How To Refurbish a Ceiling Fan – Best Tips

You probably finished upgrading your living room area but forgot one crucial part- the ceiling fan. It looks old and worn out compared to the other new parts in your living room.

Having spent lots of money on the makeover, you may need to look for a more cost-effective method. Simple DIY hacks can help you transform the appearance of your ceiling fan and save a few bucks. In the following post, we’ll look at several tips to refurbish your ceiling fan.

What are the Best Ways to Modernize a Ceiling Fan?

You may have performed a DIY project on your rugs, headboards, or drawers; fans are another item you can repurpose on a budget and without professional skills. And we bet you’ll be very pleased with the results as you’ll end up with classy ceiling fans that look as good as new.

  1. Paint
  2. Adding a lighting fixture

Can you paint the ceiling fan blades?

Yes, you can, especially if they are made of wood

Wooden fan blades warp over time and develop a dull, unsightly appearance. A light coat of paint can restore their luster. The first step is to pick the right paint type to ensure that it doesn’t peel within a short time.

There are two main kinds: oil-based and water-based paints. Oil-based ones provide a better sheen. However, they dull quite fast. Water-based paints, on the other hand, provide a lower level of sheen but they last longer.

When choosing the type, you’ll also want to pay attention to the color. A color that complements fixtures like doorknobs, door hinges, and appliances looks great on the fan hardware, while one that matches the doors and furniture is perfect for the fan blades. 

In case some parts are extremely worn out, it’s best to replace them. Nickel, brass, and bronze are great materials for fans as their colors complement most furnishings. Bronze works best on dark furniture and woods while brushed nickel complements modern decor spaces.

How to paint plastic fan blades

What we like about this job is that it’s not as taxing as regular DIY projects on other parts of a house. As long as you’re committed and armed with the right tools, you can get it done. Here are the steps to follow:

Tools Required To Paint Plastic Fan Blades

  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Screwdriver 

Step 1: Turn off the fan

You must switch off the fan and the breaker to ensure safety when painting.  Allow the blades to stop rotating before you start working on them.

Step 2: Disassemble the blades

Uninstall the fan starting with the housing, the blades, then proceed to the motor assembly. However, if you’re not painting the fan, remove the blades only, not the entire fan down. Look for the screws securing them to the fan and unscrew. 

Step 3: Clean the blades

Fans accumulate dust over time despite being in constant motion. It’s essential to clean them thoroughly, then use 120 grit sandpaper to strip off all the ugly paint, dust, and dirt. You can then use water and a mild soap solution to get rid of leftover debris.

Step 4: Prep the area

Next, spread the blades on a location with good airflow to allow the fumes to dissipate fast once the surface is painted. Ensure the area is covered with a drop cloth or newspapers too to avoid staining the surface.

Step 5: Apply a primer

This is a prerequisite for any painting job as it ensures paint adheres properly. Be sure to apply several light coats until you achieve full coverage.

Step 6: Apply paint

There are two ways of applying it- spray painting or using a paintbrush. 

Spray painting results in paint that dry pretty fast. You also won’t have to worry about leaving any brush or roller marks. Now, one spray paint that comes highly recommended is Rustoleum Protective Enamel Spray.

A paintbrush has its fair share of benefits. Even though the paint dries for longer, a brush gives you better control of the process than spray painting does. It also helps you apply the paint evenly. 

Use long, even strokes while maintaining a 6-8 inch distance from the surface to create a smooth finish. One coat should suffice but you can add another to ensure the paint lasts long.

Step 7: Leave the blades to air dry 

Inspect them to ensure all the areas are painted and apply additional coats if necessary. Then, leave them to air dry. If painted in an enclosed space, open the windows and doors to promote airflow.

Step 8: Reassemble the fan

The final step is to re-attach the blades to the fan. Ensure each blade is mounted correctly before restoring power. 

How to add a light to a ceiling fan

Lighting provides a quick and effective way of modernizing a ceiling fan without breaking the bank. Most bulbs go for $20 to $50 at a supplies store, depending on the type and features. 

But before you hit the road, measure the attachment point to the fan. This way, you don’t end up buying the wrong size. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Turn off the lights at the fuse box or the breaker to ensure safety
  2. Remove the fan, and ensure it is outfitted with a housing assembly at the center. If it doesn’t have one, it’s impossible to add bulbs or other lighting fixtures
  3. Unscrew the screws holding the center plate to expose the wiring designed for installing a fan light kit. Sometimes this will be labeled as ‘lighting power’
  4. Connect the black and white wires to the light fixtures. Be sure to line up the matching wires, so they remain parallel, i.e., black to black and so on
  5. Connect the light assembly to the center of the plate and re-attach it to the body of the ceiling fan
  6. Install the bulbs as instructed and re-install the fan to the ceiling
  7. Turn the electricity back on

How to Oil Ceiling Fan Without Taking it Down

This makeover isn’t complete without oiling it. If your house is outfitted with an old ceiling fan, it’s crucial to oil it at least once a year to ensure smooth movement. 

Unlike the modern versions, an old ceiling fan is not equipped with sealed, self-lubricating ball bearings; hence, the need to lubricate manually.

The friction generated during movement wears out the bearings causing them to develop rust and corrosion. If not lubricated, the fan may malfunction. Here’s how to oil your ceiling fan without taking it down:

  1. Turn the fan off: Ensure the ceiling fan is switched off, then grab a ladder, place it under the fan and make your way up
  2. Remove the blades: Unscrew from the ceiling fan and the motor from the canopy. Next, detach the motor wires from the socket
  3. Inspect the motor housing: Open the housing and wipe off the dust using a damp cloth
  4. Apply the lubricant on the ball bearings: Be sure to wipe away any grime build-up on the bearing before applying oil. Then apply some drops of oil on each bearing and ensure it coats the inner and outer edges
  5. Reassemble the fan: Return the motor, attach it, and screw the blade brackets back. Ensure the motor assembly is tight and power the fan back on
  6. Test the fan to determine if it’s producing rattling noises when rotating. If there aren’t any strange noises, this is an indication that it’s well-lubricated


There are many ways of sprucing up your ceiling fans without hiring a professional. With a few household items, you can transform dingy-looking fans into stylish ones. What’s more, you’re free to customize their design to ensure that they complement your style and house decor. 

Do you know other ways to refurbish a ceiling fan? Share your comments below.

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