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 have to decorate or stage the place. 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 art for 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!
The third important piece 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. Scale is important. I would say that the number one mistake people make in using art and accessories in their homes is to use pieces that are under-scaled for 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.
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 very long sectional provides a strong horizontal line to anchor the vertical fireplace and 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. If I had used very tall artwork on both sides of the room, it would have begun to overpower the space and make people feel like everything was looming over them.
So, the key is to finding a good balance between pieces tall enough to accent and dramatize your ceiling height, and good strong elements that keep it feeling the right size for humans.
My original post for Part 1 can be found on this link to Defining Space, Not Dividing Space - Home Staging & Interior Design Tips for Lofts / Open Plan Homes.
Pangaea is an interior designer who also offers home staging service in Portland, Oregon. You can see more of her work at Pangaea Interior Design, Model Homes, and Home Staging in Portland, Oregon.