Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Curious Case of the Ceiling Fan

Just about every home decorating show and magazine hates ceiling fans. If an owner wants to sell a house, "get rid of those fans!" When the featured decorator wants to update a room, "that ceiling fan has to go!"

When we bought our house ten years ago, a few of the rooms had ceiling fans. "Obviously, this home needs updating," our realtor sniffed. "It'll be easy to take out those ceiling fans. Or you can make that a requirement in your offer."

We kept the fans.

Over the past two years, we've replaced old fixtures with top of the line ceiling fans in every bedroom. Why? Because it's blasted hot in the South. Since we don't want a four-figure power bill, we keep the air conditioner set at 76 degrees (78 when we're away from home more than a few days). That's pretty comfortable on the main floors, but the upstairs is a different story. (Maybe our bedrooms should be on the terrace level, surrounded on two sides by cool earth.) So rather than lower the thermostat, we use our ceiling fans. We turn them on in June and they stay on until October. Ceiling fans don't make a room cooler, but they do move air and feel fabulous at bedtime.

If by chance we have to move, I know exactly what our realtor will say. "Paint those walls in neutrals and get rid of those ceiling fans!"

I blame HGTV and all those home decorating magazines. They've trained us to purchase homes with catalog-style interiors that need no fixing up and look exactly like what we already have at home. So, as a nation, we're evidently moving from one Pottery Barn/Ballard/Southern Living home straight into another, with furniture and accessories that fit no matter where we live. Apparently, everyone has gray/khaki/sage walls, white trim, leather seating, a mix of black and warm wood tables, granite kitchen countertops, Container Store closets, elaborate laundry/mud rooms, and themed bedrooms with no photos, personal keepsakes, or mussy beds.

Realtors are right there with them. On the advice of her realtor, one of my friends moved completely out of her house and put her family's possessions in storage, painted everything, hired a staging consultant to re-furnish her home, and listened carefully to every bit of advice. "It's a buyer's market. Your house has to look like they can move in tomorrow." "You need a fence off the view of that house back there." "Nice layout, but you should add granite countertops." "You need to lower your price quite a bit."


Maybe someone could specialize in trading ceiling fans for "neutral" light fixtures, leave a calling card, and return the ceiling fans to the same house as soon as the new owner figures out it's too hot without them.


  1. I agree... how sterile.. what happened to the warm and lived in look? LOL
    Happy Knitting

    ps... I love your blog and visit often...

  2. Thank you! After a Saturday filled with installing that last fan, cleaning, and home repairs, I sat peacefully beneath the fan in our family room and knitted away on an earflap hat for my daughter ... while the heat index outside was over 100 degrees!

  3. I cannot imagine anyone from the South or who has lived in the South for very long would buy a house with no ceiling fans. We also keep our house at 78, so our downstairs if fairly comfortable. We have them in every upstairs room of our house. I'm sorry, but if I am hot, I can't sleep and am grumpy. As the old saying goes "if Mamma ain't happy, nobody is happy"!!

  4. We have no ceiling fans but are planning to install them!

    And what about the HMOs that restricts residents to a list for exterior paint? Sort of silly. All this bland assimilation. Geez.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts - it's great to hear from you!