10ft vs 9ft Ceiling Height – Which is Better?

Ceiling height is one of the crucial elements of a home. Some architects would even go as far as to say that ceiling height is the most important element in how a room looks or feels.

It used to be the case that ceiling height was a standard 8ft. Today, the standard room height is just about 9 feet. However, you can make it even taller to 10ft.

One of the benefits of building a home from scratch is the ability to set your own ceiling height, as long as local regulations allow you to.

10ft vs 9ft ceiling heights compared

So which ceiling height is better between 10ft and 9ft? It turns out multiple elements are at stake apart from how a ceiling looks. High or low, ceilings are subject to the following characteristics.

Roominess (10ft)

If you’re after roominess you’ll want to go with a 10ft ceiling. The difference might only be 1ft, but it’s visible. Old homes and architecturally-pleasing homes are routinely made with 10ft ceilings or with areas of the house that also have 10ft ceilings.

The open aspect of a high ceiling is hard to recreate no matter how smart your furniture design is. This being said, it’s not all about the roominess when it comes to this decision.

Home-like comfort (9ft)

Homes and commercial buildings are very distinct. If office spaces can get away with even taller ceilings, homes need to feel comfortable.

Sure, there are plenty of homes that feel cozy even with 10ft ceilings. But there are many rooms that feel like wasted space with high ceilings as you’ll discover below.

Luxurious-looking (10ft)

If luxury is on your mind you need to go with high ceilings. Feelings of grandeur can be associated with high ceilings.

Unlike with other elements of a house that inspire luxury such as stairways and windows, the actual height of a room can be the stepping stone towards an impressive space.

Many expensive homes sold for millions of dollars are made with high ceilings. Even if the furniture isn’t; that great you still get amazed by high ceilings as they simply aren’t that common.

Taller windows (10ft)

If you’d like to maximize natural light with tall windows you can also benefit more from 10ft ceilings. These allow you to install some of the most impressive windows.

There are many theories as to how windows need to be added to a house. But if you plan it right, you can maximize natural light through the day by using tall windows which also brighten up a space.

If you’re after a darker environment and even after a more energy-efficient home you’ll need to go with smaller windows and a lower ceiling.

Costs (9ft)

Building more always comes with higher costs. This is why you’ll need to create a budget and stick to it when building a home.

Raising the ceiling by as little as 1foot can increase the total building costs by more than 10%. This means high ceilings look great but they cost more to implement. They also have a higher recurring cost with higher energy bills in areas where you need heating and air conditioning.

Zoning rules (9ft)

You need to discuss ceiling height and house plans with a local architect. Some zones don’t even allow tall buildings. This is why you’ll want to ensure you can actually build a 10ft ceiling home before you start with your project.

Wasted space (9ft)

Wasted space is very common in homes with 10ft ceilings. From this perspective, 9ft ceilings are the superior choice.

Just think about it this way.

When do you actually use 10ft? The kitchen is the ideal space for a high ceiling as it has cabinets. In most cases, you’ll need to lower cabinets so that you can reach them which means you get wasted space above the cabinets.

The living room is also a very common space for 10ft ceilings. But apart from one or multiple large windows and some artwork, there isn’t much you can do with a 10ft ceiling living room that you can’t do with a 9ft ceiling living room.

Should the height of ground-level ceilings be the same as the second-floor ceiling height?

In theory, a home has certain uniformity when the ceiling room is constant between various floors.

In practice, homes are routinely made with up to a 1ft ceiling height difference between the ground floor and the upper floor.

While ceiling height can be different from one floor to another you want to ensure the difference is not higher than 1 foot as it will create a visible discrepancy which will certainly feel uncomfortable at times.

8ft vs 9ft vs 10ft ceilings

Given you can build lower ceiling rooms, which ones should you choose between 8ft, 9ft, and 10ft?

Most people go with the minimum standard of 9ft for savings. An important percentage of homeowners secretly want a higher 10ft ceiling.

Most of those living in 10ft ceiling rooms say they wouldn’t go back to 9ft ceiling.

8ft ceilings are too low for comfort. 9ft ceiling height is recommended for comfortable rooms that are energy-efficient. 10ft ceiling rooms are best for homes that look luxurious and roomy. The tallest ceiling rooms are always a good choice when house maintenance costs aren’t an issue.

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