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21 Living Rooms with Tall Ceilings Create High Expectations

Living room, featuring a mix of design elements, has large-scale abstract wall art under a cathedral ceiling. The room, lit with recessed lighting, includes sectional sofas with armchairs, ottoman and mid-century modern coffee table. A large area rug covers concrete flooring with a glass wall opening to an outside deck area.

You name it, we’ve got them here: vaulted, cathedral, coffered, tray, shed, double-height, dome, beamed and any other type of tall ceiling you can think of. High ceilings in living rooms create substantial areas of space which usually call for some kind of decorative treatment, be it architectural, artistic, photographic, or whatever. Bauhaus’ minimalist aesthetic says leave the space alone but that approach won’t work in every situation. Below, we’ve put together a curated gallery of living rooms with tall ceilings that offer some decorative ideas to address spatial considerations.

1. Hot Pink Sofa adds Splash of Color to Massive Space

Living room, in a home designed by London's DOS Architects, features a massive open space with a wall of windows drawing in lots of natural light. A large hot pink sofa defines the seating area with a long wall bench positioned under the windows. The room also incorporates a bookcase, recessed lighting, a glass-top coffee table, accent chair and a hot pink ottoman to match the sofa.

Living room, in a home designed by London’s DOS Architects, features a massive open space with a wall of windows drawing in lots of natural light. A large hot pink sofa defines the seating area with a long wall bench positioned under the windows. The room also incorporates a bookcase, recessed lighting, a glass-top coffee table, accent chair and a hot pink ottoman to match the sofa.

DOS Architects, who work on projects all over the world, have given the space a subtle mosque-like atmosphere with traditional Islamic arched doors and windows introduced as part of the design. A corner of the room, with an area rug placed in front of windows, is set up like an Islamic prayer space. DOS Architects sometimes use microtopping on floors and facings, which can be applied to different surfaces for a seamless appearance. The small paintings, planted high up on the walls, are the one design element that seems out of place. The pieces chosen are too small for the space and get lost in the room. When you do notice them they compete with each other for attention. One large-scale painting, on the wall without any windows, might have been a better solution.

2. Bank of Windows Provide Money Shot View of Waterscape

Contemporary living room features a double-height bank of windows with a money shot view of the Pacific Ocean. The space also includes beige sectionals, base cabinets in two alcoves, coffee table and an area rug over light wood flooring. A wall projection, with a gas fireplace, travels up to a second-floor balcony overlooking the space.

Contemporary living room features a double-height bank of windows with a money shot view of the Pacific Ocean. The space also includes beige sectionals, base cabinets in two alcoves, coffee table and an area rug over light wood flooring. A wall projection, with a gas fireplace, travels up to a second-floor balcony overlooking the space.

3. One Wall Devoted to Windows and a Linear Gas Fireplace

Elegant living space features a cathedral ceiling with a section of one wall devoted to windows and a custom-made, linear gas fireplace. The room also includes a sofa, coffee table, side tables and an assortment of tub and Bergère chairs.

Elegant living space features a cathedral ceiling with a section of one wall devoted to windows and a custom-made, linear gas fireplace. The room also includes a sofa, coffee table, side tables and an assortment of tub and Bergère chairs. Most of the chairs sit on a large area rug although a few are pushed against a back wall. Recessed lighting, as well as clerestory and wall windows, illuminate the area. There are so many chairs in the space the overall effect seems kind of busy — less chairs and the addition of a large-scale painting on the blank wall — for example, an abstract triptych, like Joan Mitchell’s “Sans Neige” — might work well.

4. Recessed Lighting in Drop Ceiling Illuminates Room

Minimalist living room features a white sofa set with two barrel chairs and a coffee table facing a widescreen TV. The space also includes marble fireplace, an accent wall with a marble effect and dark hardwood flooring. Recessed lighting illuminates the room with some sections of the ceiling dropped lower. Double-height, draped windows fill the wall leading to the outside.

