Take a spin through a ceiling fan showroom. The styles will ma

Take a spin through a ceiling fan showroom. The styles will make you want to join the fan club.

Originally designed to cool homes before the icy embrace of central air conditioning began, ceiling fans today are loved as much for their decorative appeal as their functional value.

Today’s trends in Northeast Mississippi are toward white-on-white fans or those with a mixture of arctic white and polished brass finishes that blend unobtrusively into the ceiling, two Tupelo salesmen said. Other easy-on-the-eyes options are bleached pine and pickled oak blades. Verde, a gray-green verdigris tone reminiscent of weathered copper, is also a big hit, according to Linda Levy, owner of Tupelo Lighting Center.

Nationally, the styles are turning to motor housings in elegant matte black iron, wrought iron, rust terra cotta, faux granite and the latest rave “brick” (a rusty-brown finish with a gray patina), Levy said.

Other styles are available by the hundreds, from sleek burnished brass models with rosewood, oak, cherry or mahogany blades to whimsical units that resemble Corsair F4U airplane propellers, ace pilot Snoopy on his Sopwith Camel plane and even the sports fan’s model with “baseball bats” for blades (complete with a leather-surfaced “glove” motor housing and ball-shaped light fixture).

There’s a fan style for every taste, with four-, five- and six-blade fans commonly available in widths from compact 29-inch models to massive fans with a 60-inch span. The “hugger” style fits close to the ceiling for low-clearance use, and the regular or dual mounts allow more of a traditional fan look and better air movement, Levy said.

Fans in some stores can start as low as $30 for loss-leader models designed to lure the customer into the store, but Levy said a quality fan one step up from the economical “contractor’s fan” level is likely to start in the $90 to $115 range for a basic 52-inch model without a light kit. A light kit will run from $10 to $100 or more, depending on the fixture chosen.

Stephanie Hester, a lighting consultant with Nesco Electrical Distributors in Tupelo, said her store’s fan models typically cost between $59 and $225; the CXL series, a $119 model, is among the most popular.

Whatever brand or model people choose, fans of all types are going up in all sorts of rooms in the home. Hester has seen them used in walk-in closets, laundry rooms and other hot, closed-in spaces for better ventilation.

Levy said, “I don’t know of a room I have not put a fan in.”

Best-buy ceiling fan features

– Quality blades: The blades should be pitched at 12 to 14 degrees for best movement of air on fans with a 36-inch span or larger, Levy said. For smaller fans, the pitch should be deeper for comparable air movement. The best blades are pressure-laminated wood veneer for strength and resistance to warping.

– Carefully built motor and motor housing: Get a fan with a reversible, three-capacitor, three-speed motor for quietest, most versatile and most efficient operation, Hester said. For best wear resistance, make sure it has sealed ball bearings, Levy said. Another sign of a quality fan is the use of heavy-duty castings, but Levy said such fans tend to start in the upper $100s.

– Good looks: Make sure the metal plating or painted finishes are of high quality, Levy said. For painted surfaces, she recommends getting an electrostatically applied and baked-on powder-coat finish rather than an applied (wet paint) finish.

“Cheap paint can pit after a few years,” she said.

If the fan will be used anywhere the upper part of the fan will be visible (possibly to someone on the second floor, looking down at the foyer fan from an upstairs balcony), make sure the fan is as attractive and well-finished from above as from below, Levy said.

– Good reputation: Select a fan with an excellent warranty. Levy said fans are available with up to 25-year or lifetime limited warranties.

For the most peace of mind, select a major brand name, Levy said. She recommends Regency, Litex, Casablanca, Hunter and Murray Feiss. Hester recommended the Craftmade brand.

Levy explained that the fan industry has plenty of turnover, and an established, reputable company is likely to still be in business when the customer wants it to stand by a warranty. “It’s important to have a company that’s going to be there when all the dust settles.”

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