Shaking Ceiling Fans’ Reputation as Eyesores
August 11, 2010 - 12:43pm

I expected better from House Beautiful. The headline on the magazine's recent website slideshow read: "10 Ceiling Fans That Aren't Ugly." Really? I haven't heard such a backhanded compliment since someone once told me I'm smarter than I look, resulting in more brow furrowing than any amount of Botox could overcome. (At least the character lines make me look a little smarter, I guess.)

I must be too close to the action. I have been seeing truly outstanding fan designs at so many markets that I had assumed the rest of the world had also heard the gospel by now, perhaps preached via presentations in your stores. But the stigma remains of those boring, appliance white, utilitarian models or --worse yet -- polished brass and oak monstrosities with tacky Victorian glass light kits that can only be described as "appendages." They're distant DIY memories for me and other lighting cognoscenti, but perhaps all too familiar territory for an average consumer considering (or shuddering at the thought of) a ceiling fan purchase.

Come to think of it, ceiling fans are almost invariably the first casualties when a commando designer takes over a room on any home makeover reality TV show. Most of them deserve to be put out of their misery (the fans, not the designers -- usually), but I've never seen the designer replace the offending fan with a better or more state-of-the-art design from that category.

Although overly reliant on chain-store choices (as most shelter magazine product roundups tend to be), House Beautiful did showcase some delightful and diverse options on its list. And the headline's humor (I hope) probably garnered it greater attention than something a little less pejorative. So maybe it will ultimately win over a few more converts to know that fans are at least not all "ugly." Or it could inspire readers to swap out an existing eyesore for something with a more stylish spin.

Knowing that some additional interior designers and other home furnishings professionals will likely pick up our August issue at World Market Center Las Vegas, we assembled our own homage to design-focused fans ("High Style," page 40) to let this segment know they exist, too.

Given the comfort and energy savings fans can provide -- enabling thermostats to be lowered 2 degrees for almost 15 percent savings on energy bills, says Energy Star® -- I wish their aesthetics would get more credit. Ceiling fans have definitely come a long way, and they are way smarter than your customer probably thinks they look.


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