Look Up: Ceiling height can be as important as square footage in any room

2013-05-04T00:15:00Z Look Up: Ceiling height can be as important as square footage in any roomMichelle Krueger Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 04, 2013 12:15 am  • 

From a design point of view, ceiling height is all about how the proportions of a given room are created, how light (natural and artificial) will be used and, most importantly, how the space is intended to function.

In general, taller ceilings allow for better air circulation (which is particularly desirable in bedrooms), bring in more natural light and create an overall grand feeling. They can also increase heating and cooling costs due to greater room volume, and the acoustics can be problematic.

On the other hand, lower ceilings make spaces feel more intimate (over dining room tables for example) and can drastically reduce the room volume for heating and cooling so energy costs are lower. They can also make certain rooms feel a bit cramped and stuffy.

Beyond height, ceilings are often paired with the walls, flooring and furniture to enhance the interior design of a room, and ceiling styles can range from flat white to decorative and dramatic.

Ceilings 
in the vast majority of homes are typically 8-feet high with simple, flat surfaces.

In other homes the first floor ceilings are often extended to 9-feet high, which allows for more personalized ceiling treatments like coffered (a checkerboard grid of artistic beams and sunken panels) or tray ceilings (dozens of unique designs where the center is “popped out” or inverted to add architectural interest with multiple layers, paint and lighting often adding drama).

Some upper end custom homes can have 10-, 11- or 12-foot ceilings.

There are also visually impressive cathedral ceilings (with equally sloping sides that join like an upside down V at the highest possible point - usually the peak of the roof) and vaulted ceilings (unequal sloping sides that meet at a high point in a room) to add volume and give the illusion of a much larger room.

With many buyers currently focusing on a more efficient use of space plus lower heating and cooling costs, some wide-open ceilings are being replaced by full-size bonus rooms for a fraction of the typical square footage cost once they realize two-story ceilings are part of the structural design and can’t be easily changed down the road.

Canned and recessed lighting are another consideration for buyers looking to make smart choices when designing a new home, since the cost to add these down the road can often be prohibitive. Detailed trim work, like cove molding, can be added much more easily later.

So while you can almost always add more trim work to your home, it is nearly impossible to increase a room’s height or add volume/decorative ceilings to the structural design. Be sure and consider the ceiling in your home plan carefully.

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