Home Improvement: Painting Old Chandeliers and Light Fixtures

This new home of ours was completely decked out in oak and brass fixtures when she was newly built.  Totally nice for those who enjoy them.  But we don’t really care for oak OR brass.  But I know there are those who do.  And if that’s the case……leave your fixtures happy and brassy. 

 

But, if you’ve been thinking of replacing them…….STOP RIGHT THERE!

 

I know, I know……you may really dislike your chandelier/fixture.  I did too.  But before getting rid of it/them…….just imagine adding a little paint.

 

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See?!?!  Look how pretty she is now, all gussied up…

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And really, you can’t even tell this little baby used to be brass.

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There were actually 2 of these little brass beauties in our entry. 

 

But now, they are both transformed……and they thanked me for not giving up on them! :)

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Now just think, even if painting them doesn’t work out and you still hate them……you’re only out less than $10 (for the paint and tape).  But at least you tried!  Have you seen the price of large chandeliers for entryways??  Whew…….I just saved myself about $500 (for 2) that I was actually considering saving up for.  Whew……much better! 

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Would you like to see how simple this really is??

 

 

First of all……take your chandelier/fixture apart.  I found it really helpful to take pictures with my phone as I was taking nuts/bolts/rings off……so that I knew which order to put them back on.  Trust me, you’ll forget. ;)

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Then, clean ‘er up!  Chances are………the fixture has never been cleaned before, especially if it was way up high like mine was.

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Be sure and clean the inside too.

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Now, it’s time to tape.  I used painter’s tape, so that it will peel off nicely and not leave sticky residue.  I started on the inside and taped the outside last.

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Be sure to cover every single little space that you don’t want painted.  If you leave a spot uncovered……it’ll turn black.  So, take your time, overlap your tape layers, and get those corners nice and precise.

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As for paint, I guess you could go cheap……but I really wanted good coverage.  And I wanted it to stick well to my metal and shiny brass.  So, I bought some Rustoleum, which worked really well.  It adhered right away to that slippery brass…….and only took 2 coats.  (And it’s great for those outdoor fixtures because it prevents rust.)

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I didn’t sand it down at all (like the guy at Home Depot told me to do) because I forgot about it until after I taped…..and I didn’t want the dust to get into the tape and paint.  So, I just went for it and was hoping for the best.  And really, it turned out awesome.  I don’t think it would have helped anything to sand first.  However, I would definitely sand the rough surfaces of outdoor fixtures that have been a little damaged due to weather.  But these fixtures turned out great without sanding first.

 

To paint, I hung my fixture from a bent hanger that I slipped through the top of the fixture…..and then secured that to some rope, which hung from the center or our ladder.

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I sprayed the inside first and tried my best to get all cracks and crevices.  Then, I worked my way to the outside and was just as careful.

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Then, I sprayed all of my extra parts and pieces.  Just be sure to cover anything that you don’t want painted, with tape.

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Then, I let everything dry for a couple hours, then applied another coat.

 

After waiting 24 hours to let the paint completely harden, I peeled back the tape.  I should have taken a picture of that…….but it’s the most fun and I kinda forgot.  To get the tape started, I used the tip of a pointy knife and dug under the very edge.  Then I peeled, peeled, peeled.  And one more TIP: if there are any leaks of paint on the glass, use the edge of a razor blade (or knife) and carefully scrape the paint off the glass.  It comes off pretty easily.

 

 

Now, if your chandelier has candle sockets……chances are, they are dirty and melted like mine.  Just take them right off.

 

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And replace them with new ones.  (I found these at Lowe’s.)

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However, the standard size was too short for my chandelier.  So I lined them up and cut the extra length off the old one (I used a serrated knife at first but then my husband stepped in and used his jig-zaw for the rest)……and then slid that over the light socket first and then put the newer clean one on top of that.  The old piece pushes down inside of the socket and is hidden…….and keeps the newer one up high and visible.  Sorry……I meant to get a picture of that too, but forgot.  Ack! :)

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And that’s it.

Your new (but old) light fixtures!!!

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 Good luck!

-Ashley

 

 

 

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Comments

74 Responses to “Home Improvement: Painting Old Chandeliers and Light Fixtures”
  1. 1
    Jill says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you for buying this house!! I live in a house FULL of brass and oak. I happen to like oak, but can’t stand brass!! And every chandelier in the house is brass. I’ve been wanting to save up for new chandeliers ( 3 to be exact) but now, I’m going to take a stab at this!! Thank you thank you!!!

  2. 2
    Monica says:

    Thank goodness you did this. I was just about ready to toss mine into the donate pile. Will have to try this!

