Ceiling Height How High (or Low) Could You Go Apartment Therapy

Ceiling Height How High (or Low) Could You Go Apartment Therapy

Ceiling Height: How High (or Low) Could You Go?

Eight-foot ceilings used to be standard but many new DC condo buildings now boast ceiling heights of at least 10 feet. Ra’ed and David lowered the ceiling in their contemporary condo. accentuating the ceiling with midnight blue paint (shown here). In a recent Slate article, Witold Rybczynski asks if high ceilings are «wretched architectural excessive or just good taste?» Do you like high or low ceiling heights? Survey below the jump.

Witold Rybczynski clearly favors high ceilings, claiming they make rooms better proportioned, though can feel initially overwhelming. Do you find high ceilings overwhelming? Or do you enjoy the added space added by high ceilings?

Rachael Grad

Contents

29 Comments

One of the options not on the survey is 10-12 feet. I like ceilings that are a little higher than standard — make the room feel bigger and airier without being overwhelming or enormous like two-story or vaulted ceilings are.

IMO, the only thing worse than low ceilings are low doorways.

i live in a 125 year old bld with 10.5 ft ceilings, as an architectural element they are awesome, let me hang large pictures/paintings up. but in the summer it’s super hot even with the dormer windows open, and in the winter it’s super cold — as the top 5 feet are warm, but i don’t live in the top 5 feet and am cold a lot.

Mine are 9 feet and they are perfect. I’m 6ft tall, so an 8 foot ceiling feels really low to me. I like an even higher ceiling in a historic building with gorgeous high windows and mouldings, but in a modern «normal» home 9 is great.

for purely aesthetic purposes. the higher the better! on the flip side, my practical self screams «what. how do you heat a room so tall??»

Tall ceilings aren’t eco-friendly: more space to heat or cool. Being eco-conscious, I prefer standard height ceilings, although I do find taller ceilings (between 8 — 10 feet) make a room feel more spacious.

High ceilings are great, but the accompanying heating bill—not so much.

As a 5’9″er who loves high heels, I find spaces with super tall ceiling so pleasing. I completely agree, however, that the high space is often not sustainable, at least not with «standard» construction or design practices. Passive solar design, high operable windows and ventilation, and radiant heat flooring can do wonders for a space like that. What we find in typical construction should really not be implemented in spaces with ceilings taller than 9 or 10 feet. I must say though — even smaller rooms with 8 foot ceilings feel incredibly uncomfortable to me.

Ha! I recently lived in a 250 year old house. In some rooms, the ceilings were less than 7 feet. (We needed a pint size christmas tree, that was sure). So I got used to short ceilings. But I also much prefer my small house, too!

«Tall ceilings aren’t eco-friendly»

With radiant heat, it doesn’t matter how high the ceilings are, as the floor is warmed rather than the air.

mine are 9 ft and I find them too small. I know it’s not eco-friendly & it makes me feel bad but I love really high ceilings.

i have 16ft ceilings in my living room and 8ft everywhere else. I find it a perfect combo — the open 2-story space of the living room can be seen from the other rooms and gives a feeling of spaciousness, while the small 8ft spaces feel cozy. If the 2-story space wasn’t there I would not feel comfortable with just 8ft. Wright advocated variable ceiling heights for a good reason — they add a lot to a space.

I feel it’s a balance between size and height. A small room can feel beautifully proportioned with 8ft ceilings, while a big room with low ceilings feels awkward. Same with really tall ceilings in a small room.

Rybczynski wrote a book about the evolution of ‘comfort’ as an idea and I am surprised that he would so strongly advocate for high ceilings — vaulted/high ceilings are often perceived as too cold or formal.

I find it kind of odd that people are saying it’s harder to cool a room with high ceilings. When I lived in Sacramento, my apartment had nearly two story ceilings in the living and dining areas and I found it helped to keep the lower portion of the room livable. I’d use fans to draw cool air in at night and then close the place up. Warmer air rose into the vaulted ceilings and sat there, leaving the cooler stuff around my level. Of course, heating it was a royal pain, but I tend towards wearing jeans and sweaters indoors anyway.

Where’s the «it depends» option? In SF, I like my ceilings at 10 ft for coziness but in Sacto really high ceilings helped me beat the heat.

yeah, but in Denver where it can be anywhere from 10 below to 110 above zero, 10ft ceilings (even with fans and open windows — though that’s getting harder with a neighbor who smokes) heating/cooling the place is somewhat hard.

In my opinion, if I have to erect scaffolding to paint the walls, then the ceiling is too high.

I guess I’d have 9′ ceilings if I could have anything, but more than that (although beautiful in photos) is excessive. (And my new home has standard 8′.) High ceilings are not eco friendly but not merely because of heating and cooling issues. They use more resources to build and maintain, and they are pretty much strictly for psychological comfort or aesthetics, so kind of selfish to construct. (Obviously, if you live in previously constructed architecture with higher ceilings, the deed is done, so then the energy use issues are the remaining argument — and efficiencies are usually possible.)

