Update an old Ceiling Fan

INSIDE : Learn budget friendly tips to update an old Ceiling Fan in your home! From ceiling fan lights upgrades to replacing your fan blades, there are lots of ways to improve the look of your fan with minimal effort and cost.

Updated Rattan and wood Ceiling Fan

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I recently completed my tween son’s bedroom and one of the DIYs I worked on was updating his very old ceiling fan. I really didn’t want to get a new fan because the one he had worked perfectly fine… but it was outdated and an eye sore.

"Before" outdated white ceiling fan

If you like this post, you might also like my update an old tabletop fan post.

And if you want to see more of the DIY projects I did in my son’s modern bedroom makeover, you can check all of those out below… I LOVED HOW HIS ROOM TURNED OUT!

Supplies needed to update an old ceiling fan

If you don’t have single lights on your ceiling fan, you may want to try these cool rattan single shades…

How to update ceiling fan globes

When you are wanting to update your ceiling fan, a very simple place to start is with updating the light covers. You might have multiples lights, like mine below or a single “boob” light.

So, the first step is doing a little inspection of what type of lights you have and how they are attached.

There are two main ways they might be attached, with screws or by a twist-lock mechanism.

Screw attachment

If you see small screws near the rim of the shade where it meets the fan body, you’ll need a screwdriver to loosen them. Turn them counter-clockwise until they come out completely, or at least allow the shade to wiggle slightly. Once loose, gently remove the shade by pulling it straight down.

Twist-lock attachment

If there are no screws, the shade might be held on by a twist-lock which is how my ceiling fan globes were attached.

Try gently grasping the shade and turning it counter-clockwise. It may require a little pressure, but don’t force it – if it’s on really tight, check your fan’s manual or search online for your fan’s model for the removal instructions.

I had to remove the light bulbs first from my ceiling fan globes and then twist off the glass shades.

Twist-lock ceiling fan light shades

Once you have the outdated fan glass shades off, you can add your newer light shades. I selected these narrow rattan shades due to the angle and tightness of my bulbs. But make sure to measure and select shades that work best for your fan’s lighting situation.

Rattan Ceiling Fan light shades
Narrow Rattan Shades

Upgrade Ceiling Fan

It’s remarkable what an upgrade simply adding new light shades to this outdated white fan makes. I loved the new feel, but with so much of my son’s bedroom having warmer wood tones, the stark white with rattan shades didn’t feel quite completed.

Rattan light shades with white Ceiling Fan
How to paint a Checker Pattern Accent Wall

It certainly felt like an improvement, but for this space I knew I needed to do a little more. I contemplated painting (or even spray painting) the fan blades, but upon a bit further digging I found out something VERY cool.

White ceiling fan with rattan light shades

Update an old ceiling fan’s blades

Another very simple update to give your ceiling fan a new look, is installing new or upgraded ceiling blades.

A pro tip : Before you purchase new fan blades, grab a ladder and look at the other side of your blades… there is a good chance the other side might be another color! That’s what happened to me.

To update your ceiling fan’s blades, start be removing the old ones. As you can see in my image below, each blade had two screws holding it in place. I used my cordless drill (or you can use a screwdriver) and one by one removed them.

White ceiling fan motor and housing

There were three additional screws holding the blades onto the blade frame, so one by one unscrew those, flip over and reattach to the blade frame.

Take this opportunity to thoroughly clean the blades with a damp cloth.

White and bleached Oak Ceiling Fan blades

If you are installing new blades, you can skip the above step.

Here are a few of my favorite fan blade replacement options…

Bleached Oak Ceiling Fan blades

Once the blades are ready to be reinstalled, it’s as simple as slowly screwing each blade back into it’s original location.

Installing Ceiling Fan blades

After all the blades are back in place, you can re-screw in the ceiling fan light shades and bulbs.

Light Oak ceiling fan blades

Another option for updating your ceiling blades is painting them!

Painting ceiling fan blades

When painting ceiling fan blades, choose a paint suitable for the blade material (usually wood or metal) . Apply a light, even coat on each side. While the paint dries, you can clean the fan motor housing and other components. For full coverage, I recommend painting two to three coats of paint.

Once your blades are dry, carefully reattach them to the fan. Remember, proper balance is crucial for a wobble-free fan, so reassemble it exactly as it was before.

Turn the fan back on and enjoy your updated look!

Ceiling Fan Update

This simple ceiling fan update was quick (took less than an afternoon) and so cost effective (my shades only cost $35) ! A new ceiling fan can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 depending on what style and features you select.

I was really happy with this easy and inexpensive ceiling fan solution! The colors of the blades and rattan match the wood tones elsewhere in my son’s room so it really helps pull everything together in a more cohesive look.

Light oak ceiling fan with rattan light shades

Ceiling Fan Direction

A common ceiling fan direction myth (or is it real?!!) has people always asking which way should my fan spin in winter or summer? Knowing which direction a ceiling fan should turn shouldn’t stress you out, so here are some quick tips!

  • Summer (Cooling)
    In the summer, you want your fan to spin counter-clockwise. This will create a downdraft of air that pushes cool air down towards you, creating a wind chill effect that makes you feel cooler. You can safely raise your thermostat a few degrees and still feel comfortable, which can help you save energy on your air conditioning costs.
  • Winter (Heating)
    In the winter, you want your fan to spin clockwise. Warm air naturally rises and by setting your fan to spin clockwise, you create a gentle updraft that pushes warm air that collects near the ceiling back down into the living space. This can help distribute heat more evenly throughout the room and reduce the strain on your furnace, potentially saving you money on your heating bill.

Be sure to look for the switch that controls the direction of your fan blades. It’s usually located on the housing near the pull chain or cord.

If you have a remote control for your fan, it might also have a button to reverse the blade rotation.

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