Creating a Stir

Modern ceiling fans awaken coastal breezes.

Text by Jacquelyne Froeber
Ceiling fans combat sweltering summer heat and add panache to beach house decor. Cost-effective and versatile, they can make a room feel degrees cooler―saving energy in the process. More than 14 million ceiling fans are sold annually. Recent models cater to coastal locations in both style and performance. Palm, bamboo, and rattan blades provide the look, while torque motors and water-resistant coverings hold up against seaside conditions.

To suite a range of tastes and budgets, many manufacturers offer mix-and-match options for blades and lights. Want a barely-there design? Try matching the blade color to the ceiling. Brendan Byrne, senior vice president at Hunter Fan Company, says traditional white models are a common choice.

Before buying, analyze the fan's future home. For porches, be sure to choose one designated for outdoor use. The American Lighting Association recommends blades of real wood or plywood with Mylar-type coating for moisture and warping resistance―check the UL listing found on the packaging. Also, remember scale. Fans come in varying sizes to accommodate large and small spaces. For maximum air circulation, manufacturers recommend a blade pitch of 14 degrees and a mounting position at least 7 feet from the floor. In rooms with high ceilings, most fans can be surface-mounted or suspended with extension tubes.

See our slideshow of ocean-inspired fans to bring seaside breezes your way.