Project: Updating a Ceiling Fan

I’m going for a bit of retro-1940’s look in my son’s room with earth tone colors of green, beige, and tans accented with silver metal. One of the items I found recently was a modern/contemporary styled ceiling fan on Craigslist for $40.


The fan blades were originally a light, shades of white, pickled oak with shiny top glaze  that wasn’t going to suit where it was going. It was also a dated color, probably more to the 1980’s then now.



First, I did a very light sanding to break the surface. The primer used was from a spray can; the first time I’ve used a spray primer and really I wasn’t very impressed. I’ll stick to paint with a roller or foam brush.

There were some nicks on the blades so if these are too severe you can use a filler to make the surface even before re-painting.


The base coat used some of the paint (Pecan) already in the room.


The top glaze was Burnt Umber, which was applied with a drag technique.

fan blade with dragged glaze topcoat

I let it dry 24 hours to reduce any paint smell and then re-attached to the main fan motor.

I liked the body of the fan so didn’t change the silver. However, if you wanted to do this you need to be aware that spray paint can get inside the workings and gum it up. Any spraying you do, the working area of the motor and electronics need to be firmly protected and sealed.


Before you throw away those ceiling fans because of their dated look, see what you can do by changing the blades or the light kit. You might be surprised into saving some money!