Form over function or function over form has been a constant battle in the design world. Typically one gives way to the other depending on the specific piece, the style of the space, and your individual needs. For example, some people will always choose function (comfort) over form (style) for a sofa as they want the most luxurious and comfortable experience, which we don’t blame them for. On the other hand some people will choose form over function and could care less about the way that it feels as long as the way that it looks is something that is aesthetically pleasing to them. To each his/her own.
Ceiling fans have long been one of the items on the list that falls more under function than form. And although our first thought when designing a room isn’t, “ohhh… let’s put a ceiling fan in the middle of the room” sometimes it is something that you just can’t avoid. You either need it for circulation, temperature control or another reason. But, we here at EHD are here to say that ceiling fans are something that we support and that they can fall into both the form and function category.
We’ve used them in a few projects (the spanish house master bedroom in the first pic, our old master bedroom above, sylvia’s living room and the guest bedroom below) and as long as the fans stylistically work with the space and don’t feel like an eyesore on the ceiling then we give our thumbs up to them. But there are a few rules to keep in mind when selecting a fan.
- Try to make it blend in with the ceiling rather than stand out – for most spaces you will want to find a simple fan that will blend in with the ceiling and the surroundings rather than one that is overly detailed and bold. There are certain instances when a stained wood or tone will work, but typically we prefer something that blends and is ligher in color and tone.
- Pick the right style for your room – let the style of your house dictate the style of your fan. If you live in an older home then some of the more traditional options below could work for you, whereas if you live in a midcentury or modern home then the more simple and modern ones could work well. But no matter the style of fan, less is more when it comes to ceiling fans.
- Try to avoid using fans with lights unless absolutely necessary. If you have recessed lighting then you don’t need a fan with lighting on it, however, if you only have one junction box in your ceiling (like you see in some of these photos) then a fan with built-in lights can work as long as the lights feel simple and integrate well with the fan. Anything with too large of a drop or that feels like a lighting fixture/fan can draw too much attention to itself and may feel dated down the road.
Now that we have our rules and guidelines in place here is a roundup of our favorite fans both with and without lights. Let us know if you have tried any of these in person and if you have any burning questions about how to work a ceiling fan into your space. A quick last note on these, many of the fans that you see do come in a few different finishes as well as with and without lights so click through for additional options with the same style. So, are you a “fan” of the fan or is this a design element that doesn’t “blow” you away?
1. Zonix Matte Black | 2. Minka Aire Aluma Flat White | 3. Casa Arcus | 4. Falcon Semi-Flush | 5. Peregrine Industrial | 6. Zonix Matte White | 7. Hugh | 8. Flute | 9. Merwry Matte Black | 10. Fanimation Xeno | 11. Hunter Maybeck | 12. Merwry White | 13. Casa Vieja | 14. Haiku L | 15. CO-Z | 16. Vision Max Roman | 17. Clarity II | 18. Fanimation
1. Modern | 2. Peregrine Industrial Brass | 3. Minka Aire | 4. Zonix | 5. Viceroy | 6. Minka Aire Simple Silver | 7. Emerson Black | 8. Simple Flat White | 9. Air Airfusion | 10. Peregrine Industrial Black | 11. Aire Roto | 12. Emerson White | 13. Turbia | 14. Hunter Fan
We have the #5 Rejuvenation, and that fan is AMAZING. We have a large house with tall ceilings and it cools the space so well and is super quiet. My mom has ceiling fans in most of her rooms and they are incredibly loud and don’t work even close to as well as this one. We plan to buy another for our bedroom.
I am considering purchasing this fan. How is the light output? I’m looking at it for a bedroom with just a nightstand lamp.
I’ve got 3 of the #9 Home Depot fan with lights. I love the look of them, they are pretty powerful, and the price was right, but they have 2 problems: my electrician said they were weird and a pain to install, and they go through light bulbs like nobody’s business. My electrician eventually figured them out (with a call to the company), and I ended up buying some led bulbs from amazon that i’m hoping last longer than the halogen bulbs i was using previously. So, good fan. The cost reflects the quality.
I’ve got that one in my living room (so we use the light all the time) and almost three years later, I have yet to replace a light bulb! I love it and have had zero issues.
oh, that’s so weird. all three of mine have the same problem.
