The Washington Post
Love your ceiling fan but hate its clunky look? Meet the ‘fandelier.’
Designer Kimberly Haire of the House of Haires in Alpharetta, Ga., was always dismayed when clients asked for a ceiling fan in their bedrooms. She understood that in summer, people like the breezy feeling of moving air circulating over their beds while they sleep. But Haire found the fans on the market to be chunky, clunky and, frankly, ugly.
“Fans have come a long way, but at the end of the day, it’s still a fan,” Haire says. “A well-designed room can fall flat when you add a ceiling fan.”
Then she discovered the fandelier: a more stylish option that combines the air circulation of a fan with the more elevated look of a chandelier. “A fandelier allows the function without sacrificing the aesthetic,” Haire says. This is a step up, some designers say, from traditional fans with a basic globe light tacked on smack in the middle. In some fandelier models, the blades aren’t visible until you turn on the fan, when they flip out gracefully and start whirring.
But the term “fandelier” (sometimes “fandelights”) is probably about as widely known as “firelabra” (a candelabra for inside your fireplace).
“Most people have still never heard of a fandelier,” says Shari Renee Mcclanahan, a designer and owner of In Studio & Co. Interiors in Orlando, but she’s noticed demand for the fixtures increase dramatically over the past year and a half. “I remember when I first saw it, I was so excited, because although ceiling fans are so functional, I had never seen an attractive ceiling fan. They collect dust, they wobble, and the light kits were always so old-fashioned and you could see the bulb.”
“If you want your space to look a little more refined, a fandelier is a better choice than just a ceiling fan,” she adds.
Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light in Midlothian says he’s heard about fandeliers for about a decade, but he doesn’t know where the name originated. Johnson says the first fandeliers “were weird attempts at a crystal chandelier with a fan in the middle that made it look too wide and squat.” Eventually, lighting makers realized that it might be worth creating more stylish designs.
Shades of Light carries about nine models of fandeliers, according to Johnson, in styles such as farmhouse, mid-century and industrial schoolhouse. The company plans to add more designs later this year to meet demand, which continues to increase as fandeliers show up in social media feeds. (Tiktok shows 13.8 million views for the hashtag #fandelier.)
A number of posts claim that husbands want fans, women want chandeliers and this is a compromise. “POV: You let hubs win the battle because you know how to win the war,” posted @maryand brightblog in an Instagram reel, showing a whirring Wayfair Demona fandelier in rose gold and sparkling crystal with retractable acrylic blades. “Goodbye 80s ceiling fan, hello glam fandelier.”
Fandeliers generally don’t move air as well as traditional fans, Johnson says, because they tend to have shorter blades and smaller motors. Haire says they make the most sense in bedrooms, playrooms, home gyms and offices. They go well with industrial or farmhouse looks. “I still prefer regular chandeliers in sitting rooms and living rooms,” she says.
It’s important to consider scale when choosing one, Haire adds. Fandeliers are often smaller than a traditional ceiling fan, “so it’s important to make sure it won’t be underwhelming in the space,” she says. They usually won’t work with high (12-foot or greater) ceilings, because their typically smaller scale would be underwhelming in a tall room. And the opposite is also true: Lower ceilings (seven feet) will not be able to accommodate the drop of a fandelier.
Mcclanahan has used them in formal dining rooms, when some
thing more elegant was called for, and even in bathrooms. (Make sure your bathroom ceiling height can safely accommodate one, and look for models that are rated for outdoor or wet use.) “Who couldn’t use more air circulation in their bathroom after taking a shower?” she says. Bedrooms are where fans are most requested, she adds. “When you are looking up from your bed, would you rather see something beautiful or something utilitarian?” She is starting to see models equipped with more features, such as smartphone controls.
Johnson says that, although the term “fandelier” has been a running joke in the lighting industry for years, “now people are coming in and asking for them.”
Silver Spring designer Charles Almonte had never heard of a fandelier until recently, when a client showed him a Moooni combo crystal chandelier and retractable fan with clear blades that she had installed in her office. It comes with a remote.
He’s still on the fence about them. “The designs are still a bit clunky,” he says. His client, however, is ordering two more.
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