A Ceiling Fan Design Challenge (Gulp)

By Kate Riley August 11, 2014

I’m not one who’s ever desired the spotlight on a design related reality television show (stress) or one to enter many design challenges but I got talked into one in June.

The challenge by Del Mar Fans was to get creative and design a space around one of their ceiling fans. The "gulp" part comes in because as always in design challenges you’re pitted against TALENT and I get nervous sweats thinking about it, but then they said they’d pay me some money to cover the rest of the room makeover (twist my arm) and that it was all in good fun and no one would be shamed or sent home or anything like that so I said yes.

Then Del Mar showed me the fan I’d be working with and I was like "Oh, hmmm. That’s really purty." Know that I have never uttered those words about a ceiling fan in my life ever. It reminded me of a sleek airplane propeller and its polished nickel + trio of cherry wood blades totally seduced me. Then I had visions of it in a bedroom paired with other pretty things and so I took the Design Challenge bait and agreed to create a budget guest bedroom.

design challenge kichler fan


So as all of you regular readers know I’ve been blabbing on and on about the home we’re remodeling in Las Vegas this summer and it is the desert and everyone here knows in the desert ceiling fans are a must because MY GOD the heat is intense and circulation necessary for sanity. Like if you committed a crime and your defense attorney proved it was because of THE HEAT you would be found not guilty. 

I was really judgy about ceiling fans before and now that I’ve lived in 100+ degree temperatures on a daily basis for a month I have come full circle. Now I would walk in a parade on behalf of ceiling fans or vote for them for President.

So back to the Design Challenge. I’m big time crushing on Palm Beach style these days, fretwork or geometric patterns paired with crisp white and vivid color. It completes me.

palm beach style coastal living

meg braff palm beach style

meg braff x 2

Also this favorite space featured in House Beautiful. Coral + white + botanicals + dark stained trad wood furniture = luscious and lovely.

palm beach living room house beautiful

palm beach living room


I have long loved this room by Thibaut, it is so "Pretty Palm Beach" to me and I adore the coral + aqua combo so I’m going with the same palette for the guest room.


Here is the room "before" and so far we’ve removed the popcorn ceiling, painted the ceiling and walls, moved the HVAC vent away from the fixture (will share that process soon), removed the old ceiling fan and window shades, and replaced the flooring with porcelain wood tile.

guest room before

We also installed the new fan.

Hey good lookin.

kichler fan installed


Here are the items I’ve assembled so far from my favorite sources: thrift stores, flash sale sites, Etsy, and discount retailers. I call it Transitional With a Touch of Tropical.

del mar fans design challenge bedroom plan

I’ve got seven days to pull it all together – tune in next week for the reveal and sources!

*Yes this is sponsored by Del Mar Fans. Opinions are my own. #ceilingfansforPresident



  1. I live in MS, so I get the ceiling fan idea. And that one is gorgeous! I’m interested in the fabric in the lower right corner of your mood board. I’m hoping it’s available by the yard and you can tell me the source!

  2. I’m a HUGE believer in the power of ceiling fans ever since living in NYC. 3rd floor attic apartment + no air conditioning + oppressively sweltering city heat and humidity = yes please to the ceiling fan! I’ve carried my love of ceiling fans with me to Virginia but we haven’t actually installed any in our new home – can’t wait to see this room!!!

  3. Oh yes, I’ve always laughed at the folks clueless on the need for ceiling fans. We typically have two months or more of 100F+ heat and with or without the humidity here. Misery is misery.
    Try having your entire HVAC system break down and waiting more than a business day for confirmation and replacement.
    We had a single capacitor fail in the compressor a few weeks ago meaning no a/c until the repair guy could get to us. That is typical and protects the compressor from a worse fate. Ceiling fans and floor fans saved us both times. Every single fan set on medium or high + a cooling cloth= comfort.

    Once fixed, the fans go back to mostly ceiling light duty when we have elderly guests.

  4. Never did understand why ceiling fans had a bad reputation.
    Was wondering what weight fabric you prefer for pillows, draperies and such? Outdoor?
    Love your thinking and hard work.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have to have a ceiling fan and boy do I love the new one you guys installed. Can’t wait to see the room.

  6. I always have my ceiling fans on (living room, kitchen, bedroom). I sometimes forget to make the fan switch from winter to summer direction, but just having air circulation helps a lot. I even installed an outdoor fan on my back porch and that made sitting out there more enjoyable.

