Why Do Old Houses Have High Ceilings? (Pros & Cons)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

why do old houses have high ceilings

Have you ever looked around an older building and wondered why the ceilings were so high? Well, you may be interested to know that there is a rich history behind this unique architecture, and it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Older homes were built to keep homes cool before air-conditioning and fans became commonplace in modern homes. High ceilings are great for letting more light in, adding extra space to a home, and increasing property value. The cons are their price, noise, temperature, and maintenance. 

If you own a home with high ceilings or you’re in the market for a new home, it’s essential to know what you’re getting yourself into. High ceilings come with an exciting history. Our short guide on high ceilings in older homes will give you everything you need to know. 

The History Of High Ceilings 

high ceiling lounge room

If you’ve bought an older home, or you’ve ever been in an older building with high ceilings, you may have noticed how beautifully spacious and open the buildings seem. Nowadays, more modern homes have a more minimalistic look and have lower ceilings. 

If you’ve ever wondered why then you’re not alone. But you may be shocked at how simple the answer is. 

Older homes, particularly from the Victorian era, were mainly built for practicality over aesthetics. Homeowners particularly did this to regulate temperature. Before air conditioning and indoor heating were introduced into homes, keeping your home cool during summer and warm during the winter was a much more significant challenge. 

This is why homes were built to help homeowners regulate the heat in their homes. High ceilings are great for regulation because any hot air trapped in the house will rise. And the further the air rises, the cooler the home will be. 

This made surviving the summer heat much easier since nobody had access to air conditioning or fans.  

Windows were also placed higher up on the tall walls and could be opened to let the hot air out without bothering anyone who resided in the home. 

High ceilings weren’t just good at keeping the heat out, though. The raised windows also let more light into the homes since keeping your home well-lit was much more difficult. 

Although architects built high ceilings for more practical purposes, high ceilings have made a comeback in modern homes. Many contemporary homes are being built with higher ceilings, and some property owners will seek out homes with higher ceilings for their advantage. 

Homes with higher ceilings come with their fair share of advantages and disadvantages, though, which may impact your decision on whether you want a house with a raised roof. If you already own a home with taller ceilings, you may also be surprised to know a few of the ups and downsides of your home’s construction. 

Pros Of High Ceilings

The advantages of higher ceilings in your home include their aesthetic, the amount of light that they let into your home, the associated property value for homes with taller ceilings, and the increased space. 

High Ceilings Are Aesthetically Pleasing

Taller ceilings can give your home a more modern, sleek aesthetic. High ceilings can help to give your home a more regal and elegant look without having to buy expensive décor or make any other changes. 

High ceilings may also make you feel more relaxed and comfortable because of the illusion of more space and freedom. 

High Ceilings Allow For More Light

As we’ve mentioned, most homes with high ceilings have windows that are also placed higher up on the walls. This lets more natural light enter your home, which creates a cleaner and more comfortable atmosphere. 

Natural light looks great in modern homes because it allows you to have less clutter when it comes to standing lamps and other light sources. 

High Ceilings Increase Property Value

It may come as no surprise that high ceilings can add tons of value to your home. If you’ve ever looked up how much homes with high ceilings cost compared to more modern, lower ceilings, then you’ll know that these homes are much more valuable to a buyer. 

Because tall ceilings give your home a much better look and feel, and with the revival of the popularity of high ceilings, your home could be worth much more than a standard home with a shorter ceiling height. 

High Ceilings Are More Spacious

By having more wall space and space above your furniture and home décor, the rooms in your home will seem much more open, airy, and spacious. This openness lends itself to a more modern look, but your home can also look classic and elegant with the right décor

Cons Of High Ceilings

The disadvantages of high ceilings in your home include ceiling maintenance, temperature regulation, noise, and the price associated with taller ceilings. 

High Ceilings Require Maintenance 

Do High Ceilings Cost More to Heat

Cleaning and maintaining your taller ceilings are much more complicated than cleaning a shorter roof. This is because it is more challenging to reach the right height. 

You may need to climb a ladder or find another way to elevate yourself to clean your ceiling properly. You may even need to buy specific cleaning tools that will reach. It can also make maintenance and repair jobs more difficult. 

High Ceilings And Temperature Regulation

Because high ceilings were designed to allow warmer air to rise, keeping your home warm in the colder months will be much more difficult. Your home will take longer to warm up because there is more space to fill with warmer air, and it may be even more challenging to keep warm if your windows are open. 

Some older homes also have vents in the ceiling that allow warm air to escape, meaning that you’ll need a continuous source of warm air flowing into your home. This can be pricey when you think of heating costs!

High Ceilings And Noise

Taller ceilings mean more space in each room. The empty, open space at the top of your rooms will create an echo that makes excessive noise that may be difficult to manage. 

High ceilings will amplify sounds, so you may need to watch your volume control if you have a home with higher ceilings. 

The Price Of High Ceilings

Although high ceilings can increase your property value, this only benefits homeowner that already owns a home with taller ceilings. If you’re looking to buy a home with higher ceilings, you’re going to pay a much higher price than a typical home. 


Victorian architects built high ceilings for practicality, but these reasons may not apply in our modern society. Homes with taller ceilings can look beautiful, though, and have a few advantages that may sway your decision when you’re buying a new home. 

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.