Five decorating ideas for tall ceilings

I have noticed a trend lately among new builds in my area; especially in over 55 housing communities. It seems the rooms sizes are smaller but the ceilings are really high to give the illusion of more space. This may seem great at first glance but figuring out what to do with all this vertical space can be very challenging for my clients. The problem with really tall ceilings is that if you don’t address them then your room can feel cavernous and cold.

Last week while at the Hampton Show Houses I took notice of what the pros did as they were presented with very tall ceilings in both the Hampton Show House and the Holiday House Hampton. Here are five decorating ideas if you have tall ceilings.

1. Hang em high. When it comes to window treatments the higher the better. Designer Tobi Fairley took her window treatments right to the ceiling in the master bedroom of her show house room. Even though that head board was quite tall, it was dwarfed by the soaring ceiling height. The window treatments visually filled the space and kept the room feeling balanced.  It’s not inexpensive to do this but it really is the best solution. Hanging the window treatments lower would simply draw more attention to the tall ceiling and could make the room look “top heavy”.

Tobi Fairley Design/Linda Holt Photo

Tobi Fairley Design/Linda Holt Photo

2. Use tall art work to fill the space. Art work should always relate to the shape of the wall you are placing it on and a tall wall begs for tall art work. Designer Gil Walsh used what appeared to originally be a screen to fill her soaring wall space.

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

3. Add a hanging light. Using a hanging light in a room with a tall ceiling is a great way to not only add more light but also bring the eye down to a more comfortable level. Notice too that designer Katie Leeds hung her window treatments right up to the ceiling.

Katie Leeds/Linda Holt Photo

Katie Leeds/Linda Holt Photo

4. Paint horizontal stripes. Designer Michelle Smith of Studio MRS used the age old trick of painting wide horizontal stripes to “fool the eye” into thinking the room is not as tall as it really is. She too hung her window treatments to the ceiling and used the same horizontal stripe so that they seamlessly blended with the wall.

Elsa Soyars design/Linda Holt Photo

Michelle Smith studios/Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Roy also used horizontal stripes in her show house bathroom to make the super tall yet small bathroom seem less imposing.


Melanie Roy Designs/Linda Holt Photo

5. Create a lower wall height with molding. Elsa Soyars chose to create her own wall height by adding clearly defined molding at the top of wallpapered walls. She cleverly created what she wants you to see as wall vs. ceiling. The large sputnik shaped chandelier also fills in some of void between the ceiling and walls as well as adds visual interest.


Elsa Soyars

Do you have tall ceilings? If so, what’s your favorite way to decorate?

8 Responses to Five decorating ideas for tall ceilings
  1. Jil Sonia Interiors Reply

    Brilliant ideas – esp. love the last one – what a great way to tone down a high ceiling!

  2. Kristie Barnett, TheDecorologist Reply

    Great ideas for dealing with high ceilings! I’ll be sharing this post, Linda!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thank you Kristie, very grateful for the share!

  3. MarySue Reply

    Came over on recommendation from The Decorologist. Looked around and love what I see! Some really great ideas and practical advice! I’ll be an avid reader from now on!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks so much MarySue and welcome! A big thank you to Kristie too for sharing.

  4. Ann M. Morris Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I just did my sister’s bathroom in NY She lives in a 1910 Brownstone and the ceilings are 12’0″…
    High ceilings can be a challenge. Love the applications.

  5. kelly Reply

    Great ideas Linda! Especially the last idea. Love Tobi’s room of course, is it new do you know? I will be sharing also!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Kelly!

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