How outdoor ceiling fans can define a space and combine style with function

Outdoor ceiling fans are functional accents. These fans provide a visual focal point, keep outdoor spaces cool even when there isn't a breeze, and can provide extra lighting. 

How outdoor ceiling fans can define a space and combine style with function

Style, size, lighting and additional features all factor into the decision of which fan to buy.

Fan style

Outdoor fans come in a variety of designs, ranging from those with three to five blades to the more industrial orbital fans. Many shoppers know the style they are looking for and can use that as a starting point.

  • Outdoor spaces featuring sleek lines and lots of metal may mesh well with an orbital fan in brushed nickel or bronze.
  • A fan with two separate orbital fans attached to one base can provide maximum air circulation.
  • Bladed fans can work in a variety of design schemes with blades shaped like palm leaves that offer a tropical feel, or dark wood blades that accent contemporary designs.


Fan-blade size is an important consideration. Sizes range from 29 to 54 inches.

  • Smaller spaces — usually those that measure less than 75 square feet — can accommodate 29-inch blades.
  • Spaces between 225 and 400 square feet are best cooled by blades measuring 50 inches or larger.
  • When combining functionality with design, some people opt to outfit large outdoor spaces with several smaller fans — either two of the same style, or one larger fan with a smaller fan on either side.


Not all outdoor ceiling fans come equipped with lighting, so buyers need to decide if lighting fixtures will be added elsewhere or if fixtures need to be incorporated into the fan.

  • People who enjoy evenings spent outdoors may want to have lighting features on the fan.
  • Opting for a covered light fixture versus an exposed bulb makes it easier to keep the fan clean and avoid outdoor dust and bugs.

Additional features

Several features increase the functionality of outdoor ceiling fans.

  • Remote controls are fairly common and allow people relaxing outdoors to make adjustments without getting up.
  • Misting ceiling fans are a more-specialized product that comes in several designs.
  • These fans allow people living in warm climates greater year-round use as they cool with combined misting and air circulation. Misting fan companies claim that the added misting feature can lower temperatures by as much as 16.5 degrees Celsius, and the ability to use the fan with or without the mist means that usage is not limited to warm months.
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