Making a Living Room with High Ceilings Feel Cozy

How to Decorate a Small Living Room with Tall Ceilings // Joanna Gaines Inspired Living Room Ideas // www.TantrumsandTools.com

How Joanna Gaines Decorates a Small Living Room with High Ceilings

A vaulted ceiling may be a great way to make a small living space feel much larger. But the problem is, how to decorate a small living room with high ceilings? Because if not decorated properly, those tall walls and ceilings make the room feel cold and impersonal. 

If you feel overwhelmed by how to fill this large space, you’re not alone. This tricky design dilemma stumps most homeowners. So, what should you do with all that extra height? Look to the design queen, Joanna Gaines, of course! Using her design style, you can gather all the inspiration you’ll need to make a living room with high ceilings feel inviting and cozy.

Here are the best tips and creative ideas to channel your inner Joanna Gaines for this challenging ceiling height.


Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.


Embrace the Coziness of Paint Colors

Joanna Gaines is known for her ability to create cozy and inviting living spaces through her choice of colors. Here are some of the colors she often uses to achieve that warm and welcoming atmosphere in a living room:

Joanna frequently employs soft neutral colors such as warm beige, creamy off-white, and gentle taupe. These hues create a soothing backdrop that evokes comfort and relaxation. 

Using various shades of complimentary whites creates depth and visual interest. This layering technique gives the room an inviting feel.

If you’re worried about white walls feeling sterile, consider warm whites like Alabaster. It’s a timeless off-white shade that brings warmth and brightness to a room. It pairs well with various decor styles and can help balance the height of high ceilings.

Another color to consider is a subdued gray with warm undertones. These grays add depth to the space without making it feel cold. This shade of gray goes well on walls, furniture, or decor accents. 

If earthy colors like warm browns, and gentle greens, are more your style, these can work too. Just be sure not to pick something too saturated to make the smaller room look and feel more closed in. Darker hues absorb more light and create a sense of coziness, but they can also visually enclose a space, even in a room with high ceilings. Proceed with caution!

Incorporating Architectural Details to Create a Cozy Small Living Room with High Ceilings

How to Decorate a Small Living Room Modern Farmhouse Style // How to Create a Cozy Living Room Design Ideas // www.TantrumsandTools.com

Decorating a small living room with high ceilings can present a design challenge. But the other side of that coin is a great opportunity to add unique architectural details. Doing so will transform the space into your favorite cozy spot. Here’s what Joanna Gaines would do to add architectural interest:

  • Tall Bookcases: Tall bookcases are practical storage solutions and excellent for breaking up the vertical space of high ceilings. Consider placing tall bookcases along one or more walls to add visual interest and provide opportunities for displaying books, decorative items, and personal treasures. To enhance the cozy vibe, intersperse the shelves with baskets, textured decor, and sentimental items that evoke a sense of home.
  • Architectural Features: If your space allows, consider introducing architectural elements like wainscoting, board and batten, shiplap, or decorative molding. These features add character and charm to the room while creating a sense of scale that complements the high ceilings. Additionally, incorporating a focal point like a fireplace or an intricately designed mantel can draw the eye downward and anchor the space.
  • Wooden Beams: Whether real or faux, wood beams are the best way to bring a rustic and inviting element to the room. They can add warmth and character to high ceilings by introducing a natural texture and visual contrast. To maximize the coziness, consider staining or painting the beams in a warm, earthy tone that complements the room’s color palette.
  • Tray Ceiling: A tray ceiling is an architectural detail that involves a recessed central area surrounded by a higher border. This feature creates a sense of grandeur and elegance. To enhance the coziness, paint the tray ceiling slightly darker than the walls to lower the ceiling’s height visually. You can also install a pendant light or chandelier in the center to draw attention to the architectural element.
  • Large Windows: High ceilings often allow for the inclusion of large windows that bring in lots of natural light. 

By integrating these architectural details into your small living room with high ceilings, you can curate a cozy and inviting room that balances the grandeur of the space. Each feature contributes to a visually captivating atmosphere, transforming your living room into a welcoming retreat where you’ll want to gather with family or unwind with a good book.

