How to Choose a Ceiling Fan for Your Home

How to Choose a Ceiling Fan for Your Home

A ceiling fan can make a room more inviting and comfortable. But does your ceiling fan wobble and clink? In the middle of the night, when you're blindly fumbling for the pull chain above your bed, do you long for the silent, energy-efficient model you know you deserve? From size to style, here's how to choose the right ceiling fan to revive clean air in your home.
1

Size Your Ceiling Fan for Ultimate Cooling Comfort

Room Size Fan Size
<144 sq. ft. 42 in. and smaller
144-225 sq. ft. 44-50 in. fan
225-400 sq. ft. >50 in. fan
400+ sq. ft. >62 in. fan

This ceiling fan sizing chart will make installation easy and satisfying, just like the cool breeze you crave.

 

Maybe you’ve got a ceiling fan that’s getting the job done, but it’s not winning any awards. If it’s too small, your ceiling fan will have to work overtime and will likely burn out. Too big, and your guests might feel the need to put on a sweater.

 

To make sure you get just the right fan for the job, you’ll need to consider cubic feet per minute (CFM) and airflow. CFM is determined by the size of your space and how hard your ceiling fan has to work to move air within it. A fan that moves around 4,000 to 5,000 CFM is average, 5,000 to 6,000 CFM is better, and 6,000 or higher CFM is best. For fully immersive circulation in a long space that’s over 300 square feet, like a basement, you’ll probably need two fans.

2

Measure Your Ceiling to Get the Right Mount

Mounted ceiling fan

Indoor ceiling fans need to be hung higher than 7 feet above the floor to really get things moving (and to be up to code). So naturally, to even qualify for a fan you’ll need a ceiling that’s at least 8 feet high. If your fixture has a metal motor, give yourself an extra 2 feet of buffer space.

 

Tall people and low ceilings don’t mix, so for a ceiling that’s right at 8 feet, a hugger ceiling fan is your best bet. It has a minimal flush mount that keeps noggins safe and can even make a room look bigger.

 

If your ceiling is over 9 feet or sloped, you’ll need a downrod to mount your fan and get it closer to your seating area. A downrod is a metal pipe connecting your fan’s motor to any mounting hardware. It’ll give you flexibility in your hanging height and let you control the cooling power in the room.

 

Find a mount that’s right for your ceiling’s profile. Whatever mount you choose, make sure you pay attention to blade length. Your fan needs to be at least 18 to 24 inches from the wall to give those blades room to work.

3

Size Your Downrod for the Best Air Flow

Ceiling Height Downrod Size
8 ft. 3 in.
9 ft. 3-6 in.
10 ft. 12 in.
11 ft. 18 in.
12 ft. 24 in.
13 ft. 36 in.

When you’ve got high or angled ceilings, your ceiling fan needs a downrod for its breeze to reach the lower half of the room. During the summer and winter, indoor ceiling fans that can be lowered with a downrod are especially effective. They can circulate both cool and warm air at a faster rate.

 

If you know your picture-perfect hanging height, use our magic formula to achieve it. Subtract the height of your potential fan from the ceiling height in the room where you want to hang it. Then subtract the length of the downrod. To skip all the math, just know that a 3- to 5-inch downrod is standard.

4

Choose a Blade Finish Based on a Room's Humidity

Choose a Blade Finish Based on a Room's Humidity

Choosing the right finish isn’t just about a stylistic complement, it’s also about productivity. The wrong blade finish will droop, rust, or even melt when it’s hung in a humid area. To keep your fixture from warping or wearing out, pay attention to whether your blades are suited for indoors or outdoors.

 

On your deck or patio, it’s important to only mount wet-rated fans so they can weather rain and snow. Dry-rated fans need to stay inside. Damp-rated blade materials are great for the in-between spaces that are prone to moisture but not full-on storms, like your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room.

 

While the number or thickness of ceiling fan blades is mostly cosmetic, the length determines your airflow. Try to match your blade span with the room’s square footage. A large room needs a blade span of at least 34 inches.

5

Consider Ceiling Fan Features and Accessories for Easy Control

Consider Ceiling Fan Features and Accessories for Easy Control

From remotes to pull chains to classic wall switches, there are lots of ways to conveniently control your ceiling fans. For large rooms, a remote might be the perfect solution to turn off fans without having to get up. But, you can quickly lose the convenience aspect if your remote goes missing. Pull chains are usually most effective for low-ceiling fans.

 

Ceiling fan features also depend on your needs. Maybe you want a simple, efficient way to blast away moths and mosquitoes that plague otherwise pleasant evenings. Perhaps you want a modern ceiling fan that can reverse the airflow in winter to force warm air downward. Be sure to consider energy-efficiency, noise, lifespan, speeds, and start-up time when choosing the right ceiling fan for you. For the ultimate combo, try a ceiling fan with a DC motor.

6

Match Your Ceiling Fan Style to Your Decor

Match Your Ceiling Fan Style to Your Decor

If your ceiling fan feels like a tacky, dated monstrosity, then it’s time to update it. Replace your fan with one in a unique shape or material or that has a different mount or number of blades. Match your motor or blade finish to your surrounding decor, like the color or grain of hardware, furniture, flooring, or walls.

 

If your style is less about bulk and more about contemporary sleekness, look for hugger ceiling fans in black or white. Fans with fewer blades, about 3 blades and under, have a more modern look and will add to your curated, sensible style. Fans with around 5 blades are conventional, and the more the blades you have, the quieter your fan will be.

 

To add a classic touch to old-fashioned furniture and antique accessories, look for big brushed-nickel ceiling fans. Dark or distressed woods have the homespun quality of rustic style. For coastal fixtures, think tropical materials, like bamboo.

The tone and texture of the right ceiling fan can blow you away. Okay, maybe not literally. But you do need to find the best type of fixture so it can shine (and you can too!). Whether or not you’re sold on ceiling fans, there are dozens more Home Lighting Tips to help you narrow your search.