If you live in a warm climate, someplace that experiences particularly hot summers, or simply have a “stuffy” room in your home, you may be so accustomed to the sights and soothing sounds of ceiling fans that you forget they exist. But although these (almost) silent ventilators are often hailed more for their functionality than their form, they certainly deserve some careful thought to choose the perfect one.
Fans: A Fixture in Global Comfort
The first ceiling fans, originating in India around 500 B.C., were made of single, large leaf-shaped paddles that manually moved air back and forth. In 1882, the motorized ceiling fan was invented, which enjoyed massive commercial success in a pre-air-conditioning world. After falling out of style in the U.S. in the 1960s, indoor ceiling fans made a comeback in the decades that followed due to a focus on energy efficient cooling.
Ceiling fans work to move and circulate air throughout the room with rotating blades, producing a “wind chill” effect that makes a person feel cooler and more comfortable, without having any actual impact on the air temperature of the room. Fans with blades that reverse direction can also help distribute heated air to a cold room.
When it comes to installing a fan, not just any old set of rotating blades will do, though. It’s important to pick the proper size and type of ceiling fan. There are many different sizes, materials,
Why is the size of your ceiling fan so important? Not only will the size of the fixture affect the aesthetic of the room, it can also influence its efficiency and effectiveness. After all, adding a tiny ceiling fan to a massive room is akin to trying to “boil the ocean” – the impact will be unnoticeable and unmeasurable.
What size ceiling fan do I need?
To determine the perfect size, get out the tape measure and find the shortest wall in the room where you want to hang the fan. It shouldn’t be surprising that rooms with shorter walls require fans with shorter blades. Once you have your measurement, consult the chart below to determine the recommended size for your new fan. (Note: the fan size refers to the full diameter of the circle the blades spin in – or the span from the tip of one blade to the tip of the blade on the opposite side.)
|Type of room
|Length of shortest wall
|Recommended fan size
|Small bedroom, nook or
|8’ or shorter
|Bedroom, dining room or
|Large bedroom, family room or den
|Great room, large living
|16’ or longer
You may also consider the total square footage of the room as a factor. For example:
- A 36” ceiling fan will cool a room with an area of 144 square feet.
- A 42” ceiling fan will cool a room with an area of 225 square feet.
- A 52” ceiling fan will cool a room with an area of 325 square feet.
In addition to the wall length and total square footage of your room, be aware of the ceiling height. You’ll want your fan to hang 8-12” below the ceiling at the very least, and no lower than 7’ above the floor. Ceiling fans often come with varying length down-rods that allow you to hang the fixture higher or lower depending on your room’s ceiling height.
Types of ceiling fans
Whether you’re buying an outdoor ceiling fan for a patio, or an indoor ceiling fan for a bedroom, den or kitchen, you should carefully consider your room and your needs before choosing a specific type or style. From modern, three-blade works of art to functional, five-blade fans, here are some of our favorite picks… you could say we’re big fans.
Although it has a smaller diameter, 30,” that’s perfect for diminutive rooms, this pick is definitely not short on style. The blades were designed to mimic the beauty and asymmetrical shape of orchid petals in full bloom. Use the down-rod as is or expand it for rooms with vaulted ceilings.
A beacon of mid-century modern design, this 54” ceiling fan features clean, simple lines, a warm, natural wood finish and a functional design. If you’re in need of a ceiling fan with lights, you’ll like the LED light kit, which will ensure your room is well-lit.
You just might be hypnotized by the fluid movement of this Scandinavian-inspired fan when it’s in motion. The smart and sensible combination of wood, metal
With an exquisite three-blade design and a variety of rich finishes to choose from, the 60” Spitfire is the choice for those with discerning tastes. Want a high-tech home? Download the fanSync app to control power and various functionalities right from your smartphone. If your large room is a bit dark or humid, you’ll be glad to know Spitfire has an
Your contemporary bedroom needs the style and sophistication of the Zonix 54” ceiling fan. The minimalistic design features three blades that are available in bronze, copper or nickel finish, to closely match your room’s décor.
If you have a unique porch or patio, using outdoor ceiling fans for your space is a smart move. Not only will you keep your cool while relaxing outside, the 56” Xeno fan will ensure you look cool doing it. The sleek and modern design is also built to be durable, thanks to anti-corrosive and weather-resistant materials.
Don’t see what you’re looking for above? In addition to many other styles, there are also special types of ceiling fans with various features to fit your room’s needs.
This type of fan is the perfect fit for small spaces with standard ceilings. The low profile of the fan will help you adhere to the 7’ rule (your fan should be at least 7’ above the floor, as mentioned above), even in rooms with 8’ ceilings.
You’ve heard of dining room chandeliers, but what about chandelier fans? From stained glass to sparkly crystals, chandelier ceiling fans offer more style and personality than traditional wooden or metal blade fans. Many chandelier fans are so beautiful and brilliantly designed, you won’t even notice the blades! Because of their ornate nature, they work well in well-decorated dens, game rooms or great rooms.
Now that you know the answer to the question, “What size ceiling fan do I need?” all that’s left is for you to go shopping for a new set of blades!