Residential Architecture: Low vs High Ceilings

There is no denying that home extensions in London require a lot of preparation. At Home Tales, we offer an excellent service to our clients, prioritising communication, and professionalism throughout the whole process. As a result, we have produced many beautifully finished home renovations. Our dedication to creating a bespoke design makes us stand out from the standard ground floor extension company in London.

When planning any changes, or even purchasing a property, one thing you might not initially consider is the ceiling height. The height of a ceiling can heavily impact the atmosphere of a room; therefore, we wanted to share the advantages and disadvantages of different ceiling heights within a home. In this case, we will be referring to a height of anything less than 2.4 metres as a low ceiling, and anything above 2.6 metres as a high ceiling.

High ceilings

Traditionally, high ceilings were more common in high-end properties due to its open, luxurious aesthetic. They add desirability to a property, as with time, these homes will be sought after, especially in denser cities like London.

Advantages

An instant effect of a tall ceiling is the immense feeling of spaciousness that it provides. This is particularly prevalent in a room with a small floor area. Installing floor-to-ceiling glazing would further open up a compact room. Due to its grandiose aesthetic, and ability to allow plenty of natural daylight in, high ceilings contribute to an overall luxurious atmosphere. This is perfect for any homeowner looking to strengthen the indoor-outdoor feel of their property, whilst making a statement. These are also great for warmer climates. As heat rises, the change in levels prevent the space from overheating, especially in rooms with high traffic.

From working on loft conversions all around London, our team have found that certain homes need to lower their ceilings to give room for the loft. There is a minimum height allowance of 2.2m, and if the existing loft space is too short, the roof ridge must be lifted, or the top floor level lowered. Having a top floor with a high ceiling is perfect for this, as it can be lowered without causing much disturbance to your existing layout.

Disadvantages

Although it looks architecturally stunning, a person looking for a cosy interior may not favour this type of structure. Homeowners in warmer climates can feel the benefits of a high ceiling, however, the temperature can be difficult to regulate for a property located in a colder climate. Heat rises, leaving the lower part of a room cooler, so us Brits will have to face higher energy bills during the cold seasons. Furthermore, decorating may become costly, as it would require more materials and the hiring of a professional painter. It is dangerous to attempt a DIY paint job in a double-height living room.

We love that there is potential to bring in a massive amount of natural light, but when it comes to darker days, it can be difficult to illuminate the room with artificial lighting. More planning is required to ensure the room is adequately lit for purpose. You may need spotlights, floor lamps, and wall lamps, to cover all bases. Finally, these properties may experience an increase in noise feedback because of the larger expanses of bare surface area. Echo can be irritating in the long term, especially if you have hard flooring.

Low ceilings

Some residential buildings can be found to have lower ceilings, which may be a product of the economy at the time of construction. This solution was great for combatting historical rises in energy prices. Location also influences structure, as low ceilings are best suited to cold climates, whereas high ceilings are perfect for hot climates.

Advantages

The best thing about low ceilings is the amount of money they save you on your energy bills! Such a space works well to retain heat, adding to a cosy, homely feel to your room. Therefore, this type of ceiling is best for colder climates and can often be seen in Scandinavian interior design. When renovating and refurbishing a property like this, there is less area to cover, therefore you would save on labour and material costs.

Install long horizontal spans of glazing throughout your home to emulate the look of early day modernist architecture. Famous modernist Architects such as Le Corbusier were in favour of the horizontal window, as it allows maximum illumination, better ventilation, and gives an amazing view of the surroundings.

Disadvantages

In contrast to a tall ceiling, a low ceiling can make you feel caged in, especially if the room has limited access to natural lighting and ventilation. In this case, it’s important to use light colours to coat your ceiling, as dark and bold hues would be counterintuitive. As there is less surface area, the space is more sensitive to changes within the room. For example, if you wanted to add soundproofing to your walls, this may noticeably decrease valuable volume and floor area. Extra thought is needed when choosing furniture, as large bulky pieces may dominate such a space. Lastly, a low ceiling may limit the value of your property, as height can be restricting for some prospective buyers.

In conclusion, this debate ultimately comes down to preference. Some homeowners may simply prefer the aesthetic of one type of ceiling compared to the other. Ideally, there would be a variation of ceiling heights throughout a property, to reflect the requirements of each room. This can still be achieved when making alterations to a home. For instance, you could specify ceiling heights to your Architect when installing a ground floor extension. Connect a tall extension to an existing property with low ceilings, and you’ll find the perfect setting for a dedicated dining/entertainment area. Another alternative would be to install a vaulted ceiling, allowing you to reap the benefits of various room heights.

Now that you have a better understanding on how the height of your ceiling can affect the feel of your home interior, we hope you are able to proceed with your home purchases or renovations in confidence. If you would like to speak to us about a prospective home improvement project you have in mind, our friendly team would love to hear from you! You can contact us by calling 02070432378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. If you would prefer a no-obligations scheduled telephone consultation, our availability can be found here, where you can book for a time that best suits you. We hope to hear from you soon!


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