How to Choose a Ceiling Fan that Works in Your Space

A ceiling fan is a wonderful upgrade to your home that can increase your comfort levels all year round, and help you cut your heating and cooling bills at the same time. Ceiling fans create a cooling breeze in the summer, circulating air inside your home and making rooms feel noticeably cooler. Most fans also allow you to change the direction of the blades, which can be useful in colder months to push warm air down from the ceiling and keep rooms feeling cozy without the need to crank up the thermostat.

But ceiling fans come in such a vast range of styles, with different features and even with a widely varying number of blades. Fans with fewer blades tend to create a stronger airflow, while fans with more blades create gentler air circulation and tend to be quieter than more minimalistic fans. When buying a new ceiling fan for your home, you have to not only buy one that blends in with your decor well – you also need to consider such factors as the number of features a fan has, the number of blades it has, and how much airflow it produces. Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice.

Match Your Decorating Sense

The first thing you’ll likely consider when choosing a new fan is how it looks. You want a fan that won’t look out of place in your home. If you have a more modern decorating aesthetic, you may want to buy a modern ceiling fan design with just two or three blades. If your decor is more traditional, a five-blade fan with an ornate glass light cover or brass bulb covers may be just the thing. If you’re decorating a beach house, choose a tropical design with leaf-like fan blades.

In general, it’s a good idea to match the hardware on your fan to the hardware in your home. If your door knobs and light switch plates are brushed nickel, choose a fan with brushed nickel hardware, or even a fan with metal blades in a brushed nickel finish. Match the wood parts of your fan to the color of the trim in your home, or to your wood furniture.

Get the Right Size Fan for Your Needs

When it comes to buying a new ceiling fan, the most important thing you can do is make sure the fan is appropriately sized for the space it will be in. Fans are measured from the tip of one blade, across the diameter of the fan, to the tip of the corresponding blades. Fans with an odd number of blades are measured from the tip of the fan blade to the center, and then that number is doubled. Fan sizes start at about 20 inches for mini ceiling fans and go all the way up to 80 inches or more for the largest fans.

A fan that isn’t large enough for the room it’s in will look odd, and won’t create the kind of breeze you’re looking for. A fan that is too large could overwhelm you with its gusty emanations, and could look just as out of place as a too-small fan. Use these guidelines to choose a fan size:

  • Choose a fan no more than 36 inches wide for rooms under 75 square feet.
  • Choose a fan 36 to 42 inches wide for rooms 76 to 144 square feet.
  • Choose a fan 50 to 54 inches wide for rooms 145 to 225 square feet.
  • Choose a fan 60 inches or larger for rooms over 225 square feet.

You can even place multiple ceiling fans in a very large room.

Choose Number of Blades and Airflow

In general, the more blades a fan has, the quieter it will be. Fans with a larger number of blades tend to be more balanced than fans with only a few blades. Fewer blades create less wind resistance, so they can spin faster and create stronger breezes. More blades usually equates to a gentler breeze.

Ceiling fans also come with an airflow rating, which reflects how quickly the fan can move air and is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Good fans move about 4,000 to 5,000 CFM; better fans move 5,000 to 6,000 CFM and the best fans move 7,000 CFM or more.

When it comes to installing a ceiling fan, you want to find one that absolutely works in your space. With so many options available, it shouldn’t be hard – and you can get to the good part, which is enjoying your new fan.

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