If you were to ask interior designers whether ceiling fans have fallen out of fashion, you would likely get a variety of answers. Although some designers believe that they are out of date, the vast majority enthusiastically endorse adding them to your decor. The right fan is not only an attractive addition to a room, but offers some significant benefits that you won’t find elsewhere.
The Benefits of Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are ideal in rooms with high or vaulted ceilings, or in any space where you struggle to control the temperature. But while you may think of a fan as something strictly used for cooling in the summer, it can actually help heat rooms as well.
For starters, the electric motor powering the fan actually produces heat. Although that’s not likely to make a measurable difference to the thermostat in and of itself, what will make a difference is the fan’s ability to circulate warm air and push it back down into the room. By setting the fan so the blades run clockwise, you can circulate air without creating a cooling breeze. In the summer, when the blades turn counter-clockwise, the resulting breeze can actually lower the room temperature by as much as eight degrees.
Together, the heating and cooling abilities of ceiling fans can help you keep energy bills manageable, especially during milder weather when they can be used instead of the air conditioner. Ceiling fans offer other benefits, as well, though. When used outdoors, they can help keep pests away, and ceiling fans with lights used indoors or out offer ambient light that can be controlled to your preference.
Choosing a Ceiling Fan
With literally hundreds of fan options to choose from, the decision can feel overwhelming. Keeping a few basic tips in mind, though, can help make the choice easier.
- Choose the right drop length. The National Electrical Code states that ceilings should be at least seven feet from the floor. If you have a standard eight foot ceiling, this means the fan should be mounted flush. If you have higher ceilings, you can purchase extender rods so the fan can hang at the appropriate height. Ideally, it should be no higher than nine feet from the floor to ensure that you actually feel the breeze.
- Choose the right width. The blade span — the length of each blade — is determined by the size of the room. The width of the fan should be in proportion to the rest of the space, with the largest fans reserved for expansive spaces.
- Sound. Some people dislike ceiling fans because of their noise, but modern fans are quieter than ever, and some are virtually silent. Look for a fan labeled “whisper quiet” or similar.
- Controls. Most fans have a traditional chain control (or two, if they have a light) but newer options have remote controls, Wi-Fi control features, or can be controlled by a wall switch. Choose the control that’s easiest for you.
- Style. There are limitless options to select from, and you may even be able to customize your fan to your exact size and material specifications. Sleek, minimalistic fan styles are most popular right now, as well as wood tones and unique light fixtures that coordinate with the modern farmhouse trend.
Avoid Common Ceiling Fan Mistakes
According to interior designers, ceiling fans should always match the style of the room they are in, and not clash or detract from the design. Rather, they should complement the space, without drawing too much attention to themselves. This means choosing the right size fan, as well as finishes and shapes that coordinate with the rest of the room. For instance, a metal fan with an industrial-inspired design that works perfectly in a loft or farmhouse-industrial style room will look wildly out of place in a more casual, rustic space.
That said, regardless of the fan style, if the room isn’t large enough, or the ceilings aren’t high enough, to comfortably accommodate the fan, it’s going to dominate the space and make it feel cluttered and stifling. Ceiling fans should hang no lower than seven feet from the floor; any lower than that is a hazard. The size of the room also determines the appropriate blade span, with smaller blades for small rooms and larger blades for large rooms.
Ceiling fans can also be detrimental when they appear outdated, or have obvious issues, such as making a clicking noise, especially when you’re trying to sell your home. Ceiling fans paired with recessed lighting can also create shadows that are distracting at best. If you’re putting your home on the market, consider upgrading the ceiling fans if they are more than a decade old or have problems, or remove them altogether. Buyers are less likely to subtract from their offers if they know that they won’t need to replace any fixtures.
It’s unlikely that ceiling fans themselves will ever be completely out of style, but different features and materials will always be more popular. Don’t be afraid to add one to your space, and enjoy the benefits yourself.