The Ultimate Ceiling Fan Guide – DezignSpace

The Ultimate Ceiling Fan Guide

Ceiling fans are ‘fan’tastic for air ‘fan’atics! Aside from the fact that fans give you 360 degrees of air 365 days of the year, many adoring ‘fans’ flock to them for energy conservation, style, and ‘fan’cy function. Ok, no more fan puns, we promise. 😉 

Read on to learn how to find a fan that’s the perfect fit.


Style and Shape

There are several factors to consider when choosing the perfect fan for indoor or outdoor use. Pitch, speed, and ratings are essential details that we’ll cover later, but first, let’s get to the fun stuff! The style of your ceiling fan can set the mood for the space and circulate air to keep you cool or (surprise!) warm. 

Here’s the rundown…



Features one to three blades or multiple blades facing different directions. A common modern style is the propeller fan. As you probably suspected, it looks like the propellers of a plane with long, rounded blades. A more rectangular version of the propeller is an aviator blade fan.



Weathered finish, wood or iron, homey shapes. A common trend is the windmill fan. With numerous blades made of wood or metal for a glorious windmill look, this type of fan gives increased airflow with its higher pitch.



Rugged and minimalist. A cage fan protects the fan’s blades and body in – you guessed it – a stylish cage. You even adorn a larger space with three or more cage fan fixtures. If you want to up the ante, a larger turbine blade fan comes in a metallic finish with a steep pitch and many blades, like a souped-up windmill fan.



How to Measure for Your Fan

The two dimensions used for ceiling fans are height and diameter, and your selection will vary based on your room’s shape and size. If you have a lower ceiling, it’s easy to change the fan’s height to fit. On the flip side, you won’t be able to change the diameter.



First, you’ll want to find your room’s size in square feet (the room’s length multiplied by the room’s width.) Next, pick your fan’s diameter to fit within the square footage. Also called fan sweep or span diameter, the inches mentioned in the fan’s description are the diameter (i.e., 52″).


According to ENERGY STAR, these are the recommended diameter measurements by room size: 

  • Up to 75 square feet = 29 – 36 inches
  • 76 – 144 square feet = 36 – 42 inches
  • 144 – 225 square feet = 44 inches
  • 225 – 400 square feet = 50 – 54 inches


PRO TIP: If you have a room of more than 400 sq ft, you’ll need at least two ceiling fans for prime circulation. Also, install your fan in the center of the room to ensure the best airflow.


Ceiling Height

When making your fan selection, it’s essential to keep your ceiling height in mind to determine the correct mounting option.



The ceiling fan is mounted flush to the ceiling without any additional attachment. This option is ideal for rooms with low ceilings or if you prefer a low-profile look.


Downrod Mount:

Best for rooms with high ceilings, many ceiling fans will include a downrod (a pole that attaches to the fan from the ceiling and adjusts its height.) For very high ceilings, you may need to purchase a longer downrod. See below to determine the ideal downrod length.


Rod Recs

If you’re rockin’ a 9’ft ceiling, grab yourself a 6″ downrod. For a 10-footer, double your rod to 12″. Going up, 12′ needs 24″ and 14 feet needs 36″. Higher still, 16′ ceilings need 48″, 18′ take 60″, and a whopping 20′ will require 72″ of downrod.


Safety First!

To protect taller folks, hang your fan between 8-9′ from the floor and never lower than 7′. Let’s keep the home head-bump free, shall we? If you have a lower ceiling, go with a flush mount. 


PRO TIP: If you’ve got sloped or vaulted ceilings, pair your fans accordingly with those marked “sloped ceiling compatible.” If it’s not, sloped-ceiling mounting kits are available.


Blade Power

A few aspects of the ceiling fan’s blades (like pitch, motor, and the number of blades) will directly affect how the air circulates.

Blade Pitch

The angle at which the blades are tilted is called the pitch. The blade pitch indicates how much airflow will be created by specific fan types. If you have a steeper pitch, you’ll get a higher airflow. The most efficient airflow is created by a pitch of 12 degrees or higher. If you’re after a more steady ride, go for a more level blade pitch. You’ll be lulled to sleep with a gentle breeze in no time. Plus, those work-from-home meetings won’t be distracted by the sound of the fan spinning.

And hey, if you’re after a purely decorative option, seek pitches under 10 degrees. Look no further than the leaf blade fan for a dramatic impact with a lower pitch and subtle airflow. Five wide flat blades look like leaves and fit seamlessly with the coastal design styles.

For a higher efficiency fan, choose a twisted blade fan. Its steep pitch and higher airflow pair nicely with the twisted blades.


How Many Blades Are Too Many?

Does a ceiling fan really need to have more than three blades? More blades obviously create more air to keep you cooler, right? Nope. There are quite a few factors that go into how air circulates – like the pitch, shape, and weight of the blades- not to mention the type of motor. You might have a fancy windmill fan with a dozen blades, but it won’t produce any more air than a traditional three-blade if the stars aren’t aligned just right. Why? It’s all up to a little thingy called airflow rating…


Airflow and Efficiency


AirFlow Rating FAQs

Q: What is an AirFlow Rating (US)?

A: The amount of air moved by the fan per cubic feet per minute (CPM)

Q: How is it calculated?

A: When a fan moves at its latest speed. Higher numbers = more air.

Q: When should I purchase a higher airflow fan?

A: For outdoor use on a patio or porch where noise isn’t an issue. 

Q: Are there any other specs to mention?

