Most contemporary homes come with a standard room height (distance between the floor and the ceiling) of around eight feet. But then there are homes with shorter or higher ceilings also. We all know how challenging it is to do the interiors of a room with low ceilings. But many don’t realize that designing a space with high ceilings – such as a loft or a barn converted into an apartment – can prove even more challenging.

High ceilings evoke a sense of spaciousness, airiness, and light in a space. On the flip side, if not designed thoughtfully, a tall room can easily look empty and out of balance.

The issue with higher ceilings is the excess vertical space. The way to tackle it is to blend the upper and lower areas of the room for a balanced appearance. Once you keep in mind this simple guiding principle, tall rooms and high ceilings become a design challenge you can conquer.

To help you bring harmony and beauty to your high-ceiling interiors, we have compiled some useful guidelines and tricks that leading interior designers swear by. From mounting ceiling height custom curtains to installing exposed beams, read on for our favorite tips.

Light it right

Think beyond the ho-hum wall lights with framings. A cascading crystal chandelier will bring the ceiling closer and also add a note of luxury. Pendant lamps too create cozy zones and evoke a feeling of reduced room height. Similarly, extra tall floor lamps placed in room corners create their own artificial, optical ceilings dividing the huge vertical span that fills the room.

Drape it

Designers often recommend ceiling height drapes for a room with a low ceiling to create an illusion of a higher ceiling. Guess what! This trick works equally well in rooms with extra high ceilings. In a low ceiling room, tall drapes guide the eye to travel upwards giving a sense of more height. But mounted in a high ceiling room, the tall drapery covers up all the hard and flat vertical wall space, wrapping them in soft ripples of a drape.

We recommend putting up solid-colored drapes that begin as near the ceiling as possible and fall down to the floor. Unless your horizontal space is huge, we recommend staying away from large patterns as the drapes can then overwhelm the eye.

If for any reason, drapes don’t appeal to you, we recommend getting custom roman shades or blinds. A soft and curvy style such as relaxed roman shades looks stunning in a tall room. We recommend drapes or shades made with horizontal patterned fabrics to bring attention to the width, and not the height of the room.

Create tall decorative niches

Rather than squat and horizontal, choose tall bookcases and display units to go with your high-ceiling space. Put up floating shelves on walls. If you have a fireplace, extend it upwards using bricks, tiles, or stone elements. All these things will work as bridges between the ceiling and the floor to bring balance to your home.

Go large with art

Rather than create groupings of smaller art pieces, go large. You can put up one extra-large canvas or framed print. Or you can create a gallery wall with several large mixed and matched pieces that go high up on one wall.

Create an accent wall

This is an old favorite trick of interior designers. Give one wall a distinctive treatment – contrast color paint or a wood pallet installation or rustic-chic open brickwork – starting from the floor level and going all the way to the ceiling. This harmonizes the space and also elevates its entire look.

Beam it up

Exposed beams on high ceilings are back and how! It is an old look revived and given a contemporary makeover. If your high-ceiling space already has structural beams built into it, nothing like it. If not, you can install faux decorative beams a bit (or much) lower than your actual high ceiling. The beams will optically bring the ceiling closer, dividing all the vertical tall space. Use real wood beams or give them a faux wood finish. Your space will get personality, texture, charm, and visual appeal and create a cozy look.

Bring the ceiling visually closer

Color Blocking is a great trick to bring a tall ceiling optically lower. Paint the bottom two-thirds of your wall in one color and the upper one-third wall and the ceiling in the second color. By merging the ceiling into the upper wall color, you’d be creating an artificial ceiling at two-thirds of the actual height of the room, and being the ceiling optically closer.

Mix it up

Make sure that your furniture pieces do not create a uniform level line visually. Everything on one eyeline will make the extra wall height stand out conspicuously. Mix a high couch with a low-rise table, a tall bookcase with a shorter drawer chest, a low chair with a tall floor lamp, and so on.

Now that you know these tips and tricks, assess your tall space with high ceilings. Use several or all of these ideas to create a look that makes your room feel just right.

Chloe Miller

Chloe Miller, with a Bachelor’s in Interior Design from the New York School of Interior Design, has been an expert in home decor and design trends for 15 years. She joined our website in 2021, offering her expertise in space optimization, color schemes, and sustainable decor. Chloe’s prior experience includes working with interior design firms and as a freelance consultant. She is a DIY enthusiast and enjoys upcycling furniture in her spare time.

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