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Choosing the Best Ceiling Fan Design

How do you pick the best ceiling fan design for your space? We'll simplify the process. Read about what to consider when ceiling fan shopping.

What's the Best Ceiling Fan Design?

Choosing the best ceiling fan design for your needs can be a fun, but sometimes frustrating, process.

Ceiling fans have been around for a long time (man-powered ones were used in the Roman empire), and many people probably grew up in homes that had them installed. Over the years, though, fewer homes have featured ceiling fans. That’s primarily due to advances in cooling technology as well as changes in style.

With that in mind, we’re going to focus on the design of ceiling fans. After all, a ceiling fan with the right design can not only cool your home significantly but can actually prove to be a brilliant decorative addition.

So here are some ways to choose the best ceiling fan design without stressing over the process too much.

What to consider when researching ceiling fans

If it’s been a while since you’ve shopped for a ceiling fan, you’re going to be surprised by what’s out there.

Industrial fans, outdoor fans, ceiling fans with smaller fans attached to them, ceiling fans that look like art installations...there’s a whole world out there.

It might sound like obvious advice, but the fact of the matter is that there are too many choices for you to assume you know what you want. Don’t start shopping for ceiling fans thinking that you know what you need. Take a look at the product pages of popular retail sites in order to get a better understanding of the sheer amount of design options available to you.

Once you’ve done that and have a few basic designs you like, start to consider some of the following factors.

What are Your Practical Needs?

Before setting on the ceiling fan design you love most, consider the fact that there are some practical needs you should take into consideration. Specifically, ask yourself whether or not this fan is going to be decorative or if it’s also going to need to be functional.

If you’re going for function, you first need to consider your room size. According to Energy Star, these are the recommended ceiling fan sizes based on the size of the room they’re installed in:

Up to 75 ft2 Room: 29 – 36" Fan Size

76 – 144 ft2 Room: 36 – 42" Fan Size

144 – 225 ft2 Room: 44" Fan Size

225 – 400 ft2 Room: 50 – 54" Fan Size

Again, though, those figures also assume that you’re primarily looking for a fan that needs to cool a significant portion of the room. You can also always double up on smaller fans if need be.

That’s not the only practicality to consider, though. As manufacturer Lumens points out on their blog, only certain ceiling fans can be installed on sloped ceilings unless you’re willing to make modifications. Other fans may be designed with outdoor installation in mind. If you’re installing a fan on a high ceiling, you should really consider one that features remote control support.

Understanding the requirements of your situation is vital to ensuring you pick the right fan design.

Don’t Skimp on Style

Even if you’re buying a fan for practical purposes, it’s important that you don’t skimp on style.

The “problem” with ceiling fans is that they have a tendency to draw attention to themselves. It’s what happens when you install a giant spinning blade over your head. If you’re just buying a fan because it’s on sale or it’s the best cooling option available, you risk ruining the comfort of a room by installing an eyesore in it.

The point here is that buying a ceiling fan that either doesn’t match your room or doesn't excite you is going to end up costing you a lot more in the long run. If there’s a slight price difference between two fans that are practical for you, but the one you like to look at is more expensive, it almost always pays to go with the latter.

After all, ceiling fans can only do so much cooling on their own. Start treating them like accessories as well.

Should You Choose a ceiling Fan with Lights or No Lights?

The debate between lights and no lights is one that should be at the heart of your fan shopping quest.

Again, it’s a matter of practicality and style. Practically speaking, you may want a ceiling fan with lights. There are just some rooms in the home that don’t get enough natural light, and ceiling fans with lights can be a big help.

Even when shopping for lights, though, you have to consider how much light a fan is putting out vs. how much you really need. This can be hard to tell without seeing them in your home, but even just seeing how many bulbs a fan can hold is a good indication of its light output.

Of course, some people, like San Francisco interior designer Amanda Carol, just don’t like the light look at all.

“I think the light kit is what makes them so ugly,” says Carol in an interview with the Washington Post about ceiling fans as decorations. “And most of the time, the overhead light isn’t pretty; it’s this harsh ‘Where were you on the night of’ light.”

Carol recommends recessed lighting throughout a room in combination with a fan, but again, everyone has different needs.

What to know About the Blades

Ceiling fan blades are strange, if you think about it, and we'll explain:

Generally speaking, fans with fewer blades tend to circulate the air a little better. However, fans with more blades tend to be more expensive and, some would argue, better looking/better made. Fans with more blades may also demand more from the motor.

What does all this mean? Technically, a ceiling fan with three blades is going to be more efficient than one with five or more blades. That makes them worthy of consideration if you’re primarily looking for a way to cool your room.

However, the consensus seems to be that most modern fans aren’t really going to be affected that much by the number of blades due to advances in manufacturing. The point is that you shouldn’t necessarily let the number of blades on a fan be a deal-breaker that keeps you from purchasing a model you otherwise like.

Resources - LumensThe Washington Post, Atom Berg, Energy Star