What You Need to Know When Buying a Ceiling Fan

Choosing a ceiling fan may seem simple, but there are a few things you should know to make sure it’s a breeze.

Every bit of breeze makes a difference in the heat of summer. A ceiling fan can not only increase your personal comfort but also reduce your monthly utility costs by supplementing (or even substituting for) your hardworking air conditioning unit.

To reap the full benefits of your room’s soon-to-be new addition, you need to know how to pick and place a winner. Getting answers to these questions before you select a ceiling fan will help match you to a model that will meet all of your needs.

What size fan do I need?

The number and length of blades on a ceiling fan determine how much air the fan can move. For an average size bedroom of approximately 12 feet by 12 feet, a standard four-blade fan with a blade span of 42 inches is adequate.

For larger rooms, opt for a wider and longer blade, such as a 52-inch span, to provide better air flow.

Standard ceiling fans consist of four blades, but some models feature five or even six — more blades means greater air movement. If you want increased circulation without having to buy a larger (and likely pricier) fan, look for a fan with five or more blades that’s still in your budget.

How low should the fan hang from the ceiling?

You want at least 7 feet of clearance from the floor to the fan blades.

Of course, ceilings vary in heights and styles, so the same ceiling fan that works in a vaulted room will hang too low in a room with an 8-foot-high ceiling.

Fortunately, fan manufacturers accommodate the wide range of room heights by creating two basic configurations: standard and ceiling-hugger models.

  • The standard model features a 6- or 8-inch-long downrod that extends from the fan’s ceiling bracket to the top of the motor housing — perfect for ceilings that are 8 feet high or so. Higher ceilings might require additional extension rods to lower the fan to a more useful height.
  • For lower ceiling heights, a ceiling-hugger or flush-mount model holds the fan closer to the ceiling in order to provide adequate head clearance.

Check the box for the listed “installed distance,” or the amount of space between the ceiling and the blades. This will help you determine the remaining clearance beneath the fan.

How much do I want to save on utility bills?

If lowering utility costs is a leading reason for installing a ceiling fan, select a model that bears an Energy Star label. These products feature motors that operate 60 percent more efficiently than conventional units, which could save you more than $15 a year on utility bills.

These models also include the functionality to switch blade directions when the seasons change (i.e., counterclockwise in summer for a comfortable breeze, and clockwise in the winter to force heat from along the ceiling downward into the living area).

Do I want an overhead light?

Just because the box for a ceiling fan depicts a product complete with lights doesn’t mean that a light kit comes included.

Unless the packaging specifies that the unit is a combination fan-and-light, you’ll probably have to purchase a light kit separately. Along the same lines, if the box shows only a fan, that particular model might not accept a light kit. Read the fine print before buying.

How do I install a ceiling fan?

A DIY installation may or may not be simple or possible, depending on where you live. In many communities, a handy homeowner can legally hang a ceiling fan in his or her own home.

However, some cities require an electrical permit or even that a licensed electrician do the work. Be sure to check with your local building authority before starting.

Got the go-ahead? You’ll find a wiring diagram, wiring instructions, and fan assembly instructions in the box to guide you. Replacing a light fixture or older ceiling fan with a new model will use existing wiring.

If you’re introducing a new ceiling fan where there wasn’t one before, know that you’ll need to cut through walls and/or ceilings to add the necessary wiring — an extra complication which may persuade you to hire a professional.

Large, heavy fans may require additional support blocking in the ceiling joists in order to hold their weight.

Will the fan rattle?

When installed correctly, it’s rare for a modern ceiling fan to wobble. But that’s not to say it never happens.

If your fan starts to shake as it spins, a balancing kit complete with clips and weights is a quick fix. Your model may have even included one for future use. Otherwise, you can pick one up wherever you bought the fan for about $5.


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4 Easy Ways to Cut Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles

Before you cut your teeth on a DIY tile job, learn about how to cut tile.

Installing shiny new ceramic tiles can really perk up a room, be it a new backsplash in your kitchen, flooring in the entryway, or in the bathroom — there’s nothing like new tile to make an old bathtub or shower look nearly new again. (It may even increase your home’s value.)

One of the first steps to consider when planning a DIY tile job is how you will cut tiles. Here is an overview of four common tools and methods for cutting tile, including how much each tool costs and what cuts they are best suited for.

Manual tile cutter

The manual tile cutter is the perfect tool for making straight cuts in smaller tiles. It uses a simple “score-and-snap” technique that goes very quickly, enabling you to cut many tiles in a short period of time.

manual cutter

Best suited for: Making straight cuts in small ceramic tiles.

Not suited for: Diagonal cuts, very tiny cuts, rounded cuts, or larger tiles that won’t fit inside the cutter.

