High ceilings are often considered a desirable aspect in a home. However, if they aren’t treated and decorated properly they can be overwhelming. Most people want to achieve a somewhat cozy feeling in their home, and high ceilings can present an obstacle to achieving that goal. Bringing you high ceilings down to human scale is all a matter of proportion and paying special attention to the walls as well as any other elements that can break up the huge space a high ceiling provides. These are some things that can help you achieve the ideal look.

1.    Millwork

Millwork is one of the best ways to break up the vast expanse of wall in a room with high ceilings. You can make use of crown molding, detailed trims, and panel detailing to define the ceiling levels, break up the planes of the wall and add texture and interest to the space.

2.    Colors

Painting your ceiling in a dark color may seem counterintuitive as dark colors can create a receding illusion. However, when the darker hue is on the ceiling it usually has the opposite effect as it visually reduces the distance between the ceiling and the onlooker. Another great idea is to add a paint line at a level where a typical ceiling would be, creating a layered look to the room. If you have wall paneling, a change in the direction of the paneling can create a similar effect.

3.    Windows

The shape of the windows can drastically change the look of a room. If your high ceilinged room is a new build or addition and you’re adding windows consider using ones who have a curve at the top. The semi-circular top of a window leads the eye downwards and will make the overall space seem less imposing.

Another thing to take into consideration is changing up the window details. Add variety and interest to a wall filled with windows by experimenting with different styles of mullions and sash bars to figure out what works best with the space that you have.

4.    Structure

Arches, large pendants, horizontal beams and exposed trusses are some of the elements that can create architectural importance to a space and make a space with very high ceilings feel more accessible and less intimidating.

5.    Art and Sculpture

Art is one of the most versatile ways to break up a large space. The art pieces you choose will reflect your own tastes and preferences, however there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding what pieces will work in a room with a high ceiling.

  • Consider using more organic shapes in order to connect the upper and lower portions of the wall.
  • Stacking rectangular shapes all over a wall can make it seem even larger than it already is
  • Choose large pieces that won’t be dwarfed by the size of the wall and that look best when admired from a distance
  • Murals are also a popular choice for filling the space beneath a high ceiling
  • Cove ceilings are a great place to add some three-dimensional art and sculpture
  • Having a central focus piece with some smaller pieces to the left and right can also make a large space feel more compact

6.    Lighting

The right lighting is the difference between a room that has texture, intrigue and warmth and a room that feels like a cavernous void. Dramatic lighting can be used to play off of any exposed structural elements. Make sure that the scale of your lighting elements fits the space. If you’re planning on using a small fixture, use multiples of it in order to properly light the entire room.