Minimalist living room features a white sofa set with two barrel chairs and a coffee table facing a widescreen TV. The space also includes marble fireplace, an accent wall with a marble effect and dark hardwood flooring. Recessed lighting illuminates the room with some sections of the ceiling dropped lower. Double-height, draped windows fill the wall leading to the outside.

5. Cluttered Room Lacks Cohesive Design Elements

Large space, combining a foyer with a living room, features an assortment of mostly leather armchairs with a set of coffee tables and a grand piano. An enclosed circular staircase leads to the second floor.

Large space, combining a foyer with a living room, features an assortment of mostly leather armchairs with a set of coffee tables and a grand piano. An enclosed circular staircase leads to the second floor. The room has white tile flooring with several area rugs that try to define distinctive spaces but they don’t really succeed. A sofa or two would have gone a long way in both dividing the room up and providing alternative seating options. Generally, using the color white makes a room feel bigger but there’s so much clutter here the color has little effect on the overall design. Hope somebody can play that piano.

6. Elegant Formal Living Room Lets Subtle Design Speak for Itself

Elegant formal living room features a white sofa set with two massive club chairs and a matching ottoman. The space also includes a wood-burning fireplace, hardwood flooring and a large area rug. The walls and tall ceiling are a blue/green pastel color with large windows letting in plenty of natural light.

Elegant formal living room features a white sofa set with two massive club chairs and a matching ottoman. The space also includes a wood-burning fireplace, hardwood flooring and a large area rug. The walls and tall ceiling are a blue/green pastel color with large windows letting in plenty of natural light.

7. Supersized Room Completely Open to the Outside

Large modern living room makes a seamless transition between the interior space and outside decking. The room features a white sofa set and a large area rug, along with spherical pendant lights suspended from a towering ceiling. The gigantic nature of the space makes everything seem supersized with massive blinds covering one glass wall, while sunlight streams in from another wall, completely open to the elements. 

Large modern living room makes a seamless transition between the interior space and outside decking. The room features a white sofa set and a large area rug, along with spherical pendant lights suspended from a towering ceiling. The gigantic nature of the space makes everything seem supersized with massive blinds covering one glass wall, while sunlight streams in from another wall, completely open to the elements. 

Related: Family Rooms | Formal Living Rooms | Great Rooms | Libraries | Sunrooms | Bars | Man Caves | Game Rooms | Home Theaters | Primary Bathroom with Tall CeilingsWhat is Drop Ceiling | Cove Ceilings | Bedrooms with Tall Ceilings

8. Double-Height Ceiling Extends Over Outside Deck

Living space, with expansive ocean views, features a white sofa set, tightly configured around a coffee table, that faces a large wood-burning concrete fireplace. One wall of the waterfront property opens to an outside deck that leads down to a beach area. The double-height ceiling includes an overhang that extends out over outside deck area.

Living space, with expansive ocean views, features a white sofa set, tightly configured around a coffee table, that faces a large wood-burning concrete fireplace. One wall of the waterfront property opens to an outside deck that leads down to a beach area. The double-height ceiling includes an overhang that extends out over the outside deck area.

9. Chalet-Style Great Room Showcases Wood Craftsmanship

Large chalet-style great room features a cedar wood plank cathedral ceiling with exposed beams and hardwood flooring. A leather sofa set is positioned in the center of the space, on an area rug, in front of a massive stone fireplace. The room also includes formal dining area and a breakfast bar.

Large chalet-style great room features a cedar wood plank cathedral ceiling with exposed beams and hardwood flooring. A leather sofa set is positioned in the center of the space, on an area rug, in front of a massive stone fireplace. The room also includes formal dining area and a breakfast bar.

10. Abstract Wall Art Works Well in Mix of Design Elements

Living room, featuring a mix of design elements, has large-scale abstract wall art under a cathedral ceiling. The room, lit with recessed lighting, includes sectional sofas with armchairs, ottoman and mid-century modern coffee table. A large area rug covers concrete flooring with a glass wall opening to an outside deck area.

