Monday, August 30, 2010

Living Room Progress: Ceiling Fan Makeover

The Ear came equipped with many ugly light fixtures and ceiling fans. The worst offender is the fan hanging in the upstairs landing. Its blades just barely clear the walls as it buzzes around like an airplane propellor. Its unshielded fluorescent bulbs cast a blue pallor on everything they illuminate. I think this one is going to show up on Craig's List one of these days.

The ceiling fan in the living room was pretty bad too. Like the fan upstairs, it was a two-tone brushed silver with light colored plastic "wood" veneer. However, while it still looks like an airplane propellor, its streamlined shape suggested art deco. This photo was taken before we moved in.

While I was painting the walls, I decided to try to salvage the fan. I had read of other people painting their fans (here and here) with success, so I decided I didn't have much to lose. I would either end up with a beautiful fan that I'd be happy to continue to use, or a still-ugly fan that I would still want to toss. I got a can of metallic paint (in oil rubbed bronze) a small sponge roller and some foam brushes. (I painted the fan after painting the ceiling; I kept the fan wrapped up in plastic while painting the ceiling to keep drips off.) I didn't bother taking the fan down or taking it apart. I just took the glass shade off the light kit and cut the power off at the circuit breaker while I worked.

After two coats of the Rustoleum and 24 hours of drying in between, I've got this:

Not bad, right? I think this one's a keeper. I painted the ceiling hooks that a former resident installed in front of the windows too. I'm thinking of putting up a hanging plant or pendant light over there. As of Sunday night, we still have a lot of work to do, but at least we have a functioning living room again.


  1. ooh..we have an ugly ceiling fan too: shiny white blades with frosted scalloped glass around the bulb and gleaming gold accents. Also hung so low, I worry about people getting decapitated if they stand on the bed. Not sure what to do with it; it does provide all the light in the room. ideas? I don't think i can paint it since its so plasticky and shiny.

  2. I also meant to say, great job on the paint job! Love the look of the dark wood contrast with the white light.

  3. hey e! thanks! you should totally paint your fan. i didn't even prime or sand or anything. use a little sponge roller (like for painting trim) on the blades to make it even, or take them off and spray paint outside. i am still amazed at the difference just an $8 can of paint made. cheap thrills.

    i think we have a fan like you are talking about in our guest room. i've decided to just embrace the brass and make everything in there match. you know, it's kind of retro. ;)

  4. I love it, mj! You definitely made it look more sophisticated than before. Repainting it notably helped the ceiling fan improve its aesthetic charm. Kudos!

    - Staci Severns