  3. 3
    Jackie says:

    I love the redo. I can even seen them as a bright green, sunny yellow, or even turquoise, if someone wanted to add some color to the open area. Cute.

  4. 4
    Kerrie B says:

    Awesome! Thanks.

  5. 5
    Anna Allen says:

    This turned out fabulous! Who knew that old brass chandelier could look so great in black! I want to try this on a few lanterns I bought at the thrift store. They are a cute shape but the metal trim is in ugly colors! Now they have some hope!

  6. 6
    Kasia says:

    They have the same fixture in the house we’re looking to buy! Going to to it for sure!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

    • 6.1
      Ashley says:

      Ha……these fixtures must have been a great deal, because it sounds like contractors all over have put them in the homes they were building. (Our home was built in 2000….how about you?)

      • 6.1.1
        Shannon says:

        We close on our house in 3 weeks and these fixtures must have been given away. We’re buying in the Houston area, and our home was built in 1990…but has 2 of these fixtures in the entry way. LOL!

  7. 7
    Hollie says:

    That is CRAZY amazing! I never would have looked at a brass light fixture and thought of doing that. Thanks so much for posting!

  8. 8
    Maureen M. says:

    Oh my gosh Ashley…we just had drywall guys takedown ceiling popcorn today…and we are waiting for it to dry then be painted in a day or two. I was looking at the very BRASS light fixtures just before I sat down to the computer (!) and debating whether to try it!! Wonderful post!

  9. 9
    Sarah says:

    Love this! We’re about to move into a house with those exact same fixtures. Putting this on my to-do list. :)

    Now…. what to do with all the oak? Sure hope you’ll share something fabulous!

  10. 10
    natalie smith says:

    it looks so great. i love a simple upgrade!

  11. 11
    Christine says:

    I’m impressed that you just moved and you are already on to light fixtures! you go girl!

  12. 12
    Julia says:

    Thanks for this great post! You did an awesome job on the chandeliers. I just might have to try it with mine. I’ve painted them before, but not ones with glass. And just a tip, if you don’t want to buy the white candle sockets, I spray painted mine. (They were pink when I bought the chandelier off craigslist). I used a light cream, and you can’t even tell. I love reading your blog. And I can’t wait to see what you do with your house, and your gray paint. =)

  13. 13
    Chelsey says:

    I love it! When we moved into our home it had this great, but awful chandelier in the dining area. Same thing, brass. So, being the cheap and creative person I am, I did the same thing! Except I did it with the kitchen chandelier, the bathroom movie star light fixture and a clock someone had given me. LOVE how easy it is and how cheap it is! Everyone should do this!

  14. 14
    Sheila says:

    How did you get up there to take them down? They look great!

    • 14.1
      Ashley says:

      We had a painter here to paint our vaulted ceilings and I asked him to take it down while he had his really tall ladders here for a few days. You could call an electrician if you’re like us, and can’t reach something that high. :)

      • 14.1.1
        Sheila says:

        Thank you. We have some picture hangers on the wall on the stairwell left by the former owners. We have been here almost 2 years and can’t figure ou how to get them down. The problem is less the height than it is the unlevel surface (the steps). I am so cheap that I hate to hire someone to take down two picture hangers! I look forward to seeing your projects!

  15. 15
    Kristi says:

    We did the same thing to a brass fixture…repainted with white paint and it looked really modern and new! Love spray paint!

  16. 16
    Alisa says:

    It’s a great idea – one that we just did too on our over-the-table light in the kitchen. So glad to save on the $$!

  17. 17
    Sara says:

    Wow! They look great! We HAD that exact fixture in our entryway. I sent it to goodwill and bought a new one last year. Now that I see the transformation on yours, I am confident I could have saved a bunch of money and updated what we had. You did a fantastic job! :)

  18. 18
    Amy K. says:

    I’m loving your home improvement projects – can’t wait to see more!!

  19. 19
    Elizabeth says:

    Can you do this for your outdoor ones? Is there outdoor spray paint? I think I have seen it before.

    • 19.1
      Ashley says:

      The rustoleum brand that I used is supposed to be fine for outdoor use. It’s supposed to seal it up and prevent it from rusting. Good luck!

  20. 20

    I just looovvve this!! I have old brass fixtures with milk glass globes at the top of my stairs on upper floor and bottom of basement stairs, both have paint on them from previous owners that painted the ceilings without removing the fixtures, I was planning to take them down to clean them, now I think I just might paint them…. wheels are turning, the one in the basement is actually part of my ‘craft’ room which is very much “in progress” so I can think I may go with a great color to coordinate with the craftiness theme. Thanks for the inspiration!! Bless you!

  21. 21
    Janelle says:

    I have this exact fixture, except in a, well, almost an oil-rubbed-bronze color. I don’t mind the color, but this post is inspiring me to get up there and clean it. Because, well, I’m sure it’s never been cleaned in all it’s 13 years, and it could use it!

  22. 22
    Jennifer C. says:

    If I had one of those lights I would totally paint it. It looks amazing!

  23. 23
    Kathy says:

    That is so great that you were able to reuse those chandeliers. They look completely new! When we bought our house about 4 years ago, the dining room had a very old, 70s style chandelier, the kind with all the little glass plates hanging from it. There was no saving it. Luckily, we found a super amazing deal on a light fixture at a home improvement store. I saved all those glass pieces and my mom has been using them to do craft projects. So they didn’t go to waste after all!

  24. 24
    jennifer says:

    Seriously a fabulous idea. And you could do a hammered copper paint if you wanted. I did that to a lamp once, they make that type of textured paint. It’s amazing what you can do with spray paint! Can’t wait to see more home updates!

  25. 25
    Kristin says:

    Love me some spray paint! Huge impact with very little money. I have done this with two chandeliers and a lamp, and they all turned out perfectly. Yours look awesome–good job!!

  26. 26
    Dorothy says:

    Did you just spray paint the electrical chord and chain, too or buy new ones?

    • 26.1
      Ashley says:

      Oh yes, I painted everything! I just taped over the wire ends so that paint didn’t cause any problems when it was re-wired.

  27. 27
    Deedra says:

    This is so smart, I have a light in my dinning room that just looks so, dungeon style. Im sure this will change the whole feel of the room. Thank you

  28. 28
    Kristina Noall says:

    How AWESOME that you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars. (My jaw dropped when you said $500.) Good girl!! :)

  29. 29
    Melissa Hatch says:

    Beautiful! My brilliant sister bought a 70′s-tastic house last fall and spray painted her furnace register covers oil rubbed bronze instead of buying new ones. They look fantastic and what a savings! I would have never thought of it!

  30. 30
    Katrir says:

    So perfect!

  31. 31
    Kelly Cappelletty says:

    I love it Ashley! Spray painting is my favorite pastime these days! I’ve often considered this with our chandelier but I can’t quite figure out how to get it down. We have the same exact one in our entry too. How did you get it down?

    • 31.1
      Ashley says:

      Hey Kelly, we had a painter here to paint our vaulted ceilings and I asked him to take it down while he had his really tall ladders here for a few days. You could call an electrician if you’re like us, and can’t reach something that high. Good luck! :)

  32. 32
    Jaime says:

    we did this with a similar chandelier in our nook. Its awesome! for the white parts ours were not melted but dingy so they got some white spray paint. easy peasy. I look forward to watching you make your house your own. Congratulations!

  33. 33

    Perfect timing with this post! We just moved into a new house with the most hideous brass fixtures. I went to the store to buy spray paint and then I saw this post! I will be following along :)

  34. 34
    Katie R says:

    Where do you live?!? I am sure you don’t tell people, but I recognize that view! You have got to be my neighbor!

  35. 35
    Mary W says:

    We have the same type of thing. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, but have no idea how we would get them down to do it. Ours are hanging in the entryway and in the stairwell and both are on the second level so they are really high up there….

    • 35.1
      Ashley says:

      We had a painter here to paint our vaulted ceilings and I asked him to take it down while he had his really tall ladders here for a few days. You could call an electrician if you’re like us, and can’t reach something that high. Good luck! :)

  36. 36
    Jeanna says:

    great idea. I just saw something similar (but not a chandelier) on Rehab addict on HGTV recently and was going try it doing it myself on a brass chandelier on my stair-well but was afraid to with no guidance. Now, I can do it!. I also have a brass chandelier I had taken down and replaced it with another light fixture. Now, I can paint that one too and put it back up or sell it. Thank you!!

  37. 37
    Emily says:

    oak and brass!??!?! hmmm very popular in the 90′s :) great job with the brass. the oak might look really great with an upgrade on the stain and a nice glaze to antique the corners and edges. painting oak to get that nice painted base/casing can be a headache!

  38. 38
    Sharleen says:

    I have this exact same light fixture. I’ve got to try this!

