Restoring an Antique Chandelier

Victorian glass chandelier.
  • 3-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Mild detergent
Sponge and damp rags or towels
Spray paint or lacquer finish (optional)
New light bulbs
Wire caps or electrical tape
Dry towels
Ratchet set or wrenches

If you have an antique chandelier that you'd like to make look new again, you can easily clean it up and restore it. Depending upon the type of chandelier, it could be as easy as removing the crystals or ornaments and cleaning them, or you may have to remove everything and refinish the metal or wrought iron in the arms and base. Regardless of the situation, it is not difficult to do if you take your time and do it carefully.

Step 1 - Turn Off the Electricity

If you are restoring a chandelier that is being used, make sure that you turn off the breaker that provides current to the chandelier.

Step 2 - Remove the Chandelier From the Ceiling

Remove the old light bulbs, and set them aside or discard them. Look at the way the chandelier is attached to the ceiling. Many chandeliers are hung from a large ceiling hook or use four to six heavy-duty screws that are screwed into a stud or ceiling joist. You'll probably need some help removing the chandelier from the ceiling.

Before you attempt to remove the chandelier arms and base, remove any lines of beads or crystals that are that may be dangling from it.

Remove the arms and base itself from the ceiling. Cap off the electrical lines that provide current to the chandelier. Make sure to take note of how they were connected, so you can easily reconnect the lines later.

Step 3 - Clean the Chandelier

If you have a crystal chandelier, carefully remove each piece of crystal and thoroughly wipe it with a damp, soapy sponge. After you clean the crystal piece, gently rinse it and dry it with a dry towel. Then, set it aside on a soft surface.

If the finish on the chandelier is still okay, simply wipe it vigorously with a soapy sponge, and then rinse it with a clean, damp sponge.

If the finish is damaged, or has a lot of rust, you can use sandpaper to sand down the finish to the bare metal, then repaint the arms and base using a metal finish paint or metallic paint.

Step 4 - Reassemble the Chandelier

Carefully replace the crystal or other ornament beads on the chandelier, and install new light bulbs.

Step 5 - Hang the Chandelier

Check the electrical lines to make sure that you have enough to connect the wires that power the chandelier. Reconnect the electrical wires back together so that no bare wire is exposed and the wires are adequately insulated. Hang the chandelier back on the ceiling hook or secure with the ceiling screws.