questions. What do you even call those towering tops? And how do you decorate to match their scale? Grab your fave caffeine fix and settle in as we break it all down.
- 1 Defining High Ceilings in Homes
- 2 A Brief History of High Ceilings
- 3 The Allure of Height: Benefits of High Ceilings
- 4 Decorating Your High Ceiling Space
- 5 Special Considerations for High Ceilings
- 6 Let Those Ceilings Soar!
Defining High Ceilings in Homes
Let’s start with the basics – what counts as a high ceiling anyway? Well, your standard ceiling height falls around 8 feet. Anything above that enters lofty territory! High ceilings generally range from 9 feet to a soaring 20 feet or more.
Of course, walk into any home with extra overhead space, and you’ll want to know what to call it. Here are some familiar names for ceilings with a little more height:
You likely picture vaulted ceilings as big, sweeping curves. But the technical term refers to any ceiling that slopes upward from the walls at a subtle or dramatic angle. Vaulted tops often feature beams that draw the eye upward and can make compact rooms feel more expansive. I used a faux vaulted look with simple planks to open up my awkward attic space.
Like vaulted ceilings, cathedral tops slope upward from each wall. But they’re much steeper, with almost symmetrical angles similar to a cathedral’s interior (hence the name). You’ll also spot exposed rafters along the peak. If you’re looking for serious drama, nothing beats the awe factor of cathedral ceilings!
Are you looking for decorative elegance? Tray ceilings, traditionally found in fancy dining rooms, have a recessed center panel that opens up the space while adding ornate details. Imagine being surrounded by detailed molding, and you’ve got the idea.
Coffers may sound like a coffee shop drink, but they’re another super decorative ceiling option! These ceilings have a grid of recessed square or octagonal panels, often with extra molding. The structured look provides visual interest and pairs perfectly with traditional architecture.
Exposed wood beams are a hallmark of beamed ceilings. You’ll find these rustic tops in cozy cabins and farmhouse-style homes. The crisscrossing timber beams add texture while the height pulls your gaze upward. Exposed electric wires and ductwork can complement the utilitarian vibe. Think worn oak, exposed brick, and cozy textiles.
A Brief History of High Ceilings
So, where did the trend for tall ceilings originate? Well, the lofty architecture dates back to ancient civilizations! Temples, palaces, and places of grandeur often featured soaring interiors. Just look at the towering pyramids of Ancient Egypt and the columned porticos of Greek temples. Height symbolized power and the divine right to rule.
In medieval cathedrals, super-tall ceilings pointed towards God and heaven. Architects used new technologies to construct intricately carved stone ceilings that reached unfathomable heights. Stained glass windows filled the space with dazzling light. Talk about aspirational design!
Of course, form has always followed function, too. Before modern heating and cooling, high ceilings improved airflow and temperature regulation in structures from Ancient Rome to Victorian manors.
Today, taller ceilings are an on-trend indulgence that immediately increases the wow factor. We may not be royalty, but who doesn’t want to feel like it in their abode? High ceilings transform any space into a modern palace.
The Allure of Height: Benefits of High Ceilings
What exactly makes high ceilings so sought-after anyway? Well, some definite perks come with extra overhead space! Here are just a few benefits that might have you looking up:
Grandeur and Luxury – High ceilings exude an undeniable aura of grandeur from historic estates to open-concept condos. All that vertical space just feels palatial! Vaults and cathedral ceilings create an instant luxury, even in compact floorplans.
Airiness and Openness – More space between floor and ceiling makes rooms feel airier and less claustrophobic. Your eye is drawn upward toward possibility, which creates an open vibe. Breezes circulate better, too, for improved air quality.
Abundant Natural Light – Tall ceilings allow for more oversized windows and more ambient daylight. The sun pours into a space unobstructed, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Vaults and cathedrals also lend themselves perfectly to solar tubes and skylights.
Adaptable Style – The architectural appeal of height suits a range of aesthetics from modern to traditional. Dramatic cathedrals or warm wood beams infuse character. Neutral plaster allows other elements to shine.
High ceilings boast form and function! But those extra inches impact decor too…
Decorating Your High Ceiling Space
Here comes the fun part – decorating your towering space! While high ceilings offer ample possibilities, they also present unique style challenges.
Scale Proportionately – When ceilings soar, decor must follow suit. Oversized art, substantial lighting, and tall furniture keep things cohesive. Don’t be afraid to size up! Bold makes sense visually.
Use Height – Incorporate vertical elements that draw the eye up, like floor-to-ceiling drapes, tall shelving, and gallery walls. Repeat lines with molding and wainscoting. Hang pieces high for balance.
Add Layers – Vast expanses of blank ceilings will feel sparse, so add warmth through layering. Try beam detailing, pendant clusters, or medallions. Painting the ceiling a color adds an enveloping cocoon effect, too.
Zone and Define – To keep cavernous areas intimate, use ceiling details like beams or coffering to define functional zones. Lighting fixtures over each area reinforce the effect.
Make it Monumental: For true architectural drama, go grand! Oversized fixtures, substantial timbers, expansive galleries, and sumptuous finishes take full advantage of soaring heights.
Special Considerations for High Ceilings
Cathedral tops may be heavenly, but additional height comes with practical considerations, too. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:
Acoustics & Sound
With more open space, sounds reverberate and echo more in open-air ceilings than in typical roofs. Curved vaults tend to disperse sound waves better than sharp angles, too. Strategically place sound-absorbing furnishings and wall coverings to reduce bounce.
Opt for ample layered lighting from overheads to accent tracks to illuminate a vast ceiling. Brighter bulbs, higher wattages, and multiple fixtures prevent dark, gloomy corners. Dimmer switches allow you to control the brightness.
Heating & Cooling
Heat rises, so maintaining cozy temps can be trickier. Strategic vents, fans to circulate air, and a zoned HVAC system with smart thermostats can offset heat loss and cold zones.
Maintenance & Repairs
From cleaning cobwebs to swapping lightbulbs, maintenance is more challenging at height. Invest in a quality extra-tall ladder or hire pros to tackle tasks safely. Watch for leaks, too, which can be obscured high overhead.
Let Those Ceilings Soar!
Hopefully, you will be inspired to embrace the elegance of airy design in your space. Don’t be afraid to dream significantly about height – vault those ceilings, install skylights, and open up the floorplan. Your home should reflect your grand style!
Of course, added height isn’t feasible for everyone. But even modest ceiling medallions or planked beams add a taste of drama. Decorating should tell your unique story. So embrace what speaks to your spirit – a cozy cabin vibe or breathtaking cathedral grandeur.