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How to Buy a Modern Ceiling Fan

How To

M odern ceiling fans—technologically sophisticated and visually striking—are becoming increasingly popular additions to the contemporary home. With the availability of myriad sizes, styles, and material options, the home or office space can benefit from both the practical and aesthetic advantages that contemporary ceiling fans now offer. Selecting the appropriate modern fan for a space is not always obvious, however, and demands both careful thought and precise measurements. The information on this page provides some basic guidelines for choosing the best (and best looking) modern ceiling fan for your home or space.

Modern Ceiling Fans: Quick Tips

Why should I consider buying a modern ceiling fan?

Air Circulation & Temperature Control

Before central air conditioning, ceiling fans were amongst the only option for interior temperature control during the warmest months. Despite the ubiquitous presence of air conditioning, though, fans continue to hold considerable appeal, both visually and functionally.

Anyone who's basked in the gentle breezes of a ceiling fan knows that central air conditioning is no match for the overall air quality and—depending on how hot it is—the comfort level a ceiling fan provides. The harshness of central air, both on the skin and to the atmosphere, makes it a necessary evil on the hottest days, but ceiling fans, boasting the latest in air circulation technology, can help reach optimal temperatures inside a room or house throughout the year.  

Energy Efficiency

Modern fans use a great deal less energy than air conditioning units or central air conditioning, making them a more eco-friendly option for controlling temperatures at home or business office.

And while ceiling fans may be associated primarily with the warmer months, they can, in fact, aid in temperature control year-round. During the colder months, fans facilitate a more even circulation and distribution of warm air, maximizing the effectiveness of a home's heating system. Winter thermostat temperatures may be lowered a few degrees with the inclusion of a ceiling fan, reducing energy consumption without comprising warmth.

Conversely, using a fan in conjunction with air conditioning during summer months produces a wind chill that allows for higher temperature settings on air conditioners while still providing the desired cooling effect commensurate with lower settings.

Light Source

Contemporary ceiling fans that also illuminate a room provide twice the functionality of a single device, enhancing a room's comfort level and ambiance in one fell swoop. If you have a room that could benefit from a ceiling fan, opting for a design that also includes a light source solves two practical problems, while imbuing a space with the visual appeal that ceiling fans carry.

Indoor & Outdoor Installation

Contemporary ceiling fans are ideal for both indoor outdoor spaces. Installed in exterior spaces—patios, decks, terraces—or partially open spaces—like rooms that can be fully opened to the outside—ceiling fans can generate breezes on a still day, or optimize and more evenly distribute exiting breezes throughout a space. Achieving the same cooling result via central air is both difficult and enormously wasteful. One other advantage of ceiling fans in open spaces: their role as insect repellent, thanks to the constant air movement they generate.


Modern fans have come a long way from traditional ceiling fans, offering some of the best-looking, technologically sophisticated, and energy-efficient designs available to the consumer. With a wide range of material choices, sizes, and styles from which to choose, finding a fan that suits most any interior and exterior spaces, and which complements any design scheme, is now easier than ever. Much like furniture or lighting fixtures, modern ceiling fans shouldn't be an afterthought so much as a critical element in the overall arrangement of a room or space—and today's ceiling fans make meeting that challenge much simpler.  

What should I know before installing a contemporary ceiling fan?

Contemporary ceiling fans fall into a few basic categories, and selecting the category best suited to your space is essential for getting the desired effect, both from a functional, safety, and aesthetic standpoint. Below are some basic category guidelines, but be sure to research your options thoroughly before making your final decision.

Standard Fans

Standard Fans are the most familiar type of modern fan, and are mounted to the ceiling via a downrod (vertical rod), which is then affixed to the ceiling element. This type of fan design is the most versatile as it accommodates a standard ceiling height of 8 feet, as well as unusually high ceilings, measuring up to 20 feet tall. Standard fans can also be installed on both sloped and flat ceilings.

Hugger Fans

Hugger Fans are designed specifically for lower ceilings (8 feet or less), allowing less room between ceiling and fan body. Hugger Fans have a wider body, and, as the name suggests, hugs the ceiling closely. Hugger fans can only be affixed to flat ceilings, however, so offer the only safe option for rooms or spaces with low ceilings. Most contemporary fans are usually available in both standard and hugger versions.

Modern Outdoor Fans

Outdoor fans are classified as Wet Location or Damp Location specific. A fan that's Damp Location-specified may be installed in partially open areas, like covered patios or decks, but must remain out of direct contact with water. Wet Location fans can be used in outdoor locations, like decks and pergolas, where direct contact with water is a likely.  

How do I select the right modern fan for my space?

If you're considering installing a contemporary ceiling fan, taking accurate measurements of both site and fan are key. Once you've decided on the location of your fan, think carefully about the size of the room, the height of the ceiling, and the size of the fan in relation to both those elements. Below are some general instructions to help inform your ceiling fan purchase.

Ceiling Height

With all ceiling fans, the optimal distance from floor to fan blades is 8 to 9 feet from the finished floor. A minimum of 7 feet should separate the floor from fan blades. Note that the more space resides between fan blades and ceiling, the more efficiently fan-generated air will circulate. Your ceiling height, then, is the key element in choosing the optimal fan size for your space.

Room Size & Blade Diameter

The larger the blade diameter, the more efficiently the fan is able to move air. A fan's diameter can exceed standard recommendations (see Energy Star Guidelines, below), but be sure to allow for a minimum clearance of 18 inches around the fan.

Installation Requirements

Ceiling and wall mounted fans require Fan-rated junction boxes. It;s best o consult your local electrician for the appropriate junction box or boxes needed, before embarking on installing a junction box yourself.

Fan Controls

Most contemporary fans include hand-held or wall-mounted controls for controlling both fan speed and lighting options. Smart phone or tablet-based controls—like Fanimation's FanSync Transmitter—allow users to control their fans remotely, providing the fan is within range of bluetooth connectivity.

Energy Star Guidelines for room size and related fan diameters
Room Size Suggested Fan Size (overall diameter)
Up to 75 Sq Ft 29 - 36"
76 - 145 Sq Ft 36 - 42"
146 - 225 Sq Ft 44"
226 - 400 Sq Ft 50 - 54"

Our selection of modern fans includes a range of sleek and refined choices for almost any room or space. Choose from a variety of contemporary styles, sizes, and materials for both indoor and outdoor settings, with or without lighting.