The Pros and Cons of Ceiling Fans
So I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Interior designers hate ceiling fans. Well, hate is too strong a word, but we’re generally not fans. I think many designers often view ceiling fans as competition for the opportunity to hang a chandelier, and also there might be holdover memories of the days when the only ceiling fans available were vaguely Victorian, with 4 tulip shades dangling from them. You know what I’m talking about - ugh.
But thank goodness for continuing innovation and progress. Ceiling fans today come in so many unique styles, there are option that are quite attractive and actually contribute to the overall design. And there are spaces that just need a fan to keep the air moving. The sculptural wood version above is gorgeous all on its own, with functionality an added bonus.
As a designer living in the South, I know just how important they can be. They keep the air moving, and help keep AC bills down. They also help reduce warm and cool spots from vents, a blessing in large or awkwardly shaped rooms. I knew I wanted to use one in this home gym to keep things cooler - and I love the sleek and slim blades in the retro version I chose! Brian Patrick Flynn used a similar wood version below to keep a bedroom cool.
Another place where ceiling fans are vital, yet under-used, is on covered porches and any outside room with at least a sturdy trellis overhead. They create a breeze at times when it’s a bit too balmy, and also help keep flying insects at bay. Win-win.
You’ll notice one thing all my example images have in common is none of the fans have a lighting element. I believe in letting a fan be a fan and a light be a light. Our eyes can detect the flicker of of an overhead fan light if it’s slightly out of balance, even if it doesn’t register with our brain that it’s a problem. It can be fatiguing, and even uncomfortable, so it’s best to avoid the issue. To keep lighting layered in the space, introduce more sconces or table lamps to compensate for the lack of a luminaire element in the fan.
One last tip - if you incorporate a ceiling fan in a room with a hanging light, be sure the fixture is heavy, like the huge iron lantern above. Otherwise, you’ll feel seasick with a light spinning in the breeze overhead!
See? Decorating with ceiling fans isn’t so bad after all! Did I make you a fan? I hope so!