Design Inspo

High Ceiling Living Room Ideas For Your Home

Tall ceilings are an opportunity, not an obstacle. After reviewing these high-ceiling living room ideas, your home will be the height of luxury. 

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Have you always dreamed of a larger space with high ceilings and walls? Us too. The various types of raised ceilings you’ve seen on HGTV are popular in today’s real estate market. But once you move into your dream home, you may be left with the question: How do I fill this cavernous space? Well, we thought you’d never ask!

Below, we’ll cover decorating ideas to help you design your home around extra-high ceilings and create that cozy, lived-in feeling you’ve always wanted.

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High Ceilings and the Rule of Thirds

That same rule of thirds you consult when hanging art on your walls applies to how you handle high ceilings in the world of home decor.

Imagine your walls divided into thirds, horizontally, with the bottom third being your furnishings and the middle tier where you hang art or create built-in features like bookcases or fireplaces. That very top tier is often left empty in homes with high ceilings and can overpower a room you may want to feel more intimate than grandiose. The key to avoiding this? Don’t leave that top tier completely empty!

Increase the Size of Your Wall Decor

To balance out these tall proportions, let your artwork climb the heights of the wall. Think of a classic gallery wall — but on a larger scale. You can get away with hanging your art higher in a larger room; it can be seen across a larger space without an uncomfortable neck tilt to take it all in. Your guests will thank you later.

Now imagine your wall space divided into thirds, horizontally and vertically, as you place your art. This could literally translate to a grid of nine large framed pieces or a collage-style gallery. For more visual depth, create a wall of built-in bookshelves that scales the heights of your home, with art and ceramics scattered among the volumes for a book lover’s dream.

Since the art you purchase may be larger than average, you’ll definitely benefit from the gallery wall tool in Spoak’s design suite to guide your decorating process. While hand-distressed wood floors are a hot commodity, the same cannot be said for nail-distressed walls. 

Create an Accent Wall

If you’re concerned about clutter, place the high art and towering bookshelves on only one accent wall.

Make this wall particularly special by painting it a bold color, using architectural elements like painted molding or high windows set into that top third of the ceiling to “fill” space. You could even extend the stone or brick of your fireplace all the way up the wall to visually connect the floor and ceiling. 

Incorporate Tall Sculptural Art

Remember, larger-than-life art can also include sculptures. Elevated ceilings let us show off pieces that wouldn’t necessarily work with the proportions of the typical suburban home. Sculptures also add shape and texture in a way that paintings usually can’t. 

The same principle applies to plant life; the sky's the limit with indoor plants. No need to worry about lopping the top off of your candelabra tree when it hits ten feet now! Let it be a burst of color that brings the dimensions of your room back down to size.


Painted and Textured Ceiling Design Ideas

In the last two decades, builders have raised ceilings back to their 19th and early 20th-century heights. This is welcomed news for those who love the look of vaulted ceilings but might require some brush-ups on how to decorate a pitched gable. 

Paint Ceilings a Darker Hue

Painting your ceiling a darker hue (like a deep burgundy or forest green) can give the false perspective of its being lower than it actually is. This is a dynamic way to use a more intense color to build energy and create intimacy without overwhelming the rooms.

Use Wooden Beams To Drop Your Ceiling 

Wooden beams running across a pitched gable ceiling are a favorite interior design look for rustic retreats. The contrast of the rich, rustic wood tones against a white ceiling adds interesting geometry while visually dropping the ceiling to the height of the beam. Besides their obvious functionality, these exposed structural elements naturally complement other organic materials like stone, slate, and greenery.

Add Beadboard Panels

Beadboard adds warmth and a cozy sense of nostalgia to your tall ceilings when painted a warm milky white. When it is run perpendicular beneath large wooden cross beams, you create a coffered ceiling effect. Paint the beadboard a lighter color, and your rich wooden beams will give off the illusion of a lower ceiling. 

Create Faux Textures 

If your high ceilings came without any ornamentation or structural elements that you can play up, consider creating your own. Faux beams are hollow and made of thin planks that can be stained and run the length of your room, as can cross beams for a coffered ceiling. 


Make Your Living Room to Scale

Vaulted ceilings can make an otherwise small family room feel cold … unless you size your furnishings to the correct proportions of the room.

Use Larger Furnishings

If you aim to bring the tall proportions of your space back down to earth, buy larger-scale furniture that fits the dimensions of your living room design better. If purchasing large furniture is intimidating, create a mock-up of your layout in Spoak’s design suite to experiment with furniture size and placement. 

Reduce Echo With Textiles

You’ll need a rug large enough to define your various living areas while working with the size of your furniture in this larger room. The more oversized the furniture is, the larger the rug needs to be.

Choose textiles substantial enough to reduce some of the room's acoustic issues and add warmth and coziness to the space. A thick pile wool rug or a woven jute rug can boost the design while reducing the noise. You have a lot of options here — most materials over 10 mm thick can help minimize noise. 


Dress Your Windows for Success

Speaking of textiles, tall walls are often accompanied by high windows. Expansive windows usher fantastic natural light into any great room but may present a window treatment challenge. To make the most of that lovely vertical space in your living room, keep your curtains long enough to at least kiss the floor. 

If your goal is to keep the space airy and calm, use lighter shades that blend with the walls. Larger rooms may call for darker curtain fabric like a deep blue velvet that adds dynamic energy and can be enhanced with accents like small, golden throw pillows.


Lighting On a Grander Scale

When it comes to items that feel grand, nothing says it louder than large chandeliers. Chandeliers make an elegant lighting solution, not to mention a focal point, hanging above the coffee table in the living room.

What’s the Optimal Height for a Chandelier?

To find the right size for your larger chandelier, take the sum of your living room’s dimensions in feet and select a light fixture with a diameter of that same number but in inches. (A space that is 20 x 25 feet requires a chandelier that is 45 inches.) If your room is large enough, consider hanging one over each conversational seating arrangement in the room. 

Where the drama of one light fixture would do in a home with lower ceilings, try using multiple hanging pendants, like mid-century orb fixtures, instead. Even wiring five or six individual lights to hang, at varying lengths, from the same ceiling medallion can bring your lighting to scale with your high ceilings.

As a rule, chandeliers shouldn’t hang lower than seven feet from the floor in homes with nine-foot ceilings, but you can add three inches to that number for each extra foot of height beyond that in your tall room.


Rise to the Challenge of High Ceilings

After reading all these ideas to temper the dimensions of your high-ceilinged rooms, feel free to forgo these loose “rules” and do your own thing. Remember, rules are meant to be broken sometimes (especially in design)! You alone know the feeling you want your room to have, although you can always benefit from asking for professional advice. 

Sources:

Are high ceilings a sign of wretched architectural excess or just good taste? | Slate

The Ultimate Guide to Vaulted Ceilings - Pros, Cons, and Inspiration | Elle Decor

How to Hang a Light Fixture at the Perfect Height | Hunker

The Candelabra Tree Makes a Big Impact | Houseplant Central

Rule of thirds: how interior designers use it for room schemes | Homes & Gardens

All You Need to Know About Coffered Ceilings | Bob Vila

Bring your interior design plans for your living room to life with Spoak’s helpful online design tools

Date Posted
March 1, 2023
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