It has become popular in recent years to build homes with very high ceilings in select rooms. The most popular rooms are living rooms, great rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and family rooms. Despite the trend, you might want to take some time to think about it before you remodel with a twenty foot ceiling, or even a fourteen foot ceiling.

There is little question that new home builders still prefer plans that include high ceilings in at least a few rooms. And many real estate agents will tell you how desirable high ceilings are, whether you are the buyer or the seller. But there are also some reports of waning interest in homes with these lofty ceilings. The bottom line of any design is whether it is right for your family.

Entering a luxuriously decorated and furnished home with spectacularly high ceilings can certainly be breathtaking. The immediate sense of space and luxury is amazing. This is one of the reasons a large number of model homes are built on these designs. And many home buyers are so “wowed” by the elegance of carefully finished and perfectly decorated model homes that they decide they to reproduce the effect in their own homes. The challenge is that making the space feel like home to your family might not be as easy as it looks.

Some things to consider before you opt for tall ceilings in your home:


  1. Design, decoration and furnishing of rooms with high ceilings requires some skill. High ceilings can create living spaces that feel cold and impersonal. The details of the room must work with the architectural style of the house and the main function of the room. These factors will determine the type of ceiling that is appropriate, as well as the styles of windows, floors, fireplace, doorways, furniture, and decoration. A major consideration will be how to fill the large amount of overhead space between your furnishings and the ceiling.
  2. No matter what kind of heating/cooling system you have, high ceilings create a large amount of space to be conditioned. This might not make sense in these days of environmental concerns and soaring fuel costs. Although there are ways to deal with heating and cooling rooms with high ceilings (such as solar panels, skylights, roof windows, and radiant panels), these rooms will still be expensive to heat. In moderate climates, high ceilings might not result in great differences in heating/cooling costs, but in regions of cold winters or hot summers, these high ceilings could create a real strain on the budget.
  3. Does the unused space feel like opulence or waste? Your answer to this question might reflect your family budget. It might also reflect your sensibilities about the environment or even social responsibility. The question for your family might be whether you can afford to pay for unused space – both construction and heating/cooling – or do you need to maximize every inch of space in a house?

The warning to remodelers to “think before you build” applies to design as well as construction. Before you remodel with a twenty foot ceiling, stop and think about whether it makes sense for your family.