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Making the Most of High Ceilings

A high ceiling can bring drama, elegance and opulence in a way few other architectural features can match. But while undoubtedly beautiful, they can also be imposing, making it difficult to create a space beneath them that is comfortable and welcoming. With skilful decorating and adequate planning, however, a room with a soaring ceiling can be a joy to look at and live in.

Whilst ceilings are traditionally left white, using a different colour on a high ceiling can make a huge difference in the feel of your room. Warm, rich, deeper colours will bring the ceiling down visually and create a welcoming cheerfulness. It is a good idea to choose a similar colour to that of the walls, this takes the emphasis away from the volume of the space and makes the room feel like a cohesive whole.

Breaking walls down into separate tiers is also a great way to show off the height of your walls whilst creating a less cavernous feel. Very popular during the Edwardian and Victorian periods in British design, two sections of differently patterned wallpaper, separated by a dado rail and topped off with a large corniced top section will add real period charm to a room with high ceilings. The usual method employs striped paper at the bottom with floral wallpaper on top.

Window dressings can also help create better proportion. Even if your windows don’t go all the way to the ceiling, fixing your curtain tracks high and topping them off with a pelmet is a great design decision. Extending blinds further than the true height of the window will have a similar effect. Roller blinds are especially effective for this purpose as they completely hide the wall.

Proportion really is important, you can’t change the shape of the room but you can carefully choose what you put in it. Besides going big on window dressing, you can also choosing much bigger artwork than you usually might or include wallpapers with larger patterns and much more substantial pieces of furniture with taller backs, oversize arms and legs and huge cushions. Plants are also a great way to restore proportion. Adding tall trees like Kentia palms in beautiful decorative pots will fill big empty corners whilst adding some natural calm. High ceilings should be viewed as the opportunities that they are, they offer complete freedom to use your imagination and really go bold in your décor choices.

While the ceiling may be the main attraction, don’t forget that the floor is also an important design element in making the space seem warm and inviting. Not only will a large area rug help blunt some of the cave-like acoustics of wood floors in high-ceiling rooms, it can also be an important design element. A beautiful area rug that complements your colour scheme can pull in the space and create a sense of cosiness.

Finally, give your lighting plan a makeover. Drop the height of the room by having your main pendant light hang from a longer lead. Include tall floor standing lamps and aim spotlights at the main features in the room to take the focus away from the ceiling height.

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