Favorite Ceiling height?

kam76February 7, 2013

I have always lived in homes with 8 foot ceilings. They are efficient to heat/cool and build as I understand. It seems 9 is almost "standard" now and many floor plans have 10 and some vaulted (great room). How do you all feel about these? What do you live with now or wish you did have?

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It really depends on the size of the room, and whether you are primarily heating or cooling.

A large room with an 8' ceiling looks squatty. But a small room with a high ceiling can look uncomfortable. In bedrooms, a lower ceiling gives a cozier, more secure feeling. Having said that, our master bedroom ceiling rises to a high (14') peak right over the bed and I love it -- kind of like a built-in bed canopy!

In cooling climates, a high ceiling allows for more air to circulate. And since cool air falls, the human area is still comfortable.

But in a heating climate, the high ceiling can run up your bills considerably, unless you have a system that takes the warm air from ceiling level and recirculates it at floor level.

So there's no simple answer!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Just finished building our new home and moved in right before Thanksgiving. We did 10' ceilings throughout, even though many homes in our area in our price range have 12' ceilings in the foyer / living / dining. I had been in a house with all 10' ceilings and I liked that it felt more "cozy." We're very very happy with what we did. Aesthetically, I just think I like the look better. But, that's just my opinion.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:52PM
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I wouldn't build a house with 8' ceilings. 9' is really nice. 10' is a splurge.

We have 10' on the first floor and 9' on the second floor. My favorite thing about taller ceilings is taller windows and more options with lighting.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:01PM
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9' in basement.

10' on main floor.

8' on 2nd floor.

Open 2-story great room and foyer.

That's my favorite.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:21PM
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I did 11ft throughout (basement, 1st, 2nd)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:33PM
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I like 10' on the main, and 9' up.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:00PM
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We're going to have 8' on all levels. We are in a heating climate, and our house is not as big as many of the homes here, so I think it will be fine.

Initially we planned to have 9' ceilings, but we cut it to save money.

Honestly, I don't care much for really high ceilings in homes, because I like a cozier feel. I wouldn't go higher than 9', personally, but I am not much for chandeliers and dramatic ceilings.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:57PM
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We have 9' throughout but it is only 1650sq.ft. I like them and had always had 8' also. Seems real easy to get used to the 9'.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:07PM
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Bridget Helm

11 or 12 in den and dining

10 or 9 everywhere else

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:12AM
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We are doing 10' 1st floor and 9' on the second-we live in Houston.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:36AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have 9' which is great until I have to paint or change a light bulb. I would think higher than 9, unless a special treatment like a tray, would start to feel uncomfortable.

Room size also matters...I was in a small family room with a 2 story high ceiling that felt like an elevator shaft, and the old antique colonial house had a nice sized living room but with 6 1/2 ceilings, it was really squat looking...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:05AM
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As Chibi said, it's all about proportions, i.e., the size of the room, width x depth x height! Can you imagine a 10' or 12' ceiling in an 8' x 8' laundry room? And what about a 4' x 7' powder room.

Higher ceilings mean higher costs: specially cut wall studs, more wallboard, more paint, larger stairs and added labor expense.

Would it be a better strategy to save the height for where it's really needed and most effective, rather than throughout the whole house?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:25AM
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It all depends on your values.

So if your rich neighbours built with 12', you must have 14'.

If one of the Ecclestone trust fund chicks turns the inside of the Aaron Spelling castle into a modern disco, her sister must outshine her buying an even gaudier monstrosity.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Styles and a house is a "machine for living" idea gave us eight-foot ceilings. The post World War II period, which saw a boom in housing for the masses, concentrated on cost; machine made eight-foot drywall sheets became the ceiling height standard. That's why so many people feel "comfortable" with that constricting height. I suppose if you grew up in a cave, you'd feel uncomfortable in anything less confining.

Having grown up in everything from pre-WWII NYC area elegant apartments to 1880s Ohio farmhouses to cathedral-ceilinged 1960s aspirational tract homes and even a stint in a Big Egg mansion overlooking the L.I .Sound, I'm predisposed to minimum ten-foot ceilings in main rooms with bedrooms of lower heights. It's called proportion.

Check out Palladio.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:50AM
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We had vaulted ceilings in the living room and kitchen in our old house (single story). House currently being built had 10 on the 1st and 9 on the 2nd.

Framing went up and I am loving the 10ft ceilings!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:30PM
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One of the most memorable badly proportioned rooms I've been in was in a basement with 11 foot ceilings. The builder had to excavate a further few feet than he intended to hit bearing soil, so he just poured the floor at the new depth. The windows were small, high and completely inaccessible--unless you were an NBA big forward.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:04PM
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We are also having 10' on the first floor & 9' on the upper floor.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:51PM
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We are also having 10' on the first floor & 9' on the upper floor.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:44PM
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If you like your house to be cozy and yet elegant make certain you go either with 10 or 11 foot high ceilings. Top interior designers love and recommend these ceiling heights.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:15AM
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Well, that's what we should all do, if top interior designers love and recommend it!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:27AM
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We have 8 in our rental and they are too short. I have been in a house with 10 and it was too high for me- lost the cosy aspect. I think 9 will be perfect and that is what we are doing.

However, I am only 4 11 so 10 feels way different to me than others! I always wanted to make it to 5 feet tall and never did :)

This post was edited by sweet.reverie on Sat, Feb 9, 13 at 11:14

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:12AM
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I live in Georgia with long hot summers and winters that can get to single digits but 20s pretty normal.

My favorite is 10' flat or a symmetric, balanced pitch (but not high vaults) in a decent-size living room, for a spacious, prettily proportioned room. As someone pointed out, 10 is the usual minimum height for the really attractive rooms displayed in glossy magazines.

Then for most of the rest of the house, 9 and/or 8 depending on things like climate and room size, for easier heating and cooling. Between 8 and 9, the latter is definitely my preference--until I consider climate change, extreme temperatures, increasing energy costs.

If I were building now, though, rather than put low ceilings everywhere, I've been thinking I'd build a sheltering core of rooms we could downsize to when we chose during the worst weather, with the ability to close off extras. Since we're empty-nesters, perhaps a kitchen, cozy sitting room, bedroom, bath and laundry clustered together.

BTW, we like to leave our windows open as much as possible and find 9' is much better than 8 for letting hot air rise away from us in summer, and if that's not good enough we can always sit down. :)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:18PM
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We have 9' on the main floor, with a vaulted living room. The second floor is secondary rooms and has 8' ceilings. When we finish the basement it will be 9'. We own a couple of rentals with 8' throughout and it does feel kind of squatty.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:57PM
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