How to Work With a High Ceiling
Learn how to use scale, structure and shapes to create a homey-feeling space below a grand ceiling.
Sure, monuments, cathedrals and statues work on a grand scale to create a sense of awe and respect. But in our homes, overly high ceilings can make us feel dwarfed. And if not treated properly, they can create anything but a cozy feeling.
If you want your high-ceiling room to have a cozy feel, bring some elements down into the volume to break up the cavernous space. This approach, together with added attention to the walls, will help it better relate to human scale. Here’s how to do it.
Millwork adds importance. A grand room like this warrants detailed carpentry trim on a grand scale. Hefty crown molding defines the intermediate ceiling level. Above that, boxed panel detailing breaks up the planes and adds texture.
Add sculpture. Sometimes a cove ceiling can just feel cavernous. It’s a great place for three-dimensional art, like this ceiling-mounted piece. Bounce light off it and you have instant drama.
Too many rectangles here would have been, well, too many rectangles, which could have made the wall feel like it went on forever. The combination of more organic shapes helps relate the upper portion to the lower, bringing everything down a notch.
Make a material change. The juxtaposition of wood paneling (horizontal to keep it modern) and stone breaks up the wall on the left.
Pick a material to repeat and use it to break up an expansive wall. It’s beautiful how the wood tones on the wall echo the wood tones of the flooring here.
I just love how the cobalt blue in the paintings here complements the yellow-orange in the paintings below. This sense of connection makes the towering area feel more intimate.
To determine what size light fixture you’ll need, start by measuring the room itself. Add the length and the width of the room; this will give you an approximate diameter for the light fixture in inches. For example, if your room is 8 feet by 10 feet, then 18 inches would be ideal.
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