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Amazing Psychological Effects of Ceiling Heights in Pet-Friendly Interiors

Amazing Psychological Effects of Ceiling Heights in Pet-Friendly Interiors

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Why are Ceiling Heights Important in Evidence-Based Design for Pet-Friendly Interiors?

It’s no secret that our environment profoundly affects our mood, behavior, and overall well-being. From the color of the walls to the type of furniture, every element in a room can play a role in shaping our experience.

One often overlooked design element is the ceiling height. Studies have shown that ceilings have a significant impact on our psychological state. Low ceilings can create a sense of confinement and isolation, while high ceilings can make us feel more open and free.

Taller ceilings are generally associated with positive emotions like happiness and pride. Shorter ceilings are linked to negative emotions like sadness and anxiety.

Of course, ceiling height is just one factor to consider when designing a space, but it’s an important one that can make a big difference in how we feel.

Additionally, when designing a pet-friendly interior, it’s worth giving some thought to the ceiling height. Pets are sensitive to their environment and react negatively to low ceilings or cramped spaces. Choosing a ceiling height that promotes positive emotions can create a happier and healthier home for your furry friend.

When it comes to ceiling height, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The ideal height will vary depending on the size of the room and the type of pet. However, taller ceilings are generally better for pets (and people!)

Suppose you’re looking to create a pet-friendly home that promotes happiness and well-being. In that case, ceiling height is one design element you shouldn’t overlook.

What are the Effects of Ceiling Heights on Humans?

The distance between people’s heads and whatever object is above them, whether a ceiling, vegetation, or other structures, has a significant psychological influence, creating different experiences according to their heights. Airplane manufacturers are aware of this fact.

Therefore, to enhance their passenger’s experiences and comfort, they design their aircraft so that the ceiling appears to be higher than it really is (Meyers-Levy & Zhu, 2007). Accordingly, Sally Augustin’s (2009) research has shown that lower ceiling heights can create a feeling of intimacy and relaxation. On the other hand, higher ceilings can create the effect of a formal and serious environment.

The Child Care Centre Design Guide (2003) supports these findings and recommends higher ceilings to stimulate higher activity levels, while quiet areas are encouraged by lower ceiling heights.

Therefore, creating variations in ceiling heights in the environment will enhance the flexibility to make the sensation that the user is looking for, either an intimate conversation or a formal one.

According to Alexander’s (1977) research, a ceiling height of 3.05 meters to 3.65 meters is appropriate to create an optimum environment for public situations. He further suggests that, for social encounters, lower ceilings are to be used, ranging from 2.14 to 2.75 meters.

Moreover, suppose an intimate conversation or environment is wanted. In that case, the ceilings should range between 1.83 to 2.14 meters, which is low for people to be standing.

Further research in acoustics (Alexander, 1977) found that when people have conversations in places with high ceilings, the sound waves take longer to bounce back, creating a psychological effect of feeling farther away when talking to someone and treating them accordingly.

On the other hand, when sound waves bounce faster due to a lower ceiling, people sense the speaker being closer than they really are, creating a more intimate conversation. 

Amazing Psychological Effects of Ceiling Heights in Pet-Friendly Interiors
Amazing Psychological Effects of Ceiling Heights in Pet-Friendly Interiors

What are the Effects of Ceiling Heights on Dogs?

As mentioned in the article, Amazing Psychological Effects of Space Perception in Pet-Friendly Interiors, the social brains of dogs and humans are pretty similar and experience a range of emotions like us, including love, fear, anger, and joy. Additionally, we share a similar sense of morality and many of the same social behaviors. Therefore, a case can be made that dogs will react similarly to humans in a confined and small space. 

Therefore, their enclosure should be adequate to their size, age, and level of physical activity. While most likely, dogs will be comfortable with any ceiling height in their pet parent’s house, their kennel, dog-house, or playpen size should be considered. 

It is recommended that for a small dog breed like a Chihuahua, Pomeranian, or Yorkshire Terrier, the height of their dog-house should be 24 inches tall. 

For a medium-sized breed like a Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, or Basset Hound, the height should be 32 inches. 

For a large breed like a Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, or German Shepherd, the height of their dog-house should be 42 inches.

The exception to this rule is puppies who are still growing; they need extra space to move around and play. For example, a 3-month-old Labrador puppy needs a dog house that is at least 24 inches high, and a 6-month-old needs one that is 32 inches tall.

A dog’s age is also a consideration when determining the height of its enclosure. A senior dog with arthritis or other age-related issues might make jumping in their dog house challenging. Therefore, a wider opening at floor level will be better for them to get in and out of their space.

The activity level of a dog is also something to consider when determining the height of their enclosure. A dog who loves jumping and playing will need a taller space than a couch potato.

For example, the American Kennel Club’s breed standard for the Jack Russell Terrier says they should have “a maximum height of 15 inches at the shoulder,” considered a small dog. However, their activity level is off the charts; therefore, a dog house that is 24 inches tall would be too confining for them.

To summarize, the ceiling height of a dog’s enclosure should be based on its size, age, and activity level.


Ceiling height significantly impacts how humans and pets feel in a space. Dogs are social creatures who enjoy freedom and wide-open spaces with the company of their pet parents and other animals. 

They react to their surroundings much as humans do, so it’s essential to create a comfortable space for them to relax and play. When choosing the height of your dog’s enclosure, consider its size, age, and activity level to ensure a happy and healthy pet.

This article is a part of a series called Evidence-Based Design Principles for Great Pet-Friendly Interiors. Click this link if you want to learn more. 

Amazing Psychological Effects of Ceiling Heights in Pet-Friendly Interiors

Hire an Online Interior Designer at Havenly

There are several online interior design websites, but Havenly is your best option to hire from a robust list of interior designers that will help you in decorating and creating the perfect dog-friendly home. When you sign up for Havenly, you will take a short quiz about your design style and what you are looking for in a designer. Havenly will then match you with a designer who will help you select paint colors, furniture, and accessories that are both stylish and safe for your furry friend.

In addition, your Havenly designer will be able to provide tips on how to create a space that is both comfortable for your dog and inviting for guests. With Havenly, creating a beautiful and functional home that your dog will love is easy and stress-free.

Click here if you want to learn more about Havenly or book an interior designer and get 25% off your design package if you click here!

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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