Soaring Ceilings: What On Earth To Do With Them?!
written by Pangaea
Oh we love space! Air above our heads! A roof that requires clearance from the FAA! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit … just a bit. But it does feel good to see those soaring heights … right up until you are decorating it. Then what on earth do you put in a place that has 15′ … 17′ … even 23′ high ceilings? Well, I have a few tips and suggestions and one or two might surprise you.
The first thing I do when faced with a property that has soaring ceilings is to look for some art that is large enough to take advantage of the great verticle space. If your budget doesn’t allow for a large piece of artwork, consider a fabric panel like the orange one below. Marimekko makes fabulous large scale prints that look wonderful hung as art.
The second way to enhance a tall ceiling and add drama is to install a fabulous chandelier. It’s like a lit sculpture hanging from your ceiling! Be sure to use a chandelier that is large enough and that provides plenty of light, while reflecting the style of the rest of your furnishings. Photos are of the Foscarini Big Bang Chandelier, and a room by designer, Shaun Jackson. This is an opportunity to really make a style statement!
A third way to accentuate that lovely vertical space is to add accessories such as exceptionally tall plants, sculpture, or floor vases with tall branches that are large enough not to feel dwarfed by the height of the room. Don’t be timid here. Really fill the space. Notice how much better this living room looks after removing the too small book shelves and replacing with a fiddle-leaf fig that is nearly to the ceiling. The height of the plant also balances the strong vertical lines of the concrete fireplace across the room.
Now here’s the part that may surprise you. The final piece that really makes a home with tall ceilings work is to incorporate some good strong horizontal lines in the room, and to be sure to also have some of the art or accessories on a “human scale”. Notice in the living room above that the lines of the very long, low sectional provides a strong horizontal counterpoint to anchor the vertical fireplace and tall plant. In the photos below, the strong horizontal lines and lower height of the furnishings and artwork along the wall on the left, provide a human sized foil to the floor vase with tall branches, the high windows and the tall orange panel on the right. Tall artwork on both sides of the room would have begun to make the room feel as if it were looming over the occupants.
So, the key to working with those lovely soaring ceilings is to balance appropriately scaled large vertical pieces with some strong horizontal lines and pieces on a human scale.
For additional postings on design tips for lofts and open plan homes, check out my posting on: