When the temperature rises, it’s time to break out the floor, table and desk fans, especially if you don’t have central air-conditioning.

But in a thoughtfully designed home, that can sometimes feel bittersweet, because so many fans look awkward or downright ugly.

“Let’s be real,” said Laura Umansky, the founder of Laura U Design Collective, an interior design firm with offices in Houston and Aspen, Colo. “It’s not my favorite thing to specify, but it is a necessary feature.”

The good news is there are more — and better — options than there used to be.

Ms. Umansky has a Dyson fan in every bedroom of her home in Snowmass Village, Colo. “I like that it’s quiet and really sleek,” she said.

But she’s also fond of fans with retro styling: “There are some really cute, vintage-looking fans.”

Sure, you could install a ceiling fan instead, but plug-in fans offer a few advantages. If your overhead space isn’t being monopolized by a fan, there’s room for a decorative light fixture, which makes more of a design statement.

And once the weather gets cooler, Ms. Umansky noted, a plug-in fan is “easy to tuck away in a closet.”


  • Should a fan oscillate? If you’re concerned about maximum performance, it should. “I want it to rotate and move air through the entire space,” Ms. Umansky said.

  • How will the fan be controlled? “A remote you keep on your night stand is helpful,” Ms. Umansky said, if you want to adjust settings from bed.

  • Should it double as an air purifier? Not necessarily, but if you suffer from allergies, an air purifier may help.


Fan with bamboo enclosure

About $200 at Target: 800-440-0680 or target.com

Floor fan with wooden tripod legs

$429 at Rejuvenation: 888-401-1900 or rejuvenation.com


Retro-style Vornado fan with metal housing and legs

About $40 at the Home Depot: 800-466-3337 or homedepot.com

Oscillating air purifier fan with remote control

From about $550 at Dyson: 844-705-4777 or dyson.com


Portable fan with remote control and USB-C charging cable

$60 at MoMA Design Store: 800-851-4509 or store.moma.org


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