A: Yep, keep an eye out for the cubic feet per minute per watt (CFM/W)

Q: Great, so what’s the ideal number?

A: 75 or higher!

Q: What does it mean?

A: A higher number means more efficiency. 


Speaking of efficiency…


Efficiency Rating

There’s a special rating given to ceiling fans that have been rigorously tested and have the highest energy efficiency ratings. Fans with Energy Star ratings are perfect for us environmentally-conscious folks. There’s even a big payoff – they’re 60% more efficient than other fans and can subsequently lower your monthly utility bill.

Temperature Control

You’ll LOVE the option created by a reversible motor to reverse blade directions for summer and winter. Summer blades spin forward, and winter blades spin backward. Here’s why…

Summer Fan Setting

With a Summer fan setting, the motor generates the speed for the blades to spin forward, with the leading edge being the higher blade edge. This pulls the warm air up and pushes refreshing cool air down into the room.

Winter Fan Setting

With a Winter fan setting, the blades spin in a reverse direction. As the warm air rises, it’s pushed down into the room to warm it up in the colder months. Betcha didn’t know ceiling fans could be used for warmth, too!



All About the Motor

If you’re thinking of supersizing your fan, remember that the motor’s size indicates its strength. Small, medium, or large – order up! The motor can push the blades with a greater pitch or angle when it has more strength. Motor sizes range from small (153mm) to medium (172mm) and large (188mm.)



Rock on! The legendary rock band was on to something when they were named after alternating current/direct current. AC is a type of motor that consumes more energy than its smaller, lighter DC counterpart. Seek a quieter DC motor for energy conservation and greater efficiency.



Ceiling Fan Features

When shopping for the perfect fan, there are a few control features that might sway you towards one versus another. 


Take Control

  • Pull chain: Basic ceiling fans will include a pull chain that adjusts the fan speed and lighting. This option is ideal for rooms with low ceilings or spaces that aren’t often used.
  • Remote control: If you have high ceilings, a remote control is the obvious choice. Wall-mounted remotes are handy because you can’t misplace them. If your fan doesn’t come with a remote, you can always purchase one separately.
  • Smart ceiling fans: Speed and light settings are controlled by an app on your smartphone or device.


Get Lit

Most ceiling fans come with a light kit, but if you’re installing in an area with ample natural light or lighting already installed, it’s perfectly fine to go with a non-light option. If you’d like one with lights, the next thing you need to decide is lighting output:

  • LED bulbs: Highly energy-efficient option with an average lifespan of 50,000 hours. Bulbs can be replaced easily to change the style or color temperature.
  • Integrated LED light kit: LED bulbs are built directly into the fan and last a decade or longer. 


Silent Mode

Say goodbye to your squeaky old fan and hello to a peaceful sleep. Be sure to double-check the room’s dimensions and select a fan with a hugger mount, which secures flush to the wall to prevent wobbling and shaking. Don’t sweat it if your room has ceilings that are too high for a hugger mount. Using a downrod that’s the right length will keep extra noise to a minimum.

Circling back to AC/DC, DC motors are quieter than AC motors. So, when you invest in a ceiling fan with a DC motor, you’ve got a better chance of getting a silent fan. 


Outdoor Fans

Outdoor fans are ideal for cooling down your porch, patio, or sunroom. Plus, it can perform double duty by illuminating the space if you go with a lighted option. It’s important to consider your environment when purchasing an outdoor ceiling fan. Do you have a lot of rain during certain seasons? What about humidity? Snow and ice can have an effect on how your ceiling fan functions. Outdoor fans are made of sturdy materials, typically metal, to prevent moisture damage and warping caused by harsh outdoor elements. 

Damp-rated ceiling fans are meant for sheltered areas that indirectly experience moisture.

Wet-rated ceiling fans are made to uphold battle in rough weather conditions. Never hang an indoor fan outside- damage to the fan and your home can ensue.


Fan Installation

Let’s face it: Fans are heavy! They’re also tricky to wire, which is why you should always hire a licensed electrician to install them for you. Make super-duper sure that your ceiling is strong enough to support the fan in the location you’ve selected to have it attached. You need to make sure there is blocking in the installation location that can support the fan; if you’re unsure, ask your electrician. Have all the parts handy from the box your fan came in so your electrician can work their magic with ease.

What if it wobbles? It’s only natural after some time that your fan’s placement may come a bit loose. This happens when the blades become unbalanced, causing uneven spinning and strange sounds, but you can fix this!

Turn off the fan, wait for a complete stop, and clean away any dust buildup. At the same time, check for any loose blades, brackets, or mounting hardware and tighten them up. Then, turn it back on and see if that helped. If not, use the fan balancing kit included with your fixture. This involves attaching the balancing clip to a blade one at a time and turning the fan on and off after each one until you’ve found the problem blade. Then, move the clip up and down the blade and use the weight included in the kit to balance the blade. You can use this for any other blade as needed.


A Few Styles We ‘Fan’cy

And there you have it, folks, the do’s and don’ts, the ins and outs, the ups and downs of ceiling fans. Betcha learned more than you thought there was to know about these puppies! Now go, circulate that knowledge, and get yourself some air!

There’s always more style to be had with DezignSpace! You should pop on over to the Store and check out a curated selection of gorgeous goodies we know you’ll LOVE!

    One thought on this post

    1. Very helpful THANK YOU. Just last night I was going through all my choice for my home we are closing on tomorrow.  We let them put in the basics knowing we would upgrade  ourselves.  Just saw your email with this today. Great timing!


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