Working with a tall room can present some unique design challenges. Extremely high ceilings can make a space feel vast and cavernous, which may seem imposing or uncomfortable. However, with careful planning and the right techniques, you can make a tall room feel inviting, cozy and stylish. Follow these tips to transform an awkward tall space into a stylish and livable room.

Choose the Right Furniture Proportions

One of the keys to making a tall room feel right is selecting furniture that is properly scaled for the space. Oversized furniture will look dwarfed and undersized, while pieces that are too small can get lost, making the room feel empty.

Opt for Longer and Wider Pieces

Choose seating and beds with longer or wider dimensions to fill floor space appropriately. Sectionals, sofa beds, and chaise lounges work better than standard loveseats or armchairs. Platform beds, California kings, and extra-long twin mattresses help a bed feel proportional.

Consider Furniture Height

Tall ceilings call for taller furniture, like cabinetry, headboards, armoires, and dressers. Make sure your pieces are tall enough to not look ridiculously small. Chairs with tall backs also help fill vertical space.

Balance Mass With Airiness

Mix substantial, solid furniture with lighter, see-through pieces. For example, pair a bulky upholstered headboard with gauzy canopy curtains, or a hefty wood cabinet with open metal shelving. The mix prevents heaviness.

Arrange Furniture to Fill Space

Cluster pieces together or place them thoughtfully along walls to occupy floor space. Avoid large empty swaths in the middle of the room. Separating furniture with walkways is fine, just don’t overdo openness.

Work With Proportion and Scale

Proper proportion and scale establishes balance in a tall room. Some design elements should be sized up, while others remain petite for contrast. Get the proportions right, and the space will feel cohesive.

Employ Oversized Art

Look for large wall art, mirrors, tapestries or panel prints that suit the scale of the wall. A collection of smaller pieces can work, just be sure to create an imposing collage. Giant art draws the eye up and makes the room feel full.

Choose Big Area Rugs

An area rug that is too small will float oddly in a large room. Opt for an oversized rug that extends well under furniture with several feet of floor showing around the perimeter. This anchors the space.

Upsize Accessories

Look for jumbo lamps, vases, throw pillows and other accessories. Items like floor lamps, ottomans and side tables should also err larger. Massive chandeliers or pendant lights help fill the void overhead.

Contrast With Smalls

Objects like trays, bowls, candles, books and decor items should remain petite so they don’t get dwarfed. Mix in some smalls to keep everything in scale.

Work With Color and Texture

Color and texture add visual interest in a tall space and make it feel warm, inviting and pulled-together. Use these strategies when selecting hues and materials:

Warm Tones For Walls

Paint walls in warmer earth tones and rich deeper hues. Avoid stark whites or very cool colors, which can feel sterile. Warm chocolate browns, camel, sage green or burnt orange envelop a room.

Vary Textures

Incorporate different surface materials and textiles. Layer smooth and glossy items with nubby knits, raw wood, and distressed leather. Use both muted and bold patterns in moderation.

Soften With Fabrics

Upholstered furniture, cushy area rugs, velvet drapes and other soft textiles prevent austerity. Billowy, light fabrics add movement and a comforting vibe.

Add Pops Of Color

Accent walls, floral prints, brightly colored decor and vivid art enliven the space. Scatter eye-catching brights throughout, but stick to 1-2 colors to avoid overwhelming.

Divide and Conquer Tall Walls

Making a tall wall less imposing involves breaking it up visually to take away some of the height. Here are handy wall treatment ideas:

Hang Art Salons Style

Group several framed pieces salon-style to take up wall real estate. Mix different sizes, shapes and subjects for interest. Place near eye-level to draw focus upwards.

Try Wainscoting Or Board And Batten

These classic techniques involve covering the lower portion of walls to create a short wall “chair rail” effect. The result is a more human-scaled, cozier interior.

Add a Chair Rail Molding

Running a wide molding horizontally at 30-60 inches imparts a sense of two shorter stacked walls. Dress it up by layering art or sconces above and below the chair rail.

Install Panels Or Trim

Vertical details like shiplap planks, tongue and groove, or trim strips break up the blank surface running up. Paneling with molding is another great option.

Float Shelves

Stagger floating shelves at different levels to display art and objects. The shelves create tiers that make the wall less of a towering monolith.

Define Spaces Within Spaces

Carving out individual spaces within a large open room provides a feeling of intimacy. Define zones and niches so the room doesn’t feel like endless expanse.

Zone With Furniture

Arrange seating areas around a focal point like a fireplace or TV. Use area rugs and lighting to distinguish each space while still allowing flow between.

Utilize Curtain Dividers

Hang ceiling-height curtains or screens to portion off sitting and sleeping areas. Semi-transparent curtains still allow light through.

Create Reading Nooks

Use a spare corner for a cozy reading spot with a comfy chair. Or build out a window seat with cabinetry, cushions and pillows.

Add Vertical Bookshelves

Install bookshelves, etageres or room dividers to carve out zones while storing items. Even partial walls bring separation.

Use Ceiling Beams

Installed faux beams, or exposed real beams, define areas visually overhead. Bonus – they draw the eye up away from the tall walls.

