Selecting Art for Tricky Spaces: Rooms with High or Vaulted Ceilings

Vaulted, cathedral, or double-height ceilings add a fantastic sense of expansiveness to a living space, but they can make a room tricky to decorate, especially when it comes to size and placement of artwork. Try these simple tips to tackle the challenge of adding your art collection to a room with high-ceilings:

The large scale and soaring skies of this painting connects the first and second floor of this home.

The large scale and soaring skies of this painting connects the first and second floor of this home.

This modern abstract painting carries the eye upward to other unique architectural elements of the space. 

This modern abstract painting carries the eye upward to other unique architectural elements of the space. 

1. Get (vertically) oriented. Choose art with a vertical orientation to complement a towering ceiling. Alternately, try vertically stacking smaller pieces to take advantage of the available space. If you decide to stack, make sure the pieces you hang above eye-level are graphic enough to be seen from below; avoid artwork with lots of fine detail that won’t be appreciated from a distance.

2. Pay attention to scale. Often a piece that seems large when viewed at eye-level will appear lost in space when hung on a expansive wall. Measure the area you’re trying to fill, and have an optimal artwork size in mind before you go shopping.

3. Know your options. When you’re decorating a room with lots of wall space, choose either one large-scale piece, or create a grouping of multiple smaller pieces to fill the space. Try using paper templates to determine the placement of each piece in your grouping before you hang them.

4. Hang at the right level. Be strategic about where you hang your artwork. Hanging art at eye level creates a feeling of cozy intimacy in a large space, while stacked art hung above eye-level will emphasize the expansiveness of the space.  Choose your placement based on the feeling you're trying to evoke.

5. Try a home appointment. Art galleries will often offer complimentary home appointments to help collectors determine if a piece will work in the space they are trying to fill.

6. Consider giclees. Fine art giclees from websites like Artsy offer quality, affordable artwork with flexible sizing options to fit any space.

Written by Nicoletta Niosi-Ortiz

Photo Sources: Ty Pennington, Design to Inspire, Devine Decorating