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Guide: Different Styles of Ceiling Fans

Create the perfect breeze year round in your home with stylish and functional ceiling fans. Perhaps you have an old, noisy fan that needs replacing. Maybe you're renovating the family room and looking for a modern fan to complete the space. Modern ceiling fans add light, air, and flair to your surroundings.

You can't beat a good ceiling fan's cool breeze in the warm months of summer. They brilliantly create even airflow as they circulate fresh air. They make your office space pleasant during intense summer heatwaves. Got a game room? A modern ceiling fan is the perfect overhead partner to your foosball, ping pong, or pool table. Many have remote controls so you can customize your blade tilts and lighting from afar. You can choose fans that work both indoors and outside. Here at Pottery Barn, we've put together the following guide to describe the different types of ceiling fans you'll encounter.

Fans with blades only

Bladed ceiling fans have come a long way from the big, thick, fusty designs of yesteryear. These fans combine essential function with cutting edge, sleek, modern form. The fans are like modern art pieces on your ceiling, and coordinate well with other decorative objects you have in your space.

The angled blades come in luscious wood and sleek metals. They're finished in bronze, nickel, white, black, and galvanized steel. Bases are made from satin nickel, white matte, dark bronze and more. The colors work beautifully with living room and den furnishings. Installing a fan over a seating area adds visual interest to a conversation nook. You can even install these units on sloped ceilings, where they coordinate with loft bedding and headboards. Plus, you can adjust fan speed, tilt, and lighting using the remote control. How convenient is that?

Covered fans

If bladed fans are not your style, choose a compact, covered fan instead. These beauties create wonderful cool airflow via rotating action that moves the entire fan around its base. They can tilt, too, giving you on-the-spot breeze, and distribute air evenly, effectively banishing oppressive summer heat.

Covered fans come in sleek modern or retro steel designs in black, satin nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze. They work inside and outside, and can be hung on sloped ceilings. Their energy-efficient halogen bulbs emit lovely, soft hues that light up summer evenings. They have remote controls and dimmers. Plus, they come with their own down rods, metal pipes that allow you to hang your fans at their most efficient length (more on down rods, below).

Using fans outdoors

Most fans work outdoors as well as indoors, creating lovely breezes that beat the summertime heat. Note that outdoor fans must only be used in covered locations like enclosed porches or decks, not directly exposed to water. Hang them high up on the ceiling and keep them away from moisture and rain. You'll love the way they distribute fresh air, turning hot porches into cool oases at the touch of a remote. At night, they illuminate your space to keep the outdoor party going. Plus, satin nickel or bronze finishes add decorative glint to your outdoor design.

Down rods

Ceiling down rods are metal pipes that connect your fan from the ceiling down to the optimum hanging height. They stabilize your fan and prevent wobbling. Crucially, down rods help maximize airflow by ensuring there's a safe distance between the fan blades and the ceiling, and the fan blades and the floor. Hanging a ceiling fan too high or too low can result in your fan working harder and using more energy than is necessary. When the fan height is wrong, it looks noticeably too small or too large in your room.

Down rods are made of high-quality steel, and come in a variety of finishes, including matte greige, brushed nickel, bronze, black, white, and driftwood. There are down rods for both indoor and outdoor use, available in sizes from 12 inches to 72 inches.

Here's a formula to find your correct down rod length: Measure your ceiling height, subtract the height of the ceiling fan, and then subtract the desired hanging height (usually 8 feet). For example, if your ceiling is 10 feet high, and your ceiling fan is 12 inches high, you'll want a 12 inch down rod to mount the ceiling fan 8 feet above the floor.

Ceiling fans offer comfort and great modern style. You'll never tire of the fresh, cool air fans will provide. Indoors or outdoors, ceiling fans will delight your design aesthetic, and keep your spaces comfortable and cool.