Two-story great rooms, though they can be stunning, can also be a total challenge to decorate. I learned that the hard way. I was too in awe of the height and the windows to think, “Maybe I don’t want to buy this particular house. It’ll be nearly impossible to clean and tough to decorate.”
Lesson learned. Here are some tips I’ve learned for decorating those rooms:
Cover the windows and the walls: Very long, and usually custom made, curtains tie the top and bottom sets of windows together and break up some of the empty space that can remain when window treatments are only applied to the lower windows (see the photo above).
If the upper windows have an unusual shape or you just prefer to leave them uncovered, consider hanging the curtain rods just below the top windows so the curtains cover a few feet of the wall as well as the lower windows. This will still draw the eye up and avoid giving the illusion that the room is simply cut in half with a ton of wall space at the top.
Color-block where you can: When I first walked into my normal-sized (on the small side) living room with those tall white walls, I felt like I was defying gravity by walking on the wall at the end of a hallway. Something had to change.
We had someone come in and paint one accent wall. It didn’t do a lot, but it took away the hallway feeling. Some people choose to put the color on their ceiling, which can make it seem lower and add a coziness that wasn’t there before.
Supersize it: This goes for furniture, if there’s enough floor space. Don’t forget about large works of art like paintings sculptures, wall hangings, etc. A collection of large paintings or other objects organized on one wall can create a focal point that does double-duty by taking care of some of that wall space. Hang an oversized clock on the wall above the mantel. Look for tall plants to set on top of tables in the room. Just think big!