High ceilings are considered a luxury feature in real estate—after all, they make your home feel more spacious and offer more room to display large art or feature lighting. That said, knowing how to decorate a room with a high ceiling can be a tricky balancing act: If you leave the walls bare, the room can look cave-like and sterile, but if you add too much, it can look cluttered. The Kips Bay Show House in Dallas featured expansive ceilings, and we were inspired by how the designers styled the rooms to enhance this feature while still making the rooms feel cozy. Here, their best tips for decorating high-ceiling living rooms, bedrooms, and more.
Add Unexpected Art and Window Treatments
Jean Liu says she and her team tried to play up the volume of this high-ceiling living room, though she admits, “It did feel a little daunting at first to make something that grand feel warm and inviting.” To break up the space visually, she hung a rust-colored patterned wallpaper by Fine & Dandy Co. and painted everything from the ceiling down a contrasting blue-gray color (Mount Saint Anne by Benjamin Moore). To add drama and texture to the grand space, Liu hung a 13-foot macrame sculpture from the ceiling.
This vertical piece from Mexico City-based artist Emma Boomkamp (from Garde) added a “wow” moment that instantly helped draw guests’ eyes upward. To add even more drama to the grand space, Liu says she opted for floor-to-ceiling window treatments from The Shade Store, “because those windows are a beautiful architectural detail that we want to highlight.”
More From Veranda
To get the look in your own home, opt for an extra-tall sculpture that draws the eye upwards and brings attention to the high ceilings in your room. We love this teak sculpture made by a Cuban American artist; it stands at a whopping 92.5 inches tall.
Try a Bold Wallpaper
This living room has extremely high ceilings, which made it somewhat of a daunting design challenge, according to designer Alessandra Branca. However, she says, “We found a great way to celebrate [the height of the room] by doing a custom color and dégradé version of our Casa Branca Foglia wallpaper…It now makes the room feel like a wonderful garden.” She then added complementary Roman shades outlined in a green striéd trim (fabricated by The Shade Store) to make the sky-high vertical windows blend better with the verdant design.
To steal her idea, try using bold wallpaper in your living space instead of leaving your walls blank. All-white walls can feel sterile and bare in a room with ultra-high ceilings. Pro tip: When choosing a patterned wallpaper, make sure to take note of the scale—you don’t want anything with a teeny-tiny pattern, or else it will look too busy. Take note from Branca’s design; the wallpaper she used (below) is large enough to look like a real vine trailing up the walls.
Add Furniture to Match the Room’s Scale
In this primary bedroom designed by Natasha Baradaran, you’ll notice an oversized, colorblocked headboard (Natasha Baradaran Collection). This is a perfect example of how furniture should complement your room’s size—and how you can experiment with scale and proportion to add a bit of drama. To play up the ceiling’s height and the massive size of the headboard, she added a feminine wallpaper and stopped it directly above the bed. Additionally, she says she added “contemporary panels on the ceiling, which juxtapose the floral of my Giamba blue-and-white wallpaper.”
Get the look in your bedroom with an extra-tall bed like the one below. We also love the idea of playing with contrasting wallpaper, molding, and ceiling panels to get your desired look.
Play with Dramatic Light Fixtures and Ceiling Design
To bring attention to the extraordinarily high ceilings, the Fisher Weisman team designed an enormous custom chandelier to go over the dining room table. To complement the main light fixture in the center of the room, Weisman says, “We made four cylindrical pendants [to hang] in the corners of the rooms over pedestals of the same design. We created a spot for flowers and a way to activate the tremendous volume of the space so it wouldn’t feel empty.”
The designers also added a coffered ceiling in a bold red hue to include another element of interest above the gilded light fixtures. A large-scale tryptic helps balance the symmetry and colors of the room and ties everything together. Get the look in your own home with an oversized light fixture and a colorful triptych.
Try a Fun Paint Treatment
When Lance Scott from LC Studio first saw this room, one of the first things he noticed was the massive 15-and-a-half-foot ceilings. “We were trying to kind of make the space feel less cavernous and bring the ceiling down a little bit,” he says. “So we thought, ‘let’s darken the ceiling.’”
Scott says, “We knew we wanted to do something dark on the ceiling to contain that massive space.” To accomplish this, he and his team painted all of the moldings a rich, midnight blue lacquer. Then they painted navy down the walls and faded it in an ombre pattern down to a beigey-gray hue on the bottom.
Not quite ready to ombre your home’s walls? Try painting your ceiling a darker color to make it visually appear a bit lower. Here are some of our favorite bold paint color ideas for inspiration.