Soaring Ceilings ... What on Earth to Do With Them?! - Home Staging & Interior Design Tips for Lofts / Open Plan Homes -Part #2

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. 

large vertical art large vertical art large vertical fabric 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!

foscarini, big bang   chandelier, jackson design

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.

chambers before chambers after with tall plant

chambers full living room view

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.

 horizontal elements in H45 model home   horizontal elements in H45 model home

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.






Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. D B 03/04/2009 11:33 AM
  2. Bridget Cella 03/04/2009 12:17 PM
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Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Holy Moly! I have been out all day and just got home to see all these comments. I am stunned that this made it to a feature on the front page! That's a first for me. My goodness. I guess people REALLY need to know what to do with those high ceilings. LOL

To those of you who got some good ideas on what to do with your high ceilings and soaring walls, I'm glad I could help! To those of you asking for help, I'll respond to you personally in email.

Chris Olsen - I like that idea of writing a book! I've really been enjoying posting about lofts.

I am going to edit this post, because I forgot to put a link to the original posting on lofts.

Thank you for your comments1

Mar 04, 2009 05:31 PM #19
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

We have homes with these soaring ceilings and you made some great statements that made a difference! Thanks for sharing the tips!

Mar 04, 2009 10:20 PM #20
Pippa Mac
Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring - The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands TX Real Estate

Great pictures!  Thank you for sharing some great ideas!

Mar 05, 2009 04:05 AM #21
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Fabulous follow up and advice!  I knew I was looking forward to Part #2, is there a Part #3 coming?

Mar 05, 2009 04:42 AM #22
Teresa J. Ramey
ReDecorating with Style - Florence, SC

Great tips!  Thank you for posting!

Mar 05, 2009 05:00 AM #23
Claudia Andrade-Desbiens Los Angeles Modern Staging
Modern Mecca Home Staging, Luxury & Architectural Real Estate Staging, Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles & Orange County

All right, I am hooked ; )

Thank you, Pangaea for your informative (and completely addictive!) Blog describing the difficult decorating challenges unique to loft design and the solutions to transcend these problems and create a spectacular space where one can live/work/play. I am looking forward to Part #3 - You rock!


Mar 05, 2009 05:02 AM #24
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Melissa & Claudia -Oh yes, there will be a part #3. Not sure how many parts. I'll have to see how much inspiration pops into my head ;0)

Cathy Lee - Although that photo of the white chandelier is a stock photo - that just happens to be the chandelier I hung in my 17' high entry --- my, what great taste you have! LOL

Mar 05, 2009 02:24 PM #25
Cynthia Bartch
Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio - Granville, OH
Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal

Hi Pangaea, Wow another great blog along w/ fabulous photos. You know I love all your art choices. Is the painting in the top right one of yours? The one w/ 3 yellow circles on the orange background.

Mar 05, 2009 10:23 PM #26
Norma Brandsberg
Marks Realty Co. Inc., Lynchburg, VA, 540-586-9496 - Forest, VA

Liked the ideas!

Mar 06, 2009 12:00 AM #27
Ruth Price - PDXUrbanHomes

Your work is beautiful! Hopefully I will be able to use your services in the near future. Is your art local?

Mar 06, 2009 03:03 AM #28
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Cynthia - Yes, that's one of my own paintings. Currently that one is rented by other stagers here in town. I've actually painted that in a couple of different colors and one of my interior design clients commissioned me to paint one for her in custom colors for her Pearl District condo. Thanks for asking.

Ruth - Mostly, yes. The photos I use are both from my home staging projects and my interior design clients. For my home staging, all of my really large paintings are my own work. I also combine those with high quality, signed-numbered prints by other artists to give a more high-end feel to my properties. For my interior design clients, I frequently buy art from local galleries, although the artists themselves may be national artists. I do love to support local artists and galleries, but my focus is on finding the art that really delights my clients wherever that may be found. I hope we do get to work together. I'd like nothing better than to stage one of those contemporary urban properties of yours. And if you sell one to a client who could use help pulling their decor together, please keep me in mind. I know that many clients ask their brokers when they need a designer because they realize you are 'in-the-know' about local resources. Thank you!

Mar 06, 2009 04:03 AM #29
Monica Stanciu
Staged 2 Sell Solutions Inc. - Markham, ON
Staged 2 Sell Solutions, Markham, ON

Hi  Pangaea!


Congratulations for the featured post and thanks for the inspiration. Can't wait for the following part(s). They are one coming, ringt?

Mar 06, 2009 06:11 AM #30
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Gorgeous work Pangaea! You are a brilliantly talented designer and artist. I once had a townhome with very high ceilings and we used a series of 4 coordinating large square paintings that really helped to fill the space.

High Ceilings

Mar 06, 2009 03:22 PM #31
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

Appears that you have not been on AR very long and you have won the admiration from all of us.

Keep up the good work and I'll keep watching for your posts.

Mar 07, 2009 05:11 PM #32
Kathy Riggle
Houston Home Staging

Another very educational post, thank you Pangaea.  This is helpful for our city loft properties & the houses with 2 story window walls around the fireplace in the family room.  Beautiful design photos.

Mar 08, 2009 05:14 AM #33
c m
Colorado Springs, CO

Some really spectacular spaces, and really wonderful staging of spectacular spaces! Congrats on feature!

Mar 08, 2009 06:55 PM #34
Aron Bailey Bruser
Win-Win Home Staging & Redesign - Huntingdon Valley, PA

Pangaea, wonderfully creative ideas.  I thoroughly enjoyed your ideas for this space.........

Mar 12, 2009 07:19 AM #35
Mark Hall
Elite Realty NW - Keller Williams, Vancouver Washington - Vancouver, WA
Homes for Sale Vancouver Washington

Wow, awesome post. Thank you so much for the tips!

Mar 13, 2009 06:49 AM #36
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

I do love your ideas! It is hard to think outside the box, thank goodness there are interior decorators like yourself who do incredible work! Thank you.

Mar 13, 2009 12:52 PM #38
Terri Lucas
Exclusive Home Staging - Redondo Beach, CA
Exclusive Home Staging Los Angeles

Ditto, Ditto to all the comments above.  I love how the giant fiddly fig fills and softens the space.  I absolutely admire your design sense and your artwork is spectacular.  I look forward to seeing more.

Mar 13, 2009 10:13 PM #39
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