Update Your Ceiling Fan with Paint

I’m back, but only for a minute  because I’m working hard on transforming our pinky-beige bonus room into an art and craft studio fit for an art show! This is compounded by the fact that the room has many angles and dormers. Who knew that such a small room would take FOREVER to paint! Gah.

Do you have a brass ceiling fan cluttering the view on your ceiling? It is hard to imagine getting rid of a perfectly good ceiling fan. Especially if you live in a hot climate like we do. Ceiling fans are our salvation in the heat of the summer. But, they aren’t always the most attractive things.

I encourage you not to rid your home of a perfectly good fan if it still works. Instead, why not paint it? AND, even if your blades are white, I’m going to show you a trick that will help make that fan almost disappear on the ceiling. 😉


  • Wet Rag
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • KILZ spray primer
  • Rustoleum Gloss White Paint (and maybe Rustoleum Heirloom White)
  • Drop cloth
  • Flat white paint (matches your ceiling paint)
  • Small paint roller


Start by unscrewing the fan blades from the fan motor. Use a cordless drill for speed or just a phillips head screwdriver.

Remove the brass cover from the bottom of the fan. (My fan has a bolt on top of the motor and the screw head underneath.) Obviously if the entire fan is brass, you’ll need to shut off the power and take the entire fan down.

Set all the screws aside in a bowl (and out of the way of wrestling boys! Ahem.)

Unscrew the three screws holding the arm to each fan blade. Store the screws in the bowl with the others.

Remove the dust screen from the bottom plate (if your fan has one.) Wipe it clean and set it aside.

Clean the fan blades, arms, and the brass bottom cover well with a damp rag and some multi-purpose spray cleaner if necessary.

Take the metal arms and the bottom plate outside to spray paint. Lay them on a tarp or drop cloth. Spray one to two coats of KILZ primer onto the fan parts.

Let the primer dry. Then follow up with Rustoleum white spray paint. (Side note: I spritz a little Rustoleum Heirloom white onto the bottom cover to help it match the rest of the fan which was a slight off-white color.)

Take your ceiling paint and roll it onto one side of the fan blades. Let the paint dry. Gently sand the blade to remove any burrs or bumps. Add a second coat of paint.

After all the fan parts have dried. Reassemble your fan. Start by putting the dust screen back into the fan cover.

Then re-attach the bottom cover of the fan motor. (This proved to be the most difficult part of the entire project. Lining up the bolts with the hole on top took some patience.)

Reassemble your ceiling fan blades and then attach the arms to the fan with the freshly painted fan blades facing the floor.

That looks much better, don’t you think?

Having your ceiling and fan blades painted the same flat white color helps the blades blend into the ceiling and almost disappear.

It also helps that I painted the ceiling the same white as the fan blades. I am not going to miss that flesh colored ceiling (and walls.)

The best part is that I didn’t have to buy a new fan, spend time installing it and worry about the old fan ending up in the landfill!

And now, it’s back to work for me. See ya’ later gator.



  1. GREAT idea! We have tall ceilings and our fans are a must for proper air circulation, but their brass finish is beginning to look a bit outdated. Think I’ll give your idea a try!!!

  2. I did one for my child a few months ago; she wanted purple blades to go with her new paint: Neatnik’s fan. I love spray paint.

  3. Brilliant! As usual! I love the idea for a kids room, different color blades to match a colorful room.

    • Jackie Rogers says:

      Well Nelly, I like your idea of different colored blades for the kids room . Even one can do it for his bedroom as well to match the most prominent colors of the room.

  4. I have a very dated brass/brown ceiling fan in my living room. I have wanted to replace it but it is so quiet and runs well. I think painting it would be just the trick I need. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  5. Just pinned this. I have been wanting to do this for a while. Well, I was waiting for my hubby to do it. But you may have just motivated me to do it myself :) I’ll let you know if I do. . . now that all the kids are in school, I just might. I’m a little scared though.. tools, me on a ladder. Oh me.

