Having a room with a high ceiling can present some unique challenges when it comes to decorating and making the most of the space. With some strategic planning and clever tips, you can accentuate the vertical dimensions and create an airy, open feel in a high-ceilinged room. Here is an in-depth guide on how to work with a high ceiling for a stylish, functional space.

Measure and Evaluate the Height

The first step is to measure the actual ceiling height and understand the proportions of the room. This will help determine the right approaches for furniture arrangement, lighting, and more.

  • Use a laser measure or tape measure to find the exact ceiling height. Measure at multiple spots to account for any slope or variations.
  • Calculate the ceiling height relative to the floor area. A 12-15 foot ceiling paired with a smaller footprint can feel dramatically vertical.
  • Note architectural details like beams, accent walls or windows that draw the eye up and contribute to the feeling of height.
  • Identify the tallest wall and visualize how perception changes based on where you stand. Ceilings feel higher when viewed from the short end of a long narrow room.

Taking stock of the actual ceiling height and proportions will provide the information needed to employ techniques to balance out the space.

Incorporate Visual Weight at Eye Level

Strategically anchoring the vertical space is key for a room with towering ceilings. Your eye needs visual elements to stop at as it moves upwards. Include substantial decor items and furniture around the eye level to help fill the lower portion of the room.

Add Bulky Furniture

Chunky furniture with bold shapes and rich textures adds satisfying visual weight:

  • Choose a heavy wood dining table or wide sofa to ground the space.
  • Incorporate cabinets, buffets or shelving units that extend to the ceiling.
  • Place a large armoire or substantial media console along one wall.
  • Arrange overlapping area rugs to define cozy zones.

Display Artwork and Collections

Draw the eye with sprawling artwork, clustered photo frames or comprehensive collections:

  • Hang a wide horizontal painting or triptych to widen the look of a wall.
  • Arrange collections like books, vases or baskets to create density.
  • Salute architectural details like a vaulted ceiling with artwork and lighting.

Install a Tray or Coffered Ceiling

Visually drop the ceiling height by installing architectural elements like:

  • A wood-paneled or coffered ceiling with grids.
  • A decorative tray ceiling with molding around the edges.
  • Suspended beams that appear to support the ceiling.

These built-in details establish a border that makes the ceiling feel lower and more intimate.

Choose Proportional Furniture

When selecting furniture, be sure to factor in the vertical dimensions. Oversized pieces will prevent rooms with high ceilings from feeling cavernous.

Size Up Tables and Desks

Dining tables and desks should be bold enough to balance the room:

  • For a 12 foot ceiling, look for a table at least 60-72 inches wide.
  • Size up other furnishings like a substantial credenza or partner’s desk.
  • Rectangular tables elongate the look of the room versus a round pedestal table.

Select a Sizable Rug

An area rug needs to be big enough to define a seating area without getting lost.

  • Size it to fit all the furniture legs to create an intimate section.
  • Look for a rug at least 8’ x 10’ for a 12 foot ceiling.
  • Layer thick padding underneath to add visual substance.

Choose Generous Seating

Chairs and sofas should be solid and well-scaled for the room:

  • Lean towards deep, oversized silhouettes versus delicate frames.
  • Add chunky ottomans and benches as seating options.
  • Arrange multiple sizable sofas and armchairs to fill out the space.

A substantial footprint still allows walking room but prevents furniture from looking dwarfed.

Incorporate Lighting at Multiple Levels

With a high ceiling, lighting needs to be multi-tiered to sufficiently brighten the entire space:

Install Overhead Fixtures

Chandeliers or pendant lights make an impact when hung above:

  • Select a dramatic chandelier as a focal point to draw the eye upwards.
  • Cluster 3-5 pendants in a linear or circular formation for broad illumination.
  • Look for fixtures sized at least 36-48 inches wide or long.

Add Sconces and Wall Brackets

Mount adjustable sconces or wall-mounted reading lamps at a standard eye level of 60-72 inches for a ring of mid-level lighting.

Include Table and Floor Lamps

Direct more lighting towards seating areas with:

  • Standing floor lamps positioned next to sofas or chairs.
  • Table lamps on side tables to spotlight reading nooks.
  • Architectural floor lamps that extend to 7-8 feet tall.

Mixing overhead, mid-level and lower lighting sources creates a well-lit, welcoming ambiance from top to bottom.