I love either historic homes with really low ceilings, or airy rooms with high ceilings (though not double-heights — tacky). The standard 8-foot just seems awkward.

I have 15ft ceilings and love them.

No less than 10, please. But hate vaulted ceiling. I love old houses with regular shape rooms and higher than mid-century house ceiling. Old tall rectangular windows and tall ceiling, please.

I have 12ft. ceilings in my «luxury» apartment. I absolutely love them! Since I live in Florida they are very helpful in the summer!

I’m jealous of all the 10 foot ceilings. I have 8 foot ceilings throughout my house. And not one person has voted preferring 8 foot ceilings (including me).

I thought this survey was supposed to be a joke! Who would ever want ceilings lower than 8 feet?

And about the eco-unfriendly comments, I have always lived with no AC and very little heat usage in the winter. Try alternatives like opening the windows at night and closing everything during the day in the summer to keep a place cool. And in the winter. wear more layers indoors.

I like tall ceilings but I think the survey is asking how low could you go. I could be comfortably in 8-10, but I love my vaulted ceiling which is over 10 feet. I’ve lived in places with the ceiling barely 6 feet — that’s something I couldn’t stand. But likewise, over 12 feet (top of our ceiling) and I wouldn’t feel comfortably any more since I’d feel like I wasn’t in a home but more like a museum. Plus it would be a huge dagger to my wallet to heat in the winter.

My house has 10 ft ceiling in the «reception rooms», which I love since they are kinda dark. The bedrooms and study upstairs have a nive 8ft, which is perfect for heating.

Being 5’2″ and barefoot most of the time, as well as living alone, I’m perfectly content with 8 foot ceilings. It’s cozy and warm and welcoming, rather than a cavernous space with just little ‘ol me inside :)

I think the perfect height depends on the size of the room. It’s a question of proportions. I often see rather average sized two story living rooms that remind me of cathedrals. Not very inviting, imo.

The eco-concious should keep in mind that just because a building has high ceilings, doesn’t mean more space is being heated and cooled. I consider myself lucky to have high ceilings. My apartment isn’t large and during the winter months I just keep the heat on in one or two rooms. There is probably a lot less energy being used there than if I were in a ranch house with lower ceilings- trying to heat the whole place.

This may be a tall order, but. are there regions where ceiling heights are consistently higher than the national norm? Or, are there certain types of buildings (historic have been mentioned) that are prone to high ceilings (and low floors)?

Ceiling Height: How High (or Low) Could You Go?

Eight-foot ceilings used to be standard but many new DC condo buildings now boast ceiling heights of at least 10 feet. Ra’ed and David lowered the ceiling in their contemporary condo. accentuating the ceiling with midnight blue paint (shown here). In a recent Slate article, Witold Rybczynski asks if high ceilings are «wretched architectural excessive or just good taste?» Do you like high or low ceiling heights? Survey below the jump.

Witold Rybczynski clearly favors high ceilings, claiming they make rooms better proportioned, though can feel initially overwhelming. Do you find high ceilings overwhelming? Or do you enjoy the added space added by high ceilings?

Rachael Grad

29 Comments

One of the options not on the survey is 10-12 feet. I like ceilings that are a little higher than standard — make the room feel bigger and airier without being overwhelming or enormous like two-story or vaulted ceilings are.

IMO, the only thing worse than low ceilings are low doorways.

i live in a 125 year old bld with 10.5 ft ceilings, as an architectural element they are awesome, let me hang large pictures/paintings up. but in the summer it’s super hot even with the dormer windows open, and in the winter it’s super cold — as the top 5 feet are warm, but i don’t live in the top 5 feet and am cold a lot.

Mine are 9 feet and they are perfect. I’m 6ft tall, so an 8 foot ceiling feels really low to me. I like an even higher ceiling in a historic building with gorgeous high windows and mouldings, but in a modern «normal» home 9 is great.

for purely aesthetic purposes. the higher the better! on the flip side, my practical self screams «what. how do you heat a room so tall??»

Tall ceilings aren’t eco-friendly: more space to heat or cool. Being eco-conscious, I prefer standard height ceilings, although I do find taller ceilings (between 8 — 10 feet) make a room feel more spacious.

High ceilings are great, but the accompanying heating bill—not so much.

As a 5’9″er who loves high heels, I find spaces with super tall ceiling so pleasing. I completely agree, however, that the high space is often not sustainable, at least not with «standard» construction or design practices. Passive solar design, high operable windows and ventilation, and radiant heat flooring can do wonders for a space like that. What we find in typical construction should really not be implemented in spaces with ceilings taller than 9 or 10 feet. I must say though — even smaller rooms with 8 foot ceilings feel incredibly uncomfortable to me.

Ceiling Height How High (or Low) Could You Go Apartment Therapy

Ha! I recently lived in a 250 year old house. In some rooms, the ceilings were less than 7 feet. (We needed a pint size christmas tree, that was sure). So I got used to short ceilings. But I also much prefer my small house, too!

