Rustic ceiling fans are a wonderful way to add lots of interest and rustic/cabin style to your room. Here is a brief history of rustic style fans and the many options available.
Fans have come a long way in the last 30 years. From the basic utility models that came in three colors, ceiling fans are not works of art in a dizzying array of styles, colors and options. To simplify the article, we will not discuss “rustic” fans that are considered rustic if they come in a rust or dark bronze color. You could write an entire book about ceiling fans, but this article deals only with true rustic styled fans. Rustic, lodge or cabin style fans are a fairly new development in the history of fans. The first really rustic fan was created by Monte Carlo fans in 1996 and looked like a hand carved tree truck with chipped, thick blades. Called the Great lodge, It was a creative ground breaker and created an entirely new market that soon expanded with all sorts of new models; though most can be broken down into two broad categories; Fake wood and Figures.
The fake wood models generally look like pine or birch logs. Several companies now make this style of fan including Montecarlo Fans, Copper Canyon Lighting and Vaxcel of which the first two generally are of much higher quality and construction. These fans are all made of a cast resin ( plastic) that is then hand painted a variety of colors to look like wood. The blades vary from very fancy to simple and come in a variety of sizes from 66″ diameters to 44″. Most are for indoor use, though there is one model for outdoor wet locations that just came out.. Outdoor models use specially waterproofed housings, acrylic blades and other features. These wood fans are very “cute” and add a pleasing presence to rustic rooms, especially in cabins, without being to overwhelming or stylized. The wood colors work beautifully with all types of log or natural wood paneling and look so much nicer than a traditional brass or white fan..
The second major style category are the rustic and cabin themed fans. These are made both resin and/or metal and feature various animal designs, trees and other natural motifs. Most of these also have internal lights that illuminate the designs for a greater effect. This style of rustic ceiling fan is made by Vaxcel, Copper Canyon, Minka Lavery and Craftmade. The Wilderness by Casablanca was just discontinued after becoming too expensive for the general market. All come in just one design except for Copper Canyon which are fully customizable with over 40 different designs. These fans have many more options in designs with the popular ones being moose, deer, bear and elk.. These fans are also a nice accent to more rustic homes or cabins and often include pine trees and a bark look in the styling. Prices on the fans and range from $270 to $470 based on the manufacturer, motor size and how detailed they are. Name brand fans tend to be more expensive though they are made in the same factories as the other brands. There are only 4 or 5 major fan manufacturers in China that build all the fans. Fans have been rapidly increasing in price for the last 3 years due to the rising cost of labor in China, an overall increase in materials cost and a falling dollar value. I expect further price increase of easily 10% next year.
When choosing a rustic style fan, there are several major decisions: 1. Style, 2. Size, 3. Colors 4. Location 5. Controls 6. Lighting
1. The style obviously needs to match the room’s decor, furniture, floor and wall coloring and more.
2. The sizes vary from 44″ to 66″ and again should be matched to the room size and height of the fan. Large rooms or rooms with taller ceilings need at least an 52″ or 56″ and even larger 66″ models do not look that big when 15 ‘ in the air. 44″ sizes should only be used in small bedrooms or kitchen areas and look quite small.
3. The color of the fan and especially the blades should match or contrast with the ceiling and wall colors to stay harmonious with the room. Most of theses rustic style fans other than the Craftmade or Copper Canyon brands come with only 1 set of blades, so this can be an issue.
4. The fans should ideally be in the center of the room and mounted far enough off the ceiling to work properly and still provide air flow. A fan 20′ up in the air will provide essentially no air flow at the floor level, but will move the hot air trapped at the top of the room. For best visibility the fans should be no more than 12′ off the ground, or all the attractive details on the fan will be lost in the height.
5. I recommend using simple wall controls to adjust the fan speed and lighting. Many remote controls have the ability to reverse the fan and they can be convenient such as in bedrooms, but the electronics often burn out after 5 years or so and replacing them is not easy. The drawback to wall switches is that they cannot reverse the fan and it has to be done manually with the switch on the motor housing. This can be major difficulty on very tall ceilings. Some rustic fans only come with remote style controls.
6. Lighting is a major decision. With recent government regulations that limit the size and quantity of bulbs you can use in ceiling fans, the choices are far less than before. In general, the average light kit now uses the equivalent of 2-75W bulbs which will illuminate a smaller room well enough to see fine, but not to read or work in. Compounding the problem is that the fancier rustic style lights also tend to block more light. When the fan is mounted high such as in a tall living room, the light kit becomes almost worthless. There are a few, older style light kits on the market that can use up to 4-60W bulbs, but even that is barely adequate for a decent sized bedroom. In conclusion, fan lighting does work in providing a nice quality background lighting, but additional room lighting is always recommended. These would include lamps, wall lights and recessed lighting.
In conclusion, there is a wide range of rustic styled fans on the market now to choose from. It is important to take the time to study the choices and make sure the fans fit your home.