So strange- we have 2 and have never had to replace bulbs on either one (it’s been about 2 years). My husband is an electrician and didn’t have any problems installing. I was afraid they would look super cheap but once up and installed they are pretty nice. Super powerful as well.
We also have this one in our living room! We added the extended because we have 9 ft ceilings. We love it! And have also never had to replace the lights. (We use LED lights in basically everything.) I will say my favorite part about it is the remote!
We have a 1903 house with normal height ceilings and no air flow. While we are planning a renovation that hopefully will fix that, we know we need to replace and add ceiling fans with lights. I have pinned and looked through so many options and there just aren’t enough that speak to me, especially on a budget. This round up is really helpful, so thank you!
I’ve got a 1916 and I’m loving the Hunter Hepburn ceiling fan in white with brass trim. I haven’t purchased it yet, but thinking about getting it for my living room & a new bedroom addition.
The fans listed are lovely. When one of mine goes out I will start replacing room by room with something similar. My fans came with the house and some are even brand new so replacing seemed unnecessary. But I did remove the light kits, even in my bedroom. I have recessed lights and it seemed too much. Removing the light kit makes it more modern and tolerable. Thanks for the post. Not having ceiling fans in Houston is not an option even with the best hvac. I even have one in the kitchen.
Living in the Phoenix valley, fans are a necessity! Whether we like the look of them or not, ceiling fans, especially in bedrooms, always add resale value here. Good to know there are some sleek options available. 🙂
I live in an apartment and there is a ceiling fan/light combination in every room (the living room, dining room and bedroom), and each of them are different styles. It annoys me. I’m also currently looking into buying a house, and a really dated fan/light fixture really can be an eyesore. Thanks for this roundup. If/when I move into a house, lighting/fans will be on the list of things to update. I live in the south, too, so fans are really a must.
This post came at the perfect time! I’m shopping for a ceiling fan for our rental apartment because we desperately need air cirtulation to keep our electric bill down this summer. Thanks for the recommendations!
Yesssssss. I have been deciding between bedroom ceiling fans for weeks now. I am happy to see that ALL of my choices made it to your lists. I feel pretty good about myself…pats self on back haha
ever check out https://www.hunterfan.com/ wondering thoughts on them (quality, etc)
We had three Hunter fans in our previous home. They were ok…it seemed pretty much impossible to use them on a lower setting without squeaking noises, which really bugged me. I am looking for fans for my new house, and I will be getting something else (from this roundup most likely!)
thanks for the info Jen! i’m looking for fans as well so this is really good to know!
Our house was built in 2004, and they thought it was brilliant to install only french doors on both floors. We don’t have a single window, but rather 10 pairs of french doors. Sounds beautiful, right?! We thought so too when we bought the house. I am in Miami…the tropics, right?! Throw those doors open and let the sunshine in!!! What we didn’t think about? Mosquitos! No windows means no window screens…yeeeaaahhhh. Also? For 6 months of the year the air. Doesn’t. Move. So it becomes sweltering inside if we have the doors open. So like most Miamians, our air conditioner is on 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Boo!
What I am thinking is that we need to install ceiling fans to replace all the bedroom light fixtures (we have recessed lighting, too) so that the breeze keeps the mosquitos out and we can get some fresh air!!! There are already ceiling fans on the porch outside on the lower level, and it helps!
Maybe these will inspire me to just do it! Thanks!
They make retractable screens for french doors. Maybe you already know, but I didn’t until after my husband rigged something up. We live in CO so its not for bugs but for containing pets. 🙂
Thanks, yeah I have seen those, but sadly they don’t work for us because of how our door frame was built. Our house is concrete and stucco (common down here) and we would have to put them on the interior, which poses its own problems, but yeah, for anyone who hasn’t seen these, they are awesome (and not too expensive!)
We have mosquito nets that are vecroed into the door frame and have magnets holding two panels together in the middle. Not design-worthy, but effective and cheap. There are many size/brand options on Amazon.
We have the No. 12 from Home depot in the master bedroom, and love it. Replaced a dated white ceiling fan last summer. Super simple and a great price point. The remote is great too; we only have one switch on the wall so used to have to stand on the bed to turn the light/fan on or off with vaulted ceilings.
We have that one in our bedroom too. Love the remote and it’s super quiet! And you can dim the light!
