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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.





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




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





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! :)





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! 



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. ;)



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



Be sure and clean the inside too.



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.



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.



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.)



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.



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.



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



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.




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



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! :)




And that’s it.

Your new (but old) light fixtures!!!



Good luck!





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  1. Andrew G says:

    I hope my question doesn’t come across as rude, but may I ask where you’re located? Not specifically, but maybe a general area…? (Los Angeles? Phoenix? The Bay Area? etc.)

    1. Ashley says:

      No problem! When we lived in this house and painted these chandeliers, we were in Colorado Springs. But we moved about 6 months ago to Oklahoma. :)

  2. Pam says:

    I have the EXACT same fixture in my entryway and have planned to paint it in the Oil rubbed bronze color but could not figure out how to remove the glass! Never even occured to me to just tape it up! Duh! Can’t wait to get that thing down and paint it now! I have already painted several of the outdoor brass fixtures and the fixture over the dining room table. Hate the brass! Have you ever painted door knobs? I’ve done a couple but my husband says the paint won’t last, what are your thoughts on that? Thanks for all the great info!

  3. Felicia says:

    I’m in the process of doing this now.. Actually was about to hang it back up and realized I the wiring is still gold. Did you paint yours or buy a new one?

    1. Ashley says:

      I just painted it. It covered well….just rotate it a few times so that you cover everything completely.

      Good luck!

  4. Heidi says:

    I just came across this and I’m so happy! We have the SAME light fixture over our entry and I HATE it!!! It seemed like a difficult thing to deal with so we’ve left it alone, but this makes it look easy – and such a cheap fix! Thank you :-)

  5. Kim says:

    I’m so happy to have found this! We just bought a larger version of this light for $40 at the local Re-Store that we love, but hated the brass. My idea was to paint it, but I wasn’t sure how. Thank you for your detailed instructions. Can’t wait to get it apart, paint it and put it back together again in its new version!!!

  6. Rebecca says:

    we also have this exact light. I’m so glad I found this! We were trying to find a replacement and couldn’t find anything less than $400 that we liked. Didn’t know we could make the old light look this good and save so much $!

  7. Amanda says:

    Thank you for this post! I have this EXACT light and have always wondered how I could take out the center and paint it! Thank you for showing how to do it!! Saves tons of money!

  8. Shellie says:

    Did you use the flat black color or the oil rubbed bronze? I just came home with oil rubbed bronze, but if you used flat black, I may have to make a trip back to the store…

  9. Kathy says:

    My favorite part is how you hung it up on the ladder so u could paint all of the angles. Good thinking!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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 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

  16. 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…

  17. allison says:

    how did you take the fixture down from the ceiling?

  18. 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! :)

    1. Christine says:

      I would just paint the cord too.

  19. 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.

  20. Maria Jose says:


  21. 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)!

  22. 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.

  23. Jessica says:

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

    1. Ashley says:

      Sure Jessica, here’s a link to the name and actual color:

  24. 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… :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Sure Karen, here’s a link to the name and actual color:

  25. 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! :)

  26. 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 if you want to check it out! =]

  27. 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

  28. Sharleen says:

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

  29. 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!

  30. 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!!

  31. 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….

    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! :)

  32. 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!

  33. Jenna@CallHerHappy says:

    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. 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!

  35. 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?

    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! :)

  36. Katrir says:

    So perfect!

  37. 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!

  38. Kristina Noall says:

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

  39. 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

  40. Dorothy says:

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

    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.

  41. 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!!

  42. 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!

  43. 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!

  44. Jennifer C. says:

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

  45. 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!

  46. Carol T aka 1HotGran says:

    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!

  47. Elizabeth says:

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

    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!

  48. Amy K. says:

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

  49. 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! :)

  50. 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 $$!

  51. 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!

  52. Sheila says:

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

    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. :)

    2. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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. =)

  55. Christine says:

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

  56. natalie smith says:

    it looks so great. i love a simple upgrade!

  57. 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!

  58. 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!

    1. Ashley says:

      Yes!! DO IT!!!! ;)

  59. 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!

  60. 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!!!!

    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?)

    2. 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!

  61. 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!

  62. Kerrie B says:

    Awesome! Thanks.

  63. 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.

    1. Ashley says:

      Ooooh, cute! Color would be adorable in the perfect location! :)

  64. Monica says:

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

  65. 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!!!

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha…’re welcome!! We’re glad our home purchase is helping out more than just our own family! ;)

    2. Anonymous says:

      Did you replace or paint the gold electric cord?

    3. Ashley says:

      I just painted it and it covered well. Just rotate it a few times so that you cover everything completely. And cover the bare wires at the end with tape.

      Good luck!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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