>> Want more on how to pull off a Joanna Gaines Fixer Upper Style home? Learn how to seamlessly blend farmhouse charm, modern elements, and neutral colors like Jo right here in this Ultimate Guide to Design a Joanna Gaines Fixer Upper Style Home.

Play with Textures and Patterns

Joanna Gaines is known for her love of mixing patterns, so don’t be afraid to layer these in to add visual interest without overwhelming the space. Textures and patterns create a cozy and visually engaging space when done correctly.

To achieve this, consider a strategic approach. Begin by layering various textiles, from soft rugs to soft pillows and throws, introducing a tactile dimension to seating areas. 

Complement these soft textures with contrasting fabrics, blending smooth and rough elements for added depth. These rough elements include a jute rug, reclaimed wood, exposed brick, textured wallpaper, metal accents, or leather. 

Incorporate patterns by introducing area rugs with understated designs. Or patterned upholstery on an accent chair is a great way to add visual interest without overwhelming the small room.

Using Lighting to Curate Coziness in a Living Room with Tall Ceilings

In a living room characterized by tall ceilings and the pursuit of coziness, lighting plays a huge role in setting the mood. Thoughtfully chosen lighting elements can create warmth, balance, and intimacy, enhancing the overall comfort of the space. 

Here’s how to use lighting to achieve a cozy ambiance: 

  • Dimmable Fixtures: Opt for dimmable lighting fixtures wherever possible. Adjusting light intensity to suit different activities and moods encourages a cozy ambiance.
  • Warm Bulbs: Choose warm white or soft white bulbs with lower color temperatures (2700K to 3000K). These bulbs emit a warm, inviting glow that contrasts with the coolness of high ceilings, creating an inviting vibe.
  • Chandeliers and Pendant Lights: Select a large chandelier or pendant lights that complement the room’s scale without overwhelming it. These fixtures can serve as central focal points while casting a gentle glow from above.
  • Floor Lamps: Integrate floor lamps with fabric shades to diffuse light softly across the room. The best place for a floor lamp is in a corner or near seating areas.
  • Table Lamps: Utilize table lamps on side tables, consoles, or mantels to add warmth at eye level. Shades that diffuse light, like cloth, create an intimate atmosphere.
  • Wall Sconces: Mount wall sconces strategically to highlight architectural details or artwork. These decorative light fixtures offer ambient light and enhance the room’s charm.
  • Cove Lighting: Consider cove lighting along the perimeter of the ceiling to create a soft, indirect glow. This type of lighting visually lowers the ceiling height and enhances your cozy ambiance.
  • Candlelight Effect: Incorporate battery-operated LED candles to produce an even cozier feel.

The key to making your room cozy is embracing the concept of layered lighting. To achieve this, incorporate ambient, task, and accent lighting to ensure a balanced and functional environment. Combined with warm bulbs, and fixtures of appropriate scale, you can effectively transform a living room with tall ceilings into a haven of comfort.

Cozy Seating Arrangements

How to Decorate a Small Living Room with Tall Ceilings // Joanna Gaines Inspired Living Room Ideas // Built- In Window Seating Area // Buffalo Plaid Floor Pillows // www.TantrumsandTools.com

Arranging furniture in a small living room with tall ceilings requires a strategic approach to maximize the space. The balance is in creating ample seating without crowding the small room. 

Selecting the right furniture for this compact space involves several considerations. Opt for furniture with clean lines and a sleek profile versus heavier furniture to avoid adding visual clutter.

Light-colored upholstery can help the furniture blend seamlessly into the room. Additionally, pieces with exposed legs create an illusion of openness by revealing more floor space. 

Here are some seating arrangement ideas for a small living room that can help optimize space while maintaining a cozy and functional environment:

Conversational Arrangement

  • Place two small sofas or loveseats facing each other to create a symmetrical seating area.
  • Position a coffee table between the sofas for convenience.
  • Add a pair of accent chairs at an angle to the sofas to complete the conversation circle.

L-Shaped Sectional

  • Opt for a compact L-shaped sectional that fits snugly into a corner.
  • Place a small side table or a narrow console against the longer side of the sectional to create a functional surface.

Armchairs and Ottoman

  • Position two comfortable armchairs at an angle to each other.
  • Place a small, upholstered ottoman or small table in between as a versatile surface or footrest.