Cost: $25 – $30

Tile nippers

Tile nippers are a hand tool with which you can make curved or unusually shaped cuts in tile. You simply score a reference line into the tile and then make small cuts with the nippers to the reference line. They work well for situations in which you need to tile in an oddly shaped area, such as around the base of a toilet.

Best suited for: Making unusual or rounded cuts in tile.

Not suited for: Cutting large numbers of tile — the process of using tile nippers goes very slowly.

Cost: $10 – $20

Diamond hole saw

The diamond hole saw is used in combination with a power drill. It fits into the chuck of the drill just as any drill bit would, and then you can use it to cut round holes in the tile. This is very helpful when you have to tile around obstacles, such as plumbing pipes.

Best suited for: Making round holes in tile. It has just this one use. However, when you need to make a round hole, it’s great to have on hand!

Cost: $15 – $25 for a mid-range type. (Plus a power drill.)

Wet saw

The wet saw is the tool of all tools for cutting tile. It works by using water to keep the blade wet and cool while you saw the tile. You can use it to make straight, diagonal, combination, and even very tiny cuts in ceramic or porcelain tile. You aren’t limited to cutting flat tiles with a wet saw, either. You can use it to cut tile finishing trim pieces, such as bullnose and quarter-round pieces. And because the process of cutting tile goes so quickly with a wet saw, you can cut large numbers of tile in a short period of time.

wet saw

Best suited for: Large tile jobs where you need to make many cuts in tile, and different types of cuts in tile.

Not suited for: Making curved or rounded cuts.

Cost: Can be rented from home improvement stores for $40 – $50.

Now that you know how to cut your tile, you can get creative and change the look of any room in your home with a new tiling job. And you can do it yourself!


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11 Home Features Celebrities Love

Your favorite star’s new home wish list might look a little something like this.

We all have our favorite celebs — and in addition to their talents, we often appreciate their personal style as well. What fan wouldn’t love to peek inside the home of a favorite big-name star to see where they lounge, entertain, and primp?

Here are 11 features that are mega-popular in celebrity homes. Take a look — you may get a little decorating inspiration of your own.

Farmhouse sinks

Celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Matt Lauer love a farmhouse sink. Both timeless and practical, farmhouse sinks serve as a classic kitchen focal point — and are large enough to fit bulky pots and pans.

Jennifer Lopez - farmhouse sink
Jennifer Lopez had a farmhouse sink in her Southern California home.

Subway tile

Renee Zellweger’s and Fred Armisen’s homes have featured subway tile, a favorite in both kitchens and bathrooms. This simple yet versatile style has a wide appeal among celebs, and you know it’s a worthy feature when noted interior designer Nate Berkus gives his approval.

Nate Berkus - subway tile
Nate Berkus’ former NYC apartment features a subway tiled bathroom.

Shoe closets

Ashley Tisdale and Paris Hilton are rumored to  have dedicated closets for their shoes— as do the Kardashian and Jenner ladies. And Victoria Beckham reportedly has two rooms specifically dedicated to her posh shoe collection.

Kylie Jenner’s shoe closet in her Calabasas home is all about curves.

Walk-in closets with islands

Why stick to shelves and hanging storage when your walk-in closet has ample space in the center of the room, too? Stars like NFL great LaDainian Tomlinson, Rascal Flatts’ guitarist Joe Don Rooney, Kendall Jenner, designer Max Azria, and Peyton Manning all appreciate extra storage and display space — by way of an island. 

Max Azria - closet island
The island in designer Max Azria’s former Los Angeles master suite provides plenty of extra storage space.

Wine rooms

From wine cellars to wine storage towers to, yes, even a “wine mine,” the stars are sure to incorporate their vino into their home decor. Ashton Kutcher, Kevin James, Michael C. Hall, and Oprah all sip in style.

OW - wine mine
Oprah Winfrey’s Telluride home includes a “wine mine.” Photo by Joshua F. Johnson.

Freestanding soaking tubs

No celebrity home is complete without a soaker tub, but celebs’ fave tub feature seems to be a freestanding soaking tub. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, and LeBron James all relax and splash in these soaker tubs.

LeBron James tub
LeBron James’ previous Miami palace features four bathtubs, including this freestanding soaking tub.

Home bars

When you’re a celebrity, you likely don’t skimp on entertaining — so you’ll need a home bar setup of your own. Sheryl Crow, MLB star Chase UtleyDan Whitney (aka “Larry the Cable Guy”), and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt all know this to be true, and have decked out their living quarters with home bars that would make anyone want to spend the night in.

John Krasinski’s and Emily Blunt’s former Hollywood Hills home (now reportedly owned by Kendall Jenner) features a home bar perfect for entertaining neighbors such as Jimmy Kimmel.

