Decorating Ideas for a Living Room with High Ceilings
March 11, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Our living room has beautiful 22 ft ceilings, but I have no idea how to decorate the walls. I'm unsure if I should add art above the door openings. I have art temporarily there, but it is not staying. We are also painting the walls a shade of taupe. Any suggestions and ideas on the wall or anything else in the room would be much appreciated!
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Beautiful windows but they tend to overpower. Decorative objects will have to be over scaled in this room to compete with the windows or the art etc will be lost. Better to have a few groupings of small decorative art or really large art and leave the rest of the walls bare. Think not one mirror with a gold frame, but several grouped on the wall, and not one art but a grouping to make more of an impact. Ideas for the top of the entertainment center: Place the larger of the 3 wall arts that are behind the sofa (a beach scene?, or the art I see in the hallway might work): place to rest on your TV center. The mirror might also work (not resting but hung not very high off the top), another idea is to also have a quilt or textile (Am. Indian rug?) hanging over the railing above the TV to draw eyes up and compete with the windows. This shows an ent. ctr. top that is over scaled with art resting on the top fun on location CERAMICS + ART Big Round Pizza Box Office
Perhaps the 2 smaller of the 3 framed art decor (?AM. INDIAN textiles) could go one on top of the other on the left side of the ent. ctr. to balance b/c ent. ctr. is not centered on wall. No art above doors. Over the center 2 french doors of the large window area, think of hanging 3 white plates to help bring the eyes down a bit Divine Kitchens LLC Maybe a to the floor skirt on the round table would work? Mirror groupings ART GROUPING
March 13, 2012 at 12:29pm   
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Oversized rooms like this worked well in Historical homes because there was an abundance of applied detail which divided up the vast surfaces and brought the massive spaces into a human scale: Crown Mouldings, Panel Mouldings, Wallpaper, Wainscoting, elaborate draperies, huge pieces ot artwork and tapestries, oversized fireplaces and mantels, and brilliant color everywhere...
...but rooms this size feel empty, intimidating and boring when there is nothing but plain beige sheetrock.

Take your cues from Historical spaces and add some of the above-mentioned details to your room.
March 13, 2012 at 12:39pm   
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B Fein Interiors LLC
What a beautiful space you have! I would scale-up the fan; check out the website "bigass fans" sorry - that's the name of the site!

Also, add over-door moulding to add height at the doors; your moulding is a tad skimpy. : )

