Those McMansions…a major home building trend of the last several decades has pushed ceiling heights beyond the standard 9 to 10 feet, to 12 and even 18 feet plus! There is certainly an allure to high ceilings that we see in public spaces, like cathedrals, hotel lobbies, and train stations. They create a majestic and impressionable statement. However, in our homes, they do have an impact that we might not want.
Many big homes have high ceilings in the foyer, which made a grand entrance to the home. And often these ceilings carry through to the entire first floor, in the great rooms, kitchen and dining areas.
Problem is they resulted in high energy consumption, increased resources, higher building material costs which led to higher prices. Realtors and builders loved them and so many of us fell in love, too.
Due to the challenging economy and the high cost of fuel, builders are seeing much less demand on these homes.
But there’s something else. Research has shown that ceiling heights have a significant impact on how we feel in a room. Yes, high ceilings make the room feel expansive and more free-thinking. But psychological research has shown that high ceilings have a negative impact, as well, in residential spaces. give a sense of formality to the space.
Some consumer research has shown that people described two-story open spaces as cold and austere. Of course, this can either be made better or worse by the decor as well.
In your family room? Do you really want it to feel formal, cold and austere? Informality gives rise to a more inviting and relaxing space, making it easier to open up and share your feelings. If you make the logical connection – what are rooms with high ceilings doing to family communication and relationships?
High ceilings are also considered poor feng shui in a home. Chi rises and disperses to the 2nd floor before it has time to nourish the 1st floor. The first floor is a more yang space (busy, noisy, high activity levels) where the 2nd floor should remain more yin (quieter, less activity). More chi on the 2nd floor can disturb sleep patterns and affect health.
What to do if you have high ceilings? Trick the eye down. Place artwork at eye level. Hang a large chandelier or other lighting which will effectually lower the ceiling. Furnishings with differing heights help to restore balance. These and some other great ideas from contributors in this article.
Photo credits: StantonHomes.com