chandelier makeover

Since we moved into our new home last November, we've been slowly making it our own. It's really a charming house with some sweet details, but some of the rooms on the first floor were decorated in ways that didn't really fit with our style. I plan to share the room re-dos once we get a few more details finished (things like this always take longer than you'd like and there are always unfinished details, aren't there?). We've been doing as much as we can ourselves and haven't done (and don't plan on) any major renovations, just things like painting and stripping wallpaper, updating lighting and a few other improvements. Reusing, recycling, upcycling and thrifting have been our focus (and, really, is our focus in general, not just for the house).

After painting, one of the easiest updates to do is lighting. Although I liked (or at least didn't dislike) the chandelier in the dining room, I wanted something a bit more fun.

I decided that instead of replacing the lamp, I would paint it. Turquoise.

If you don't have a fixture that you like enough to paint, thrift stores and Habitat for Humanity ReStores are a great place to look for inexpensive second-hand pieces to makeover.

I first had Matthias take the light down for me. He has a lot of experience doing electrical work and knew what he was doing. If you (like me) do not, either have someone help you or do a little research first (here's a good basic tutorial).

Once the chandelier was down, we disassembled it.

It needed a good cleaning and then I taped off the lightbulb sockets.

Because I was replacing the cord, I didn't worry too much about protecting it from paint (it made a good way to hang the fixture for spraying), but if you're keeping your cord you'll want to tape it off as well.

I used cardboard and paper to protect my "spray booth" from overspray. Make sure to work in a well ventilated area. You'll also want good lighting so you can see what you're doing. Although it's tempting to put the paint on nice and thick and get things done quickly, multiple light coats will give you a better finished result (and doesn't really take that much longer to do). Here's what it looked like after the first coat:

I lost count of how many coats I ended up doing, but each coat went nice and quick.

Once I was happy with the coverage, I let the paint dry thoroughly (at least 24 hours, or follow the directions from the manufacturer of your paint). I didn't use a top coat because I figured the chandelier wasn't going to be handled very much, but if you're painting something that will be handled, a clear top coat works wonders to protect the finish. After the fixture was completely dry Matthias rewired it for me with a white cord (again, if you're doing this and don't know what you're doing, have someone help you or do some research... here's a good article with links to more resources).

Once the cord was replaced I had to figure out how to put all the bits back together (which required consulting "before" photos -- always a good idea to keep a record of how something should be put back together!) and we hung it back up.

Another easy update would be replacing the glass shades with something else (although the clear glass is fine, I'm going to keep an eye out for hobnail milk glass shades whenever I'm visiting thrift stores). Painting the glass (frosted or stenciled) or adorning it with paper or even crochet would be further possibilities.

For the cost of a can of spray paint (the white cord we'd kept from a different light and the white chain my parents found in their basement), I have a new, bright, fun chandelier in the dining room. It looks great against the newly white walls and coordinates well with the painted furniture in the room and the newly blue kitchen.

Now to hang some art!


  1. I can't express how charming I think this is, Anne! Just plain love it!!

  2. Such a great reuse/recycle outcome! I absolutely love this (including the color!). Well done!

  3. Looks fab, love it :-) At first I thought I wouldn't have been that brave to dismantle such a complicated set up ...but then your idea of taking 'before' photos was a really clever idea that I shall utilise if I do a similar project. My similar (but not as technical) project was taking a donated-to-me old lampshade & painting it freehand with fabric paint & acrylic so that it blended in with the inherited patterned curtains I have in my kitchen. I'm now looking for another old lampshade to decorate to hang in my sitting room....
    Kat :-) xx

  4. Looks a MILLION times better! Great color choice!

  5. Wow - what a difference! From ho-hum to happy :) I love your color choice. Thank you also for the links to the lighting tutorials. I'm on the hunt for a new kitchen fixture so I may need that info in the near future.

  6. It came out great Anne. I love the color choice and I can totally see it with hobnail shades.


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