Incorporate Architectural Interest

Integrating unique architectural elements makes a tall room feel custom-designed instead of ridiculously vertical. Get creative with these ideas:

Install a Ceiling Medallion

This ornate large focal adornment resembles a chandelier minus the lights. Centered over a seating area, it imparts old-world charm and intricacy.

Add Moldings Or Trim

Chair rail, crown molding, baseboards, frames and other trim details build character. Go for wide, prominent trim sizes suited to the room’s scale.

Include Beadboard Paneling

Beadboard with trim adds irresistible cottage flair to walls, ceilings or cabinetry fronts. The distinctive lines and patterns enrich the room’s feel.

Expose Structural Elements

Revealing aged wooden ceiling beams, brick walls or the raw framework imparts an appealing industrial vibe and steers away clinical.

Display Collections

Show off large collections like antique maps, insect specimens, herbariums, shells or books. Grouped en masse, they become impactful installations.

Adjust the Lighting

Lighting can make or break a tall space. The goal is to illuminate while adding visual intrigue overhead. Consider these lighting strategies:

Install Directional Cans

Recessed cans cast light right where you need it for tasks without feeling sterile. Dimmer switches enable adjusting the mood.

Hang PendantClusters

Groupings of pendant lights at varying heights add playful style. Opt for big impact bulbs or cascading styles to maximize presence.

Choose Statements Chandeliers

An oversized ornate chandelier makes a bold style statement and pulls focus upwards. Go glam, modern, funky, Whatever suits your decor.

Add Sconces At Varying Heights

Install matching sconces up and down walls to create lovely ambient lighting. Pair with lower table lamps and floor lamps.

Use Vertical Fixtures

Unique options like pendant rods or vertical bar lights draw the eyes upwards along tall walls, counteracting the height.

Incorporate Windows Creatively

Abundant natural light prevents a towering room from feeling cave-like. But windows can also accentuate height. Minimize this effect using the following window tricks:

Add Wide Window Trim

Wide molded trim framing windows makes them feel appropriately scaled for the room and less tall and skinny. Opt for substantial crown molding caps too.

Flank Windows With Art

Place a console table below a window and set matching art pieces on either side to widen the visual scope. The art and table “stubby up” the window.

Insert a Window Seat

Build out a cozy bench seat for enjoying the views. Set at normal furniture height, it makes the window feel lower. Throw on some cushions for comfort.

Install Side Panels

Framing tall windows with vertical panels, shutters, or curtains on both sides grounds them and adds architecture.

Layer Window Treatments

Hang drapes and shadstock blinds in complimentary patterns and textures to build out a window. The layered look shortens the eye-catching height.

Use Area Rugs Strategically

Don’t underestimate the power of area rugs to make a tall space more inviting. Follow these rug placement tips:

Anchor Key Areas

Use large area rugs under seating arrangements, beds and other occupied zones. The rug helps designate and ground that spot.

Layer Mid-Size Rugs

Scatter multiple mid-size rugs in conversation and reading nooks to further subdivide the room into human-scaled vignettes.

Add Fringe or Tassels

Rugs with oversized tassels, fringe or elaborate borders impart a dressier, upscale look. The texture and draping softens the room.

Try Broadloom Carpet

Wall-to-wall broadloom carpeting adds consistent coziness underfoot. Choose plush padding for comfort and noise reduction.

Install Runner Rugs

Runners down hallways leading to different zones establish a pathway. They’re also handy for delineating irregular open floor plans.

FAQs About Designing Tall Spaces

How low should ceilings be?

Standard ceiling height is 8 to 10 feet. Extremely tall ceilings soar 16 feet or beyond. Stick with 10 to 12 feet for a moderately tall, pleasant feel.

Should tall rooms be dark or light colors?

Paint them in warm lighter tones for an airier, more expansive effect. Darker colors can make a towering room feel more closed in and overwhelming.

What flooring works best in tall rooms?

Plush broadloom carpeting imparts cozy softness underfoot. Hardwood with large area rugs lends warmth and avoids a clinical feel.

Should you hang curtains high or low in tall rooms?

Mount them as close to the ceiling as possible to visually lower the ceiling plane. Floor-length curtains also draw the eye downwards.

How do you decorate a 20-foot ceiling?

Combine massive chandeliers, galleries of oversized art, expansive area rugs, substantial furniture groupings, and varied lighting options to fill the ample space stylishly.


Dealing with the challenges of an extremely high-ceilinged room may seem daunting. But with careful furniture selection, thoughtful lighting and some architectural detailing, you can craft a stylish, welcoming space. The key is choosing properly scaled elements, defining individual zones, and adding visual interest vertically through lighting, art and textural layering. With smart design choices and decorating strategies, your tall room can feel perfectly proportioned. Just remember to keep it cozy. Focus on a few tall architecture adjustments rather than completely closing in the space. This allows your room to maintain that special sense of airy grandeur.

