Look up; how high is the ceiling in your workspace? Have you ever thought about it much before? The likely answer to that is ‘no’, as the ceiling in your office isn’t the first factor that springs to mind when thinking of design – it’d be things like colours, furniture and layout, right?

However, from research, it’s said that the height of your ceiling can affect your mood and how you perform at work.

Research by Meyers-Levy and Zhu looked at productivity and performance when solving anagrams in rooms with different heighted ceilings; here’s what they found…

High ceilings

As Smart Company reports: ‘when seated in a room with high ceilings, participants were able to solve anagrams related to ‘freedom’ (such as liberated or emancipated) faster than they could solve anagrams related to ‘confinement’ (such bound or restricted).’

The high ceilings are said to be effective for employees who complete tasks which require abstract, conceptual thinking, with the higher ceiling being literal ‘thinking space’. The research saw those in the high-ceilinged rooms felt the concept of freedom, and so struggled with the ‘confinement’ anagrams as they didn’t reconcile with their current state of feeling free.

It’s said that we’re more creative in rooms with high ceilings, which could translate to higher productivity. However, something which could be argued is that higher-ceilinged rooms are not as ‘cosy’, which contradicts the theory that offices that are relaxed and ‘like home’, embracing the Dutch concept of Hygge, are more productive ones.

Low Ceilings

From the research from Meyers-Levy and Zhu determining high ceilings as good for abstract, conceptual thinking, it means that low ceilings are better for specific, detail-orientated tasks – one’s which basically require less creativity, needing less ‘thinking space’.

Lower ceilings could feel confined and restrictive to some, but cosy and comforting to others; it again depends on an employee’s work preferences and nature of work.


Aside from how ceiling height affects how we work, it’s also pretty influential in office design and aesthetics.  Differing ceiling heights can display a modern look and add interest, especially if of different colours or textures. Plus if within one open place space, they can also work as subtle space dividers without the need of clunky or space-wasting pieces of furniture of divider boards.

Trialling the theory

If you’re not in a position to move office space and your current space is uniform in terms of ceiling height, consider changing the colours of sections to create illusions; darker colours would make the ceiling appear closer and lower, while light colours or windowed ceilings will appear further away and higher.

If you’re thinking about moving office, take into consideration ceiling heights and how you could position different workers. Those whose job it is to develop new ideas about marketing or strategies could work in a high ceilinged space, while those who analyse and review aspects of business could work in a lower ceilinged space.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with her love of writing about anything and everything in tow.

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