Living room, featuring a mix of design elements, has large-scale abstract wall art under a cathedral ceiling. The room, lit with recessed lighting, includes sectional sofas with armchairs, ottoman and mid-century modern coffee table. A large area rug covers concrete flooring with a glass wall opening to an outside deck area.

11. Sloped Ceiling Features Clerestory Windows

Spacious living room features a large sectional sofa and chairs around a square glass-top coffee table. The sloped ceiling includes clerestory treatment above walls of windows with views of a mountainous landscape.

Spacious living room features a large sectional sofa and chairs around a square glass-top coffee table. The sloped ceiling includes clerestory treatment above walls of windows with views of a mountainous landscape.

12. Ornate Candle Chandeliers Hang from Coffered Ceiling

Large living room, features three candle-shape chandeliers suspended from a coffered ceiling with arched windows letting in plenty of natural light. The room includes two upholstered sofas with an armchair and coffee table, on a large area rug, facing an ornate wood-burning fireplace. A classical portrait painting, in the style of Goya, hangs over the fireplace with a grand piano across the room.

Large living room, features three candle-shape chandeliers suspended from a coffered ceiling with arched windows letting in plenty of natural light. The room includes two upholstered sofas with an armchair and coffee table, on a large area rug, facing an ornate wood-burning fireplace. A classical portrait painting, in the style of Goya, hangs over the fireplace with a grand piano across the room.

13. Tennessee Living Room Ready for Next Jam Session

Great room, in a Franklin, TN home owned by musician Miley Cyrus. features a vaulted ceiling, exposed beams and a massive stone fireplace that is constructed full-height against one wall.  The space also features hardwood flooring, an area rug and two separate sitting areas with leather and fabric furniture. Natural lighting pours in through clerestory and lower level windows and doors on three sides of the room. Musical instruments, including an upright piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and amp, sit against one wall ready for the next session to start. An elaborate candle chandelier hangs down in the center of the room, with table lamps and wall-mounted lamps providing even more lighting for the space.

Great room, in a Franklin, TN home owned by musician Miley Cyrus, features a vaulted ceiling, exposed beams and a massive stone fireplace that is constructed full-height against one wall. The space also features hardwood flooring, an area rug and two separate sitting areas with leather and fabric furniture. Natural lighting pours in through clerestory and lower level windows and doors on three sides of the room. Musical instruments, including an upright piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and amp, sit against one wall ready for the next session to start. An elaborate candle chandelier hangs down in the center of the room, with table lamps and wall-mounted lamps providing even more lighting for the space.

14. Ornate Fireplace Dominates Living Room Space

A massive, ornately carved wood-burning fireplace dominates large living space which also features a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams and a candle-shaped chandelier. In the center of the space an area rug is laid over the patterned hardwood flooring. Seating includes all antique furniture — two camelback sofas with armchairs, and a coffee table in front of the fireplace. A large arched window provides the room with plenty of natural light.

A massive, ornately carved wood-burning fireplace dominates large living space which also features a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams and a candle-shaped chandelier. In the center of the space an area rug is laid over the patterned hardwood flooring. Seating includes all antique furniture — two camelback sofas with armchairs, and a coffee table in front of the fireplace. A large, arched window provides the room with plenty of natural light.

15. Bookcase Designed for Both Fun and Function  

Compact living space, in a recently renovated Montreal home, features a gray sofa set, hardwood flooring, white shag rug and a bookshelf, built of wooden slats, that extends through the double-height space. The bookshelf serves as both a design element and a functional room divider screening the stairs leading to the second floor.

Compact living space, in a recently renovated Montreal home, features a gray sofa set, hardwood flooring, white shag rug and a bookcase, built of wooden slats, that extends through the double-height space. The bookcase serves as both a design element and a functional room divider screening the stairs and a colorful orange wall that lead to the second floor.

16. Crystal Chandelier Hangs Suspended From Rococo Tray Ceiling

A crystal chandelier hangs suspended from a rococo tray ceiling in a living room lavishly decorated with old world sophistication. Even though there is lots of space to cover the interior design is well-thought-out and comprehensive in its choice of furnishings and art work.