Visually Divide the Space

Using layout techniques to break up the room into defined zones helps prevent a towering ceiling from making things feel stark and impersonal.

Create Separate Activity Areas

Carve out individual spaces for dining, lounging, media or sleeping zones. Frame each area with a rug and arrange the matching furniture into vignettes.

Build Out Seating Nooks

Niches and alcoves formed with walls or half-walls establish human-scaled spaces within a vast room. Display bookshelves or cabinets to anchor the nooks.

Use Furniture to Split Rooms

Positioning the sofa in the middle of the room instead of against the wall breaks up sightlines. Floating furniture layouts make the most of floor space.

Install Ceiling Beams or Tray Dividers

Add architectural elements like beams, trays or dividers to visually section off the ceiling into smaller areas above.

Defining functional zones gives a lofty space more intimacy and multi-purpose utility.

alargar el espacio con espejos y accesorios reflexivos

Uno de los trucos más efectivos para hacer que un techo alto se sienta más proporcional es instalar espejos y otros accesorios reflexivos. Al reflejar la luz y la imagen del espacio, parecerá como si el techo fuera más bajo y el espacio más equilibrado.

Coloque espejos grandes

Los espejos de cuerpo entero y los espejos de pared amplios reflejan la luz y hacen que la habitación se sienta más brillante y expansiva.

  • Cuelgue espejos grandes frente a ventanas para reflejar más luz natural.
  • Instale un espejo de piso a techo para reflejar la longitud completa de la habitación

Agregue superficies reflectantes

Muebles como gabinetes de vidrio, mesas de centro de vidrio o estanterías de metal proporcionan más superficies para reflejar la luz ambiental.

Incorpore accesorios como lámparas y jarrones

Los accesorios brillantes y reflectantes también amplían visualmente el espacio, especialmente cuando se agrupan.

  • Exhiba múltiples lámparas de pie de metal pulido y piezas decorativas plateadas.
  • Cree centros de mesa con jarrones de vidrio, charolas plateadas, etc.

Los reflejos mutuos de los accesorios desvanecen los límites y agregan profundidad al espacio.

Define Different Zones with Paint

Strategically painting accent walls or ceilings can make a dramatic high space feel more intimate. Paint schemes help delineate functional zones so the room doesn’t feel like endless vacancy overhead.

Paint an Accent Ceiling

Designate a lounge or dining zone with a painted ceiling in a contrasting tone. For example:

  • Dark blue ceiling over the dining table conveys formality.
  • Vivid orange ceiling above the sitting area denotes relaxation.

Add Ceiling Beams in a Color

Paint the trim and recessed squares of a coffered ceiling in a bold color to lower the perceived ceiling plane:

  • White ceiling with navy beams lends classic charm.
  • Try unexpected neon green beams for contemporary zing.

Use Color to Define Wall Sections

Paint architectural elements like structural columns or partial walls in colorful tones:

  • Bright yellow column breaks up space in a minimalist way.
  • Center purple partition wall frames sitting area.

Sections of color establish character and boundaries within the open loftiness.

Incorporate Vertical Elements

Drawing the eye upwards helps diminish the feeling of a disproportionately high ceiling. Incorporate tall architectural components, artwork or decor accents that direct sightlines up.

Install Floor-to-Ceiling Built-Ins

Built-in bookcases, cabinetry and shelving that stretches from floor to ceiling highlight the vertical dimensions in a functional way.

Hang Long Draperies

You can make windows appear taller with long, towering drapes that puddle on the floor. Opt for pleated drapes on a substantial rod.

Display Elongated Artwork

Place a series of vertical canvas paintings, photographs or prints in gallery formation across a sizable wall.

Position Tall Plants or Floor Vases

Vertical components like spiky potted palms, bamboo trees or extra tall vases bring visual balance. Cluster them in corners to minimize overwhelming the space.

Drawing attention upwards with vertical elements allows the eyes to measure the lofty proportions.

Tricks to Visually Lower the Ceiling

In addition to introducing visual weight around eye level, there are also creative tricks to make a high ceiling appear lower and more proportional to the room:

Hang Decor Below the Ceiling

Positioning hanging pendant lights, artwork or other fixtures several feet below the actual ceiling creates the illusion of a lower border.

Add Wide Crown Molding

Extra thick, oversized crown molding establishes a defined ceiling line about a foot below the real ceiling. This border helps lower the perceived height.

