Two-story family rooms—rooms with cathedral ceilings that are as high as second floor ceilings—have become quite common in recent years. While the expansive rooms are typically impressive, they do create decorating challenges, such as what to do with 16 foot windows or 20 (-plus) foot walls. Family rooms with high ceilings also echo and create acoustic problems that can be addressed with a few creative decorative items.
1. Paint the walls, particularly the taller walls, in a warm color to accentuate the space while making it feel more welcome. Tan or brown shades are warm and neutral, so they work with almost any decor. Keep the trim and doors white to add contrast.
2. Place your furniture in a way that works for the room. For example, create a conversation area by placing two sofas opposite from each other or in an “L” shape so both can see the TV, if there is one in this room.
3. Hang curtains or drapes that cover expansive windows, which will help minimize the echoes and add warmth to the room. Most two story family rooms include a wall of windows or high windows and low windows. Use drapes that match the color, formality and style of the room’s decor. For example, brown, red and gold floral patterns could accent a more formal family room with the same tones and patterns found on the furniture. Simple hardware won’t detract from the curtains.
4. Include an area rug that shares colors or designs with the drapes and pulls the whole room together. Adding a rug isn’t necessary if the room has wall-to-wall carpeting, although you can include a decorative rug if you desire. The rug will also help absorb sounds to minimize acoustic problems.
5. Decorate the walls with mirrors, sconces and artwork. Most two story family rooms have a lot of empty wall space that can be utilized to show off some of your favorite things, or simply display items that make your family room feel more welcoming. If there is empty space above windows, hang a large decorative mirror. Large blank walls can hold a collection or arrangement of pictures or art, or one large piece of artwork.
6. Accessorize the room with lamps, candles, family photos, plants, floral arrangements or other items that complement the room’s decor.