Brassy to Classy: My Free Chandelier

September 14, 2010

I was tra la la-ing my way through my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore a few weeks back, admiring all the great salvage and scheming of ways to put some of it to good use.  I was there because I had spotted a few cool cabinets on Diggers List and wanted to investigate further. 

As I chatted it up with one of the managers, I couldn’t help but notice the sign just behind him.  free brass lighting

Do you love the exclamation point for added emphasis?  Like rejected brass light fixtures are something to get excited about?  Well actually, I kinda do get excited about them.  A lot. 

I actually like antique  brass fixtures, just not these super shiny leftovers from the early 90s.  So with a fixture like this, one that just happens to have a completely fantastic shape, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be spray painted.  White.  Pronto! 

  brass chandy before


Hello gorgeous.  Don’t you just fit right in ? 

kitchen chandy after

Aaaaaand, she was free.  Fah-reeee. 

Yep.  Free.

I was over the etched glass chandy that was previously hanging in our kitchen.  I had picked it out at a Home Depot many years ago and I’ve never been totally thrilled with it.  I wanted something “Frenchier” looking.   For awhile I was trying to figure out how to convert its standard sockets into candle fixtures, but just couldn’t find anything to make the conversion. 

old then new chandy

I was wanting a new chandelier, but I couldn’t find one online that I was in love with that would make it worth dropping some serious cash.  Months dragged on.   I’m a lover of all things that look like they came from a French flea market, or could be found in a Ballard Designs catalog, so when I spied the ten arm brass chandy among the wreckage at my local ReStore, I couldn’t help but squeal, especially since it was free.

Did I mention it was free? 

The teensy problem?  It needed some rewiring.  Not every arm thankfully, just the interior portion.  Enter True Value electrical supply aisle! 

true value supplies


I am pretty proud of myself that I figured out how to rewire this piece all on my own without any help ~ it was definitely a new discovery for me.  I’ve rewired a lamp before, but never a chandelier, however the logic is the same.  Whites to whites, blacks to blacks, yada yada. 

You can find a detailed tutorial about rewiring a chandelier here, and for the step-by-step on installing a chandy, hop on over to This Old House.  As for me, let’s just say I spent a solid hour teaching myself how to rewire this puppy ~ here’s a few action shots. 

rewiring chandelier

After it was all rewired, I was patting myself on the back.  But then something dreadful happened.  One of the arms broke off.  Dangit!   So frustrating!   I couldn’t get the arm to screw back into its holder, it was completely stripped.  Gah!   After all that work, I almost gave up on this, seriously. 

But then I decided to give it one more try with some plastic steel epoxy designed for metal, also found at True Value. 


It worked ! 

The last step was painting the chandy, so I bought Rustoleum’s ‘Shell White’, a close kin to ‘Heirloom White’, at True Value.  I also gave the chandy a bit of faux distressing.  With the side of an artist’s brush, not the tip, I rubbed some oil rubbed bronze spray paint onto the limbs here and there. 

add distressing


Voila.  A perfectly lovely Ballard-esque look.  

chandy arm up close

And to think she once was shiny brass. 


Simple.  Elegant.  Love it !

white kitchen chandelier


The fixture actually works too, which made me squeal with delight when I flipped the switch !

  cg new kitchen chandelier


Here’s some really cool news.  My old chandy with the etched glass shades?  It’s already sold!   A reader wanted it, so it will be sent to a new home next week.  Yay!

The new fixture complements the style of our kitchen a bit better, and I think it was a worthwhile rescue of a shiny brass chandelier.  Don’t you ?      


The necessary legalese:  “I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience.  I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project.   However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”



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141 Responses to “Brassy to Classy: My Free Chandelier”

  1. Jessica says:

    Woohoo! This is cartwheel worthy! Beautiful job! I’ve been looking for a chandy~ this gives me hope!


  2. I did this in my last kitchen. My sister in law gave me a chandelier out of her house. They look so painted white and your looks fabulous. I also love your fridge!!

  3. Laura says:

    Love the new chandy! Is your kitchen always that clean?!


  4. Jan Mullis says:

    LOVE this! Congrats on such a great job!

  5. Ann says:

    LOVE this new light. I had an old one in the home we recently sold and thought I’d mention something that the old one had that the newer ones don’t. The “sleeve” between the bulb and the “cup” had what looked like candle wax drips down it. I’ve seen bloggers use hot glue to make the drips and then paint over them. Really makes it look like an authentic candelabra when they are added.

  6. Maria Killam says:

    I have that exact chandelier hanging in my entry in all it’s shiny brass glory. Love the idea of painting it but the scale is actually wrong which is too bad because yours certainly looks fab. I think mine will be sitting at the local sally ann with a ‘free’ tag on it very soon :)

  7. Jaimie says:

    as always, a stunning transformation. i love that style of chandelier: clean, simple, and elegant.

  8. ches says:

    Love this. I painted my brass fixtures black in my kitchen and they look great and will do unitl I can get the one that I really want. I have the same brass fixture as you have in my dining room, I think some spray action is in its future. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Jen says:

    Totally Classy! You did an amazing job, it looks right at home in your kitchen! IHeart it to pieces!


