How to Choose a Ceiling Fan that Looks Good in Your Space

A ceiling fan can really make a space more comfortable. The breeze it creates can make your room feel four degrees cooler in the summer, without the need to crank up the A/C. And in the winter, you can reverse the direction of the blades to push warm air back down from the ceiling, into the part of the room where it’s needed most.

But choosing the right ceiling fan to complement your space isn’t always easy. There are so many fan designs and styles available these days that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the choices. And choosing a new ceiling fan for your home isn’t just about the fan’s design. You also need to make sure your new fan is sized right for the space, and you need to decide whether you want your new fan to stand out or blend in.

Photo by Curtis Adams:

Size Matters When It Comes to Ceiling Fans

When you’re choosing a ceiling fan for your home, it’s important to choose the right size fixture. First, you should measure the length and width of your room, then multiply those two numbers together to determine the square footage of your room. The square footage of your room will help you determine which size fan to buy.

Fans are measured across the width of the blades. If it’s a fan with an even number of blades, the spread of the fan is measured from one blade tip, across the middle to the blade tip on the corresponding fan blade. If it’s a fan with an odd number of blades, the spread is measured from the tip of one fan blade to the center of the fixture, and then doubled.

Fans come in sizes starting at about 29 inches in diameter and going as large as 80 inches in diameter or more. It’s important to make sure your new fan is sized properly for your space, because if it’s too small, it won’t move enough air, and if it’s too large, it will create too strong of a breeze. Plus, if the size of your fan isn’t matched to the room, the fan will look weird and out of place. Use these guidelines to make sure your new fan is the right size:

  • For rooms under 75 square feet, choose the smallest fan size of 29 to 32 inches.
  • For rooms 76 to 144 square feet, choose a 36- to 42-inch fan.
  • For rooms 145 to 224 square feet, choose a 44- to 50-inch fan.
  • For rooms 225 to 400 square feet, choose a 50- to 62-inch fan.
  • For rooms bigger than 400 feet, choose a fan size larger than 62 inches.

As long as you get the size right, your fan will look proportional to the room and create the kind of breeze you need to be comfortable. 

Photo by Curtis Adams:

Match Your New Fan to Your Decor – Or Not

You can buy a modern ceiling fan in any design style to match your decor. Decide what your overall design aesthetic is – eclectic, traditional, contemporary, mid-century modern, or tropical, for example – and choose a fan in a similar design. If you want to add some interest to your space, choose a fan that brings some contrasting design elements to the table. If you have a more eclectic decorating style, choose a fan that goes with the most prominent style in the room.

When to Make Your Fan Stand Out, and When to Make It Blend In

Should your new ceiling fan stand out, or should it blend in with the background? It really depends on how high your ceiling is and how large your room is. If it’s a small room with a low ceiling, you want your fan to blend in, so it doesn’t overpower the space. Choose a fan with a finish that matches your ceiling or one that matches the predominant wood finish or hardware finish in the room – so if you mostly have oak furniture and oak floors in the room, choose a fan with an oak finish or grab a white fan that matches the ceiling.

Photo by Barion McQueen:

If you have a large room with a high ceiling, though, you may want to let your new ceiling fan stand out more. Choose a fan with an eye-catching design that can serve as a focal point of the room and even a conversation piece. You should still try to match the finish of the fan to the surfaces in your room, unless you’re going for a wacky pop of color to bring together an eclectic space.

Matching a ceiling fan to your room can be a real challenge. Choose a fan that complements your decorating style and one that is sized properly for the space, so you can be happy with your new fixture for years into the future.


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