Why do old houses have high ceilings?

Although today there are people who are already 2 meters tall and this seems normal to us, this was not the case in the past. Maybe that’s why you’ve ever wondered why the ceilings of old houses are so high.

Did anyone in the family have gigantism? Did the architect miscalculate? It’s a little suspicious that all the architects got it wrong, isn’t it?

Why high ceilings

The first thing to make clear, especially for those who have thought about the gigantism or have blamed the architect, is that the old houses no air-conditioning system or air-conditioning home appliances standard as we have today, as well as small furniture or lamps, since the spaces were larger (usually) and larger objects were used.

The second reason why the doors of the houses were high is that many people entered on horseback, especially in the villages, even inside the houses.

high beamed ceilings in the villages

Nor, at least until 1879 when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, was there any installation of electricity as we know it today. And, therefore, the old houses were darker (the old ones, and a house I rented a few years ago in Gaztambide).

To solve these problems of light and air, our friends the architects (among others) proposed higher ceilings in their projects, since, in addition, the heights of the old buildings were not as limited by the regulations as they are today.

The higher the height, the better the air circulates, producing the desired ventilation (this is now solved by installing air conditioners or your mother opening the windows wide in winter).

how to take advantage of a house with high ceilings

In other words, the greater the free height, the greater the amount of air that flows, as well as the space that is available for it to circulate through the interior space, thus acting as a ventilation system.

But what does clear height mean?

Don’t worry, surely Thomas Edison also wondered what headroom was. This is considered the distance between the bottom of the ceiling and the floor, both finished. And this distance has minimum habitability requirements.

What is the minimum height in a dwelling?

The clear habitable height between the finished floor and the underside of the ceiling must be at least 2.50 meters. And, in the case of kitchens and circulation spaces (e.g., corridors), this height cannot be less than 2.20 meters.

how to lower high ceilings with little money

How high should the ceilings of a house be?

What is currently required by regulations is a clear height, without cladding, of about 2.70 meters, since after the finishes (tiles, false ceilings, etc.) the height is usually somewhat less, about 2.50 meters (minimum height required).

High ceilings make spaces look and feel visually wider; that much is obvious. In addition, they allow decorating with more voluminous lamps and are brighter and airier spaces. Although this amplitude also makes them colder in winter.

What is the difference between a modern house and an old house?

The fundamental difference between the houses of the past and those of today, apart from the fact that the latter have lower ceilings, is based on three aspects:

  • The architectural style (you can download the free decorative style guide here).
  • The size of the materials.
  • The construction material.

height of houses in architecture

Today’s houses tend to be simpler, lighter and more functional than those of the past, since old houses used to be more ornate and ornate than now (although this depends on how much of a compulsive buyer you are).

Likewise, and with the
evolution of housing
In the same way, and with the evolution of housing, current materials are lighter, while the houses of the past used to be built with heavier materials. All this influenced their cost and, therefore, their quality.

In the past, better quality materials were available, but at a higher price due to the scarcity of demand, and now they are more readily available and at a better price, although of poorer quality.

I can’t give you a house with high ceilings.

But it does help you to be happy with the house you have. I tell you how here:

What is House Coaching™