Install a Canopy over Beds

Suspending a full fabric canopy over the bed creates a cozy, room-within-a-room effect that brings the ceiling in.

Paint Horizontal Stripes

Bold horizontal stripes visually lower the height of towering walls and make the ceiling feel closer.

Arrange Furniture in Circle

Placing furnishings in a central circular layout instead of along the wall helps pull the ceiling inwards to feel more embracing.

By tricking the eye with decor placements and paint illusions, it’s possible to counteract an extremely high ceiling.

Make Smart Design Choices in a Cathedral Ceiling Room

Cathedral style ceilings with exposed rafters present an additional challenge when decorating because there is no flat ceiling plane whatsoever. Smart design tactics can help make the sloped space usable.

Include Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are key for air circulation since cathedral ceilings lack vented eaves. Position them on dual mount rods to adjust height as needed.

Raise Window Treatments

Hang curtain rods higher and wider than the windows to draw eyes upwards and balance out the angles.

Add Recessed Lighting

Recessed can lights directed down wash the angles evenly with light and eliminate shadows. Place them in between the rafters.

Incorporate Vertical Storage

Take advantage of the fact that cathedral ceilings don’t obstruct overhead space. Install floor-to-ceiling bookcases, cabinets and shelves.

Use Light, Mobile Furnishings

Since floor space is limited along the sloping walls, opt for furniture on casters that can easily be shifted as needed.

Prioritizing lighting, adaptable furnishings and versatile storage are smart tactics for maximizing cathedral ceiling rooms.

Design a Grand Entryway Space

Soaring two or even three-story entryways provide the perfect opportunity to create a statement-making foyer. The wide open volume allows for stunning light fixtures, abundant wall decor and eye-catching arrangements that leave a big first impression.

Make a Focal Point Chandelier

A dazzling chandelier is the perfect oversized pendant to hang in a grand entry. Opt for crystal, brass or modern materials.

Hang an Oversized Mirror

Position an imposing, magnifying mirror on the landing wall so it reflects the chandelier sparkle and expands the sense of space.

Incorporate a Sweeping Staircase

A curved, double-back or floating staircase makes a sculptural centerpiece. Include a heavy base and intricate railings.

Display Tall Plants or Sculptures

Place imposing narrow trees or contemporary metal sculptures on the ground floor to draw eyes up.

Add an Art Gallery Wall

Cover the entryway walls with salon-style framed prints and artwork on both levels for visual impact from every angle.

Grand entryways give you the rare opportunity to pull out all the stops in one dazzling, towering space.


What size rug do you put in a room with high ceilings?

For a room with 12 foot ceilings, choose an area rug at least 8’ x 10’ to help balance the proportions. Rugs should be large enough to fit underneath all the furniture in a seating arrangement.

Should you paint crown molding the same color as the ceiling?

Painting crown molding the same color as the ceiling helps establish a border that optically lowers the perceived ceiling height. For visual contrast, painting the crown molding a different accent color than the ceiling also works well.

How do you decorate a living room with tall walls?

For living rooms with dramatic tall walls:

  • Hang artwork and shelving high on the walls to draw eyes up.
  • Choose substantial sofas, ottomans and chairs so furniture isn’t dwarfed.
  • Add visual interest at eye level with collections of frased photos, vases or books.
  • Include a tall standing floor lamp beside seating to add height.

What color makes a room look bigger?

Light, bright, neutral colors like white, beige and pale gray have a reflective quality that makes rooms feel more open and airy. Dark colors tend to absorb light and make a space feel smaller.

How do you furnish a room with a slanted ceiling?

For optimal use of space in a room with sloped ceilings:

  • Position low-profile beds and dressers under the tallest part of the ceiling.
  • Choose slender console tables that fit flush against the angled walls.
  • Float lightweight upholstered chairs that can be shifted easily.
  • Install recessed lighting across the ceiling to eliminate shadows.


Working with a high ceiling provides the chance to play with scale and proportions in exciting ways. But it also requires careful planning to prevent a cavernous, imbalanced feel. Focus on filling the lower portion of the room with visual weight through substantial furniture and eye-catching collections. Incorporate well-scaled lighting fixtures at varying heights for full coverage. And take advantage of architectural details like deep crown molding, ceiling beams and painted accents that help reign in the height. With smart selections and creative arrangements, it’s possible to make rooms feel warm, welcoming and proportional, regardless of double-height dimensions.