How to Make High Ceilings Feel Cozier

Soaring ceilings can make a home feel impressive and grand. But rooms with ceiling heights above 10 feet can also come across as austere or cavernous if not designed well. When dealing with a space with dramatic vertical proportions, the goal is to counteract the feeling of cold impersonal height. Warmth, intimacy and charm come from smart furnishing arrangements, architectural details and strategic decor elements that make the space feel enveloping. Follow these tips to turn an ultra-tall room into a comfortable inviting interior.

Choose Furniture With Presence

One of the best ways to impart coziness in a towering room is to fill it with well-scaled substantial pieces. Weighty furniture with presence makes a bold statement even in a gigantic room.

Overscale Key Items

Choose a few statement pieces with enlarged dimensions. An oversized sofa, giant sectional, king bed or expansive dining table feel proportional.

Incorporate Built-In Seating

Benches, window seats, banquettes and padded stair risers give lounging spaces permanence. Construct them extra deep, wide and plush.

opt for solid over airy

Sturdy wood, leather, or stone furniture has more heft than airy metal or acrylic. But mix in some delicate accent tables and chairs for contrast.

Layer on Textiles

Lush upholstered headboards, cushy ottomans, wooly blankets and pillows make a space feel cocooning. Choose sumptuous natural textiles.

Add Warmth With Wood

Natural wood warms up a space both visually and literally by adding texture and coziness. Use these wood techniques to impart inviting appeal:

Stain trims And Beams

Dark wood crown molding, baseboards, ceiling beams and architectural details establish traditional allure. Spotlight them with accent lighting.

Showcase Reclaimed Wood

Industrial salvaged barn siding, old floorboards and vintage timber piled high infuses rustic charm. Let the natural patina shine.

display Raw Edge Slab Tables

Massive hand-hewn slab dining tables act as woodsy art installations. The organic lines soften the room.

mount Wood Panels

Faux planked or board and batten wood walls lend cottage coziness. Paint them in soothing natural hues.

Incorporate Architectural Interests

Beyond just wood, adding character via unique architectural elements breaks up vertical space. Well-designed homes feel curated and custom instead of cold.

install an intricate ceiling

Ornate medallions, richly painted geometric designs, or crown molding steal the show overhead. Include lighting to highlight details.

Expose the framework

Revealing aged beams, ductwork, brick and the building’s raw bones adds approachable imperfections. Polish up with paint if needed.

Add Handcrafted Touches

Elements like ceramic tile mosaics, forged metal accents, carved stone details or plaster relief panels add artistry. Spotlight them.

create Display Niches

Built-in bookshelves, wall cubbies and curio cabinets showcase favorite items. Grouped collections add personal panache.

Zone the Space

Prevent a towering room from feeling like an endless void by creating intimate vignettes within it. Zoning establishes a rhythm of solitude and connection across a cavernous space.

Arrange Furniture in Conversation Pits

Nestle seating around a focal point like a fireplace or coffee table. Different zones let people relax solo or connect.

Add Sightline Dividers

Transparent screens, etched glass partitions, and lattice room dividers separate areas while allowing light and views between zones.

Set Up Reading Nooks

Carve out small retreats in corners or alcoves with a comfy chair, ottoman, floor lamp and side table for nestling with a book.

install Contemporary room dividers

Sleek options like metal mesh screens, frosted panels and sliding barn doors segment space in modern style.

Utilize Curtain Partitions

Sheer or opaque curtains hung from ceiling to floor create dreamy separated spaces within larger rooms. Layer in texture.

Rely On Calming Color Palettes

Color choices set the emotional tone in a room. For tall ceilings, stick with palettes known for their soothing tranquil qualities. Some top choices include:

Creamy Neutrals

Soft warm shades of almond, eggshell and oatmilk by Sherwin Williams establish a peaceful aura. Accent with texture and wood.

Muted Blues And Greens

Hazy light tones like sea glass, frosted pine or rainwater evoke natural serenity. Pair with wool, linen and cotton textures.

Warm Gray Or Greige

Layer greys with slight undertones of brown, peach or yellow for an approachable vibe. Add in ivory, jute and wood elements.

Dark And Moody Hues

Deep richer tones of navy, eggplant and charcoal strangely feel cozy by enveloping a room in an intimate embrace.

Incorporate Cozy Lighting

Ambient lighting choices contribute enormously to a space’s overall comfort level. Use lights at different levels to impart warmth versus starkness.

Install Dimmable canned lights

Recessed lights illuminate a space fully, tailored to specific needs. Soften by dimming low for movie nights. Uplight dark corners.

hang pendant clusters

Groupings of pendant bulbs at alternating heights add playful personality and distribute light. Opt for large-scale impactful fixtures.

place Table and Floor Lamps

Softer radiant light sources bring a space back to human scale. Try bronze, brass or natural linen lamp shades.

Use Wall sconces At Different Heights

Install matching sconces, ranging from close to the floor to nearing the ceiling, for ambient uplight and downlight.

Add Rugs And Textiles

Rugs, curtains, slipcovers and textile accents lend a welcoming sense of softness underfoot and visual interest. Utilize them abundantly to play down hard surfaces.

Layer large and plush area rugs

Scattered freezer rugs with dense pile establish separate lounge areas atop wood or tile floors. Choose natural fibers or hide.

Hang floor