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High Design for High Ceilings in a Great Room

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By : Jilda Peterson    99 or more times read
In many houses decorating a small space is the challenge, but if you have a great room with a cathedral ceiling, you have the exact opposite problem to deal with. With a very high ceiling, a room may feel cold and uninviting. It is also very easy to have the room's design feel disjointed and out of place; however, there are simple solutions to these design challenges.

Tying Elements Together

One of the problems with high ceilings is that they tend to make everything else in the room feel diminutive, so keeping your room balanced can be difficult. One way that you can help to relate the ceiling to the rest of the room is to add a wallpaper border eight or nine feet up the wall, where a normal height ceiling would be. By picking up colors and patterns from the room's décor and echoing it in the wallpaper border, you can begin to pull the elements of the room together.

Mirrors and Pictures

When you are hanging anything in the room, make sure that it is to scale. You cannot hang a small piece of art or a tiny mirror on the wall and have it stand on its own. If you have large pieces of artwork, this is the perfect venue for them. If you do not have larger wall hangings, then you can create the illusion of a large piece of artwork by grouping several smaller pieces of artwork together for a wall display. But when you can, go big, because this is a big room. On the mantel, for example, display a tall arrangement of flowers or a grouping of tall pillar candles.

Dressing the Windows

In a room this large, you can hang some curtains with attitude. Often a room with a vaulted ceiling will have multiple, stacked windows instead of one large one. If this is the case in your room, then you can unite all of the windows by treating them as a single window. Extend your drapes from the top of the uppermost window to the floor, and you will have a dramatic window treatment for the room. You can also choose to leave them as individual windows and cover them with shutters or window blinds in a color that blends with the walls.

A Matter of Scale

Any time that you are decorating a large room, it is important to keep scale in mind. Since most people are used to decorating in smaller scale furnishings, choosing design elements in the proper scale comes naturally in smaller rooms. In a large room, however, you will need to consider the height and size of the room. In a room of this size, it’s helpful to arrange your furniture in smaller, conversational groupings throughout the space. For example, you may add an overstuffed sofa in front of a coffee table with two wing back chairs across from it. Anchor the grouping with a colorful rug, and you have a destination in your room. Add other zones, such areas for TV viewing, working on the computer or reading, and add furnishings to support each function, like bookshelves, an entertainment center or a writing desk.

Adding several focal points to a large room gives its design purpose and function, and it keeps the elements in the room feeling cohesive. It also keeps the room feeling cozy and comfortable.
Jilda Peterson is a freelance writer and works for She shares her wealth of knowledge on outdoor patio clocks and garden wall art.

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