I had such a hard time finding an affordable fan I liked for a house we are currently renovating. Hunter has some nice ones. I ended up buying the hunter Hepburn fan which I love (but have yet to install). I also liked their mint colored cranbrook fan but thought it demanded too much attention for the room it was going in. But they are two stylish options not mentioned here so thought I’d share 🙂
We recently replaced an old ceiling fan with #14 in the “no lights” section, only ours does have a light. It is a single frosted glass cover that houses multiple bulbs. The fan was a little bit of a pain to install, mostly due to our old wiring (apparently new fans are simpler to hook up, so we had some extra wires). We are really happy with it! It’s super quiet even on high speed and it blends in with our ceiling so we barely notice it. I always hated ceiling fans before, although they are necessary in our house to keep the air moving. Now we are planning to install a few more!
THANK YOU FOR THIS ROUNDUP!!!! I installed ceiling fans in my bedrooms a couple years ago and spent many hours scouring the internet for nice looking fans that were affordable and was very discouraged by the options. They help so much but when thinking about buying more, I’ve dreaded the process of finding them. This resource is so great!
I have #12 under fan with light from Home Depot. It’s almost 2 years since we’ve installed it and it’s been working great. What I love about it the most is the dimmer! We’re going to get a second one for the other bedroom as that one has an old and loud fan. One minus is if you lose the remote, you may not be able to turn it on/off since there are no manual pulls.
I have #12 in 3 rooms (soon to be 4, once we install it) and love it too! I thought installation was a bit tricky since it was hard to cram the receiver for the remote into the ceiling, but that didn’t deter us from buying the same fan 3 more times. One tip, definitely remember to change the code on the remote/receiver if you have more than one of these fans in your house. We didn’t do this when we installed the second one and now the remote for the living room fan also controls the bedroom fan (and vice versa). Whomp whomp. One day we will fix it… haha.
Thanks for the tip!
For a more traditional / less modern look, I like Hunter’s “Original” fan in white. It blends in nicely with my ceiling. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hunter-Original-52-in-Indoor-Outdoor-White-Ceiling-Fan-23845/206453109
It’s like the blog is in my head, lately!
Question: is there a rule of thumb for choosing the size of the ceiling fan?
Typically 42-48″ is good for a small bedroom, 48-56″ works for a larger bedroom or family room, and for any large spaces you can go 56″ +
Wanted to give you a heads up that the Minka Aire Roto Flat (https://www.lampsplus.com/products/52-inch-minka-aire-roto-flat-white-ceiling-fan__6h278.html) you have listed as a fan with lights does not come with a light and is not light kit adaptable per the info at the provided link.
Thanks for the heads up! We are swapping it out now for a similar option with a light. Thanks for letting us know.
We have #14 (in without lights) in our bedroom and it’s been great! I love a ceiling fan in the bedroom, because I’ll sacrifice just about anything to be the right temperature in bed. The fan is great, looks modern and works well. I’d recommend. We installed it on a dimmer switch. It does come with a remote/holder for the wall, but that part of it is pretty ugly.
HA! “Tolerable” is the perfect word. There has been no greater debate since purchasing our fixer upper (that came loaded with the guadiest most awful ceiling fans imaginable) than whether to replace them with beautiful light fixtures (me) or simple ceiling fans (hubs). I couldn’t care less because I am cold natured and more form over function. I felt like beautiful ceiling lights will be a great bang for the buck in updating the house, and hated to waste that real estate on a fan.
I was 90% ready to compromise to put up a “tolerable” one in the living room and this has convinced me to be okay with it!
We live in the Bay Area and our 1926 house does not have air conditioning. Ceiling fans are a necessity for hot days. We have the same Minka Aire Concept II fan in five rooms. http://www.minkagroup.net/f518l-wh.html They are quiet, powerful and are pretty flush to the ceiling, so they don’t stand out much.
Can lights be added later? Or do you have to make a decision upfront?
We have 2 of #9 of your list with lights. It’s very powerful, and quiet. I was afraid it would look cheap but it doesn’t and we get compliments on them.
Have you checked out https://www.bigassfans.com/fans/haiku/ ? Their fans are a little more expensive but they are beautifully modern, super quiet and the company has AMAZING customer service. We love our Haiku fan!