Home theater rooms

When you’re rich and famous, there’s no need to leave your home for a movie night. The Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh, Real Housewife Adrienne Maloof, Matthew Perry, and Marc Anthony all enjoy their favorite flicks from the comfort of their own theater rooms.

Marc Anthony's home theater
The home theater in Marc Anthony’s former Long Island home offers room enough for you and a dozen friends.

Swanky fire pits

A favorite outdoor feature among celebrities are fancy fire pits — so much more than a simple stack of bricks. Stars like Celine Dion, Patrick Dempsey, and Hilary Swank all enjoy backyard fire pits that might be mistaken for art.

Celine Dion - fire pit
Celine Dion’s former Jupiter Island home boasts a picturesque fire pit overlooking one of the estate’s three pools.

Infinity-edge pools

With their own infinity-edge pools, stars can feel like they’re staring off into the never-ending ocean. Britney Spears, Tyler Perry, and Heidi Klum have all embraced the infinity-edge feature, enjoying a dip in these resort-style pools in their own backyards.

Heidi Klum - pool
Heidi Klum’s former Brentwood home features a stunning infinity-edge pool.

Sun rooms

Christie Brinkley, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, and Zooey Deschanel have all cozied up to this sunny feature. And “Chandelier”-singing Sia’s sun room is even decked out with a chandelier of its own.

Sia - entrance to sun room
Sia’s L.A. abode features its very own sun room featuring a chandelier (of course).

With a focus on entertaining, comfort, and, of course, style, today’s celebrities deck out their homes with features that match both their glitz-and-glam public lives, and their family and relaxation-focused private lives. From dedicated shoe closets to one-of-a-kind wine storage displays, it’s easy to see why our favorite stars choose these features as must-haves for the home.



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Michael Phelps Strikes Real Estate Gold in Scottsdale

It’s a great place for retiring with the fiancee and baby.

Now that he’s officially retired from the summer games, Michael Phelps is joining the snowbirds with a mansion of his own in Scottsdale, AZ, a place known more for its golf courses than its pools. The human fish had been training at nearby Arizona State University, TMZ reports, and plans to coach there.

shutterstock_183446852Phelps paid a stroke over $2.5 million for the 6,000-square-foot home, which sits on nearly an acre and has 5 bedrooms, 6.5 baths and 4 fireplaces, including one in the master suite and one in the backyard loggia.

The home’s pool is gorgeous, with views of Camelback Mountain. It’s not big enough to fully show off your butterfly, but it’s perfect for cooling off with the family, which Phelps has already posted photos of on Instagram.

Crafted with European stone and imported hardwood floors, the home boasts a kitchen the size of some bungalows, with an eat-in marble center island and coffered ceilings with skylights. If you’d rather lounge while you nosh, there’s a cozy sitting area just a few feet away, with a fireplace for toasting up on a winter evening or following a long swim.

The formal dining room shares a chimney with the living room, all of which open onto a backyard built for entertainment. Alongside the pool is a hot tub, plus an outdoor shower and barbecue.

The listing agent was Walt Danley of Walt Danley Realty.


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Seth Meyers Buys Home Near Washington Square Park

REALLY!?! The ‘Late Night’ host paid nearly $7 million for his light-filled Greenwich Village duplex.

“Late Night” host Seth Meyers and his wife Alexi Ashe welcomed their first child this spring, and now the family has another new addition: The couple shutterstock_199625714recently purchased a duplex in the heart of Greenwich Village for nearly $7 million.

The 5-bed, 4.5-bath apartment is situated on two levels and has iconic views from just about every window, including of the Empire State Building and the Hudson River.

Its proximity to Washington Square Park is sure to be a hit with Frisbee, Meyers’ Italian Greyhound.

The home’s 32 windows bathe the 3,000-square-foot duplex in light, making the home feel more like a Hamptons beach retreat than a city pad in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.

Classic details like oak stained floors, a beamed ceiling, arched doorways, and a solid wood staircase grace the home, which also features two generous living spaces, both with wood burning fireplaces for those cold New York nights.

The eat-in kitchen has all the bells and whistles that any chef would love, including a Wolf range, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and walk-in pantry. In addition to the duplex’s five bedrooms, the apartment also has a home office — the perfect spot for Meyers to work on his monologues.

The master suite features a spa-like bathroom complete with large soaking tub, neutral stone tiles, a walk-in closet, and a dressing room. The home also has a true New York City luxury — a washer and dryer — on the second floor. The duplex’s building includes several amenities such as an elegant lobby, a full-time doorman, an elevator operator, and a gym.

Photos courtesy of StreetEasy.





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