Vintage Chandelier Adds Charm!
I found a fabulous vintage chandelier at a local home builders store that sells used and overstock items. This chandelier caught my eye two weeks ago, but I left without it (like a crazy person!). I had to go back to see if they still had it after I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and they did!! I paid $60 for the light and had to get a couple replacement crystals from the craft store, but the light is so perfect for what I am envisioning for the bedroom.
Huge improvement from what was there before:
I have drafted a quick guide to changing out light fixtures…because every room needs a beautiful chandelier! I wish all of my ceilings were high enough for one!
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As I mentioned, I bought the light used, so I didn’t even know if it actually worked. Prior to going to the effort of holding the light over my head and getting the entire thing wired, just to find out it didn’t work, I wanted to test it out. Here is how I did that (if your light is brand new, or you already know it works, you can skip this):
I purchased a lamp cord that has a plug in on one end and raw wires on the other. It looks like this:
The cord has two wires and the light has two wires (newer lights may have three wires and will be color coded-mine is too old for that and just has two gold wires).
Notice the ends of the wire have the plastic removed and the metal wire is exposed:
Take one wire from the light and one wire from the cord and twist them together like this:
Then take one of these caps (I usually keep a variety pack on hand-the different size caps can hold different sizes and different numbers of wires) and twist it over the wire tips. Twist it the same direction that you twisted the wires:
Repeat the same steps with the second set of wires:
Then plug it in:
Now that I know it works, I took all the extra pieces and crystals off of the light before I hung it up. Since I will be holding the light with one hand and wiring with the other, while standing on a ladder, I want it to weigh as little as possible. Luckily this one had a lot of removable pieces.
Now, I needed to take the old light off the ceiling. If the light switch is off, there should not be any electricity going to the light. Since I don’t particularly care to be shocked, I usually go ahead and turn the breaker off as well, just to be safe. Especially in this house, with old wiring, I’m going with better safe than sorry. (Side note, I tested the wires after removing the light and even with the switch off, the white wire was hot, which is why I do the breaker as well!)
I also have some little cheap testers that I LOVE to use as a third safety check.
I have this little voltage tester that I use to test wires that are capped, but it also works for testing if outlets are hot. It’s just a few bucks and I find myself using it a lot. You can see in the picture on the right, I have one end in each cap (it has to be touching the exposed wires) and the other end lights up.
I also have this variety of tester, but it works by lighting up when it’s put close to a hot wire. You can see when it’s on, the tip lights up green, and on the right, where I have it held up to a hot wire, the tip lights up red and beeps audibly (VERY audibly).
Removing the old light
Each light is a little bit different. Mine had a nut to remove from the bottom which removes the glass bowl. Beneath that you’ll find the light bulbs and some way that the fixture is attached to the ceiling bracket. Mine had two screws that I removed with a simple screw driver:
Be careful pulling the fixture down, as the wiring will still be attached and you won’t know how long it is until you look. The wiring should have electrical caps over the top, just like I had earlier. This wiring also has electrical tape over the caps. You can remove all of this.
Prepping to hang the Chandelier
If you look at the photos above, you’ll notice that the wire is coming out of the ceiling and the prior light fixture was screwed directly to the ceiling. Although it worked for them, it’s not actually correct. I purchased one of these brackets that is sized specifically for light fixtures:
These come in different depths and with brackets that will attach to studs if needed. Most likely, any light fixture that you take down, will already have one of these in place. Your new light fixture will attach directly to the one that is already there.
If you have to buy one, just remove one of the circles with a hammer and pliers (or whatever works) which will allow your wires to come through from the back.
Take a look at the inside cap of my light fixture:
Using the two screws in the metal bracket, attach that metal bar from inside the cap to the bracket. Once the bracket is installed, the light fixture will attach right to the bracket!
I had to attach my metal bracket to the ceiling, which was easy since the ceiling is wood. If you were doing this step, you’ll need to make sure you are attaching it to a stud so it can support the weight of a light fixture.
Hanging the Chandelier
Now, I’m ready to hang my light up! This is the part that takes some skill. I had to hold the chandelier up with one hand, and do everything else with the other. To make this easier, I put the two plastic electrical caps that I would need in my pocket. I also put the little brass nuts that secure the chandelier to its bracket into my pocket.
Twist the white wire ends together and the black wire ends together and then twist the caps on tightly, fold the wires up and stick them in the bracket the best that you can. Remember, the cap to the light fixture isn’t very big!
Place the cap over the bracket, with your bolts lining up with the holes in the light fixture:
Screw on your bolt, nut, or decorative covering tightly. This will hold the light fixture up. Mine had these small brass coverings.
Then you can turn your breaker back on and test out your wiring!!
Beautiful Vintage Chandelier! It adds so much charm!
Replacing light fixtures is actually a fairly quick and easy task and can make a huge improvement or drastic statement in your room!!
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