Standard Ceiling Height Australia

by | Mar 21, 2023 | Advice & inspiration, Building basics & regulations, Building tips

How high should your ceiling be? Get ready because we’re about to raise the roof over standard ceiling height in Australia! We’ll be taking a look at how your choice in ceiling height will affect your home, the options available and the pros and cons of both high ceilings and low ceilings.

Why is ceiling height an important consideration in your new build?

Your house’s ceiling height can have a big influence on many things, including heating and cooling, and noise reduction. It’s also where components like pipes, bare concrete and electrical wiring can be concealed. Even how light is distributed across a room will be influenced by how high your ceiling is.

Are there any legal requirements that need to be followed?

The National Construction Code sets the standards that need to be followed when it comes to ceilings (and everything else in construction). The minimum ceiling height is 2.4m for inhabitable rooms. This includes any bedroom, dining room, family room, living room, lounge room and similar type rooms.

Non-habitable rooms, or rooms where you don’t spend as much time, like bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, laundry rooms and garages can have roofs as low as 2.1m. Many houses will have higher roofs in these rooms.

Keep in mind, the above are minimum ceiling heights, not the recommended ceiling height. Many homes benefit from higher ceilings.

What is the standard ceiling height in Australia?

The Australian Standard ceiling height is 2.4m for a flat ceiling (roughly eight-foot ceilings for the old-school crowd). Any habitable room needs to be at least this height. In kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, 2.4m is recommended for general comfort, but the minimum ceiling height is only 2.1m. There isn’t any confirmed, agreed-upon average ceiling height in Australia, and many homes have higher ceilings than the specified standard. A lot of older homes actually have lower ceilings, though we don’t recommend that for reasons we’ll cover later in this article.

Many homes opt for a higher ceiling of around 2.7m, with some homeowners going as high as 3m. There are pros and cons to both higher and lower ceilings (see below), and it will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve as to what the best option is for you. Though 2.7m was becoming the more common ceiling height, with new builds, however, this has shifted in recent years, with newer homes starting to revert back to a 2.4m ceiling height.

Naturally, not all ceilings are flat including sloping ceilings, vaulted ceilings and cathedral ceilings. In these cases, at least two-thirds of the ceiling should be above 2.2m in special rooms like attics. Inhabitable rooms, the lowest point of the roof should be the standard ceiling height. If a room has ceiling fans, the roof should be at least 2.4m to avoid injury, however, the fan itself doesn’t count in the height.

What are the typical ceiling height options?

Lower Ceilings

Lower ceilings are anything between 2.1m- below 2.7m.


More Energy Efficient: Less space means lower heating and cooling costs. It’ll also be easier to maintain a temperature than it would be in a wider space, which will be great on those chilly nights.

Can create a cosier feel: A lower ceiling can make a room feel more comfortable. This can backfire though, and it can end up feeling claustrophobic.

Easier to clean and maintain: Fewer walls and lower ceilings are much easier to clean than anywhere with higher ceilings.

Better for humidity: Because lower ceilings create a smaller space, it’s easier to achieve quicker air circulation which helps reduce moisture. Quality ventilation is a must for any house, regardless of ceiling height.


Doesn’t suit all interior styles: Certain interior styles call for a higher ceiling, and a lower ceiling will clash with the aesthetic.

Will make smaller homes feel smaller: If you’re looking to make a smaller home feel larger, a low ceiling is going to be counterproductive in this regard.

Higher Ceilings

The standard height for ‘high ceilings’ is about 9 ft (2.7m), and anything higher is definitely considered a high ceiling.


More Living Space: Higher ceilings mean a room can accommodate more shelves and higher cupboards. It can allow for more wall space for decorations and art as well.

Looks Great: The spacious look a higher ceiling gives is an aesthetic that’s can be a great way to make smaller house areas feel larger.

More Natural Light: Allows more natural light and ventilation, especially when paired with a quality,well-designed layout.

More design Options: There is a range of design options for higher ceilings that aren’t available for lower ceilings. Provides the option of installing a false ceiling

Adds Value: Homes with high ceilings often fetch a higher price on the market than those with low ceilings


Harder to clean: More space does mean more cleaning, unfortunately, and when it comes to getting dust out of those high corners, it can be a hassle. Cleaning higher fans will require a level of care that lower fans won’t.

Regulating Temperature: Larger spaces will cost more to air-condition or heat artificially. You may able to negate this though through a quality open-plan design that allows airflow through the home.

Noise: More space means a higher chance of noise carrying and echoing (believe us, your kids will notice if there’s anywhere in the house that echoes).

Expensive Repairs: Due to the height factor, fixing a high ceiling requires someone who knows what they’re doing, so you’ll need to hire a professional.

What happens if my ceiling height does not meet Australian standards?

Funnily enough, though it all sounds very official, it’s not actually illegal to have ceilings lower than 2.4m. Old houses often have lower ceilings and are still perfectly habitable.

So, you’re no doubt wondering what the big deal is then and why you should give a hoot about standard ceiling height. Where it matters is when you’re reselling.

When you sell a home, only habitable rooms with a standard ceiling height can be advertised as bedrooms or living areas. This means that if the bedrooms in your home with ceilings lower than the minimum standard ceiling height, you won’t be able to classify them as a livable space. Suddenly, that four bedrooms house has to be sold as a two-bedroom home, which will no doubt affect your final price. Meeting building standards can greatly affect your resale value, so it’s that’s why these measurements matter.

How much does it cost to design a ceiling?

How much your ceiling will cost is hard to estimate without knowing the specifics. Costs will vary depending on the complexity of the design. In most new builds, the ceiling will be factored into the overall price.

Average installation cost: In Brisbane, you are looking at between $500-2,000 for a 10×12 room. Costs will vary depending on the following factors:

  • Size of ceiling
  • Complexity of design
  • Labour requirements
  • Materials required

Estimates based on ceiling type (per room):

Conventional: Around $2,000

Coffered ceiling: $2,500 – $4,000

Suspended: $1,500 or $30-$55 per case of tiles

False Ceiling: $100-$200 per square metre

Raked Ceiling: $16,000- $25,000

Our top tips for choosing a ceiling height for your new build

  • Consider what you’re hoping to achieve with the room when deciding on the best ceiling height.
  • Your new house can have varying ceiling heights in different rooms. Inhabitable rooms can have lower ceiling heights than habitable rooms.
  • Consider your area’s climate and environment when choosing your ceiling heights.
  • If buying an existing home, have a building inspector look at ceiling heights to ensure they meet standards.

Talk to an experienced building broker for free advice

Need help with all the finer details in your next build? At Buildi we can help you with ceilings, flooring and everything in between. As a building broker, we’re here to give power back to the consumers, making the builders work for you, not the other way around. Get in touch today to find out more and book your free consultation.

Book your free, impartial consultation today!


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