  39. 39
    Carol says:

    I’ve been thinking of doing this for years but have been too chicken. I finally decided that I at least needed to clean the light fixture in the entry way. Once I got up there and started cleaning I realized the what I had thought was frosted glass for the 4 years we’ve lived here was actually really, really dirty clear glass! Once it was clean the entry way was so much brighter!
    Anyway, you’ve given me courage to try it too. Thanks

  40. 40
    Runt says:

    I love this idea! Our house is brass and oak galore too, but we are slowly working on changing all of that! I have a brass chandelier in my dining room that I am dying to spray paint! I already have the spray paint and everything, I just haven’t gotten around to it. WOMP! We did upgrade our half bathroom downstairs though and it looks great! I’m so happy with how it came out. We changed all the brass and stainless steel to oil rubbed bronze and it made a huge difference! =] It’s at http://www.runtspickins.wordpress.com/bathroomreveal if you want to check it out! =]

  41. 41
    Michelle says:

    LOVE this. I’m in the oak/brass EVERYWHERE boat as well. This gives me some motivation that I can freshen up some of our outside fixtures without the big price tag! Thanks for the inspiration and your great tutorial! :)

  42. 42
    karen says:

    Can you tell me what your paint color is for your walls? And I literally thought to do this about 15 minutes ago, and 5 minutes ago my sister-in-law forwarded me the link! Great minds… :)

  43. 43
    Jessica says:

    Yes, please do tell us the color on your walls! Love it, and love the chandelier.

  44. 44
    Nicole says:

    Do you happen to know the name of the paint you had your painter use? My mom is re-doing her house (she has the same light as you and WILL be repainting it thanks to you!) and she wants to use that paint color as well.

  45. 45
    Bonnie says:

    Thanks for the information! I am definitely doing this to our gold brass ceiling fan in our bedroom. I told my husband, it’s either that or buy a new one (but I like to reuse, recycle, etc)!

  46. 46
    Maria Jose says:

    Genial!!!!!!

  47. 47
    Jena says:

    I was wondering if this spray would hold up on the hardware on my kitchen cabinets. Anything would be better than the shiny ones I currently have.

  48. 48
    Jackie says:

    Love this! I have the same exact fixtures and have thought of painting them. I was wondering about the electrical cord that weaves up through the chain. Mine looks like a gold color. Will it stick out like a sore thumb? :) I don’t want to replace it. Thanks for a great DIY post! :)

  49. 49
    allison says:

    how did you take the fixture down from the ceiling?

  50. 50
    Laura says:

    Wow! This is amazing. My husband has been complaining about our gilded chandelier for too long….Thank you so much! I am going to try this…also I had never heard of Rust-oleum before. I looked on their website and they have fun colors! So excited to do this project…

  51. 51
    Lisa says:

    I have this EXACT same light fixture in my foyer… BUT.. how in the world did you ever get it down?? I’m afraid that i’m going to have to rent scaffolding.. i truly have no way of getting up to a 2nd floor ceiling in this huge foyer. How did you do it.. and did it cost a lot to rent scaffolding.. if that’s what you did… please let me know.. and contact me at [email protected] I would really like to know… and i’m thinking about using some sort of glass etching product and do a pattern, so that when dust does accumulate, i won’t see it Since you’ve already taken this thing apart, do you think that this lighting frame could handle it if had grapevine wreath wrapped around this frame and not have glass at all?.. anyway.. i’m open to any ideas you also pondered with this lighting fixture…thanks, lisa

  52. 52
    Christine says:

    I just did a similar thing with the frame around my fireplace using a spray paint safe for high heat (like if you paint a BBQ or, as I did, a fireplace). Also, I accidentally got some on the glass where the paper I taped to it had a gap. A wet paper towel took it right off. I saw someone do it online and remembered your post. Thought it might come in handy sometime for you to know about the high heat paint. Your post gave me the confidence to do it.

  53. 53
    Sarah says:

    I seem to be late on seeing this post, but I have to say I LOVE it! I’m thinking of doing the same to ours, but no other blogs really describe how to do it and also how to fix up the white candle sticks. Thank you for this and also the confidence to take it on myself!

  54. 54
    Jenny says:

    Do I need to rough up the light fixture before I spray paint with sandpaper? My husband is skeptical that the paint won’t adhere.

    • 54.1
      Linda Taylor says:

      So I’m in the middle of this process and I did sand mine since it was outside and rusted. If it is an inside light, I would gently sand it but you don’t want to rough it up too much or you will see the scratches.

  55. 55
    Sandy Ross says:

    I just found this post, I have the same light and a matching one in my dining room. I have wondered if I could paint them. Yours turned out so nice it gives me the courage to try. I think I will start with the dining room since I can reach that one. The worst thing that could happen is I have to buy a new fixture anyway!

  56. 56
    Linda Taylor says:

    Thanks for this great post. I have the exact same light fixture but mine is outside. I did sand mine since it was rusted. Just started this process over the weekend but taping up the inside of the light is hard! The outside wasn’t as bad to do. It is taking me hours – but I also have a 4 year old and 5 month old so the process is slow.

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