Chandelier Overhaul

Today’s post is about how I gave our old chandelier a complete overhaul, and I’m not just talking about a coat of paint or some new shades.

Unfortunately, the picture below is the only one I could find of our chandelier pre-makeover. That was before I ventured beyond the “Auto” setting on my DSLR…thank you ShootFlyShoot!

We had purchased it from Pottery Barn and even though I was the one that picked it out, the one thing I didn’t like about it, almost from the get go, was (were?) the short little “necks” (sockets) underneath the shades. It always looked to me like the shades were sitting right on top of the little cup things. Not to mention that I never could seem to get the shades to sit straight. THAT drove me crazy. After a while, I started wishing for a different finish too. The original finish was a shiny brushed nickel, which was great when we bought it about ten years ago. But then I saw this over at Stone Gable:

and I really liked the combination of the dark ORB finish and the lighter, natural texture of the shades. I also liked the longer sockets under the shades. So last year, shortly after Mr. D left for the weekend (am I the only one who tries to sneak these projects in while hubby’s gone?) I took our chandelier down and dismantled it, removing the cover from the bowl (yeah, I looked it up, that’s what it’s called) and pulling out all of the wires, including the wire that snaked its way through the chain. I also taped over the sockets to keep the paint from getting in.
I had seen this ORB Light Fixture Tutorial over at the Krylon website, so I hung the chandelier up in the garage from the garage door tracks and then covered the garage floor with newspaper, and got to work. After wiping it down really good, I sprayed it with a coat of metal primer, then a couple of coats of metallic copper spray paint, and finally, I touched it up with a light dusting of ORB spray paint, letting some of the copper show through. I kept the pieces of the bowl off to the side and sprayed them separately from the chandelier.

To get the taller sockets, I purchased some adjustable keyless sockets, along with more electrical wire. The current wiring would no longer work because the wires would be too short to reach the screws on the new sockets.

You can find adjustable keyless sockets online or in the lighting department of your local hardware store. They’re relatively inexpensive, a two-pack going for under $10. These particular ones allow you to extend the height of your light bulb sockets from 4 to 5 3/4″.

I had also purchased some of these. They’re called candelabra socket extenders. Because part of the keyless sockets would disappear into the cups of the chandelier, I knew I would need to add a little bit more height to make them as tall as I wanted. These fit the bill perfectly, and they’re cheap, at just $1.19 a piece. Incidentally, if you’re wondering why I didn’t just use about 5 of these screwed together instead of the keyless socket extenders, I tried and it didn’t work. So you get to learn from my trials and errors. Isn’t that nice for you? Anyone want to get some socket extenders on the cheap? No, I’m not kidding. :)

Next, I bought some 4″ socket covers in ivory. Again, pretty inexpensive at less than $2 a piece.

After letting the paint dry overnight, I started working on re-wiring the chandelier. I really should have waited a good week to let the paint cure, but I wanted to surprise Mr. D with a finished product when he got home. I had never done any re-wiring before, but it was actually pretty straight-forward. There’s really not much more to it than setting the keyless sockets in place and then feeding the new wire through the chandelier arms, and attaching the wires to the screws on the new sockets. To give you an idea of how it all goes together, here’s what the keyless socket looks like inside the cup with the wires attached:

I don’t think I need to say “Do not attempt this while the chandelier is still attached to the power” do I? I didn’t think so. You guys are so smart.

Continuing on, the wire runs through the arm of the chandelier and out through the cup, and then splits with the white wire attaching to a screw on one side, and the black wire to the other. Then you slip the cardboard sleeve over the top of the keyless socket and screw the socket extender in.

And finally here it is with the socket cover and light bulb. You’d never know there was so much going on underneath, would you?

Lastly, I bought a new set of burlap chandelier shades from Pottery Barn, and something that I wish I had found long, long ago, a set of Magic Toobs that install directly onto the wires of your shades to keep them from wobbling around on the light bulbs. Isn’t that a brilliant idea?? (no pun intended, I promise!) I put them on all the chandelier bulbs in the house. I have a serious crush on these guys.

And here’s the finished result.

Even the shades are straight now! And here’s the before one more time for comparison:

What do you think? Do you like the longer sockets? And what about the finish? Am I the last one on the ORB bandwagon? Or has that train already left the station? I’ve noticed a lot of silver coming back. I wonder what the limit is on how many times you can re-paint a chandelier before it starts flaking off into your soup….

Thanks so much for stopping by!



Linking up to:
Gettin' Krafty With It   Tuesday To Do Party  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia Chef In Training Home Stories A2Z   Today's Creative Blog House on the Way mop it up mondays Saturday Show & Tell

Click here to see where this project was featured.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *