When I first moved into my apartment, I thought I had gotten a total bargain. 1100 square feet? A bedroom and a dining room? A private garage? A prime location? BOXES CHECKED.
I thought the place was probably haunted, or infested with bugs, or super loud, or maybe it just had terrible neighbors — and it turns out that honestly, any of those would be preferable because the reality is this: RENT IS VERY CHEAP WHEN YOU LIVE ON THE SURFACE OF THE SUN.
It’s officially summer in LA and my apartment is currently oscillating between a downright chilly 80 degrees (around 4 AM, the coldest time of day) and a balmy 91 degrees, which, as it turns out, is super not fun when you’re kinda legally obligated to be home ALL THE TIME.
I know that it’s starting to heat up slowly in the rest of the country but guys, PLEASE learn from my mistake: the time to install your summer fans or AC units is NOW and not when it’s already sweltering outside. You know what’s not fun? Carrying a 60-pound box upstairs into an apartment that is somehow hotter than the outdoors and then trying to figure out how to install your first-ever window unit while you’re crying and sweaty. AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS.
And plus, shipping can be dicey right now, so if you think you’re going to be home and it’s going to get hot, this is something that you really should consider now rather than later.
ANYWAY, I’ve been researching for the last couple weeks and I wanted to share some of the not ugly ceiling fans, portable fans, portable A/C units, and window A/C units that I’ve come across. Every single one that I linked up is also highly rated performance-wise (because you know, not melting is in my own self-interest) and I promise that this is as aesthetically appealing as it’s going to get. I also don’t want to brag but I did find THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WINDOW UNIT (I know, that doesn’t seem possible) so STICK AROUND.
Okay. We’re getting started with ceiling fans because I’ve shown you my hideous monstrosity and maybe you can help me make a decision…
The name of the game here is pretty simple: most of the time, you just want this to blend in with your ceiling. There are a few use cases for a more statement fan, though, and you can see one in action in this old-world Spanish bedroom reveal.
1. Flute LED Ceiling Fan | 2. Zonix LED Ceiling Fan | 3. Blade Flush Mount Ceiling Fan | 4. Spitfire LED Ceiling Fan | 5. Minka Aire Roto Distressed Koa Ceiling Fan | 6. Haiku C 3 Blade Smart Ceiling Fan | 7. Copper Grove Mills Modern White LED Ceiling Fan | 8. Peregrine Industrial Ceiling Fan | 9. Zonix 52″ LED Ceiling Fan
That said, I’m very into the all-black options (they read more like a cool, modern art installation and less like “I just need a utilitarian thing to circulate air in my house”). I also think these all-wood pieces could really warm up a space (aesthetically, not literally).
As a side note: almost all of these are available in a variety of finishes and with light/no light options. So if you see a shape you like, they probably offer the same fan in whatever color and with whatever light configuration you’re searching for. (If not, Google the brand and it will probably come up in a separate listing.)
PORTABLE FANS, BABY. Oh boy. There is nothing wrong with the standard-issue oscillating floor fan (I have one in my kitchen!) but if you’re looking for something a little more design-y and high tech, a tower-like #2, #6 or #8 will be your best bet.
1. Stadler Form Otto Fan | 2. Lasko 2510 Oscillating Tower Fan | 3. VFAN Mini Classic Personal Vintage Circulator | 4. Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Air Purifier | 5. Arden Pedestal Fan | 6. Peter Tower Fan | 7. Vfan Vintage Table Top Fan | 8. Bladeless Tower Fan Oscillating 9 Speed | 9. Table Fan
Closing this section out with a personal co-sign on this Dyson. I actually bought this exact one Black Friday about 4 years ago and it’s definitely an investment, but it does double duty as a heater in the winter. (Cause yes, my incredibly hot apartment also gets incredibly cold in the winter. Love those 1930s single-pane windows!)
Portable AC Units
I’m going to level with you: AC units are the category where we sort of start getting into “passable” territory. No one is ever going to walk into your living room and look at your portable AC unit and be like, “OH MY GOSH, WHAT A WORK OF ART!” It’s not like, a Frame TV.
1. Frigidaire Gallery 550-sq ft Portable Air Conditioner | 2. LG 115V Dual Inverter Technology Portable Air Conditioner | 3. Frigidaire 8,000 BTU Portable Room Air Conditioner | 4. hOmeLabs 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner | 5. MN Series 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner | 6. Whynter 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner | 7. Amana 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner | 8. Hisense 400-sq ft 115-Volt White Portable Air Conditioner | 9. LG 500-sq ft 115-Volt Black Portable Air Conditioner
BUUUUT, these are as good as it gets — they have the highest ratings and the least amount of visual clutter (on the front end, at least). They’re a little more “this looks like a friendly robot” and a little less “why is there a 1980s copier obscuring the view from my window?”
It’s important to keep in mind that these all need to be vented — so you still need to keep them near a window, and a lot of the time they come with a BIG OL’ gray tube (the big-ness and gray-ness varies depending on the strength), but if you find one that fits the dimensions of your space, it can be fairly easy to mask. When it comes to cooling-down power, though, these can’t be beat.
This is the route you have to take if you have horizontal sliding windows. A few years ago my mom had surgery. When her surgeon came out to tell me that she was fine (and that he had been able to pull off a less invasive procedure than anticipated), I was 100% sure that he was the most handsome man in the world. A future google search for his photo proved otherwise. ANYWAY, we learn to love the looks of the things that are saving our lives. Case in point: portable window units.
Window AC Units
First: I TOLD YOU I HAD FOUND A BEAUTIFUL WINDOW UNIT AND I DELIVERED, DIDN’T I? These are made by a company called July and they’re currently only taking pre-orders…but you know I signed up for that list. This ash front kind of looks like it could blend in at the Mountain House, which is REALLY SAYING SOMETHING.
#3 isn’t actually stunning, but GUYS, you can install it without worrying about it falling out the window (or about the weight of your AC somehow cracking your window, which is my new current fear — window unit owners will understand). Anyway — NO TOOLS. Nothing to screw into your window sill! If I had to buy one today, I think this would be my personal pick. I’d install it, get to know how hard-working she was and then I’d learn to love her, like a modern-day She’s All That.
But when it comes to overall looks, availability, and functionality: this Frigidaire one is the current winner. If you need an A/C unit that blends in and you need it right now, this is the best option. I know, because I’ve spent about 14 hours looking at window units, and truly — these are the only 4 worth recommending.
ALRIGHT. THAT’S IT. Please chime in, because as I wrote last Monday, I am very lonely and would be really excited to learn about your HVAC situations. I’d also like to see any links to fans/ACs that you’re eyeballing personally, or, you can tell me what it’s like to live in a place that doesn’t feel like a hot car from May through October. (And maybe I can live vicariously through you.) LET’S CHAT, okay???