«Tall ceilings aren’t eco-friendly»

With radiant heat, it doesn’t matter how high the ceilings are, as the floor is warmed rather than the air.

mine are 9 ft and I find them too small. I know it’s not eco-friendly & it makes me feel bad but I love really high ceilings.

i have 16ft ceilings in my living room and 8ft everywhere else. I find it a perfect combo — the open 2-story space of the living room can be seen from the other rooms and gives a feeling of spaciousness, while the small 8ft spaces feel cozy. If the 2-story space wasn’t there I would not feel comfortable with just 8ft. Wright advocated variable ceiling heights for a good reason — they add a lot to a space.

I feel it’s a balance between size and height. A small room can feel beautifully proportioned with 8ft ceilings, while a big room with low ceilings feels awkward. Same with really tall ceilings in a small room.

Rybczynski wrote a book about the evolution of ‘comfort’ as an idea and I am surprised that he would so strongly advocate for high ceilings — vaulted/high ceilings are often perceived as too cold or formal.

I find it kind of odd that people are saying it’s harder to cool a room with high ceilings. When I lived in Sacramento, my apartment had nearly two story ceilings in the living and dining areas and I found it helped to keep the lower portion of the room livable. I’d use fans to draw cool air in at night and then close the place up. Warmer air rose into the vaulted ceilings and sat there, leaving the cooler stuff around my level. Of course, heating it was a royal pain, but I tend towards wearing jeans and sweaters indoors anyway.

Where’s the «it depends» option? In SF, I like my ceilings at 10 ft for coziness but in Sacto really high ceilings helped me beat the heat.

yeah, but in Denver where it can be anywhere from 10 below to 110 above zero, 10ft ceilings (even with fans and open windows — though that’s getting harder with a neighbor who smokes) heating/cooling the place is somewhat hard.

In my opinion, if I have to erect scaffolding to paint the walls, then the ceiling is too high.

I guess I’d have 9′ ceilings if I could have anything, but more than that (although beautiful in photos) is excessive. (And my new home has standard 8′.) High ceilings are not eco friendly but not merely because of heating and cooling issues. They use more resources to build and maintain, and they are pretty much strictly for psychological comfort or aesthetics, so kind of selfish to construct. (Obviously, if you live in previously constructed architecture with higher ceilings, the deed is done, so then the energy use issues are the remaining argument — and efficiencies are usually possible.)

I love either historic homes with really low ceilings, or airy rooms with high ceilings (though not double-heights — tacky). The standard 8-foot just seems awkward.

I have 15ft ceilings and love them.

No less than 10, please. But hate vaulted ceiling. I love old houses with regular shape rooms and higher than mid-century house ceiling. Old tall rectangular windows and tall ceiling, please.

I have 12ft. ceilings in my «luxury» apartment. I absolutely love them! Since I live in Florida they are very helpful in the summer!

I’m jealous of all the 10 foot ceilings. I have 8 foot ceilings throughout my house. And not one person has voted preferring 8 foot ceilings (including me).

I thought this survey was supposed to be a joke! Who would ever want ceilings lower than 8 feet?

And about the eco-unfriendly comments, I have always lived with no AC and very little heat usage in the winter. Try alternatives like opening the windows at night and closing everything during the day in the summer to keep a place cool. And in the winter. wear more layers indoors.

I like tall ceilings but I think the survey is asking how low could you go. I could be comfortably in 8-10, but I love my vaulted ceiling which is over 10 feet. I’ve lived in places with the ceiling barely 6 feet — that’s something I couldn’t stand. But likewise, over 12 feet (top of our ceiling) and I wouldn’t feel comfortably any more since I’d feel like I wasn’t in a home but more like a museum. Plus it would be a huge dagger to my wallet to heat in the winter.

My house has 10 ft ceiling in the «reception rooms», which I love since they are kinda dark. The bedrooms and study upstairs have a nive 8ft, which is perfect for heating.

Being 5’2″ and barefoot most of the time, as well as living alone, I’m perfectly content with 8 foot ceilings. It’s cozy and warm and welcoming, rather than a cavernous space with just little ‘ol me inside :)

I think the perfect height depends on the size of the room. It’s a question of proportions. I often see rather average sized two story living rooms that remind me of cathedrals. Not very inviting, imo.

The eco-concious should keep in mind that just because a building has high ceilings, doesn’t mean more space is being heated and cooled. I consider myself lucky to have high ceilings. My apartment isn’t large and during the winter months I just keep the heat on in one or two rooms. There is probably a lot less energy being used there than if I were in a ranch house with lower ceilings- trying to heat the whole place.

This may be a tall order, but. are there regions where ceiling heights are consistently higher than the national norm? Or, are there certain types of buildings (historic have been mentioned) that are prone to high ceilings (and low floors)?


Leave a Reply