    I do have a few fans that need to be updated – the bright brass is a bit outdated….

  7. YES to ceiling fans! I live in Florida, so they are a MUST even with air conditioning….maybe especially with a/c. It moves the air, so you can set your thermostat marginally higher (like 2 degrees) and save a little on your electric bill. Plus when you dont have the a/c on it helps move the air to prevent mildew. By the way, I never knew I decorated in “Palm Beach” style….kind of funny, since I live in Palm Beach county (not on THE island, though)

  8. I like pretty ceiling fans if there is a need for them. Our mountain home has one HVAC unit for 3 floors. Our master bedroom and study on the top floor would be miserable at times without ceiling fans.
    I can’t wait to see the reveal! Love the color palette and several items on the mood board especially the night stand.

  9. My brother is moving from Henderson, NV to eastern Washington State. He will not miss the heat.

    If I had that fan to take my mind off the heat, I would be mezmerized by the shiny goodness of it and not even notice the heat! ;-)

    I am SO looking forward to the reveal of the finished room! While I shouldn’t be wishing my life away, I’m really anxious for those 7 days to fly by!

  10. I love their ceiling fans and want one for our bedroom so bad but can’t bring myself to spend $400 on one. Getting one for free is a deal!

  11. Hey Kate! Excited to see your room in the challenge! It’s going to look amazing! We are loving our fan so far!

    xo, Kelli & Kristi

  12. Ya know, I’m not big on ceiling fans, either, but it gets SO HOT and humid here (Chicago) that you really need them if you have a second story in your house. Heat rising and all that. I was super annoyed when we moved in and every bedroom had one, but as soon as we actually slept here I was like, “Okay, yeah, those have to stay.”

  13. Ha. I live south of Palm Beach and no one here considered a ceiling fan to be any other than an absolute necessity! We have beautiful ones..in every room. The design board looks like my house. We call it how to keep cool in the tropics with style :) but tropic transitional has a nice ring to it too.

  14. Will you post some of the local (Las Vegas/Henderson) stores where you find items for this home? I’d love to know where you’re sourcing things around town!

    • Hilary, I’ve found things at RC Willey, HomeGoods, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and there’s are about 8 second hand stores I’ve visited too, I’ll share that list of stores next week!

  15. Cute post, Kate! And welcome to the dark side where we have to have our ceiling fans to survive our Texas summers. Can’t wait to see the reveal.

  16. Heck yes. We live near Seattle and today was 95. No AC in the house and most of our living on the sweltering second floor. It’s not nearly as bad as SC, where we just moved from, but everyone in SC has AC! Haha, I can’t wait to install some fans in our bedrooms- no shame! Now if only there were more design worthy options at the lowest budget points. :(

  17. Hi. I’ve been looking for a coral & aqua print just like the one on the bottom right of the last pic. Would you mind sharing the source or brand?

    I’ve been following you for a while and think your style is great! Love reading your posts! Thanks


  18. What a great contemporary styled fan!!! I am just north of Houston, TX so ceiling fans are a must both in summer and winter. Just reverse direction for winter! We have fans in nearly every room in our home and on the patio; the styling of your fan fits our home! Good luck with the challenge: your blog is beautiful, and inspiring, so be confident!

  19. Yes–gorgeous fan….even though I’m no big “fan” of them either. ; D
    Interesting challenge that I’m sure you’ll pull off in your usual great taste and style!
    Btw–I moved to the Sonoran Desert in ’92 and actually like that (dry) heat—as opposed to the alternative -winter- !!!

  20. Pretty! I can’t wait to see the finished room. I don’t love ceiling fans, but sometimes they are a necessary evil, lol. We just put one very very similar in our kitchen, and I love it!

  21. Being from Louisiana, I love ceiling fans. I do have standards, the light bulbs must be under cover, I don’t want to see them. They keep things cooler in the summer and warmer (in reverse) in the winter. Now, I am here in Seattle and these people are delusional. They think they don’t need AC, “it’s only hot a few days”. No, it’s hot during the day for several months. And sitting in still air any time of the year feels stuffy and unhealthy. A little nice circulation of air would make them less serious and more jolly, I’m sure of it!

  22. Kate,
    I love following along on the progress of the house in Nevada. You guys have had a busy summer. I love your inspiration images and the color scheme you chose. Oh and the fabrics! The ceiling fan looks clean and modern. As always you are so inspiring!

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