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The scale is crucial if the room is large Design: A cathedral ceiling calls for elements that minimize height and draw attention away from the vertical thrust.


Our spacious bedroom has a cathedral ceiling that makes our aging furniture look puny. What do you suggest as a more suitably scaled replacement for our traditionally styled cherry-wood pieces?

More than just the furniture needs to be considered in a room with a tall, slanted ceiling.

For starters, I suggest you install some additional millwork, such as wooden beams, along with lots of fabrics for use as bed and window dressing.

A colorfully patterned rug would also help divert attention from the room's vertical thrust, making the space appear less cavernous.

I chose this photo because it illustrates many of these suggestions.

The dark-stained beams and trusses, for instance, were added not for structural reasons but in order to make the ceiling look less lofty.

Because it's such an imposing element, the bed automatically acts as the room's focal point. Its fully upholstered headboard, decorative canopy and silk hangings combine to produce a flamboyant sleeping environment that's nevertheless quite cozy.

The other pieces of furniture in this English manor-type setting are made mostly of dark oak.

British designers David Milnaric and Hugh Henry introduced a pleasing contrast by choosing tones of cream for the rest of the color scheme.

This photo, by the way, is taken from "The House and Garden Book of Bedrooms and Bathrooms," written by Leonie Highton and published by the Vendome Press.

Depending on your own taste and budget, you can follow this model exactly, right down to the Chinese vase lamps and the decorative Chinese carpet.

Alternately, you may simply wish to draw some inspiration from the room's overall design.

The key principle here, which you should definitely apply in your own bedroom, is that the style of the furniture is not as important as its scale.

Understand, too, that color is always a most useful tool in producing a particular look. In this case, the cream tones serve to soften the bulk of the bed and to offset the darkness of the ceiling and the smaller pieces of furniture. The abundance of white also makes an essentially old-fashioned setting feel a bit more contemporary.

Pub Date: 12/01/96

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