  6. Exactly! I have done this for every ceiling fan in our 1960’s brick rancher. Ceiling fans are a necessity in our home (we rarely use air conditioning, as we prefer to have the windows open). We purchased our home from my husband’s paternal grandparents and even the extended family thought that we had brand new ceiling fans, and not the original 1980 shiny brass. I love this!

  7. geez, you are good! You could write a manual on how to get to the moon, and I think I could do it. Now, could you please show us how to use that original Dremel tool? The one with all the little heads and pieces? I went to college for 7 years. I can make pills, suppositories, animal medications and even penile injectable solutions, but I can’t figure out a collet and where to put it. Ann PS. Can’t wait until your picks are on Joss & Main.

  8. You’re my hero. I’ve been seeing painted fans and wondering how people didn’t screw them all. the way. UP. I know I would. It never occurred to me that they came this far apart! YAY!!

  9. Great idea, Brittany! Now if only someone would invent self-cleaning fan blades….

  10. I have been begging my hubby to let me do this to all the fans in our house. They are the not-so-lovely brown and brass ones. Maybe if I show him how easy you make it look he will let me. One thing I would love to see you do is adding a light kit onto a ceiling fan. ALL of the rooms in our home have fans without lights and plugs on switches so we have to have lamps all over the place…and it is still not bright enough. Our ReStore has the light kits for CHEAP so I could paint them and add the light at the same time!

  11. Looks good! :)

  12. Glad to see someone else embracing the ceiling fan…as much as I’d like to do away with them, we can’t live without the ventilation in the summer.
    But…we also did get rid of the brass fixtures that came with the house!

  13. Old, new, brass or blue… remember that there are so many different paints and finishes available and Pretty Handy Girl has just shown us how to pull apart a basic ceiling fan to customize it in our very own way. Choose any finish appropriate for metal and your brass can be pewter, and your white wood blades could even be covered in wallpaper or fabric. Your imagination is your only limitation. And I’m sure if you have children, they would love to have a say in the creation of their own personal fan for their room. I can just imagine a fan for a little girl’s room where the interior of the blades is a gingham fabric and the blade surround is painted white. Remember the fan blades that used to have the wicker in the centers?

  14. Oh I did the same thing with my ceiling fan, and it not only turned out great, it is very quiet now from all the screw tightening!


  15. The white makes such a great difference, subtle but great update!

  16. Thank you for being real with us. I appreciate that I have visited your site twice and both times I have been blessed with straight forward answers, a list of items needed for the task, and step-by-step instructions. Of course your before and after photos qualify you for the DIYS Pulitzer!

    Your focus is on providing others the best information on how to accomplish their task/goal at hand and guiding them how to do it the very best way possible. This site is officially awarded by this North Carolina user as the most USER FRIENDLY DIYS site and in my heart and mind I am gently throwing pink roses your way! Sincerely,
    Your North Carolina Fan Club President

  17. Nice work, great idea. Now you almost can’t see your ceiling fan. And you can do it the other way around, to make fan look in contrast to the ceiling.

  18. what if after painting and putting back up they shake when running. Not balanced.

  19. Would love to paint my bright brass (mid 90’s) ceiling fan. But it’s really up high and it has a 4-foot long brass stem that extends down from the ceiling. No idea how I’d be able to spray paint that, and I think it would look odd to leave it shiny brass.

  20. Our fans and we have one in every bedroom have the five light attached on them the glass cups are kind of curvy and the center glass has grooves. This are pretty expensive to replace there are 4 of the smaller and the large center one we have 6 fans Oh I forgot to mention The light fixture used to hold the lights is shiney gold and they have a curvy tube type piece that goes down to where the bulbs are. The pull chain is gold. The blades are white, We installed these 23 years ago. Do you think the method you describe will work for our fans with light kits? Im thinking of leaving the glass light enclosures and not replace them.hoping they will blend in.


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