How to refinish a chandelier

Why buy a new lighting fixture when it’s so easy to spiff up an old one? Here's how to give it a new paint job, bulbs, and shades

Refinished chandelier

Rob D. Brodman

Click to Enlarge


Materials

(not including chandelier)

  • spray paint
  • energy-efficient flame-shaped bulbs
  • candle sheaths
  • mini shades from a lighting store (optional)

Tools

  • small plastic bags
  • painter’s masking tape
  • microfiber dust cloth
  • drop cloth or flattened cardboard boxes
  • protective goggles
  • disposable gloves (latex or another material)

Steps

1. Prep. Take off all the removable parts from the chandelier, including the bulbs and sheaths. Using the small plastic bags and painter’s masking tape, carefully cover all the exposed electrical parts, such as the bulb bases and the cord. Take the chandelier outside and hang it from a plant hook, clothesline, or other support. Clean all the surfaces with the dust cloth. If the chandelier is oily, clean it with water and a little detergent.

2. Paint. Apply the paint outdoors on a day that isn’t windy. Hang the chandelier from a secure support, and spread the drop cloth or cardboard underneath it. Put on the protective goggles and disposable gloves. Apply a light coat of spray paint to the fixture. Hold the can 12 to 14 inches from the chandelier, and step around the chandelier to keep the distance and spray angle consistent. (If you simply pivot the can up and down or side to side, drips are likely to form.) Let the paint dry for at least 15 minutes, or as recommended on the can label, then spray with a second coat.

3. Buy new bulbs. Take the chandelier to a well-stocked hardware store, home center, or a shop that specializes in lightbulbs. Select new flame-shaped bulbs and candle sheaths that are compatible with your chandelier.

4. Dress it up (optional). Add mini shades (as pictured here) to your chandelier.

First-timer tip

If your chandelier has cracked wire insulation or rusted sockets, take it to a lighting repair shop and make sure it can be repaired before you repaint it. 

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