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What do I need to know before buying ceiling fans?

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally

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When deciding on the electrical fixtures for the house, most homeowners focus more on the lighting than on the ceiling fans. Understandably so as matching the lighting fixtures with the overall design style is a priority as it is a more noticeable décor element than the fan. However, the right type of ceiling fan can not only add to the style of a room but also make the indoors more comfortable by providing the perfect amount of breeze. Contrary to popular belief, choosing the right fan for a room comes with certain guidelines to make the fixture more efficient. Let’s look at the various aspects one should consider.

Does the size of the room influence the type of ceiling fan?

Residence:  Bedroom by Designism



Indeed, the dimensions of a room is an important point to consider before buying a ceiling fan. Although one might think that fans come in standard sizes, and therefore it’s more about picking the right colour, the fact is that the larger the room is, the bigger the fan should be. The size of the fan depends not so much on the width of the blades but on the span or diameter of the blades.  A small fan will not sufficiently cool a large room as the breeze won’t reach the far corners. Similarly, large ceiling fans are not ideal for tiny room as they will create too much of breeze within.

As a thumb rule, interior architects and designers don’t install a fan with a blade span greater than 36 inches in a room of up to 75 square feet. For a larger room of around 100 square feet, a ceiling fan with a blade span of 42 inches is the best choice, whereas for a 225 square feet space the span can increase up to 52 inches. For homes with a large hall or an open-plan layout, installing two ceiling fans at different points in the room is a better solution than a single fan with a greater blade length.

Is there an ideal height for hanging the ceiling fan in the room?

Master Bedroom - Origami Spaces(  Bedroom by Origami Space Design
Origami Space Design

Master Bedroom—Origami Spaces(

Origami Space Design

The size of the room and the ceiling height play a significant role in determining the height at which one should hang the ceiling fan. Optimal air circulation occurs when the fan is at least 8-9 feet above the ground. Depending on the height of the ceiling in the room, one needs to choose between hugger fans and ceiling fans with a downrod.

For a room with low ceiling height, hugger fans are the best option as they are mounted flush with a gap of around 12 inches between the fan and the ceiling. In a room with a high ceiling, one needs to mount the ceiling fan using a downrod that can vary in length from 3 inches to 72 inches. When mounting the fan with a downrod, remember that the greater the distance between the fan and the ceiling, the better the air circulation will be.

Get tips on improving the ventilation in your home.

Is it possible to install a ceiling fan on a sloped ceiling?

Mr Mahesh Ashwath:  Bedroom by

Mr Mahesh Ashwath

It’s easy to install a fan on ceilings with a slope not greater than 30 degrees without using additional attachments. Rooms that have a ceiling with a slope more than 30 degrees will require an angled ceiling fan mounting kit, besides a downrod to ensure that there is enough gap between the fan and the ceiling.

Can I get a ceiling fan with lights?

family living:  Living room by Team Kraft
Team Kraft

family living

Team Kraft

Nowadays, it’s common to find contemporary ceiling fans with lights combined in a single fixture. This is an excellent solution for providing ambient lighting in an area, but one needs to supplement light fixtures for fans with alternative illumination sources. Additionally, to control the brightness of the ambient lighting, it’s advisable to get ceiling fans with lights and remote control that allows adjusting the intensity of the light in the area.

Does the number of blades affect the efficiency of a ceiling fan?

There is no noticeable difference between the effectiveness of three-blade and four-blade fans. The conventional three-blade version is the most popular. Some homeowners choose the four-blade ceiling fan as a decorative detail in the room. The main difference between the two is the price. The cost of the fan increases with each additional blade.

What is the ideal material for ceiling fan blades?

Interior Decoration in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune:  Living room by Bro4u Online Services Pvt Ltd
Bro4u Online Services Pvt Ltd

Interior Decoration in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune

Bro4u Online Services Pvt Ltd

One comes across fan blades made of wood, metal, PVC and plastic. While there is no noticeable difference in the performance of ceiling fans based on the material of their blades, it’s advisable to choose a good quality fan with blades that are corrosion resistant and don’t require frequent maintenance to cover up blistering and fading. The material for the fan should also match the overall décor style or theme in the room or house. For instance, a fan with a wood blade will look more at home in a classic style home with wooden furniture than in a minimalist house with glass and steel furniture.

Does the quality of motor affect the performance of a ceiling fan?

Living Room:  Living room by A Design Studio
A Design Studio

Living Room

A Design Studio

A low-quality fan motor not only increases the noise at which the fan operates but also produces heat and reduces the amount of air circulation over time. Therefore, it pays to invest in a ceiling fan with a superior motor. The latest technology for fans is the DC motor, which is around 70 per cent more efficient than the regular fan motor. Besides saving energy, DC motors are silent and smaller, which makes the fan lighter. It’s best to select a fan with a higher star rating as it is more energy efficient.

Use these tips to cross-ventilate your home to improve energy efficiency.

Can ceiling fans be used in the outdoors?

Kalina Residence:  Terrace by SwitchOver Studio
SwitchOver Studio

Kalina Residence

SwitchOver Studio

In India, the tropical weather necessitates the use of ceiling fans even in outdoor areas such as verandas, patios and terraces to provide air circulation. Tropical ceiling fans also help to keep insects such as flies and mosquitoes away – essential when dining outdoors. When selecting outdoor fans for patios and verandas, ensure that they are approved for damp and wet conditions as they will be exposed to the monsoon rains and occasional thundershowers.

Another important point to be aware of is that outdoor ceiling fans come with an additional protective covering that keeps them moisture and corrosion resistant. While they can be used indoors, an ordinary indoor fan is not suitable for outdoor use as it can’t withstand the natural elements.

What type of ceiling fan is ideal for the bathrooms?

Since bathrooms are prone to moisture, they need the same quality of fans that one would use in outdoor areas such as verandas, patios and balconies. However, since bathrooms are much smaller than regular rooms, the fan blade is usually shorter. Bathroom fan blades start at a span of 29 inches.

As this article proves, choosing the right type of ceiling fan isn’t child’s play. That’s why we recommend consulting a lighting expert or a professional interior designer before buying fans for the home. From assessing the size of each area in the house, the ventilation within the room, the height of the ceiling and the design style, the professional will look at the various aspects that influence the efficiency and aesthetics of the ceiling fan before finding the perfect solution.

What material will you choose for a ceiling fan? Leave a comment.
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