How to Buy and Repair a Vintage Chandelier
I found five vintage chandeliers for the Carriage House. Today I am sharing tips for buying and repairing a vintage chandelier.
I needed more lighting in our Carriage House so I bought a vintage chandelier. And then I bought four more. I knew they needed rewiring, some repair and had missing crystals but that did not stop me from making these vintage chandeliers beautiful again.
Restoring the Beauty of a Vintage Chandelier
I am in love. I love vintage chandeliers and had no idea how much fun it would be to hunt, buy, repair and re-crystal an old chandelier. This was my first time doing this and I loved it so much!
Originally I was planning on adding just two more chandeliers but since we already had the wiring done in the ceiling from the previous lights, I kept my eyes open for more. I am still looking for more as I want to add a few in our home and at the beach house!
How to Buy a Vintage Chandelier
Once I knew I wanted to add a few vintage chandeliers in the Carriage House, I did some research and started shopping.
Where to Buy a Vintage Chandelier
There are a lot of places to find vintage chandeliers. The most common are:
- Vintage Flea Markets
- Local Vendors
I have seen vintage chandeliers at the Rose Bowl Flea Market for years but I bought my four chandeliers from my friends Laurie at The Pink Porch Ventura and Judy at Vintage Junktion LA.
The Pink Porch Ventura
I have known Laurie at The Pink Porch Ventura for a long time and I bought four chandeliers from her! These photos are from her home. Is this not the most amazing place ever? Her chandeliers are just incredible!
Vintage Junktion LA
My friend Judy at Vintage Junktion LA has two huge buildings full of vintage treasures and she is located only ten minutes from my home! I bought one chandelier (the second one on the top right) from her and it’s wonderful! Of course, the rest of these are still for sale!
What to Look For When Buying a Vintage Chandelier
There are so many different kinds of chandeliers. Some are all glass and others have a base that is brass. You just need to decide which kind you like the best. I definitely favor the all glass vintage chandeliers (seen above) but I used a mixture in the Carriage House.
Here are a few tips I think will help you if you are looking to buy a vintage chandelier.
- The most important thing you need to know is if the chandelier is vintage and the crystals are authentic. If you have ever held a real crystal and a plastic one then you know the difference. Vintage crystals are heavy and glass and often have a gray tint to them. You might want to read this article Ways to Identify Old Chandeliers.
- Does the chandelier work? If you find a light that has already been rewired and works, then that is by far the best option! Vintage chandeliers are old and aren’t really a good buy if they don’t work. If the light has a plug then plug it in to see if it works! None of the lights I bought had a plug but I knew I had to rewire all of mine since they needed at least ten feet of cord. I examined the wiring carefully and they looked to be in good shape. None of the wires were frayed and I hoped the rewiring would be extensive. Most chandeliers have the main wire coming into the fixture that connects with all of the wirings that go to each individual light. All of my lights only needed the main wire replaced.
- You can test to see if the chandelier works even without a plug. Just google it and you will see lots of suggestions. I am not an electrician so I can’t make any recommendations.
- Are any of the parts broken? One of my chandeliers had a loose arm (but wasn’t actually broken). I used glue to fix it but I also used some wire to attach the arm to the center base of the chandelier for more support. If there is a glass piece (such as one of the arms) that is broken I would not buy the chandelier.
- How many crystals are missing? You don’t have to replace every crystal but they sure look better when there are a lot of crystals. Count to see how many you need to replace and factor in the cost. You will likely pay about $2.00 to replace each crystal but they can cost less or more than that.
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How to Repair A Vintage Chandelier
The first step to restoring an old chandelier is to hang a strong piece of wire or pipe so that you can hang the chandelier and clean it. You can use a spray on chandelier cleaner which just drips and dries. The chandelier above had a lot of dirt inside the base and I was able to unscrew it and easily disassemble it, clean it, and put it back together.
Next I had a friend rewire the chandeliers.
I also ordered candle socket covers as most of the white covers were looking pretty bad. (Check them out in the photo below!) They come in different heights and styles. I ordered the 4″ size but had to use some utility scissors to cut them down which wasn’t a problem at all!
Once the lights were clean and rewired it was time to decide how many and what type of crystals to replace. I removed one crystal of each that I wanted to replace and wrote the number on each bag of how many I needed to replace. Fortunately, my friend Judy at Vintage Junktion LA came to the rescue. I found exactly what I needed!
These photos are only a portion of the crystals she has! Her selection is just amazing!
I came home and started adding the crystals to each chandelier. Can I just say that I absolutely loved doing this? We even added some crystal rope that I had bought years ago at the flea market. Be sure when you are done that you go back with your needle nose pliers and you “crimp” each wire where the crystals hang. This will ensure that the crystals don’t fall off when they are installed.
When my electrician came to hang the chandeliers he tested each light and a few of the individual light sockets weren’t working. I bought two candelabra base candle socket kits and they easily replaced them. Please know that if a crystal falls off a chandelier it can easily break. You might want to put a blanket below just to ease the fall if possible!
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Looks beautiful and magical. Would love to see a night time picture of them all lit up and glowing!
What should be the price range of a working change?
How do you determine the size of change for the size of the room?
WOW!!! Totally gorgeous and only you could refurbish 5 antique chandeliers. You are amazing Leslie! Wish I could be a fly on the wall at your next party!
Great post – thanks for the tips! I’m bookmarking this one for when it’s time to redo my two. Can’t wait!
Yay! Glad to help, Barbara!
What a lovely room. The chandeliers are the golden crowning touch to an already beautiful space. Now it totally looks like a carriage house in the French countryside. It must be a magical experience dining there in candlelight.
It absolutely is, thank you Mary!