Restyling a 1970s chandelier

by Jessie K on May 19, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI finally installed my new chandelier!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABelow is how it looked when I first bought it many moons ago…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI immediately loved it — it’s so 70s — but wasn’t sure it would work in a farm house. Plus it needed some work. Note the yellow honey wood, the flame bulbs and faux wax drip on the candle sleeves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was only $85. But I couldn’t pull the trigger. I kept worrying it was too big, too funky, too 70s for my house. I wasn’t sure Jake would like it. So I didn’t buy it. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it until one day, I came into the shop and noticed it was on sale for 20 percent off. I made a beeline to the cashier and asked if he’d take an even $50 and he said yes. I figured, if I’d been thinking about it that long, I HAD to buy it. And where else am I going to find a chandelier that I love for $50?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the lines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s hard edged, yet comical. Like me. Har! Life is too short to play it safe with lighting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s how the space looked when we first moved in.  I was eager to kick that ugly ceiling fan to the curb. Here’s another shot soon after we moved in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANote the heavy dose of blah that ceiling fan lighting combo gives the space.

So I brought the 70s chandelier home and showed it to Jake. He gave me that look — the look that says, “Why do you insist upon destroying our home?” but he’s learned to trust me on these things so the look soon went away. He showed me how to disassemble it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI painted all the wood Benjamin Moore’s Decorator White.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThough I wish now I would have primed it! I don’t know what I was thinking. I ended up having to paint on something like five coats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was also a little nervous about how the paint went on with a brush. In hindsight, I wished I would have primed and spray painted because the paint goes on so much smoother, but using the brush ended up working fine. Those streaks you see above all but disappeared as it dried.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen I tracked down some plain white sleeves. Those faux drips had to go!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen it was onto the light bulbs. I wanted dimmable globe light bulbs (left), but I couldn’t find any that fit the existing medium base socket size (see the wider socket on the original flame bulb at right) so I ended up having to buy six socket adapters that would allow that smaller socket to fit into the original medium size space. It was confusing at first, trying to figure out what I needed and buying it all online, crossing my fingers I chose correctly. Globes, sleeves, socket adapters…..I was becoming a real chandelier expert. Do you know there’s even a website called chandelierparts.com? Of course there is!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere are the bulbs I bought. Though it doesn’t say so on the package they are dimmable and they put out the most beautiful light.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we first hung it up, we were like, “Uhhhh….it’s so….big….and…shiny…” but now we both really like it. Even Jake! Every time we walk in the room, we feel so regal and important. It’s the resplendent power radiating from the chandelier, I swear.

It was the best $50 I ever spent (plus an additional $70 worth of supplies).

Best of all, Jake — that loving husband of mine — actually moved the light box in the ceiling so the chandelier is now centered over the table, as opposed to centered in the room, like it was before. It was the best Mother’s Day gift this here mother could have received. What a guy! Love that man!

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