Refurbishing an Old Brass Chandelier

Whether you want a Victorian decor or a modern look in your home, an old, brass chandelier can be remade to fit your needs. How you tackle this trash-to-treasure project is going to depend on the brass finish found on the piece. You would handle laminated brass differently than bare metal. Once you clean and polish the chandelier, you can decide what statement you want to make, apply some accessories and then hang your new light.

Adding a few personal touches to a brass chandelier can create a signature piece for a room.

Step 01

Remove the bulbs from the chandelier and then wipe the surface down with a clean, damp cloth. This will allow you to look at the brass to determine if it is laminated or not. Laminated brass will have a clear coat or finish. If the brass is tarnished, it is not laminated.

Step 11

Screw bulbs into the sockets and plug the chandelier into an outlet. Check to ensure the bulbs light up. If no bulbs light, examine the cord and plug. Replace the cord if it appears frayed or the chandelier does not light. Kits are available for cord replacement. Follow the instructions provided with the kit for application.

Step 21

Replace any bulbs that are broken or not lighting. If a new bulb fails to light, turn the socket clockwise to tighten it. If the bulbs still does not work, have a technician check the wiring before you hang the light. Some of the wires may be broken or loose.

Step 31

Clean and buff the brass with a polish if it is bare brass. Follow the directions on the product for proper application. Laminated brass will only require a good cleaning with warm water. Avoid using any detergent or cleanser. This may mar the surface of the chandelier.

Step 41

Spray paint the metal for a more contemporary look. Cover the sockets with painter's tape to protect them. Apply one coat of spray-on primer and one top coat in the color of your choice. For example, you might choose a gold-tone for a traditional appearance or paint the chandelier the same color as your walls for modern decor.

Step 51

Drape clear or colored beads from one socket to the next on the chandelier. This will add a touch of elegance to your light. Attach the end of your beads on the brass surface with a strong glue suitable for metal. Pull the beads around the chandelier, wrapping them once around each spire. Allow the beads to hang loosely between each tier of the chandelier. Experiment as you hang the beads until you find a look that pleases you.

Step 61

Add small, shades or decorative bulbs to the chandelier. The shades are available in craft stores and sit over the top of each spire on the chandelier. The shades perch on top of the bulbs. Decorative bulbs can be found at local hardware or home stores.


  • If working on a hanging piece connected to a power source, turn off the breaker going to the chandelier before beginning.

About the Author

Writing since 1999, Darla Ferrara is an award-winning author who specializes in health, diet, fitness and computer technology. She has been published in "Mezzo Magazine" and Diet Spotlight, as well as various online magazines. Ferrara studied biology and emergency medical technology at the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College.