Decorating an apartment with high ceilings - Help!!

Old 01-08-08, 11:13 PM
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Decorating an apartment with high ceilings - Help!!

I need some help with decorating my apartment. I have 11 ft ceilings, only about a $500 or so budget, 900 square feet, and I can't paint or make changed to the walls because I rent, LOL.

The problem I'm having is that my apartment right now is a mixture of styles. My main problem is the living room. I have a few solid mission-style antique pieces (that should be the basis for the room), plaid couches (I know, I know), and some older wooden bookshelves.

The bookshelves are a lighter color than the walnut (I think) antiques. I also have a beautiful granite coffee table top on an older table that I just happened to have on top.

To make things worse, I apparently don't have the best design skills and I'm at a loss what to do with my 11 ft ceilings in the living room (and kitchen, and bedroom).

Help!! Any suggestions??

Here are some pics of my living room (the main problem). Any suggestions on decor, placement, wall hangings, curtains, etc . would be more than welcome.


Last edited by twelvepole; 01-09-08 at 12:18 AM.
Old 01-09-08, 12:16 AM
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High ceiling are wonderful. You are lucky to have them. They pose no real decorating difficulties. Simply enjoy them.

Photo 1: Window treatments. I bought mine at the Dollar Store. They were simple off white sheers that shirr onto the inexpensive rods that I bought there. Curtains would soften the windows and give the room a more finished look.

Is there another room in the house where the computer desk could go? The desk crowds the livingroom and makes for furniture arrangement difficulties.

Pictures are hanging too high. The rule of thumb is to hang pictures at the level where the eye will behold them. In your livingroom, the pictures will be viewed from the seated position.

If the desk has to stay in the livingroom, remove the chair in the corner. The furniture is too large for the scale of the room. I take it that the couch is too long for the wall opposite the entertainment center?

If you removed the chair to, say, the bedroom, and the couch could fit on the wall, even with leaving the desk where it is, the room would look less crowded. If entertaining, the desk chair could be moved into the sitting area as an extra chair. If stuck with leaving the desk in position, at least move the file cabinet and trash can to the right of the desk so that they will be less noticeable.

Study the colors in the upholstery. Surely there is a blue or green thread running through it somewhere. Some new pillows in a minor color in upholstery would give the room some drama.

Remove the item on top of the entertainment center. Try grouping the ship collection from Photo 3 on top of the center. If there is room, group then to one side at an angle with the two larger toward the rear and the smaller in front. Then, on the other end, place a grouping of three candles in varying heights. Candles are available in interesting styles and varying heights at discount stores.

Photo 2: Coffee table is bare. The small candle is lost. Place an interesting book, a basket of fresh fruit, a candy dish with mints, an inexpensive tray with an interesting design from the discount store.

Remove the small tables to the left of the entertainment center. They serve no purpose and make the room look cluttered.

Move the wall hanging in Photo 3 to the livingroom and hang to left of entertainment center at eye level where it can be viewed while sitting.

Photo 3: The picture should be hung at eye level while standing. Now, if you are 6' tall or more that does not mean at that height. If tall, bend you knees a little so the eyes can peer into the bottom one third of the picture for, say, a person about 5'7".

Move the little statue from Photo 4 and the item on top of the entertainment center in Photo 2 to the top of the china cabinet.

Photo 4: Does the chest of drawers have to stay in the livingroom. It's large piece and crowds the corner. I can't make out what is on top, but it looks cluttered. If there is something decorative there, may it can find a home on the coffee table or elsewhere. If the chest has to stay there, will it fit turned against the wall to the right of the door so it is not lined up on the wall with the entertainment center. That wall is the focal point of the room and will be viewed most by you and your guests. The top of the chest would be a good place to make a photo gallery with all your little frames pictures. This would help unclutter the bookcases.

Is that a coat tree to the right of the chest? Can it go elsewhere? Is there a front all or entry way?

If you do not travel and are around to water houseplants the livingroom could use a large, green houseplant to the right of the entertainment center, somewhat pulled out of the corner. Of course, it would need light. One of those little tables would make a great plant stand, angled out of the corner to the right of the center. I can envision a fern or other draping plant there. With curtains, you could raise the blinds and allow filtered light in during the day. At night, lower the blinds for privacy.

You have some lovely things. I have a sneaky feeling if you went shopping in your own home you would discover things that would look good somewhere else. There is a show on HGTV called Design on a Dime. The experts come in and rearrange furniture and find things in the bedroom or other rooms that remake a livingroom. Don't be afraid to experiment with moving things about.

A floor lamp can be placed to the left of the entertainment center if there is an outlet. I bought one for $8.99 at Walmart and assembled it. You do not have an lights in the livingroom except for the overhead light and the desk lamp. You need some ambient lighting without the overhead light. You could probably use another in the corner by the right of the desk. If friends come over for the Super Bowl, you can turn on the lamps, light some candles, and turn over the overhead light.

All the wood tones are beautiful and work well together. The natural woodwork is impressive. The light walls make for good contrasting with furnishings.

Your challenge is space and the too large livingroom furniture. The corner chair is what appears to keep the room from working. Again, I want to flip the couch to face the TV. Then, it might be possible to make the corner the left of the center, the office area with a picture hanging above it. You find find some inexpensive, colorful pictures at discount stores. Art posters make for good pictures.

Pick up some decorating books at the library or study decorating online. Study pictures closely to see how things are arranged. If you see something you like, you can usually find something similar at a discount store for far less. Study color. Watch HGTV decorating shows. You can visit HGTV online for lots of good info. When watching TV, pay attention to the interiors of homes and how things are arranged and decorated.

The gift of decorating is not something with which you are born. You learn it by paying attention to rooms and decorating styles. Many furniture showrooms are set up with decorated rooms. They are fun to visit. Ethan Allen is one that comes to mind, but they are high price. Magazines are full of decorating tips and pictures.

Keep us posted. Post more photos of your work in progress. Ask questions for more feedback. Where are the pictures of the kitchen and bedroom?
Old 01-09-08, 01:58 AM
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Thank you for all of your suggestions!! I don't think the photos were all that clear though.

The chair is actually a rocking love seat. You're absolutely right, the long couch doesn't fit on the opposite wall, I positioned the couch/desk like that to try and give a separate office/living room space.

The dresser is actually an antique chiferobe (I don't know if I spelled that right). All of the art is most likely going. I have a set of 5 framed prints of various school and professional scenes from the early 20th century. I was thinking about hanging 2 of them on each side of the entry way next to the small couch.

I was actually going to either move the chiferobe to the position you suggested or angle it in the corner, I absolutely agree with you on the focal wall, so that decision is made. I'm loosing the coat rack as soon as I buy some coat hooks to screw to the inside of the hallway closet.

The tables are of course the next thing to go. The ships might also be going, the hold no special significance but I will move them until they do to where you suggested.I wish there was another place to put the desk, but I have no more room in my bedroom (even after recently moving the chest of drawers into the closet). I might have difficulty hanging anything on the wall next to the entertainment center until I get a drill (it's concrete). The curtains will be coming soon (when I get my tax return, I have to buy them for all the windows and the need to be heavy for draft control).

I will definitely get some green in here as well. I seldom go out of town and my friends can water them if I do.

Thanks for the compliment on the apartment, the ceilings and pocket doors were the things that drew me here. Also, thanks for the kudos on the furnishings. It helps when ones mother is an antique dealer, LOL.

I'll post pictures of the rest of the apartment soon!

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