  10. anh says:

    refinishing these 90s chands totally updates the look. i painted mine black. and it sure does look uber better!

  11. Angie says:

    Your chandelier looks fabulous! Thanks for letting us know how you did it! You’re giving me some ideas for my home.

  12. Stephanie says:

    This looks great! Can you show a shot of the whole kitchen with that over the island? I’m trying to convince my husband that a chandy works over an island, but he’s all gung-ho over a pot-rack light… help me!

  13. Jen says:

    What a great job…it really looks terrific!

  14. It’s gorgeous, I love it! Spray paint is magic! What kind of spray paint did you use? Is the color pure white?

  15. Unbelievable. I must call my Restore and see if they ever have free anything week. And a new color from Rustoleum I have not seen??? Shell White? Hmmmm I must spray for myself. I totally love the look in your kitchen. It is so you!!

  16. Ann says:

    Who’s better than you? You are fearless! No wonder you are so popular on blogland. Ann

  17. OMG! I had that EXACT chandy, and left in in our old house when we sold it. My legs are black and blue through kicking myself… could have been so splendid, *sob*!!

  18. CUTE! I had one like that only smaller in our old home and hated it for so long. I kept threatening to paint it but everyone thought I would ruin it. As if you can RUIN an ugly brass fixture like that?! Finally I painted it black and loved it. :)

  19. Alyssa says:

    Very pretty makeover! The brass ones always look so – well, brassy, and the white’s a huge improvement.

  20. Lori says:

    OMG! I have that EXACT chandelier! I have hated it ever since we bought this house & moved in 6 months ago. I’ve been wondering what it would look like if I just painted it & now I know, thanks to you! AND another project gets added to the list this weekend, hubs is going to LOVE me!

  21. Well, that is just lovely ~ looks fabulous! I actually have a tiny little brass fixture which needs some repainting so you’ve inspired me to get going on it!

    Hope you are having a lovely week

  22. I’m about to do that myself! Gorgeous transformation.

  23. Chris says:

    Perfect timing! I have a brass standing lamp that I’ve had in the guest bedroom taking up space and not wanting to display it because its outdated. i’m in the process of redoing my bonus room upstairs and am trying to reuse anything I can and then I thought I might use that lamp for extra accent lighting and thought……I’m painting that brass lamp! May need a few tips on prepping it and want to paint it a dark brown color so any suggestions please let me know! Thanks!

  24. girl! you scored a treasure!

  25. Love it and so jealous! Just saw someone post a blog about turning brass into shiny sliver with some sort of auto polish. Wish I could remember where that post was. I love shape on the old brass items and usually end up painting them too.

  26. I loved this project so much, I did my own. Check it out:

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  27. Wow! I can’t believe it was free – that’s awesome! Your paint job turned out great. It really does look like something from the Ballard catalog.

  28. So stunning!! I can’t believe the before and after… beautiful.

  29. I could literally die from how awesome this is. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!
    Some people are SO talented (you) and some people wish they were (me).

  30. Traci says:

    I love this project! It looks so good in your kitchen! YOu would have never know it was brass.
    Thanks for linking up to my par-tay!

  31. Glenda @ Magnolia Bend Drive says:

    Perfection in a can spray paint! Love it!

  32. What a change! Wow, it looks fantastic.

  33. Ada says:

    Wow, what a beautiful transformation … thanks for sharing .. including your ‘almost giving up’ .. but you didn’t hoooraaaay for you!

  34. LightingLady says:

    I love that you found this and had such a fantastic success!!! I recently discovered my love of redoing chandeliers and seeing how new and creative I can get with each piece. Your fixture looks beautiful in that kitchen space! I love the crisp clean look and the basic color that allows for any kind of seasonal shades if you want to decorate for various holidays. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your light!

  35. […] making my own stencils.  Wire strippers are great if you plan to do any electrical work, like rewiring a chandelier or hanging your own […]

  36. Makala says:

    I Love this!!! I actually have the same exact one hanging up in in the house i just moved into but it is brass and I was just getting ready to take it done when I read your blog! Now I’ll be able to put it back up after painting it! I was wondering how you did the distress look? Did you paint the chandy black first and then used a brush with oil to remove some white paint?? Thanks!!!

  37. Gina says:

    I found that same chandelier at Goodwill and snabbed it up. I knew I wanted to make it white, so this is PERFECT! When I saw you on Nate yesterday, they showed this project and I was so excited. I did take the big ball thingy off the bottom because it had a dent in it and I like the way it looks without it.

    Do you know how to make one that was a ceiling mount into a plug in? The hallway where I want to put it has can lights but probably is the only place high enough to put it.

  38. Erica says:

    I love the way this looks! I’m getting ready to paint a Habitat Restore rejected brass chandelier myself to hang in my dining room. You mentioned your chandelier needed rewiring- how did you know this? Did you have to hang it up first before you painted it to make sure it worked? I would hate to do all that work and then realize it doesn’t work.

  39. I was surprised you didn’t just paint your old kitchen chandy as white since it can also look as awesome as your formerly brass chandy. Great fit in your kitchen!

  40. Nikki says:

    I have the EXACT SAME CHANDELIER! I’ve already spray painted the first coat and am waiting for it to dry right now! Thank you for your blog! :)

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