Take Interior Decorating to New Heights

Vertically open rooms are gorgeous! Whether it’s the living room, dining room, or foyer, a two-story room can be breathtaking.

And they can also be a challenge.

We’ve got some great decorating tips that can conquer the challenge.

Assess the Space

If you’re a frequent reader of our blogs, you know that a great space starts with an honest assessment.

From the windows and walls to the fireplace and furnishings, every room feature should speak the same vertical language, whether lofty or low-profile. When vertical elements work together, your room will look grounded and cohesive.

Walls and Art

Crown moldings are a must in a two-story space. Why? They are a visual signal for the eye to stop, indicating that the wall has ended and the ceiling has begun.

Here’s a tip: Your crown molding will be twice as far from the eye than in a typical room, meaning molding that looks good in a smaller space will be lost when placed up high.

Therefore, boldly ornate or oversize trim works perfectly in a two-story room. If you’re unsure, have someone hold a piece 20 feet away from you.

And speaking of bold, a two-story room is the perfect setting for bold, bright artwork! Create a dramatic gallery wall by combining canvases, photographs, and interesting textural items like baskets or metal wall pieces.

A large, multi-panel mural is also a great addition. Just leave a little breathing room between each panel. Otherwise, they will look crowded together.

And here’s a tip: Invest in a laser level. They are so handy when hanging large pieces, creating a gallery wall, or mounting shelves!

Window Treatments

In the average-height space, you can take the window treatments to the ceiling for added tallness.

But with a two-story space, you have a couple of options. If you have floor-to-ceiling windows, hang your window treatments just above each window’s frame for a grand feel.

But if you want to bring down the room’s visual height for a cozier atmosphere, install the curtain hardware across a tall window at a more standard 10-foot-high point, leaving the upper portion uncovered.

If you like this idea but think curtains would look out of place, install cellular shades instead. This trick lets the light in above but gives you privacy below. And it’s a very modern feel, too.


You either love or hate a fireplace with stonework that soars to the ceiling. And we admit, all that stonework can be a bit intimidating. Try this trick: Artwork.

Mount a large piece of artwork at eye-level in the center point of the stonework. (You may need to hire a pro to install the appropriate mounting hardware.)

If you appreciate the soaring scale of the space, work with it by hanging art or a framed mirror that’s almost as wide as the mantel at one-third of the way up the rock or brickwork.

Then create balance with something that’s nearly as grand on the wall across from it, such as tall, stately bookcases or a grouping of small and mid-sized art pieces or photographs, which — when you stand back — will give the idea of another large-scale piece without being too similar.

Furniture and Accessories

When you’ve made the most of a room’s striking height, choose furnishings with substance.

A sectional sofa works great in large two-story rooms. It adds body without clutter.

Floating shelves are a great addition to a large room because you can mount them as high as you like, without worries about them tipping over.

On the other hand, in a space that’s down to earth, a low-backed couch and sleek tables will appear more to scale.

Regardless of the vibe in the room, anchor the space with a dramatic rug and choose accessories, such as tall floor lamps, lanky vases filled with generously long branches or bamboo poles, or tall art pieces.

And just like that! The room you avoided is now the best in the house.