The Challenge of Picking Colour for Tall Walls.

White colour for tall walls

If the walls of your home are very tall it can make rooms appear cavernous or too large to be comfortable in. Strategic use of colour can make your walls seem shorter, bringing them into better scale with the rest of your furnishings. Colour consultants and designers earn their keep by solving these space problems. The right colour can be as obvious as a white or as complicated as a two tone solution.  

Why Scale Down Walls

High ceilings can be an attractive feature in many homes, while low ceilings can have an almost claustrophobic effect on the same room. So why bring a tall ceiling down into scale?

Tall ceilings work best with certain decorating styles, such as contemporary. They work less well with country or cottage styles, where you want to inspire a comfortable feeling in a space. In those rooms, a very tall ceiling actually undermines your decorating style, undoing the look that you’re after.

House painters will use tall ladders or scaffolding to reach these high walls. Creative thought should be exercised to better take advantage of this difficult work. Major walls in a home don’t usually get painted often after-all. Paint, combined with wall paneling, chair rails, or other elements can help to visually bring a wall down in size, matching it to its surroundings.

Two tone monochromatic solution for tall walls

How to Scale Down Tall Walls Using Paint.

There are a few different ways you can use paint to help scale down a tall wall. Some of these methods can be combined with others to create unique looks that detract from the wall’s height.

Two-Colour Wall System

Using two colours on the same wall can be an attractive way to break up the height and bring it down. Pick two shades of one colour. This can be a warm tan and a brown, or two shades of blue as in the picture (painted by Ecopainting). 
Paint the lower half of the wall dark, and the upper portion light. Divide the colours with a moulding in the middle. Depending on the size of the wall, you can make this divide at any height; think about placing it at a shoulder or even eye level.

Warm Colour Tones

Colour plays a big part in how something is perceived. Warm colours like yellow, tan, or red visually contract when we look at them. This makes something appear to be closer than it really is. Cool colours visually recede, which makes them look further away. While a cool, crisp white might be your preferred wall colour, trading it for a warmer ivory can instantly make your walls appear smaller than they are.

Adding Texture

Texture can help further bring the wall down in scale. When you combine warm colours with texture, you really help make the wall seem cozier and more in keeping with its surroundings. A few ways to do this include:

  • Putting up beadboard or another type of wall panel on the lower half of the wall, and painting it your darker colour. Use a solid, light colour on top with no texture to break up the wall.
  • Using a dark colour on the bottom of the wall, but instead of using a single colour of paint up above, consider painting vertical stripes or using wallpaper to help add interest.
  • Faux-painting the wall to give it the appearance of fabric, stone, or leather in a warm colour. You can also use faux paint on just a portion of the wall, such as the lower half to add gravity and draw the eye downward.

Bring Your Walls Down

Using paint to create a visual effect that lowers the height of your walls is a great way to polish and perfect an interior scheme. If you have a home whose furnishings are out of keeping with the height of the walls, consider using paint in any of these ways to get them down to size. Talk to your paint contractor about this and ask for their suggestions. They probably painted hundreds of tall walls and have seen different approaches that designers and homeowners used.

Contribution by Sarabeth Asaff .

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