Yes, she has that as #6! And I agree. We are obsessed with our Haiku. I did not know why our interior designer wanted to include it but now I think it’s the best investment we’ve made to our home.
Emily – you are a mind reader!! I was thinking, literally today, “I wish Emily would do a ceiling fan round up,” and here you are! I need to sleep with a fan on, but want something prettier than the 1990s-style one I stare up at and loathe. Thank you for the recommendations!
I have #7, and I love it. The light is pretty dim, which I actually prefer in my bedroom (where there is plenty of other ambient lighting). And I installed it in the color shown in an all-white bedroom. It’s really become a bit of a showstopper in there (oddly)!
We bought dark “wood” ones for out living room and bedroom (similar to #18). We’re in a DC walk-up on the third story with no central A/C. I’m wondering if we should have gone with white instead?? Our ceilings are very high though. :\
Our house had ceiling fans everywhere when we bought it – we’ve removed a couple of them that just weren’t necessary. But the BEST place they put ceiling fans was the garage! Neither my husband or I had ever seen ceiling fans in a garage, and ours had one for each of the 3 garage bays, which is probably overkill, but it makes yardwork and garage tinkering in the summer SO much more bearable, plus keeps out bugs.
Emily, your blog is the greatest! We are designers and home stagers in Arizona, and here you just do not have a house without multiple fans. My husband and I simply can’t sleep without the breeze and soft whirl they put out…like white noise.
Your comments re the style of fan is so important, and few clients realize that they should complement not overwhelm the decor. Thanks for giving us so many options
Keep up the good work!
We have 5 of the #2 Minka Aire with lights but the flushmount version. I love this fan. We use them all summer long.
We have ceiling fans in all our rooms. We live in the South and need that air circulation. I love your blog.
I’m a Midwestern girl and we can’t survive without ceiling fans. I always think they are an ugly bummer, but finally, a nice selection of non-repulsive fans.
Total fan, now. Ceiling fans used to be one of those things I wasn’t fussed about either way, but after having just returned from a trip for a wedding where we stayed in a tiny, warm room with a ceiling fan (while eight months pregnant and feeling like I have a hot water bottle permanently strapped to my torso) both my husband and I are total converts. I would definitely do a ceiling fan in my next home if the ceilings were high enough. My one question is if you have a ceiling fan in a room, are recessed LEDs in the ceiling out of the question – would they cast weird shadows?
The matching color of the fan according to the room makes all the difference. It looks so nice. If there is a light in the fan which also creates a great aroma then it becomes a plus point. Choose accordingly.
LOVE these roundups! What would you suggest for a ceiling that isn’t white? We just bought a 1930’s custom cape – a lot of differences from what you normally think of with a cape (2 stairwells, walk-in closet!, master suite!) But also some of the “charming” things you may think of in a cape (sloped ceilings galore, closets/niches/built-ins seemingly on every wall, etc). Prior owner painted the sloped ceilings the same as the walls bc…lots and lots of slopes. The home needs the ceiling fans for circulation (in CT & 0 attic & weird shaped rooms) & lighting (lamps/recessed lighting ain’t easy with slopes everywhere). I’m afraid every fan will become the star of the rooms simply bc the heighest/flattest ceiling in the bedrooms is so tiny/a different color.
This is the post that I have been waiting for! I have needed to purchase a ceiling fan for ages given that I have an old house with no AC. A ceiling is not an exciting purchase but it is a necessity in the summer.
Thanks for this! I live in an old home with no ac and fans are a must in certain rooms, as much as I’d prefer gorgeous light fixtures.
We have the Rejuvenation Peregrine (#2 in the fans w/out lights section) in our living room. It’s beautiful and is super quiet while putting out a lot of air flow. I waited for a 20% off sale. 🙂
This ceiling fan is very useful to me. In-room, I have a laptop. if I want any support I go to the link https://epsonsupports.net/.
Both of my kids have #13 in their bedrooms. We are very happy with them. The LED light is quite bright, which is great for them because it is the only light source in their room. And the color of the light itself is very pleasant. The fans are powerful and very quiet.
We have this one in our master bedroom and LOVE it:
The wood is a beautiful color, and the light is dimmable. It is powerful and quiet. We upgraded from some old noisy fans with pull cords that were always broken, so these feel like a huge luxury!