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Transform An Outdated Ceiling Fan in 7 Simple Steps

An outdated ceiling fan in an otherwise beautifully styled home can be a real eyesore. That’s how I have felt about the ceiling fan in my living room for a couple of years. I built my beloved corner fireplace, updated paint and baseboards, installed new flooring, and even got a new front door. Yet, my old, outdated ceiling fan left me thinking, “Please just don’t look up” when guests came over.

But this is an issue no more! In just a few hours, my old ceiling fan got a major makeover. My husband and I took down the outdated ceiling fan, took it apart, painted it, put it back together, and added wire bulb cages to give it a whole new look. And oh. Em. Geeee. I absolutely love how it turned out! Can you even believe this is the same fan?

Outdated ceiling fan DIY

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Are you wondering if including ceiling fans in your home is right for you? Check out my post, Ceiling Fans in the Home Debate: Pros and Cons to help you decide!

Supplies Needed to Update an Outdated Ceiling Fan

Remove the Fan From the Ceiling

This was the part I needed my husband’s help on – removing the fan from the ceiling. Anything that involves wiring and electric work is a no-go for me. Plus, it’s easier to maneuver the ceiling fan when there are two people.

Ceiling Fan Removal

*Disclaimer: In order to do this safely, you need to cut the power at your breaker box and take steps to verify that no juice is still flowing to your fan.

Unless you’re us – this was our conversation while he was watching a football game.

Me: “Hey, can you help me take down the ceiling fan real quick? I’m going to paint it and stuff. I’ll go turn off the breaker, so you might lose the TV for a bit.”

Him: “What? No. I’ll help, but you’re not turning off the breaker. I’ll figure it out”

Me: 🫣


Take the Ceiling Fan Apart and Clean It

Once the fan is down, place it on a flat surface with the bulbs and cages facing up. Remove the bulbs, bulb cages, and fan blades. Have a small container handy to place all the bolts in so they don’t get lost!

Remove bulbs cages blades

Once the ceiling fan is apart, wipe down all the pieces with a damp cloth to remove dust. If you need a little extra cleaning power (no judgment here), I’d recommend using LA’s Totally Awesome All-Purpose cleaner. I use it to clean just about everything.

Clean old ceiling fan

Paint the Metal Part of the Fan

After you’ve wiped everything down, move all the fan pieces to a well-ventilated area or an outside space. Put down a board or plastic to contain overspray and lay the fan down, bulb side up.

I painted the metal part first because I knew for sure that I wanted to spray-paint it black. Hold the can 10-12 inches away from the metal and spray even strokes to coat the entire thing. Make sure, though, that you don’t apply it too heavily, or else the paint will drip. This paint dries to touch fairly quickly, so the re-coat time is short, and you can cover any areas you missed.

Once the paint has dried to the point you can pick up the fan, flip it over onto the bulb sockets. Paint this side to cover any areas that you might be able to see after the fan is hung back up.

Spray paint Old Ceiling Fan

After all the paint has dried, the metal part of the ceiling fan is ready to be re-assembled.

Lightly Sand and Paint the Fan Blades

You can paint both sides of the blades if you choose, but I only painted one side. My fan blades had a gold design painted on one side, and I’m quite sure I never want to see that design again, so that’s the side I chose.

Lay the blades out with the side you’re going to paint face-up. Lightly sand the entire surface of the blade with a sanding block to rough it up a bit. This will help give the chalk paint something to adhere to. Then wipe away the sanding dust.

Sand blades

Use the chalk paint and a paintbrush to give the blades two coats of paint. I left noticeable brush strokes, as this will give some dimension to the blades when applying the antiquing wax. I also used a cheap paintbrush from the local hardware store, so anything you have on hand or want to purchase should work. As long as it’s about 1.5″-2″ wide.

Paint Blades

Sand the Fan Blade Edges

After the two coats of chalk paint dry, use a low-grit sanding block or orbital sander to smooth the edges of the fan blades, especially if you have any paint drips.

Next, this is where the orbital sander was needed for my project. The outer end of my fan blades came to a point – think straight out of the 90s – that I desperately wanted to get rid of. After my two coats of chalk paint dried, I used the orbital sander with 80-grit sandpaper to sand away the pointed edge and flatten out the edge of the blades. If your blades are already smooth, then you can skip this part!

Apply the Antiquing Wax to the Fan Blades

Using either a wax brush or another paintbrush, apply one light coat of antiquing wax to the fan blades over the chalk paint. Use a light hand and long, even strokes to cover the entire surface. This will give the fan blades a faux wood grain finish that looks gorgeous against the black spray-painted metal. Go over the edges of the fan blades to cover up any paint drips or color variances from sanding.

Put the Ceiling Fan Back Together and Hang it Back Up

After the antiquing wax has dried, put the pieces back together, starting with the blades, then the bulb cages, and ending with the bulbs.

Once it’s back together, your new ceiling fan is ready to be hung back up!

Ceiling Fan Makeover

This was a really fun project, and it was a cost-friendly way to make a noticeable difference in my living room. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, and would love to see how it turns out if you update an outdated ceiling fan in your home!

Comment any questions below, and let me know if you think this is a project you could tackle!

Update ceiling fan pin