10' ceilings downstairs, 8' ceilings upstairs

ssteinAugust 1, 2012

We are in the process of building and have 10' ceilings downstairs and 8' ceilings upstairs. It's already framed, so we won't be changing the ceiling heights at this point, but we didn't think about the difference in ceiling heights between the two floors until we were walking through the house. Obviously our thinking was to put the money into the main living area and bumping up those ceilings, but we didn't think about bumping up the upstairs to 9'. Does anyone have the same ceiling set up - 10' downstairs and 8' upstairs? I could use some reassurance that it won't look as bad as I'm envisioning :-) Thanks!

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We have 10' down and 9' up, but I have been in a house with 10' down and 8' up (one of our friends did this, they were doing a farmhouse and wanted to make the upstairs seem sort of cozy, like a converted attic. ) You can definitely tell the difference, but you can tell the difference between my 10' and 9' also. I don't think ceiling heights make a house look "good" or "bad" ...I think it is just an architectural thing.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:56PM
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As long as your not doing all bunk beds I think it's a good decision as the 8' spaces will be much less to heat and cool. What aspect are you most worried about? We have 7'6" ceilings in the bedrooms of my kids and I would like them a little higher for bunk beds but it does make them cozier. I'm interested in these responses as well since this was our original thinking and have not turned in plans yet.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:11PM
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You could still look into doing treys...maybe vaults in some rooms if you wan't more height. I will be 10'main, 9' upstairs with a trey in the Master, and 9' in the basement. 10' is becoming the standard around here for basements, but the cost was not worth it for me. Sometimes you have to draw the line. I think 8' will be fine.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:40PM
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This is our 2nd custom with 10 ft and 8ft ceilings. No regrets at all. We have never had anyone question or comment about it. Day in and day out all the kids do is sleep upstairs and they don't care about the ceilings. On the main level all the rooms have quite large trays, beams or coffered ceilings; therefore, may feel a little different. Relax and enjoy your house. The ceilings will be just fine!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:00AM
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We have 8 foot ceilings up and down and basement too. That is still the standard in our area. We considered 9 foot ceilings in the main level, but that would have made our house noticeable taller than the surrounding houses (it is already taller as there are several bungalows and raised ranches around). You will be just fine with 8 foot ceilings in the bedroom level, and 10 foot ceilings will be quite the luxury -- I have never been in a house that had 10 foot ceilings!! I don't think Canadians are any shorter on average than Americans LOL.

You may like to know that the author of Not So Big House is not really in favour of tall ceilings and also speaks about the advantages of varying ceiling height. Maybe if you read one of her books you will see some advantages of your bedroom ceiling height.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:17AM
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We have 9' on the mainlevel and 8' upstairs. However, we have a vaulted 17' celing in the great room and foyer because it's a 1.5 story house with the balcony overlooking that space. I understand your concern about the 8' on the second level...it feels somehow strange when you do a walkthrough at first. I think you'll get used to it though and it will feel more cozy as the others pointed out. I definitely notice the change from one level to the next but it's not a bad thing. We even have a very large bonus room upstairs with the 8' ceiling and it's one of my favorite spaces because I know it will be a nice cozy family area.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:29AM
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The 1840s era houses on my block are mostly 14', 12', 10', 8' as you ascend floors. It seems like a natural progression. Also most bedroom floors have smaller rooms so the proportions are better with lower ceilings.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 11:11AM
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We have 10' ceilings on the first floor and 8' ceilings on the second floor. I never even thought about how it would look when we agreed to it. It just seemed like it would feel cozier to have shorter ceilings in the bedrooms. They are just finishing up drywall now, so I can really tell the difference. We have a tray ceiling in the master bedroom, and I think I'm going to like the additional height. I kind of wish we had gone with 9' ceilings upstairs, but I'm sure 8' will be fine. There is a house nearby with 10' ceilings on both floors, and from the outside the house looks oddly tall. The 10' up and 8' down seems pretty common in our neighborhood.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Thanks for all the postings! It's comforting to hear it's been done before and it doesn't look odd. It's unnerving building a home when you have no idea what the final product is actually going to look like...you think you do from the drawings, but then there's little things here and there you don't catch until it's actually being built. So far, we've been able to change all the minor details that didn't pan out like we thought from the blueprints, but the ceiling height was a huge unknown since that's one aspect that's really difficult to capture on paper. They put up the trusses this morning and we walked around again upstairs and it actually felt a little taller than when there was no ceilings up, if that's possible :-) We do have a tray ceiling in the master, so it is a little taller in that room which is nice since it's the biggest room upstairs. I also found out my cousin's home which I've always loved has 10' down and 8' up and I didn't even notice the height difference - clearly it's not the big deal I was worried it might be. houseofsticks - If you are considering 10' down and 8' up, I would say from the comments here as well as now finding out that I've been through a home with that arrangement that it would be a good way to get your taller ceilings downstairs without adding the cost of bumping up the upstairs where it's mainly bedrooms.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 2:11PM
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One thing we did learn in the process is that in our township you can build with either 2x4s or 2x6s with 10' ceilings. Well, you can always use 2x6s if you want, but some places require them at the 10' mark. Our builder had planned on using 2x4s, and we didn't discover that until our architect pointed it out. She recommended 2x6s because she prefers wider window sills and extra insulation. I'm glad we're doing the 2x6s.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 2:52PM
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