Thursday, September 16, 2010

Help! Ugly Chandeliers

Our living and dining room have matching, unattractive chandeliers. The fixtures are old—circa the discovery of light bulbs. Despite their heritage, they are undeniably ugly.

Our friend Julie suggested spray painting them for a more modern look.  Has anyone ever done this? If I spray paint the living room chandelier white, it might blend into the ceiling. And I am contemplating a darker hue of sea green, to match the upper walls, for the dining room chandelier.

What do you think of this idea? Or do you think the chandeliers are too unattractive to salvage, and should be replaced with something better?

Living Room with chandelier. Maybe the chandelier is too small for the space in addition to being ugly?
Dining room chandelier. We are in the process of painting to room. This chandelier is identical to the one in the living room, and is hung too high, compounding its innate aesthetic problems.


Example of a white spray-painted chandelier from the Internet.

Pink spray-painted chandelier from the Internet.

Blue spray-painted chandelier from the Internet.
Let us know what you think! Are our chandeliers salvagable? Or should they be sold to an antique store and replaced?



  1. I say grab new ones! The existing ones have a creepy look to them. The examples you show from the internet have a great structure.

  2. Yes, your lights are a little "droopy"--some might say creepy, kind of like a giant spider!
    But you might consider painting the living room one glossy white to see how you like it. I think you might consider something very simple in the dining room, so as not to compete with that very busy built-in and the size will depend on what kind of table you will have.

  3. I think the chandeliers have character but I also think you need balance so if they are too small then I would go with something else. There are some good options/ideas on this site:

  4. I think it is a great idea to sell them to an antique store and purchase new ones. You maybe able to find some recycled / or used ones that you could distress, so it still has that old look.

  5. Coming in very late...

    I agree with the idea that they should be replaced, and ideally sold at a consignment or antique store. Painting them will not change their proportions, and as you point out yourself, they are poorly proportioned for the spaces they are in. As you say, they are far too small, especially the one in the living room. The fixtures look to be from the 1950s, and so are not a good fit stylistically either.

    The perfect chandelier or pendant will make your rooms. Poorly chosen lighting will cheapen the room. Unfortunately, that is why good lighting is often so expensive. But it really is key.

    Have you thought about which direction you would like to take -- whether to go modern or traditional?

    If you go traditional, it is easy enough to check architectural salvage and antique lighting stores for Victorian chandeliers.

    Here is one example which would be gorgeous in your living room:

    I am not sure about the origin of this piece, but it seems very Californian to me.

    This one would also be brilliant:

    If you go with something modern, these would be top of my list:

    Jurgen Bey's Light Shade Shade by Mooi (the 95):

    I once stayed in an Italian palazzo which features the Taraxacum 88 by Achille Castiglioni, and pictures do not do it justice:

    Another option would be a Serge Mouille 3 arm ceiling pendant.

    I wish the best options were cheaper! I guess you could try to make a home made version of the Light Shade Shade, but the original is so perfect as is, that it might be hard to get it just right.

    Good luck! Getting lighting right is more difficult than it seems!