Monday, January 30, 2012

Sarah's Chandelier (how to wire a chandelier to plug in)

When my Dad's Mom, my Grammy, passed away several years ago, most of what was left in her apartment was sold. There wasn't a whole lot of great value, but I liked her chandeliers. There were two, one smaller, one a little bigger. I painted the smaller one white and used it in the bedroom of the house I owned with a former boyfriend. That little chandelier, stayed in that house. When former said boyfriend and co-owner of said house turned into very angry person when I wanted to leave, and then even angrier when "negotiating" his purchasing of my portion of the house, said small sweet chandelier got caught up in an apparent custody battle.
I asked him if I could pick it up a few times, but it was clear that he was going to hold that chandelier hostage...I decided to let her go. Seems he felt quite attached to that little fixture. I moved on.
Well, for some reason, I had totally forgotten about the other, larger chandelier...A few weeks ago, as I was truffeling through my father's basement aka my storage area, I came across her... She came to the loft for a visit and I began to ponder her future.
Our loft only has 2 actual spots to wire lighting into the ceiling, one in the kitchen and one in the entrance hall, and I decided to leave the simplistic white ball lights with the foot long stems...I like them, they suit the place. So my first step was deciding that I would like to wire the chandelier to plug in, rather then wire into the ceiling.
I googled like mad and found that the descriptions were a little tedious and complicated.
I went to my local Home Depot with a few photos instead.
this was what I found at the end of the wire (this was where you would wire the chandelier into the ceiling)
 When I opened up the chandelier, it was pretty straightforward...Each of the little lights had both a black and white wire running from it (these wires are attached to the actual candles that hold each light). These wires all met under the ornate bottom cover part of the chandelier, that came off very easily by simply unscrewing the parts beneath it (don't let any of this confuse you, it's super simple and your fixture will likely be a little different anyhow, so don't dwell). All the white wires were assembled with a plastic cap and some electrical tape, all the black wires were assembled with a plastic cap and some electrical tape...c'est tout!
 I checked all the lights to make sure that the wiring was working...I had one broken one, which I was able to replace for $2, the little candles (the electrical bits that your chandelier bulbs screw onto) might look complicated, but again, piece o cake! any lamp, you put the white wire around one screw and the black wire around the other, tighten the screws around the wire ends, and voila, done.
So, it was really the wires just hanging out the top that I needed to concern myself with. How to get this situation to plug in. My Home Depot guy showed me how. I bought a simple wire kit with a switch on it and a plug, the ends were bare, like my wire. All I had to do was attach the ends of my wires to the ends of the plug wires, twist a plastic cap onto them to hold them in place and (Home Depot helper suggested) I wrapped each little plastic capped-wire-couple with some electrical tape. DONE!
I then held my breath and plugged her in (with the single chandelier light I had on hand)
Now came the decisions. Style decisions. The fun part. I spent a few days pondering my possibilities... I could spray the entire thing in a fun modern color (once painted, a chandelier is not easy to unpaint...which is fine, but I was not ready yet), what color candlestick covers, what kind of light bulbs...the thoughts went on and on....Finally, not being able to patiently make any decisions, because the excitement of getting it up and working was more than I could handle (you can tell where my life presently is on the excitement scale), I ran (well, I drove) back to Home Depot (whereupon we had a Zombie boy sighting) and, with Tess chatting my ear off and her burning desire to pull every single plant in the plant section off shelves, I spotted some teeny little pink bulbs. Tess approved...she actually more than approved, she did a happy dance, and song and pulled more stuff off shelves in her state of pink bulb happiness. I grabbed 10 of the them, threw her and the bulbs into the shopping cart and high tailed it back home.
Here's what happened. I did not paint, I have not even decided on candlestick covers, I put the little pink bulbs in, placed a big heavy hook into one of our wooden beams and she is so darn pretty that I might not change another darn thing about her. Tess finds the pinkish red lighting fun and exciting and wants it on as soon as she wakes up in the morning until she goes to sleep at night. I will keep you posted if I decide to continue the chandelier transformation, but for right now, I am simply enjoying her prettiness.
And to the ex boyfriend who might still have the smaller chandelier, painted in the distressed white shabby chic-like style of yore, I truly hope you are enjoying your chandelier, as much as we are enjoying ours.

Now, go forth and make something old new again! Make it yours and most of all, enjoy it!

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