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Modern, Minimalist and Cheap Ceiling Fans

by Chad Ludeman on May 12, 2008 · 28 comments

in Design,inspiration

What kind of ceiling fans do you get for a modern house on a tight budget. How ’bout this. These are as bare bones as you can find for ceiling fans and can be found for under $75 each. There are a number of manufacturers that sell very similar models. This is a Westinghouse model that comes in brushed nickel for the same price as the white versions.

Industrial Modern Ceiling Fan

Here’s one from Emerson that’s a bit fancier and just over $100.

Emerson Industrial Modern Ceiling Fan Image

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{ 2 trackbacks }

Lighting Layout for 100K |
May 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm
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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shawn Busse May 13, 2008 at 12:26 am

Hey Chad –

Any sources online?


2 millhouse May 13, 2008 at 12:37 am

They even come in sizes of up to 56″ for that low price. That is a freaking deal, and the styling of the westinghouse would go great with your place.( at least they would look great in the mock up of your place)

3 david May 13, 2008 at 12:47 am

very slick, simple fan. it’s strange how few and far between they are. we are going for wall-mounted industrial fans in the corners of the house to blow all our hot air out through the louvred facade.

4 Shawn Busse May 13, 2008 at 12:55 am

Hah! Check out this warning from one online vendor:

Warning: Industrial ceiling fans are not recommended for use in any household applications. Severe injury can result if any part of the body comes in contact with the sharp metal blades of these fans. Because the industrial ceiling fans operate at higher speeds than traditional ceiling fans, they are required to be hung at least 10 feet above the floor.

5 chad May 13, 2008 at 1:12 am

Yeah, I guess some of them get moving pretty fast and the thin blades could be sharper than the average fan. I bet we could limit the settings to the lowest speeds to keep people from injuring themselves…

6 david May 13, 2008 at 6:01 am

no. people are morons. if there is a chance to hurt themselves, they will. and then they sue…

7 Brandon May 13, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Did you find any modern looking fans that offer a light source and are affordable?

8 chad May 13, 2008 at 7:30 pm

We were actually just searching for that today. Not really anything that’s very attractive. The trick without the light is to efficiently layout lighting around each fan. With such a simple and open layout, I almost feel that one CFL in each room (except kitchen) is enough for overhead lighting. How do you layout one fan and one light in each room though?

9 moderns-r-us May 13, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Maybe you place a single CFL light source high on a wall. Perhaps the light source can become a design feature as apposed to a problem. I am currently struggling with the same dilemma.

10 moderns-r-us May 13, 2008 at 8:45 pm

The Nutone fan I was looking at looks very similar.

11 chad May 13, 2008 at 9:28 pm

The light on the wall is a good idea although our SIPs make that a bit tricky. Maybe just placing it on the ceiling near the wall. Could have an interesting effect.

Nice looking fan from Nutone. The Westinghouse model is really growing on me. It’s so simple. Seems to be extremely efficient, using only 58 Watts at max speed. It blows away the average Energy Star fan made for residential applications.

12 Shawn Busse May 13, 2008 at 9:38 pm

We were looking at light/fan combos and they are really spendy – I like the direction of this conversation: Find ways to place the lights elsewhere, then install just the fan.

In our bedroom, where we want the fan, we have a closet space that “projects” into the room. My thought was to mount a light on top of the closet and shine it UP at the ceiling, creating a diffused light source. Could be cool. I’ll see if I can render it and post it on my blog.

13 chad May 13, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Very cool idea. I’m really not a big fan of overhead lighting in general unless it’s a really nice fixture that is more of an art or design piece than lighting. Come to think of it, I really don’t know many people at all that prefer overhead lighting.

If the lights were placed near the walls where in between windows, it could create an interesting effect.

Overhead lighting really only needs to serve code requirements and allow people to easily flick a switch to navigate a room. Task lighting, lamps and sconces are the majority of the light sources that people actually use…

14 Brandon May 13, 2008 at 9:53 pm

That nutone fan is pretty nice as well.

As for lighting how about some nice recessed options like these…

Or a more industrial look like this…

15 Brandon May 13, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Crud, that second link got screwed up and now I don’t remember where it was linking to. Doh!

16 Shawn Busse May 13, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Hey Gang,

Faster than you can say “Sketchup” I’ve posted a rendering of our solution to this challenge:

17 chad May 13, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Very nice work Shawn. I think that would turn out very nice.

Brandon, we will probably be writing about lighting more tomorrow, but currently are looking at all exposed CFL’s using $2 fixtures from Home Depot.

18 Michael May 14, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Chad–do you have a link to where to buy the fans online?

19 Brandon May 14, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Or you could just Google the make/model # and I’m sure you’ll get hundreds of results.

20 chad May 14, 2008 at 9:32 pm

Sorry about the delay. I’ve been swamped today. I updated the post with links to the fans at CSN Lighting which seemed to have the best pics, description and pricing.

21 colin May 15, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Maybe not the least expensive, but …

22 chad May 15, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Colin, Thanks for the link. We all know and love but unfortunately their offererings are just too far out of our budget reqs. Also, I don’t feel that high-end modern fixtures like these fit the overall design theme of the project. We need to use a lot of innovative and affordable items, and then splurge on one or two items that make a statement. Since we will have 3-4 fans in the house, I did not think it was an item we could splurge on…

23 Scoats May 16, 2008 at 12:24 pm

I’m not a fan of ceiling fans. They get very dusty. Many are noisy and most seem to have a very finite lifespan, requiring replacement. Though the models you are considering seem to have few of the issues that plague the ones sold at Home Depot and Lowes.

When I renovated my house, I bought tower fans the local big box pharmacy. Tower fans provide the same type of whole room air circulation but at a lower cost. They easily plug into a wall outlet and are unobtrusive.

24 joan July 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm

i’m interested to find out if you bought any of these fans and how they’re working. i’m looking for industrial-strength/cheap fans too. do you have a variable speed switch or remote to control it? we’re finishing our renovation and trying to finalize LEED certification (also using MaGrann). we have a SIPs ceiling in the great room area. we will solve the overhead lighting issue by installing lights on a cable system.

25 Laurel Mauk December 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Just purchased 2 of the Westinghouse Industrial fans. They look nice and what a great price! A couple of drawbacks: the switch for these fans is atrocious. It’s large, sticks way out and looks just plain ugly (it could look cool in a loft space, but for a home, not so good). I have heard you can change out the switch with an aftermarket one, but I called Westinghouse and they said “it wasn’t advisable”, but they also suggest you don’t use this fan in a non-commercial setting, whatever. This fan is not reversible, so it only works to cool ( I was hoping to have both heating and cooling options). The Emerson one looks it heats only, but is also not reversible. Anybody have any other good options that might fit my needs?

26 Chad Ludeman December 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Hi Laurel – Here is a link to an updated post with more fans –

We have the Westinghouse in the 100K and I did not install the monstrous dimmer. I have some on switches and one on a residential fan dimmer. The residential dimmer has three settings – barely on, slightly on and FULL BLAST. In short, it doesn’t work.

The trick is getting an industrial fan dimmer which you can get. I think you can order from Grainger and probably any local electrical supply place. I have a handfull of dimmers from the white Home Depot fan which I am going to try installing to see if that works, but that’s only because we did a job where 8 of those fans are on one dimmer and we have a bunch of the dimmers that came with each fan left over. Anyways, good luck and let us know what you ended up doing.

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