How to Update a Ceiling Fan Without Removing It

How to Update a Ceiling Fan Without Removing It

Replace the Pieces

I love my ceiling fan and use it to cool in summer and (set on reverse) to keep heat down towards living space. (See What’s That Little Switch On My Ceiling Fan? And How Can It Save Me Money?.)

My fan blades were dark and the light covers (glass) were opaque. I bought new glass at a big box home store that was prettier and on sale for $6 total. At a thrift shop, I bought a whole ceiling fan for $5 with light color blades and switched those blades for mine. All it took was a screw driver and the fan did not need to be removed. Plus, I have an extra motor should mine burn out.Clare



I hope you have found the information you were looking for in this post and that it has inspired you to have a go at a fan makeover.

After all, what do you have to lose? Just some time and a small amount of money on craft materials.

Ceiling Fan Light Makeover Using Spray Paint

Here is a way to update ceiling fan light covers using spray paint.

I’ll be quite honest, I didn’t realise that you could successfully paint glass, but what do I know!!!

Decor to Adore

Nice, New and In Style

I spray painted my old ones to give it an updated look. I cleaned it well first and did three light coats of spray paint. My ceiling fan had lights/globes, and I inexpensively updated those with new ones.

Our fan looks really nice, new, and in style. It only cost a few dollars and a couple hours of work.Pamela

Switch Out the Fan Pulls

Changing the fan pulls on your fan to something more decorative can be the least complicated upgrade to your ceiling fan. Pull the chain attached to your original fan pulls from the pull chain connectors. Measure the length of the chain on your original pulls, and cut the chain on your new pulls with wire cutters to match the original chain length.

Take the ends of your new chains and insert them into the chain connectors. Pull on the new chains until they snap in place and the decorative pulls hang straight.

Step 4: Put a Primer Coat on the Blades

You only have to paint one side of the blades since no one will ever see the top side. Prime the edges of the blades first and then work a thick coat onto the face of the blade. Any good quality primer will work. I used Zinsser water-based primer. I did one coat of primer and that seemed to be enough. But two coats wouldn’t hurt, and primer paint dries pretty quickly.


And there you have it!  A very simple, inexpensive DIY update to your fan in just 5 steps:

  • Remove the fan blades
  • Paint
  • Protect the fan
  • Spray paint
  • Reinstall fan blades

This is such an easy way to bring a more contemporary look to your space without breaking the bank.  

We hope you love this DIY as much as we do and can finally get a good night sleep without having to stare at an ugly fan!

Step 1: Materials

Primer paint Finish paint Rustoleum oil based paint or the like 2-3 paint brushes All purpose cleaner and towels Screwdriver (flat and/or Phillips depending on your fan) Ladder

Update an Old Fan with Paint

For our fan, I chose Rust-Oleum 2X UltraCover Paint+Primer in Flat Black for the metal parts and Satin Stone Gray for the blades.

I laid out each piece I wanted to paint (blades an

I laid out each piece I wanted to paint (blades and metal parts) on scrap cardboard, leaving space between each piece. I then sprayed 2 thin coats, following the instructions on the can. For the blades, don’t forget to wait the recommended dry time between flipping them over.  And don’t forget the edges of the blades!  You’ll see those from the ground and they look kinda awful when they’re halfway painted 🙂  (I propped my blades up on thin scraps of wood to help hit the edges with paint.)

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Paint the Fan Blades

1. Remove the fan blades

To paint the fan blades, first remove them. 

You will have to assess how the blades come off on your particular fan. You may need a screw driver to free them.

For my basic Home Depot fan this part was super easy. There are 3 screws on each blade, but you don’t have to unscrew them.  There’s a little “push” level that you push down and the whole blade is then able to slide forward and comes right off. 

I had no idea that this fan’s blades were reversible.  Unfortunately, I hated this lighter side even more than the one I initially hated 😂. 

2. Paint

If your fan is reversible, choose which side you will paint. This should be the side you dislike the most (I painted over the lighter side). That way, if you ever want to go back to the fake wood, it’s still an option.

Choose a nice neutral color, a color you love, something bold, or maybe just go with a simple white to blend into the ceiling.  The options are endless here. You can get creative or (as I usually do) just play it safe with something that will fit in with the rest of your decor. 

I used Limousine Leather by BEHR in a satin finish.  It’s the same paint that I used for our DIY MDF cabinet doors.

While it probably wouldn’t hurt to give your fan blades a quick sand to ensure the paint sticks well, I didn’t bother. I painted right on top without sanding and found that the paint stuck to the blades just fine.

You can use either a paint brush or a mini roller for this job. A roller will give you a smoother finish without the brush strokes, but a brush is easier to clean.

You guys know that I went with the paint brush 🤣.

Give it two coats and they’re good to go!

Install the light kit

Install the light kit per directions as the manufa

Install the light kit per directions as the manufacturer suggests.

Updating your ceiling fan without removing it is such an easy way to update your home. As a result, it saved us money than we can use on another project.

You will want to see how I made over my fireplace

You will want to see how I made over my fireplace tile without removing the tile. This project only cost us a few dollars and looks beautiful!

How to Make Your Own Mini Spray Paint Booth To Paint The Fan Parts

To help keep spray paint overspray from getting on everything for the spray painting part of the makeover, use large cardboard boxes to make your own spray booth. I flatten and save large boxes that I get.  They can be reused many times and stored flat against the wall in your garage or workspace.

I set two boxes up so the bottom section of each i

I set two boxes up so the bottom section of each is on the floor. I place a tarp over the bottom to hold the boxes in place and protect the floor. You can use boxes instead of a tarp for the floor.

Once you are finished spray painting, fold up the boxes and store then out of the way until the next time you need them.


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