Hang the art that you have over the sofa little higher. The mirror you have is a little too small for the space it's occupying. Maybe it would work well ABOVE the door (with the new moulding)
March 13, 2012 at 2:57pm   
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I would wallpaper that large wall. It would hide the vents, work with the large windows, could make great conversation, and tie the rest of your home together.
March 14, 2012 at 5:52am   
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Hide the vents with wallpaper? Those vents are there for a reason - air flow. Probably cold air returns. They are in a very inconvenient spot, though! As already mentioned, crown molding and the finishing details would dramatically improve the room - definately need drapes! Another option is to add shelving to the wall. Probably no extra backing for support so you would have to be careful how shelf was mounted and the weight of display items. IKEA actually has some good shelving that is flush mounted and you can't see the brackets. Makes the shelf look clean and tidy.
Personally, go for some color! It's a beautiful, big, bright room with huge windows!
March 14, 2012 at 7:42am     
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Daniel M Martin, Architect LLC
Try a large colorful fabric wall hanging or tapestry to add color and exhuberance. Fabrics also absorb sound which can be a problem in spaces with high ceilings. Think big!
March 14, 2012 at 8:33am   
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I think the "hide the vents" comment meant to camouflage them by having more texture and pattern, not to actually cover them up. When the wall is a solid color they stand out more.
March 14, 2012 at 9:01am     
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defarrell you got it!! I'm still laughing, seriously, cover the vents? LOL!!!! Don't like the idea of shelves at all, can you imagine getting up there to dust, plus they'll look busy with the windows and take away from the beautiful outdoors. Speaking of that, don't cover the windows, the tropical tree and pool are beautiful, we should all be so lucky to have that view!
March 14, 2012 at 9:38am     
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Michael Willoughby & Associates - Architects
One of the things I might suggest that we have done with rooms of this scale would be to add painted paneling that fits with the style of the house from the floor up to the sill of the upper windows. I have included a photograph with one example for your reference. This will bring down the scale of the room so that it is more comfortable. I hope this helps!
March 14, 2012 at 11:36am     
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Deanna McIsaac
Great room! It appears that your vents are still white (based on the photos). Try painting them out the same colour as your wall colour to blend them in so that your eye is not immediately drawn to them. I would also suggest adding a darker colour drapery panel to draw your eye down. It would ground the space, add some visual contrast which will add interest to the room and would nicely frame-out the lovely view. Draw on some of the accent colours in your room, perhaps from the art work. A grey-blue perhaps? I think the idea of also beefing up your mouldings/casings is a great suggestion. In such a big room the current mouldings seem too small. Good luck!
March 14, 2012 at 1:27pm   
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char metz
I also had the dilemma on what to do with vents on a wall as large as this. I painted them the same color as the wall and they blended into the background. I also agree that you need to make the crown molding around the door bigger it seems to be too small for the size of room and if you can I would add crown molding to the ceiling. Also
the suggestion of painting the ceiling 2 shades darker, also works. I had to do this in a home in Nevada and it brought it down so that it seemed balanced with the room . these are good problems to have- you have the space to create these wonderful spaces! good luck!
March 14, 2012 at 1:43pm   
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Think conservatory. 3 step process: 1.) Breath some life and sophistication by adding a big indoor tree/plant(s). 2.) I've always been drawn to the big bold painted stripes... Leave the wall color as is and introduce a new color tone, say muted honey oak or maybe cool the scene with a warm, very light grey blue (12" alternating stripes- 12" existing wall color, 12" new, 12" existing...continuously). 3.) Add some big, beautiful crown molding at the very top, and thick molding around the two ground level doors (Stained to match floor, DO NOT paint)... And done. Oh, and leave the catwalk alone... put the paint brush down (no stripes).
March 14, 2012 at 7:30pm   
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I'm planning on building a home with this type of open ceiling and space and I'm glad that I got some tips of boulder molding and vent placement!
March 14, 2012 at 7:54pm   
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CW Design, LLC
Tapestries or quilts is a great idea. Paint the ceiling a color to bring it down a bit. You could also paint or paper a frieze mid-way up the walls and again at the ceiling to break up the space. I recently attended a lecture with Alexa Hampton, who did this with great success. I don't think pattimay meant cover the vents with the wallpaper as much as paper the vents (and recut the vent holes) so that the vents won't be so prominent!
March 15, 2012 at 6:52am   
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My house is very similar to yours, and I struggled with this same problem for years. I put up an oversized tapestry and I get compliments all the time. If you decide to go that route, hang it at the same level as the window on the other wall. A tapestry can go over the vents, especially since there is some space behind it, because it hangs away from the wall like a curtain, and those vents actually have a functional purpose, which is air exchange in the room. The tapestry cuts down on echo, and adds a touch of warmth in a large cavernous space. Choose a design according to your style. There are many which copy antique designs, and many contemporary styles out there.
March 15, 2012 at 7:03am   
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Complete Home Interior Design LLC
Your Living room space is fabulous! Many people would die for a great view like you have.
As a designer of many years I’ve been challenged by rooms like yours before. I have included a design on a photo for you to visually see what potential your home can have.
I do agree that most of the comments made were helpful and almost any of them can help fix your problem.
On the other hand I believe that if you love your home, plan on living there for a while and take time to request opinions you should go all the way.
I suggest that you add crown molding. This does not need to be traditional there are many different profiles that you can choose from. This helps to complete the marriage from wall to ceiling. Also add an additional row of crown molding or flat chunky trim to further define the space. This will allow you to choose shades of a color so it makes it easier to paint a grand space like yours and not be stuck with white or beige. Color is also the best way to change the mood of a space. Painting your vents the same color as the wall especially if you choose a medium to deep color will help those vents disappear.
The additional trim detail will also distract your eye and they won’t be noticeable. Art work should be large over the door space. You can still use small grouping on the lower part as long as all frame are similar in color anything goes.
When considering a color for your crown/trim remember white can be soft and complimentary to your color selection.
It looks like you have working window treatments at the lower section of windows Consider adding long panels from the new trim placement down. I selected a sheer fabric to allow your beautiful view to be seen. The added panels help to soften and warm the room and are non functional.
Don’t forget to bring the beautiful outside inside. Consider adding trees weather silk or real they add volumes to the room and allow for many varied heights that help in rooms with very high ceiling.
Good Luck
March 15, 2012 at 12:20pm     
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checkout the blog here.. your living room looks very similar
March 16, 2012 at 2:40pm     
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To fineartmom, the vents are cool air supply. You will understand that cool air settles down, one of the most fundamental laws of physics... Therefore, if you force it down behind a tapestry, you will never cool the room; that is why they are high in the first place!
March 17, 2012 at 8:31am   
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Thank you so much for all your comments! They were all very helpful. We are adding crown molding (among other things) as so many of you suggested. This creates a new problem that I would love advice on. One part of the room has 22ft ceilings, while the other opens to the 2nd floor, where there are 8 ft ceilings. How do we choose what size crown molding to use? A larger size would work for most of the room, but might look too big on the 2nd floor. Suggestions??
March 19, 2012 at 4:07pm   
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erin22m- The blog that design_4less sent is a great place for you to look for ideas. (nasty bathroom photo tho - ew) They have large crown molding in the areas that the ceilings aren't tall and they look nice. Sounds like you are getting some great ideas and will be on your way to having the rooms you will like!
March 20, 2012 at 5:00am   
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Smilow + Mathiesen
How about a series of long vertical pieces like the Tree of Life Series I did below: That way you can fill the space without covering the (annoying) vents --the pieces would mirror the windows on the right side and could be done in your choice of coloration...Contact me if you are interested in discussing a commission--my website is for other types of choices....
October 30, 2012 at 7:37am   
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Shameless self promotion?
October 30, 2012 at 7:54am     
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Shameless self promotion is right-this company is littering houzz discussions with so many ads...imagine if everyone did that...disgusting.
October 30, 2012 at 8:25am     
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