The Two Story Room: Yea or Nay?

Enter any present-day McMansion and you’re virtually guaranteed to find at least one two story room. It may be the living room, dining room, foyer, or “great room” (essentially the same thing as a two story living room) with a soaring double-height ceiling – not just cathedral or vaulted, but truly two stories.

Home Office by JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction

Some love them, some hate ’em. Two story rooms have several advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of a two story room

  • Impressive and grand; dramatic
  • Open and airy
  • Potential for extra-large windows (especially good with a beautiful view)
  • Large “slate” for design opportunities

Living Room by Design By Alicia

Cons of a two story room

  • Not energy efficient; hard to heat and cool
  • Difficult to clean
  • Formal rather than intimate and comfortable
  • Noisy (echoes)
Entry by JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction

How to decorate a two story room

The fact is, like it or not, your home may have a two story room. When executed and decorated properly, it’s possible to minimize many of the disadvantages of the extra-high ceiling.

To outfit your two story room, employ some or all of these strategies:

  • If you’re building a new room or home, ensure that your two story room is adequately wide; if it’s too narrow it will give the feeling of being on the bottom of an elevator shaft
  • Apply window treatments to all windows for improved efficiency
  • Buy a telescoping lightbulb changer and feather duster for easier maintenance
  • Add beams or an intricate ceiling for a cozier effect
  • Add a catwalk or loft overlooking the room (bonus: you may add storage or living space)
  • Use moldings, wall art, striking wallpaper or paint, or windows to use the tall walls to their full advantage
  • Add soundproofing to reduce echo
  • Install radiant (underfloor) heat and/or fans for heating and cooling
  • Scale furniture properly; large and tall furnishings generally work well in oversized rooms
  • Decorate with plush seating and touchable texture to give the room an intimate feel in spite of soaring ceilings
  • Hang light fixtures low for better ambiance

Check out these perfectly executed two story beauties for inspiration!


Living Room by Regas Interiors, LLC

Photo by Andrew Sherman Photography
Photo by Michael Moran
Living Room by Mary Cook
Photo via
Kitchen by Schrader & Companies

What do you think of extra-tall rooms? Love or hate (or oddly indifferent)?