Built-In Bench Seating

  • Utilize built-in bench seating along one wall, either with storage underneath or with floating shelves above.
  • Add a couple of small cushions and throw pillows for comfort.

Dual-Function Furniture

  • Choose a sofa bed or a futon that can serve as both seating and a guest sleeping area.
  • Place a slim console table behind the sofa to provide additional storage and display space.
  • Incorporate furniture that serves multiple purposes, such as a storage ottoman that can be used as both a coffee table and extra seating.

Window Nook Seating

  • Transform a window nook into a cozy seating area by placing a small loveseat or a couple of chairs.
  • Use the space underneath the window for built-in storage or add a short shelf for books and decor.

Mix and Match Seating

  • Combine different types of seating, like a small sofa, a couple of armchairs, and a pair of stools.
  • Arrange them in a way that encourages interaction and provides various options for seating.

In addition, pulling furniture slightly away from the walls to create a more cohesive and inviting space. In rooms with high ceilings, furniture placed against the walls emphasizes the vertical height, which does nothing for your cozy vibes.

Instead, pull furniture inward just a tad to help balance the vertical and horizontal dimensions, making the space more inviting. Use the back of the sofa to define the space and create an open, airy feel.

The way you arrange furniture can significantly impact how cozy the room feels. Ultimately, a minimalist approach to furniture selection and using these arrangements allows you to create a balanced, comfortable living room, even in a small space with tall ceilings.

8 Tips for Using an Accent Wall in a Living Room with Tall Ceilings

+ Accent Wall Using Paint and a Sponge // Joanna Gaines Inspired Living Room Ideas // Modern Farmhouse Living Room Decor // www.TantrumsandTools.com

An accent wall can be a fantastic design element in a living room with tall ceilings. It helps create visual interest, adds depth, and brings focus to a specific area. Here’s how to effectively use an accent wall:

  • Selecting the Wall: Choose a wall with a natural focal point or architectural detail, such as a fireplace, built-in shelving, or a large window. Putting the accent wall here will help draw attention to a specific feature.
  • Feature Wall Purpose: Consider the purpose of the accent wall. Is it intended to highlight a specific design element, create a cozy nook, or serve as a backdrop for artwork? Clarifying the purpose will guide your design choices.
  • Color and Pattern: Choose a color or pattern that complements the room’s overall color scheme. Opt for a hue contrasting with the other walls while harmonizing with the existing decor.
  • Height of the Accent Wall: When it comes to the height of the accent wall, a standard guideline is to extend it to about two-thirds of the total wall height. This maintains a sense of proportion while visually connecting the ceiling and floor.
  • Vertical Lines: If you’re considering a vertical pattern or stripes on the accent wall, these can visually elongate the wall and emphasize the room’s height. This is effective if you want to balance the impact of tall ceilings.
  • Horizontal Lines: To create a cozier feel, consider horizontal lines or patterns on the accent wall. This can visually widen the room and draw attention across the wall rather than upward.
  • Wall Texture: Experiment with wall texture to add dimension to the accent wall. Options include wood paneling, textured wallpaper, shiplap, or a mural.
  • Lighting Considerations: Factor in lighting when designing the accent wall. Wall sconces, recessed lighting, or strategically placed floor and table lamps can help highlight the accent wall and create a cozy atmosphere.

Remember that design choices are subjective, and the height of the accent wall can vary based on personal preferences and the specific characteristics of your room. Ultimately, the accent wall should complement the room’s style, highlight architectural features, and contribute to the overall inviting atmosphere you’re aiming to achieve.

>> Say hello to a beautifully styled, Joanna Gaines inspired fireplace mantel with this step-by-step design guide.

Bring in Natural Elements

Joanna Gaines is renowned for her love of nature-inspired elements. That’s because it’s an easy way to add warmth and comfort to your living room. Introduce wooden features such as furniture pieces with warm finishes or exposed wooden beams to establish a connection to nature while adding a rustic charm. 

Complement these wooden elements with tall plants strategically placed around the room. This touch of greenery softens the architectural lines and breathes life into the space.

Enhance your living room coziness further by incorporating stone accents, like a fireplace or stone-clad feature wall. These tactile surfaces produce an inviting atmosphere and create a harmonious balance against the height of the ceilings. 