A crystal chandelier hangs suspended from a rococo tray ceiling in a living room lavishly decorated with old world sophistication. Even though there is lots of space to cover, the interior design is well-thought-out and comprehensive in its choice of furnishings and art work.

17. Massive Skylight Opens Up Ceiling

The interior design of this room is nothing special but the hole in the ceiling, as big as anything this side of the oculus in Ancient Rome's Pantheon, is definitely worth examining. You could also just call the opening a "skylight" but that wouldn't really do it justice — the architectural aperture takes up a considerable space in the ceiling and provides a massive amount of light to the interior. The rest of the living room is really a missed opportunity although the dark hardwood flooring looks great.

The interior design of this room is nothing special but the hole in the ceiling, as big as anything this side of the oculus in Ancient Rome’s Pantheon, is definitely worth examining. You could also just call the opening a “skylight” but that wouldn’t really do it justice — the architectural aperture takes up a considerable space in the ceiling and provides a massive amount of light to the interior. The rest of the living room is really a missed opportunity although the dark hardwood flooring is a keeper.

18. Fireplace Obscures the View But Still Keeps Things Interesting

Mexico's Grupo Arquitectura pulls out all the stops in this contemporary living room designed with a wall of windows and double-height ceiling. A fireplace planted right in the middle of the wall of glass provides enough architectural interest to make you forget that it is also obscuring the view outside. Two large, industrial metal pipes extend from the top of the fireplace out through the top of the ceiling. Three sofas, two chesterfield chairs and a set of coffee tables take up the space in front of the fireplace.

Mexico’s Grupo Arquitectura pulls out all the stops in this contemporary living room designed with a wall of windows and double-height ceiling. A fireplace planted right in the middle of the wall of glass provides enough architectural interest to make you forget that it is also obscuring the view outside. Two large, industrial metal pipes extend from the top of the fireplace out through the top of the ceiling. Three sofas, two chesterfield chairs and a set of coffee tables take up the space in front of the fireplace. A large piece of pop art, immaculately placed on one wall, solves any conceptual puzzle the designer may have faced. Well played.

19. Cantilevered Staircase Leads to Second-Story Loft

Living room, in a minimalist home designed by Vietnamese firm Studio GYZA, features a living space with concrete walls, gray sofa set, glass-top coffee table and floor lamp. An area rug covers a small section of the hardwood flooring. A cantilevered staircase leads to a second-story loft with contemporary pendant light fixtures hanging from the double-height ceiling.

Living room, in a minimalist home designed by Studio GYZA, features a living space with concrete walls, gray sofa set, glass-top coffee table and floor lamp. An area rug covers a small section of the hardwood flooring. A cantilevered staircase leads to a second-story loft with contemporary pendant light fixtures hanging from the double-height ceiling.

20. Terrazzo-Accent Fireplace Dominates One Wall 

Mid-century modern living room, in a Pasadena architectural classic owned by actor Meryl Streep, features a white sofa set, a terrazzo-accent, wood burning fireplace, two coffee tables and an area rug covering hardwood flooring.

Mid-century modern living room, in a Pasadena architectural classic owned by actor Meryl Streep, features a white sofa set, a terrazzo-accent, wood-burning fireplace, two coffee tables and an area rug covering hardwood flooring. The walls of the home, built in 1959, are exposed concrete block. A wood plank cathedral ceiling has both recessed and semi-flush lighting. A wall of double-height glass windows provides more illumination and a view of the pebble-stone terrace out back.

21. Fireplace and Windows Extend to Top of Double-Height Ceiling

Living room features an ornately carved fireplace that extends the length of the double-height ceiling. Seating includes a camelback sofa and armchair with coffee table over an area rug. Natural light pours in through a wall of glass. 

Living room features an ornately carved fireplace that extends the length of the double-height ceiling. Seating includes a camelback sofa and armchair with coffee table over an area rug. Natural light pours in through a wall of glass.