Textured natural fabrics such as jute rugs, linen curtains, and woven cushions introduce layers of tactile appeal while highlighting the room’s connection to the outdoors.

In addition, capitalizing on natural light is important. Consider dressing the windows with sheer curtains that allow sunlight to filter in. These curtains enhance the airy ambiance while maintaining privacy. 

Another way to bring in the outdoors is by displaying nature-inspired artwork, such as botanical prints or landscape paintings. These pieces add visual interest and contribute to the room’s organic ambiance.

Finally, candles offer a sensory dimension, creating an intimate and serene atmosphere. By thoughtfully weaving these natural elements throughout the room, you can transform a small living room with high ceilings into a cozy sanctuary that resonates with the beauty and tranquility of the natural world.

How to Incorporate Wall Decor When You Have High Ceilings

  • Gallery Wall: Create a gallery wall featuring framed artwork, photographs, or prints. Vary the sizes and styles of the frames for visual interest. When hanging multiple pieces, start with the largest in the center and arrange smaller ones around it.
  • Oversized Art: Opt for an oversized piece of artwork that commands attention. Doing so creates a focal point and adds drama to the room. Ensure the size is appropriate for the wall’s dimensions.
  • Vertical Wall Hangings: Hanging vertical pieces such as tapestries, woven wall art, or even a tall floor mirror can help balance the room’s height and make it feel cozier.
  • Floating Shelves: Install floating shelves to display a mix of decorative items, such as books, vases, plants, and framed photos. These shelves add depth to the wall while providing storage and display space.
  • Statement Clock: Choose a decorative wall clock with a unique design or oversized dimensions. This functional piece is a stylish focal point and breaks up the wall space.
  • Botanical Prints: Hang a series of botanical prints or nature-themed artwork to bring a touch of the outdoors into the room. You can arrange them in a grid pattern or vertically to complement the height of the ceilings.
  • Mirror Ensemble: Create an arrangement of mirrors in different shapes and sizes. Mirrors not only reflect light but also give the illusion of more space. Place them strategically to capture views or bounce light around the room.
  • 3D Wall Art: Consider three-dimensional wall art, such as sculptural pieces, textured woven panels, or macrame wall hangings. These add depth and visual interest to the wall while enhancing the cozy atmosphere.

Wall decor plays a significant role in enhancing the aesthetics of a room. Use these ideas for wall decor, along with size and placement considerations:

How High to Hang Decor on a Taller Ceilings

When determining the size of wall decor, consider the scale of the room and the specific wall you’re decorating. Oversized pieces can fill large walls, while smaller pieces are ideal for adding accents between furniture or architectural elements. 

Aim for eye level, typically 57 to 60 inches from the floor for placement. However, keep in mind you may need to hang art slightly higher in a room with tall ceilings to create a balanced visual effect.

How High to Hang Curtains with 9 Foot Ceilings

When dealing with tall ceilings, the placement of curtains can significantly influence the overall look and feel of the room. In your room with tall ceilings, you can create a lot of drama with the height of your curtains. 

To prevent disrupting the vertical flow of the room, avoid hanging curtains that are too short, as they can create an awkward visual break. Instead, mount the curtain rod closer to the ceiling, around 4 to 6 inches below it. This approach draws the eye upward, creating a sense of grandeur and spaciousness.

Ensure your curtains extend all the way to the floor, gently brushing or slightly hovering above it.

You can allow the curtains to puddle on the floor for a touch of luxury or a romantic feel. This technique lets the fabric pool slightly for a graceful, flowing effect. However, remember that puddling works best in more formal or traditionally styled rooms.


Incorporating Joanna Gaines’ Fixer Upper style into a living room with high ceilings requires a thoughtful balance of design elements. Following this guide, you can transform your lofty space into a comfortable and inviting haven reflecting Joanna’s timeless and welcoming aesthetic. 

So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to turn your high-ceiling living room into a design masterpiece that would make even Joanna proud!


Hey Friend!

project planner pack

Every successful DIY project starts with a plan. That’s why I created the Project Planner Pack.

It’s everything you need to complete your project on time and on budget.

Unleash your creativity with a click, download your Planner Pack and start your DIY journey today!


furniture flipping // diy projects // home renovations // modern farmhouse decorating ideas